Thursday, March 18, 2010

TekServ nyc rocks!

Warning... here is the spoiler:

Thank you TekServ! Thank you for being fair. Thank you for being honest. 

Here is the long winded version:

It had all the makings of a bad day. Get on the train for a 2 1/2 hour commute from Albany to Manhattan. A few minutes into the ride take out my trusty MacBook Pro. No hard drive found. Won't boot. No warnings. No clicking. No slow painful death. Just no hard drive. Had a Snow Leopard dvd in my bag. Boot up. Go to utilities. No Hard drive. Damn. 

First I backed up. Yes. I'm good there. Not a perfect Time capsule type approach... but more of a developer in the cloud approach... After the last drive crash a few years ago everything I do now is hybrid work local, synch with the cloud... between DropBox account, Github, and IMAP mail, I'm almost plug and play anywhere and everywhere.

Second thought... what is my plan of attack to get it fixed and be able to actually make some money writing software today? Is that possible? Should I get off the train at the next stop, head back home, or continue. I choose continue on and see if I could at least salvage part of the day.

So, take out my phone and look for Apple repair in the city. OK, Apple store on 14th street. Get off the train, stop quick at the office, then hale a cab. As is the case in most Apple stores, I'm quickly greeted and welcomed. I made a Genius appointment open arriving, but it wasn't until 1:30pm, and it was currently 10am. Actually not bad in the realm of things... but my goal was to see if I could actually get some work in before the day was done. As I was talking with one of the associates about trying to see if I can get bumped up if somebody doesn't show, etc. He suggested that I might want to try TekServ,  a few blocks up on 23rd street. He said that they do a pretty good job with walk-in's. I took his advice.

What a cool store! Not in the ultra modern glass white, clean, uncluttered Apple store cool...but more of friendly sci-fi hackers garage cool! 

They were very geared towards handling walk-in slobs like myself. It sure must get tiresome on the other end of people like me walking in expecting the world to stop to help with my problem, now, today. But, they never made me feel like I was that common every day guy with a problem. I walked in and was promptly greeted before making it fully into the store: ~"Hi, how can I help you?" "My MacBook needs some help today so I can get back to making money" "Ok. Here is a ticket" And he pushes down on an old fashion mechanical device, and punches out a ticket for me. Number 28. "Just head back to where it says "MacBook Pro" and your number will be called shortly. "Ok. Cool. Thanks"

I head back to the waiting area, and look up at the ticket screens. A couple of classic circa 1984 Macintosh computers hung over the work area. Simply displaying the next ticket number for service. Cool! OK, number 24, I have 28. That doesn't seem too bad but you never know. I look around the cool store for a bit, then have a seat and look up at 26. Not bad. It was about 1/2 hour when my number was called. 

I explained my situation to a very friendly technician. "Dude, I know that you must hear this all day... but I really don't think my hard drive has crashed." "I know that is the easy answer. The expected answer" "But I'm not saying it because I don't want it to be, but because I really don't think it is." He then asked, well what's happening. It was tough to to tell him about the system folder with the question mark, and not expect him to think I was nuts about not thinking that the hard drive crashed. But he listened. He booted off a network drive. We didn't see the hard drive. "As bad as that seems, I really don't think it crashed... its just gone." I say unconvincingly. 

We decided to plan for the worse and be prepared to put a new hard drive in. Unfortunately, despite being under warranty, I couldn't allow for the usual swap the hard drive and send my dead one back to Apple. While I go out of my way to prevent sensitive data from ever getting on to my laptop, I also don't ever want to be asked by a past client, if a hard drive that I ever used while working for them went somewhere without me physically taking part in the destruction of said drive. Call me super paranoid... but I think I owe that to all my clients... and some actually demand it. So, I picked out and purchased a new drive to be installed in case they open it up and find it really does need a new one... and I forgo the warranty.  

I went and grabbed lunch and a coffee. At 1:30 (when my original appointment at the Apple store was only scheduled to start), I got a call from a technician from TekServ. She informed me that she had some good news for me. Somehow the flex cable came loose on the board end, and after securing it, things appeared to be booting up fine! Completely under warranty. Completely fixed without a hard drive replacement. Unless I still wanted to have the new drive installed they would reverse the charge on my card.

This kind of service just doesn't happen often enough in today's world. It would have been so easy for them to put in the drive, which I already paid for, tighten all the cables when it still didn't boot, and I would have never been the wiser. 

Thank you TekServ! Thank you for being fair. Thank you for being honest. 

What started as a painful day, ended as a pleasant reminder that there are good folks doing good business, and that feels good.


  1. I still can't beleive you are an apple man now. So much for the days of the "genius bar". LOL

  2. Ha! Yes, things have come a long way since my first experiences with the geniuses! For me, when the transition occurred, it was more about finding a rock solid unix/linux laptop. After using various combinations of hardware with Linux and Open Solaris as my primary environment for a few years, I then tried a piece of fruit and haven't turned back!