Dear Steve Jobs, please fix my Mom’s iMac

A few years ago we bought my mom an iMac G5 for her 60th birthday. She’s loved having it, but a few months ago it started ‘acting funny.’ Matt and I theorized that it was related to the capacitor problem that had plagued this generation of iMacs, and when it finally overheated and died, we suggested she take it to the Apple store, thinking that Apple would repair it for free, honoring the recall/repair program that was extended on these models.

Sadly, that didn’t happen, the Apple “Genius” claimed he had never heard of any problems and told her that it would cost $1100 to fix, so she bought a new one instead. After thinking about it a little more though it seems like the “Genius” was taking advantage of her, and I think acted unethically.

Once it was back from the Apple Store and declared dead, Matt opened the iMac to try to fix it himself. He discovered that the capacitors were indeed bad, and he called Apple and asked them to fix it – they told him that they would have, but now that it’s open, it’s too late. This is crazy, since the Apple store clearly would’ve seen the bad capacitors when they opened it themselves to come up with that $1100 estimate – so either they didn’t do an actual eval (like they were supposed to) or they were actively trying to take advantage of my mom. Either way, I think they owe her an apology and a repaired computer. Here is her letter to Steve.

Dear Mr. Jobs,

I am glad to hear that you are feeling better. I hope you could help me with a problem that I am having.

I am a retired public school teacher who first learned to love Apple computers in my role as an art teacher in the Newton Public Schools, Newton, MA.  In fact I became something of a guru developing clip art files of child artwork in the Appleworks Libraries —presenting workshops around the state.  I am a big fan of Apple computers and products.     Recently, however, I have had a most frustrating and upsetting experience.   I think you personally need to know about the situation and how it was handled.

Three years ago I was given a new iMAC g5 as a 60th birthday present.   I use my computer daily but not for very heavy use.  In May the screen suddenly started to look like it was weaving a plaid.   The problem went from bad to worse.  When I made an appointment at the Genius Bar at the Chestnut Hill, MA,  Apple Store,  I was told that the logic board would need to be replaced and that it would cost about $1100 to repair.  I mentioned that I had read on line of similar problems in that generation of iMACs and was told that they had never heard such a thing.  It seemed very atypical to me that a 3 year old iMAC would develop such severe problems.

Reluctantly I bought a new iMAC.  My son in law asked if he could see if he could fix my old one.  When he made many phone calls and did some internet research, he was told that the warranty on that generation of machines had been extended because of issues with bad capacitors but that they would not honor the warranty because the machine had been opened!  The Apple Store “genius” told me no such thing —just that I should buy a new computer.   My son in law had found this article about the problem http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20090314071508354

You can understand both my frustration and my lack of confidence in a company that previously had earned a great deal of support and enthusiasm.  I think that Apple should honor the repair program since the machine was only opened after the Apple geniuses gave me what seems to be false information. Please help me get my computer repaired or replaced.

Yours truly,

Arlene Bandes

Patsy’s new cousin

Patsy has a brand new cousin – this little guy is just three days old. We went to visit him tonight, he was mostly asleep and his parents and grandma were pretty exhausted, but his big sister was full of energy, and seemed to be adjusting just fine to having a new baby in the house.

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Horse photos

My sister Anne has always loved horses, and never gave up on her childhood “I want a pony” dreams. A few years ago she was finally able to make those dreams come true by buying her very own horse. This year her husband Matt asked me to help him make her a really special gift, so we went out to her barn (in secret, no less) to make some horse portraits for her. We gave her the prints on Monday as a Chanukah present, and here’s a few more in digital form for public consumption :) 

Happy Chanukah Annie!

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My old friend, if you’re out there…

A long time ago I had a friend – she was beautiful, strong and brilliant. She was a painter with a promising career ahead of her – adept at schmoozing galleries and all the right people (a skill I never learned.) She was an amazing person and a wonderful friend – my best friend at the time. But an abusive and manipulative man took control of her life years ago, and they disappeared from our lives despite the best efforts of friends and family. I’ve been mourning the loss ever since.

I’ve recently learned that she’s ok and perhaps even reading this blog lately. If you’re there, my dear old friend, please know that you are loved and missed and that there are people out here looking forward to the day that you are free to be yourself again.

Why I was at the Family Resource Center (and a plea for your help)

Nicole and I spent the day in family court today. Her deadbeat ex-husband is trying his best to prevent us from moving to Cambridge, and filed a nuisance motion to prevent her from leaving Natick at all. The good news is that the court saw through his pathetic attempt to break up our family and has given its blessing to our planned move. The bad news is that we now need to prove to the court that the Cambridge schools would be a better environment for Emma.

Emma’s had a tough life so far – on top of having to contend with a very difficult home life (Nicole and Emma’s biological father share custody) she has medical special needs which means she needs full-time nursing care. Poor Emma is very badly served in Natick – both Nicole and Emma’s biological father have absurdly long commutes, which limit Emma’s family time, and because her nurses are not allowed to drive her anywhere, the poor kid is pretty much trapped at home after school. We want her in a community with parks, programs, and walking-distance services – we know Cambridge is the right place for our family, and we know that with love on our side we will prevail, but any help or good wishes you could send our way would be greatly appreciated.

We have been doing a lot of research, and we’ve heard from numerous experts that Cambridge’s special-needs programs are as good as they get, where we know from firsthand experience that Natick’s are sorely lacking.We’ve been having trouble tracking down hard numbers though, and we would really appreciate any of your stories or help – do you know special-needs kids in Cambridge? Do you know where we could find statistics about the system (we know where to find test scores, but we want data about the special needs programs specifically.) Please contact me through the comments, or in email if you can help in any way. And please keep a good thought in your heart for our family. Thank you!