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Transylvania project
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Transylvania project
Jan 9th, 2009, 5:19pm
 
Past October I had a great honor of collaborating with Sue Ott Rowlands (actress, director, VT CLAHS Dean) and Tibor Varsegi (Hungarian actor and performer) on a theatrical piece involving creative technologies (including hyperinstruments, interactive audio and visuals) and choreography. As the luck would have it, on the second day of my two-week trip to the heart of Romania, or more precisely beautiful Transylvanian region, with a full suitcase of technology my Macbook Pro decided to die on me...
 
Turns out that contrary to Apple's statements, Apple hardware is also susceptible to Nvidia's recall that was announced last summer. Ironically, Apple admitted to the problem only a week after my notebook conveniently died on me with the nearest Apple repair shop being over 10 hours of drive with no guarantee as to their ability to fix the problem and Virginia Tech unable to supply a replacement notebook due to US export laws. So, we had to be resourceful and improvise--I ended up using Sue's laptop and despite all the setbacks we managed to make a solid progress on the piece. We are hoping to complete our work in the spring 2009 on VT campus and premiere the piece as part of the Arts Fusion week that commonly takes place in April. Stay tuned for further info...
 
Back in the States, the Apple saga continued to unravel with Apple releasing a diagnostic software that would supposedly prove that the damage (namely video card going dead due to overheating) was indeed something that should be covered under their warranty. In short, if you could run the diagnostic software and generate some kind of a code, the notebook would be repaired at Apple's expense. Otherwise, with all parts soldered onto the motherboard, this would've been easily a $1,000 expense.
 
I know, I know, at this point one would wonder why have I purchased an Apple product without an extended warranty? Answer is actually rather simple--this is a barely year old VT computer that was purchased through university with no extended warranty and with me having no say in it. So, I took my notebook to the nearest authorized Apple repair shop and after a week of going back and forth, it turns out that the repair specialists were unable to install Apple's 1.5GB (!) diagnostic tool because it was constantly crashing. The repair shop created a support ticket with Apple team to investigate this problem but got no help in return (apart from the dubious advice to keep re-downloading the bloated tool). So, here I was with a laptop I was sure had a dead video card (Come on, does one have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out? A notebook with no physical damage/blemishes has no display on internal or external screen, yet the it boots fine--I can even hear the start-up and login sounds... Who needs a 1.5GB diagnostic tool to figure this one out?) yet which I could not get repaired until we could run the diagnostic test that constantly crashed making it impossible to install (a test that proved consistent across several machines in the shop). Hoping to attribute this to incompetence, I took my notebook to another repair shop and pretty soon was stuck in the same loop. Once again, repair specialists were unable to install Apple's diagnostic tool...
 
After a month of going back and forth I finally took matters into my own hands and started pursuing highest levels of Apple management accessible to me. Long story short, apparently I got lucky and stumbled across a manager who had some common sense. Since no one else could run their fancy diagnostic tools, why didn't they take the notebook to their repair center and ran the diagnostics themselves? After all, it was their diagnostic tool that no one else was able to install... Thank goodness the guy listened and less than a week later I finally had the notebook back in my hands.
 
I guess the moral of the story is if you are heading on a trip where no immediate repair centers will be easily accessible, do the easy thing--bring along two laptops. Wink
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