Oct 24, 2005

Apple Brand Loyalty VI: The Saga Ends at Last

Folks who have tuned into these pages over the months have seen a number of posts about my struggles with a dual USB iBook G3 that is just over 2 years old and has had its logic board replaced 3 times.

The last time that I sent it into the shop, I was impressed with quick turnaround, and the fact that they actually decided to change the top case and bezel of the laptop, which at the time seemed like bonus to the expected logic board brain transplant.

Alas, they seem to have been the main problem this time around. A week after I received the machine, I suddenly realized that the CD tray neither responded to eject requests from the keyboard, nor actually seemed to recognize any disks that I placed in it after forcing an open with a paper clip. Uh-oh. Why isn't the CD tray working? I wondered aloud.

Then, many of my programs started to quit out regularly. It got to the point where I couldn't use iTunes, Mail, or even FireFox, as they all crashed regularly. So what to do? I finally called Apple and registered my complaints.

They were remarkably responsive - I thought that they would first ask if it was a logic board issue again, and then when I said not directly, would tell me that I'd have to pay $100 - $150 just for advice. But I explained quickly that the new developments felt directly related to the last service that they'd conducted on the machine.

My customer service rep listened, noted my complaints, and spoke with a supervisor. It was soon after this moment that I realized that their approach towards this problem was very similar to client case management - not only did they validate what I was feeling and try to keep me positive, but when it came to transfer me to another representative, the first person explained that he'd tell the person what my situation was before he handed me over. It was almost exactly like the conversation that happens between a case manager and a referral source, with the interest of minimizing the number of times that a client has to repeat their story. It's a very effective way to ensure that the client doesn't get worked up as they remember why they are on the call to begin with.

Anyway - long story short, they said that they didn't have faith that the machine was going to recover, and that I had the option to trade it in for another computer. I was ecstatic, as I thought I was going to have to buy a new computer anyway. So - I get to send this thing in, stripping it, of course, of all the programs and files that have occupied its space for a while, and I get a new(ish?) iBook G4 with built-in Airport and Bluetooth capability. Rock on. I'm so thrilled, and I have to give Apple major props for treating this situation as they are - because it definitely bolsters my confidence that they care about their customers. Considering that I didn't have an AppleCare warranty on the product, it could have been a very different outcome, and I'm thrilled that it turned out this way.

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Oct 22, 2005

Rainy Days and Live Albums

Took this thing offline for a while, but it's back now. At least for now. When in doubt, it disappears.

Rainy day at home. A lot of work to do, but it's nice to be at home. I've been listening to a lot of music, as is my way, I guess. Lately, (today) it's been a lot of live stuff, the first being Maxwell's short but amazing unplugged session with MTV from years ago.

On that disc, if you're so inclined, check out his absolutely stunning reworking of the Nine Inch Nails' "closer" - a radical shift from the original, which turned an otherwise bitter and dark song into an affirmation of love and sensuality. Definitely my best reworking of a NIN song by someone from a totally different genre (Johnny Cash, rest his soul, was great, but it was the video that really gripped us, and you have to hear Reznor's stripped down versions of his own songs on the rare "Still" to appreciate the raw hurt of some of those songs). Also, the "Perfect Drug" remixes by Meatbeat Manifesto, the Orb, etcetera, are awesome.

As I've written many times before, I've been listening to more metal again, and just put in the symphonic double live album that Metallica put out a number of years ago. Perhaps an orchestral treatment of "The Call of Ktulu" is a good thing, but I don't know, there's still something predictable and generally flaccid about a Michael Kamen orchestration (rest his soul). I would have been far more interested in a collaboration with a less predictable composer. What would John Cage or Philip Glass have done? Forget that, get the Chronos Quartet involved! Still, it's the only live album they've put out, and if you want to hear something from the vault that was actually respectable, this is what you're stuck with.

I popped in the second Organization disc in a car ride recently - after hunting for and purchasing it through Half.com a while ago. It didn't initially impress me as much as their excellent first disc, but on second listen, there were some gems on this one too. 4/5 of Death Angel, the short-lived Organization was strongest when their music wasn't complicated, and Rob Cavestany was allowed to sing his heart out. Rock on, Bay Area pinoy thrashers. Rock on.

After re-purchasing Slayer's live "Decade of Aggression", their double live album that I'd bought years ago, and then lost in a fit of selling a lot of stuff back after college, I remembered why they were considered at the top of their game in the early nineties. It's a brutal trek through their catalog, the sound is awesome, and for a "can't-deal-with-the-posers-and-the-assholes" kind of day, you just have to play this disk. I don't think any of the other "big four" thrash bands can compare to this live album (and who wants to listen to Dave Mustaine whining live, anyway?).

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Oct 21, 2005

Planet of the Apes

For a while, I've been hating on the activists that think they're more hardcore than the rest of us, but I'm refocusing. There are a lot of brown monkeys out there playing up their race and selling out their communities for a slice of status pie. I'm talking to all the stupid people who aren't content with living an unconscious life in the mainstream. Rather, they front as "faces and voices" of the community. Or better yet "authorities." Anyone who says they are an authority on the community, whatever community, are flat out inauthentic, fake-ass, goddamn liars.

No one speaks for this crazy community. We should be trying to let the community speak for itself. So question when you hear about some of these folks. It's not enough to be happy to see a brown face in a non-traditional space. We need to question people and assure ourselves and those we care about that they aren't just pimping themselves for the next big thing.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the self-promotion, I'm sick of the aspiring, pitiful second generation desis who are so obviously vying for a political seat in the future that it's not funny. I'm sick of a community of young professionals and even progressive folk who are so desperate for a single leader to point to that they're willing to settle - and sell our community down the river to support some of these jokers.

Keep your awards, your subjective trophies that represent your crony friends more than your value, and stick them where the sun don't shine. I'm not casting myself as any better - but just know that I can't stand them. And were I not looking to resolve internal strife and conflict, I'd go postal on them all.

We know who you are. We're watching. And waiting for you to trip yourself up on your own serpentine tail.

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Oct 6, 2005

Tuning out.

As you can clearly tell - it's been a bit of an adjustment with law school and all to actually post up here. I'm hoping that I can put up some more critical thinking once I actually have some to share. Also rethinking the idea of the blog as a whole - I firmly believe that it's only worth the time if it's actually contributing to change of some kind, rather than just a site for navel-gazing or self-therapy, the likes of which are apparently rampant in the blog universe.

I would rather focus on writing something that's thought out than off the cuff, at least at this point. And the cacophony of voices make it more difficult to actually pick out the ones that are worth listening to. That said, I'm enjoying podcasts more and more - may climb even further if I can find an affordable MP3 player that I'm willing to pay for.

Stay tuned. Maybe I'll get inspired by some of my classes.

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