I recently experienced a close call in the RL technical support department. At some point late on Sunday, I started to experience problems with the multi-touch trackpad on my computer. It didn't feel right, as if it had somehow lost some of its springiness. And it was far too sensitive. But it was late, and so I just stepped away from the computer for the evening.
When I started on Monday morning, things seemed to have gone from bad to worse. It was almost unusable - moving my finger around on the touchpad was frequently being treated as a click or click-and drag, yielding very unexpected and unwelcome results. I had been planning to spend a lot of time in the studio this week, as well as put the finishing touches on our Burning Life project, and who knows what else. Instead, it looked like the computer was going to be in the shop. I should be mad, but I'm not.
Why? I'm spoiled. On Monday morning I hit the Apple site and made an appointment at the nearest location's in-store Genius Bar. While the name may sound silly, it serves a great purpose - the company tags and identifies the more technically savvy retail staffers, and organizes them into an on-location support center. I could have gone in later on Monday, but things were hectic. So Tuesday it was.
At the store on a rainy Tuesday, staffers greeted me and checked me in and soon I was speaking with a tech/genius. After explaining my trouble and checking the machine out, he'd determined that it wasn't actually a defective trackpad, but that my battery was failing. And in the process of failing, it had started to swell up. As it swelled, it was pushing the bottom of the trackpad up, which was causing all my headaches. While I'm no 'road warrior' and don't abuse the machine, these things do happen. But in less time than it's taken me to write this paragraph, he had replaced my battery with a new one, done the paperwork, and we'd tested out the new battery in my computer.
I apologize if this comes off as sounding like a rant. I do my best to avoid sounding like an evangelist or the member of some kind of cult. But there are times (like now) when I feel a certain need to gush. I woke up on Monday, not at all looking forward to possibly having to send my computer off to some mysterious repair center or leave it in the shop for days on end. Instead, within 24 hours of even raising a warning flag, I had face to face support from someone who had an idea what they were doing, and the problem was solved.
I'm not sure if there are any PC manufacturers that offer that kind of service to all their customers, but there certainly wasn't when I finally made the switch in 2003. And before you ask, no I hadn't purchased any special service package or premium for special treatment. The experience I got is standard. And it should be. Lately, though, it seems I've been hearing lots of stories from SL users who are either trying to skate by on a netbook or loaner computer while their machine is in the shop, or are completely unable to use their new-ish machine because of either mal-ware or something that got screwed up with the system software.
Well, now that I've got my technical problem sorted, there's work to do. I've got a bunch of tracks to prep in Ableton Live, and some prims calling my name, just begging to be squashed, stretched, twisted, and textured.