I've never been good at hiding my enthusiasms. Thus more than one post here about Apple and the geniuses behind the bar. I've been addicted since the first Apple machine made its way into our house when our kids were little and, save a few years when incompatibility with client systems made its use secondary (those days are long in the past), I've been a happy collector of a long stream of machines.
Almost problem free until that dreaded night in September when my hard drive crashed. Crashed is not sufficiently descriptive. Obliterated three years of work, email, addresses, articles, essays, books, photos...shall I continue?
Did I panic? No, not exactly. I had Time Machine, the "infallible" backup utility that works with Apple's newest operating system, Snow Leopard. It had been running for over a year, the little clock spinning counterclockwise (not sure this makes sense, ultimately, but never mind that). All I had to do was reunite with my backup drive (which I was separated from due to wonderful circumstances).
My drive and I got back together shortly thereafter...and then the horrible reality emerged. Time Machine had not worked, not recorded anything, zippo, zero. I explained the glitch in detail in this post. Briefly, and horrifyingly, Time Machine doesn't** work when one's machine name has non-ASCII characters in it. Huh? Every machine has a name; in my case, the Apple salesperson assigned it when I bought this machine, calling it, brilliantly, "Jessica Lipnack's MacBook Pro 15-inch." That would have two such offending characters in it - the ' and the -. Unfortunately, and contrary to what one would think about Apple's good user support, Time Machine does not issue a warning for this situation; in fact, it appears that the backup system is working, clock spinning and all.I won't review the many hassles since - except to say that two months and counting, I'm still trying to obtain fully usable files from the disk recovery company, Kroll OnTrack. They're trying, which I appreciate, but we're not there yet.
Apple, meanwhile, has done something quite remarkable. After many calls, escalations, hours on the help line, conversations with very senior technical people and people in customer service, I received a reimbursement from the company a couple of weeks ago. They've asked me not to reveal the precise amount, which I, as a business person, am honoring. Every customer situation is different and I have to agree with them. From my perspective, mine is particularly awful: A 25-year customer and unpaid evangelist for the company experiences horrendous consequences from a malfunctioning product, incalculable, really, in terms of what has slipped away.
Where does this leave me? Convinced that Apple listens, that it, in this case, has honestly owned up to a mistake, and heard that there ultimately is no way to completely fix what happened to me and my files.
What to do going forward? Time Machine is up and running now that I've changed my machine name; the little clock is spinning; I've checked that the files are there (my bad, Apple, for not double checking instead of taking it for granted that spinning meant working); and I'm waiting for the release of a Snow Leopard-compatible version of Carbonite, redundancy being the only remedy in the digital world.
Thanks, Apple. You done right by this woman.
**According to this note on the Apple site, the problem was fixed in the 10.5.2 OSX update.