Friday, December 26, 2008

'Black Friday' at the Apple Store

Since Christmas Day this year fell on a Thursday, the day after Christmas -- like the day after Thanksgiving -- was once again a 'Black Friday' with its early shopping hours and 'bargain basement' price cuts. 

I went to the Mac Store early hoping to find that prices had been reduced on portable hard drives, but the answer was "No".  All the prices were still 60 to 90 per cent higher than those one could find on the web at places like Amazon or B&H Photo.

But what probably was a real 'Black Friday' for a Mac enthusiast with a technical problem was that the Mac GENIUS BAR was closed.  

The Bar was closed, but the "Genius bartenders" were confidently striding back and forth behind the bar.  The Geniuses were even looking around and making eye contact and cheerfully willing to talk to anyone who wandered up with a question.

I went over to the bar. I asked the Genius if he could recommend any particular brand of portable hard drive as being the best one to buy. The Genius told me, No, he could not.  The Apple Store used many different brands of hard drives.  

I mentioned to him that in Genius bars located in California and in the East Coast, I had only seen Geniuses using the small orange colored Lacie drives to restore operating systems.  Why was this, I asked.  

The Genius looked puzzled and said he did not know. He thought about the question and then suggested that I consult with one of the Store's 'hard drive specialists'.  

That's OK, I said.  


I returned home and placed an order with Amazon. There, online, I was greeted by a "virtual genius", who began with "Hello, Bob". This Genius already knew my name and address. He even knew which credit card I would like to use.

All I needed to do was to click my mouse a few times and the Orange Hard Drive which is used exclusively by Mac Store Geniuses will arrive in my mail box in a few days.

As for the Mac Store Genius who knew nothing about Lacie orange drives, maybe he was an ordinary person "filling in" for a Mac Genius on "Black Friday".

Or maybe he was a 'Genius in training'.

The portable Lacie hard drive will be arriving early in the new year to take over from a failing internal hard drive in my Power Book. It is called a 'portable hard drive' because it does not need its own separate power supply. It can go anywhere the laptop can go, getting its power from the laptop's battery through the firewire cable. I am thrilled, also, because this means I will get my mobile Mac back without having had to waste hours and hours of time using tiny jeweler's screwdrivers and following a seemingly endless list of step-by-step instructions, which are needed to change a hard drive inside a Power Book.

I can also understand why Mac geniuses use portable drives to restore software at the Genius Bar. This greatly reduces the clutter of power supplies and wires at the bar, especially when things get busy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Annapolis

At the end of this eighth year of the first decade of the third millennium of the Common Era, on this splendid Christmas day, the 25th of December, 2008, I find myself once again living in the city of Annapolis ensconced in a flat within the comfortable historic section whose streets were laid out in between 200 and 300 years ago. I am already feeling little wafts of excitement for the coming new year.  The temperature outside this morning is, amazingly, 50 degrees (F) - Can this be Christmas Day? - up from 25 degrees and ice only two mornings ago.

But the squirrels in Annapolis are happy, whatever the temperature is.