Why do we put up with this Crapple?

Warning: this is going to be a longer rant than usual.

Yesterday, I spent just under 4 hours trying to sort out my daughter’s broken iPhone and achieved precisely nothing. Yes, the Apple Store staff members were all very friendly, but I cannot but think it’s all a farce they’re playing out in order to keep the world’s biggest company (at least from a “stock value” perspective) in their top slot.

Whatever happened to simple customer service and just “doing the right thing?”

I’m old enough to remember when Apple was considered “the little person’s friend” who railed against the men in grey (or, at that time, Big Blue) suits who ran “big, bad corporate America”. These days, it seems to me, that all Apple really achieved was to get the dark suits traded in for west coast casual dress sense, and that’s about all.

It seems that long gone are the days of the concept that “in America the customer is King” that my father opined years ago. These days all anyone wants is to get you to dump your expensive technology and upgrade for yet more money. I can almost hear the metallic voices of the Cybermen barking this whenever I enter an Apple Store: “You will be upgraded!”

So, let me regale you with the story that sparked this rant. Notwithstanding the suspicious way in which my daughters iPhone 5c suddenly died weeks after the warranty expired, we naively drove 30+ miles to our nearest Apple Store to see if any of their geniuses could diagnose and fix it. At 6pm we were efficiently told it would be an hour to 90 minute wait and they would text us when a “technician” would be available. All well and good, thinks I. I won’t bore you with the details but we finally got to see someone at 9:10, just after the store’s official closing time. I am grateful for those staff that stayed on to see those who had been waiting for 3 hours, but I do wonder why they bother.

After explaining that whilst carrying it in the street the phone had dimmed, blanked out and then got so hot we thought it would ignite, the genius looked unconcerned. “Looks like we have a dead phone” was his learned diagnosis after taking out the sim card and peering into the slot with a light. “Can’t see any liquid,” so we assume the battery didn’t melt.

Then the rub. It’s a model they haven’t sold for a few months and as it is (just) over a year old they “can’t replace it.” Strangely though, they could provide me with the same (outdated?) model if I was willing to pay them $269, and generously they’d give me a 90-day warranty. Eh? …pause,,, “or you could consider an upgrade for $369.” Trap laid.

Hmm, not known for parting with money so easily, I head homeward with my disgruntled family, none the wiser for my consultation with the Apple “genius” who didn’t even offer to diagnose it further or repair it.


I guess, despite the high cost of consumer electronics, we now have to expect them to break in a short period and be discarded. My generation and those before us simply throw up our hands in bemusement at the world. Gone are the days when anything lasted, or could be repaired.

Anyhow, back at the ranch I consult the trusty interweb and see that if I undo 4 screws (2 outside and 2 inside) and use a suction cup I could examine, and possibly replace the battery in under 3 minutes for the princely sum of $10 plus shipping ($17 total). Apple couldn’t even be bothered to do this to check if the battery was the problem. Genius.

I have ordered the battery and hope to report my results back in a later post, but to me it was the final nail in the Apple myth.

They have truly become what they initially despised, and we all let them get away with it. Their Orwellian destiny has been fulfilled: we all love (Big Brother) Apple.

Steve Jobs would be proud…



(* PacApple Animation by Georgie)


Home Grown

The old saying, “it’s so nice to go traveling but it’s so much nicer to come home” sprung to mind this morning, as I was wandering the yard after 12 days away. It was great to escape the daily routine, visiting new places and doing different things without thinking too much about the usual domestic chores to keep the house running.

When we returned the grass had grown significantly so my first task was to get out the mower, but before I did so I thought I’d walk around and I was glad I did. The warm, wet weather recently in Pennsylvania, along with the lack of two mowing cycles,  had allowed some great mushrooms to flourish. I love mushrooms, although I don’t know much about them, so I took a few shots and then decided to leave a large area of the yard uncut for a few more days at least so they could finish doing their fungi activities.

Oh, and if anyone can identify any of these beauties I would be grateful.






If we had some ham…

Our new chickens haven’t started laying yet, but when they do we are expecting some pastel colored eggs from the ladies. In the meantime we stumbled across these beauties at a local market.


This also got me to thinking of  a great phrase my father used to say on occasion:

“If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had some eggs.”

It always bemused me, and apparently it is attributed to Groucho Marx but, to be honest it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s funny and about as relevant as all the parables and platitudes that are routinely flung our way, except this one makes me smile.


6 sentence story – Done Fishin’

It had been a hot day, all day long, and the kids had enjoyed playing on the floating dock and catching fish. Now they were tired and had been tucked up in bed with their dreams of the big ones that got away. Tomorrow would be a new adventure, as it always was for the youngsters.

As the old man looked at the forgotten net, lit by the fading sun, he recalled his own childhood adventures. They were a lifetime and a continent away. Yet reassuringly similar.


52 Week Challenge: Week 29

WEEK 29: Landscape: Waterscape – Ocean, lake, river, pond, or puddle. Make water the primary subject of this landscape.

I am still using my recent trip to New England to play catch up with the dogwood 52 week challenge. For this one I popped up to the top of Scargo Tower in Dennis, Massachusetts and stitched 5 images together to get a panorama of Lake Scargo, one of the deepest lakes in Cape Cod.

Legend has it that the lake was created by a Native American princess of the same name in order to keep fish that been given to her by a suitor from another tribe. He gave her the fish in a gourd and said he would return but the water dried up so they needed a new home. In one version the lake is filled with Scargo’s tears and in another she drowns in the lake.

Either way the vaguely fish-shaped lake was blessed to be always well stocked for good fishing, although not being a fisherman I cannot verify this!


Ducking and Weaving – a bit of WWII history made modern

After the end of World War II the allied forces were left with a significant number of pieces of equipment that were, thankfully, no longer needed. This “army surplus” established a system which still exists today, as far as I know, at least in the United Kingdom.

One of the more interesting items available was the DUKW amphibious vehicle (aka “Ducks”) that had been used so successfully in the beach landings in Europe. Several of these were purchased by locals in Hunstanton, Norfolk, where they were perfect for fishing and crabbing activities since this area of East Anglia has an extremely shallow shoreline (and correspondingly dangerous fast incoming tide) which extends for about a mile or so before the water gets deep at low tide.

My understanding is that by the early 1960s some locals were offering trips to tourists to go out on the sands and into the sea in a genuine WWII amphibious truck. These original Ducks were certainly running at least until the 1990s when I went on such a trip, although by then they really were starting to show signs of wear and tear due to their age and the corrosive nature of sea water on their hulls.

Now, fast forward a couple of decades to when we were living in San Francisco and I was quite surprised to see them operating as commercial tours. Over the last several years these vehicles seem to be popping up everywhere that has a coastline or riverfront, and indeed, I have been on them not only in California but also Philadelphia.

We were in Boston recently, and alongside refurbished original DUKWs, there now seem to be newer, and probably safer, custom-designed amphibious vehicles available. The “superduck” is an example, and makes an interesting, if ungainly, sight when seen in the harbor.


Although the links to WWII landing craft will obviously be lost in due time the various Ducks seem to be doing a roaring trade as we move on from this chapter in our history.


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