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Scrabble is one of my favorite games, and I love to play with my wife and my dad on slow holiday weekends. Our games are usually 3 hour marathons, as we play by the “learn new words” rule, which is to say we are allowed to look in the official Scrabble dictionary to check if our possible plays are, in fact, real words. While the spirit of this rule is that one can only look up the word one is about to play, naturally this little crutch gets heavily abused, to the effect that there are often unpronounceable new words on our game board and questionable looks from opposing players after “bacchic” or “scow” is played for triple word score.
Tonight my wife and I were at our local coffee shop and started a traditional Scrabble game, and I suggested we try a new variant: “Makey-Uppy Scrabble“. Here are the rules:
Welcome world, to my humble blog. I’ve finally gotten a chance to start this up while I wait….and wait….for Apple Support to help me fix my ailing MacBook. For the most part, this happy little machine has been working like a charm, with seemingly innocuous problems that software update doesn’t work (NSURLErrorDomain -1100, anyone?) and I can’t stream good live radio like Radiopio. I finally decided to do something about it today, googling my error message and reading the various blogs and lists with other having similar problems. When permission repair, file repair, and fsck’ing all failed to resolve the problem, I broke down and gave Apple Support a call. An excerpt of this experience post auto-responder (+15 minutes):
AS: Hello, my name is xxxxx, may I have your name, please?
Me: Adam Burgasser
AS: Hello, Adam, may I have the serial number of your computer?
Me: Yes, its XXXXX
AS: Thank you. Our records indicate we do not have your email address, may I have it?
Me: My email address? Do you really need that?
AS: Yes, it will allow us to send you information in case we are disconnected, or for future reference.
Me: Um, ok, its xxxxxxxx.
AS: Thank you. Can I please have a phone number that you may be reached by?
Me: My phone number? Don’t you know that already? It’s the one I’m calling from. Why do you need my phone number?
AS: Sorry sir, I do not have access to that information. If you can provide your phone number I can call you back in case our connection is lost.
Me: Oh, good idea. OK, its xxxxxxx.
AS: Thank you, Adam. Now what seems to be the problem?
I gave a long and thorough description of the seemingly minor problems I’m having and the efforts I made to reconcile it. My support person was reasonably impressed I had tried to solve it myself, gave me a few tests to try, and then instructed me to download an update of the operating system (10.4.11) from the Apple site to check if that would work, then do an Archive + Install from my install disks. It sounded like all would be well in a mere hour or so.
One hour later, I had my computer back running, but with an even more outdated operating system (10.4.6) which could no longer run half of my software (e.g., iTunes), and the same exact problem with software update. So I called support again.
AS: Hello, my name is xxxxx, can I get your name?
Me: Adam Burgasser, I have a case number, its xxxxxxx.
AS: Thank you, Adam, can I have the serial number of your computer?
Me: What? Isn’t that in my case?
AS: No, I don’t see it here, please if you could provide it.
Me: Um, fine, its xxxxx.
AS: Thank you. Our records indicate that we do not have your email address, may I have it please?
Me: What? You already sent me email from the last time I called, two in fact, how could you not have my email address in your system?
AS: Sorry sir, I don’t see it here. Could you please provide your email so we can follow up on the problem if we need to?
Me: (grr) Sure, its xxxxxx
AS: Thank you. May I please have a phone number that you may be reached by?
Me: Oy! Again, why isn’t that in my record? Are you actually storing this information?
AS: Please sir, you phone number will allow me to call you back if we get cut off.
Me. Fine, xxxxxxx.
AS: And what seems to be the problem?
Me: Umm, isn’t that at least in my case?
AS: Yes, uh, it says you’re not able to download files and your internet is not working?
Me: Did you actually read the case?
AS: I’m, uh, reading it now.
Me: Why don’t you ask me after you finish reading.
AS: [a pause] Ah, you are unable to use software download.
Me: Yes, and I followed the directions given to me and now I have an even older operating system running and that didn’t solve the problem at all and my software isn’t compatible.
AS: Do you have a portable harddrive nearby?
AS: Well, sir, you are going to have to do an erase and install, and that should fix the problem.
Me: What? I was told that this wouldn’t be necessary!
AS: Well, I don’t know what the problem is, sir, but an erase and install will definitely fix it.
Me: What about this NSURLErrorDomain -1100? Doesn’t that mean anything to you?
AS: I’ve never heard of such an error sir. I am sure this is a unique problem.
[Now would be a fun time to see the number of references to NSURLErrorDomain on the web. Only 5060 sites. Clearly an obscure error]
Me: [fuming] Please connect me with someone familiar with my system.
And here is where I am now, 30 minutes later, listening to bad music through my tinny cell phone speaker, expecting little to come of it. Sure, I am an inpatient, suspicious and quickly frustrated support customer, but if this is “support” who needs an enemy? However, when I see how the folks fail to carry my information from one call to the next, I have to admit I’m not as worried about them having my personal information as I was before…