Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another November

 The days are getting shorter, we are staying in our cozy home more often. I've had to do battle with my iMac; after it took more and more time to execute programs and commands. In the end, it took almost twenty minutes to boot up. After reading up on possible causes, erasing and reformatting the hard drive, and not making any progress, I finally fund out that this was an issue of the hard drive "deteriorating", and that Apple had acknowledged this was a "recall" issue. Apparently they have a program to replace the drive at no charge (my iMac was purchased two years ago).

So, I took the computer to the Metrotown Apple store. The service technician proceeded with a hardware testing program, which confirmed the drive problem. A work slip showing a "no charge" procedure was issued. I left the computer at the store, and was told it would ready in one or two days.

Imagine my disgust when I got a phone call a little while later informing me that the drive would not be replaced at no cost - it would cost about $280.- The reason was apparently that the hard drive was a Western Digital make instead of a Seagate model. I told the person phoning me that the hard drive was the original drive, and that this (what I thought of as a 'bait-and-switch") message left a bad taste about Apple in my mind. Since the computer was essentially useless, I reluctantly agreed to pay.

About half an hour later, I got another call from Apple - they would replace the drive under the recall procedure after all. So, I say that Apple "put the customer first" - and they deserve credit for that. It also restored my faith in the company - I'm going to be buying another portable computer soon - and Apple will be in the running.

Another notable event for us was a presentation by Dr. Sara Seager, Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT. Dr. Seager is a Canadian, and one of the world's leading researchers in the theory, detection, and characterization of exoplanets. She talked about her work on Exoplanets and the Search for Habitable Worlds and how close we may be to detect possible evidence of some sort of life on an earthlike planet circling another star. There were about 300 people in attendance, ranging from young to not-so-young. Many questions were asked, especially by the young folks; Dr. Seager obviously discussed the subject at the appropriate level. My wife is only peripherally interested in Astronomy, but she said that she learned quite a bit about this subject and liked the presentation a lot. 

The event was sponsored by Simon Fraser University and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (of which I am a life member), and took place at SFU's Goldcorp Centre in the newly redesigned Woodward Building downtown. 

November is ending, Christmas is around the corner, and the young ones in our family are looking forward to it. This year seems to have gone in a flash.