Ranting on the Apple Store… ME?

As you all know, I’m a big fan of the Macintosh and Apple. I like the products Apple makes, their business model (for the most part) and their innovations. But a recent trip to the Apple Store really made me cranky.

Most of you know (especially my students) that I’m a big fan of the phrase “I don’t know, but let me try to find out.” For me, the use of this phrase engenders trust, a sense of security, and a sense of respect. I’m often shocked at the amount of people who have either never heard this phrase, or are too embarrassed or prideful to use it (believing perhaps that they should be perceived to know everything).

First, a little technical background on the question I brought to the Apple Store:
I recently upgraded my MacPro to the 2012 model. I love it. It’s fast, it’s still backward compatible with my legacy hardware and software (it can still boot OS 10.6.8 Snow Leopard, and therefore run my legacy software in Rosetta), and it’s well-made (as I’ve come to expect in my MacPros). In my older computer, I had a wonderful little device that allowed me to use 2 SATA ports that were not in use on the logic board, so that I could have the equivalent of ESATA on my MacPro (http://www.newertech.com/products/esata_cable.php). I really appreciate ESATA – it’s very fast and reliable, and excellent for multimedia, but it’s not built into any Macs.

My new MacPro still has this capability, however it only has one available port on the logic board (instead of the old 2), so I’ve been searching for a reasonable PCI-E card to do the trick. However, I’ve seen that some cards don’t play well with the Lion OS (10.7). So, I thought perhaps asking at the Apple Store would help me find out which card to buy. WRONG!

NOW, the problem:
Upon entering the Apple Store, I was quickly greeted and asked if I needed assistance. Nice! When I explained the question, the young lady helping me admitted that my question was beyond her expertise, so she brought me to a young man who, according to him, was very knowledgeable about ESATA. After reiterating my question, this nice young man proceeded to tell me that ESATA was impossible on the MacPro, and always had been. He insisted that the ESATA cable I mention above never existed for the Mac, and that no PCI-E cards were capable of offering that service on a Mac (but it would on a PC). Even after I told him I’d been using this for some time on my own MacPro and knew for certain that there were cards out there (the Apple Store online sells them), he continued to insist that it didn’t exist, and tried to pull up websites that would prove me wrong.

Now… I know I probably should have talked to management or somebody, but at this point I was rather irritated and also didn’t want to get that young man in trouble, so I left. But, I’m hoping some person from Apple may happen along this rant and maybe institute some policy so that employees can be force-taught the phrase “I don’t know, but let me try to find out.” I mean… C’mon Apple Store… what’re you, Fry’s???

I Love Lions – But Don’t Know if I Want One as a Pet

Lions are beautiful animals – smart, strong, powerful. However, I’m not feeling that great about upgrading to the new Mac OSX 10.7 Lion. From what I read, it seems that some features on which I depend are going to be either completely deprecated, or won’t function at all in the way I want them.

However, I am NOT an early adopter – I don’t install version 1 of ANYTHING, especially an operating system. It’s my hope that by the time I do install it (probably around the .2 update), Apple will have addressed my needs for Address Book, and iCal, and will have maybe found a way to sell Rosetta as an addition to Lion – or at least for Parallels to devise a way for me to use my Snow Leopard installation in emulation, and have resolved some issues I already see as being against my personal interests to upgrade.

However, many of my clients ARE early adopters, and I get the phone calls to help bring them back, when they’re sorry for what they did. That’s great – thanks – I love the work! But, as I’ve mentioned to ALL my clients and students in the past, it’s IMPERATIVE to have a reliable “Cloned Backup” of their original startup disk.

This article addresses how one may go about resurrecting your Snow Leopard installation, if they don’t like Lion. It emphasizes the “Cloned Backup” idea quite strongly.  A good read: