Apple pulls a Dell?!?!?!

I was shocked! After much hemming and hawing over which way to go for future purchases, I convinced my wife we should get a Mac – the Mac is the only platform I don’t really “know” – we need a laptop, and the budget is there. She always came up with excuses but finally, she agreed, and we ordered a Macbook Pro – C2D, and she got the iPod Nano using her school discount. $2500 into debt, we are actually excited…she has been wanting an iPod for a long time and I’ve been begging for a laptop.

To make a long story short, the iPod shipped first and we received it today. After about an hour of trying to connect it and make it sync myself I had performed countless softwre uninstalls/reinstalls, and 1418 errors, I googled results and reinstalled USB drivers, then tried restoring the device, all to no avail. Being in IT, I do not like giving up, but I am new to this – let’s see that stellar name of Apple deliver.

So I call Customer Service. Another 4 hours of dropped phone calls, (no callbacks) and one agonizingly long final call with a qualified tech, his supervisor and billing, here’s what happened: We performed troubleshooting on multiple USB ports, at least 5 installs and reconnects (on multiple computers), and no resolution or restore works. The Apple tech declares it DOA and says he’s going to ship me a box to return the iPod. Great, I say, so when the replacement and return box should get here when? He says, “No, just a box…after we get it back, and verify it doesn’t work, we’ll send a replacement out. So, 5 hours of troubleshooting, 4 disconnected calls, and now I have to wait another two weeks to get a measly $200 piece of peripheral? Um, no…

I ask for the supervisor who confirms. Apparently Apple RMA’s don’t send you replacements on a verified bad system (even though they already have your money). This is very much unlike the rest of the industry, everyone I have ever dealt with from Dell to IBM, to HP, to Sony, CDW, Newegg, Crucial, and all others in between, replacements are sent with instructions to return the bad one in the packaging with their apologies. Not Apple…they want to delay things a little longer…just to be sure.

Yeah Apple, that’s my scam. I sit on the phone for 5 hours trying to get a $200 DOA iPod to work in hopes you’ll just let me keep it and send a replacement. In 5 hours I could have done my blog posts, checked my web maintenance, hit my photo sites, spent some family time with my wife, played with my dog, watched some evening television and be in bed now. There is a reason I am leaving Dell – crappy customer service.

Apple has long been lauded as having superior equipment, superior service, and superiority complexes. Having thought I’d “seen the light” on why they feel superior, I convinced myself and my wife to buy into it. Now, all that’s left is a series of rude, untrained, half-literate telephone calls, missed family time, and an entire evening lost due to the “It just works” company showing its true colors as just another multi-million dollar business with no interest beyond taking your money.

The iPod is being returned and the MBP has been canceled. At least with Dell I know where I stand…

And a 10th hour post for the night owls…

RSS feeds fixed…apologies, I did not think to check that for functionality – kudos to those that reported it and thanks to WordPress knowledge-base for the info on how to fix XML declaration errors (watch out for white space)

Top Five Reasons I am getting the Canon 40D

It wouldn’t be a year in photography without at least one of the Big Boys of photography world (those boys being Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax) announcing some new piece of equipment that sets everyone off, racing to give their money away so they can have the “latest and greatest” that money can buy. As a technology buff, I am particularly susceptible to this tendency, so I always have to take a step back and look at my current setup, as well as the rest of the options available before I can pull the trigger (or trip the shutter, since we’re using “photo speak” right now).

So…I set out to look at the major features in the EOS line since that’s where my lenses are. Within my price range (under $1500) are the XTi, 30D, and 40D. I also included the 20D in my comparison because even though it’s been discontinued, it still is available through online auctions and various community forums for sale, and the spec sheet is readily available online (I used the specs from B&H). Given the number of options, even within the Canon line, I had to set some minimum. So, I told myself that in order to make it worth the expense, I would need to see at least 5 major features/reasons in order to justify the purchase. I defined a “major” feature/reason as something that either represented more than a 15% increase in numerical value, or a feature that was completely lacking in my current setup.

With my benchmarks set, and my expectations in place, I put together the following chart for the consumer/entry pro level EOS bodies that Canon offers:

chart

The benchmarks indicated the following results:
• XTi – 2 features/reasons: Discarded
• 20D – 3 features/reasons: Discarded
• 30D – 5 features/reasons: Candidate
• 40D – 8 features/reasons: Candidate

With two pretty clear favorites, I looked at the differences between the two, and the 40D does seem to have enough of a distinction (3 features) from the 30D to justify the increased expense (Mega Pixels, screen size, and Frames/sec). What also tipped the scales for me in my decision was that since I don’t buy new bodies as regularly as some, as there have been 3 new releases since my last purchase. That being the case, I will probably be better served by getting the newest one so that it can last as long as my XT has (3 years).

For those with other Canon bodies, a similar system could be used to determine whether an upgrade is justified, depending on what you are looking for. For those with Nikon bodies looking to upgrade, the decision-making process should likely be weighed within your own DSLR system, but the principles used above could be applied equally there as well. As for Olympus, Pentax, and Sony – what are you guys smiling at? (Something tells me they will be following the lead of Canon and Nikon but at lower price points down the road…)