I don't know who came up with the idea for the Apple Genius Bar but, once again I have to sing the praises, at least of the brilliant folks at the one near me.
The idea is so simple. You go online, make an appointment, show up within 15 mins of your time, and someone like Michael (left) or Adam (right) greets you with approximately the same smile as seen here.
Of course, when I took this picture, I'd already revealed that I would blog them so perhaps they were a bit thrilled but then again Michael had just fixed my machine (again)...i.e., I've been there so many times that they know me by name.
OK, now on to the problem that took me there as I wager it's affecting other Mac users as well. Typically, I use Word, rather than Pages, the Mac word processor, and rather than Writer, the one in Open Office (about which more in a sec). Why? Because much as I love Pages's export capability, meaning that you can save to PDF and Word, it still is not optimized for writers. Please forgive me, Apple, but while Pages has wonderful formatting options, the most critical writing tools for me -- dictionary and thesaurus -- can't be dragged into the toolbar and require two clicks to get to them.
Similarly, I use Powerpoint and Excel, rather than Keynote and Numbers, but for different reasons. I prefer Keynote (here Apple's high IQ in graphics really shines) but unfortunately it doesn't import and export seamlessly to PPT -- at least not for me. And, because I'm constantly creating and receiving PPT docs, this is a real problem. However, when I have complete control over creation and presentation, I'll always opt for Keynote.
I'm not much of an Excel/Numbers user (shock!) but I've had similar opening/exporting problems. (As for any of these apps in Open Office, I have just installed it so cannot issue verdict now.)
Back to why I went to the Genius Bar yesterday. Last Sunday, I was quite the busy little keyboarder, using all three apps in MS Office--Word, PPT, and Excel. Everything was OK, slow as usual, but how can I complain if I'm running a 2001 version of Office on my MacBook Pro (the one with the Intel chip). It's a miracle anyway so slow I go.
Then I make the mistake of waking up on Monday. All Office apps crash on opening. I did what everyone does, tried 1000 times, searched for the evil preferences files that have shut down my version of Word before, and searched some more. Failing, I called AppleCare where I learned that mine had expired (!) just nine days earlier and that in any event they don't support Office, which anyone with a Mac knows, but that I might be able to get Microsoft to send replacement disks, because, of course, given the age of my machine and my flawless storing procedures for all things tech, I've lost the originals.
Were I to recount my calls to Microsoft, you would definitely click away because this attempt went on for the next 48 hours, involved being transferred back and forth to the same people 25 times (needless to say, I NEVER exaggerate), and ultimately resulting in my having to...
Go to the Genius Bar. Where the whole problem was solved in a matter of moments.
Yes, it was the Evil Preferences Files, which, stupid me, I couldn't find because I had failed to click "Systems Files" and "include" in the search (hint, hit the + sign, Mac-ies). Simple stuff. Mac users, try it next time Office or any of its programs crashes. Delete all preference files related to Microsoft and don't worry. It recreates them with every use. Once you trash, you're up and running again.
Now correct me, you techies, but it works for me.
And thank you once more, Michael (and Adam), for making it so easy to fix.