Sam Brown

Apple being a proprietary brand, non-issue

“For some people their daily fix is the television, newspaper, computer, video game or something illicit. For me it is my computer, I work on it everyday and with all my news feeds and emails its hard going a few days without it!”

Ok, so not entirely true. Day 1, withdrawal kicks in and I have to find myself something else to be doing, by Day 2 however I’m fine and don’t feel the need to be looking for something online.

Last month on a Monday my HDD failed on my laptop and I had to take it to the hospital (Apple Centre) for emergency surgery. I have for a while also had some dead pixels on my screen that needed fixing too.

The diagnosis

The laptop went into the ER that Tuesday morning, with a broken hard drive and 3 dead pixels and a dark spot that I was hoping they would just see as a 4th dead pixel. Apple has a rule in which they will only replace screens if there are 3 or more dead pixels. After they had a good look over it, I got a call on Wednesday afternoon telling me that they can band aid (temporarily) fix my HDD until such times as I can get it replaced, when I get home. But that they could not find the 3 dead pixels.. after a little awkward discussions about where they were the technician said he would plead and beg with Apple if he couldn’t find a third.

Sam says: “So if you look half way across the screen, then about an inch from the bottom there is one.. and then there is one about an inch from the right hand side half way up, and a third an inch underneath that one and slightly to the right, say half an inch.” This was what I told the apple guy over the phone in regards to where those dead pixels were located!

On Friday I got a call saying that the hard drive had fixed the hard drive so that it would last me until I can get it home and replaced (as they had no parts in stock), and that they had replaced the top half, the screen. Excellent, my Apple Centre technicians must be good at begging, or my directions to the dead pixels were.. one or the other. I also purchased 1GB of RAM to add to my arsenal and speed things up, works a treat.

2 Days Later…

Two days after getting my laptop back the hard drive completely failed and I could no longer even start the thing. Great! By now it was the weekend and I would be computer-less until Monday and then beyond whilst they fixed it. Enough was enough, I had backed everything important up onto my iPod (hey.. 20GB removable handheld storage at its best!), I told them I would just purchase a new hard drive, have them install it for me and that would be that.

By the following Wednesday, 10 days after my problems occurred, I was back up and running with a fresh install of Tiger which was great. Quickly got my files from my iPod, the easy part! I then went through the rigorous task of reinstalling all of my day-to-day software. Now this isn’t just an easy task.. a truncated list of my day to day software would look like this:

Firefox, Camino, Opera, Thunderbird, Newsfire, Skype, MSN, iPhoto, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Distiller, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Macromedia Flash, StuffIt, skEdit, Acquisition, ByteController, Fontagent Pro, Quicktime Pro, Transmit, VoodooPad and xScope

Apple being a proprietary brand

I have to admit, there are downsides to Apple software.. namely, the minute you want to do something to the hardware you either [a] go to Apple and get them to do it for you, or [b] void your warranty. The choices aren’t great. However, I have had a great run with Apple hardware.. my hard drive problems could have happened to anyone, including PC users. This doesn’t put me off Apple in any way, shape or form, in fact, the staff that dealt with me were great, they got the job done, they didn’t charge me for installing the hard drive as their temporary “band-aid” didn’t exactly work.

I am still more than happy with my Apple Products and would still highly recommend them if you are looking for a great piece of Hardware with a more than sound Operating System and great software!

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Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.