Two Words: Buy AppleCare

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About six years ago, before there was such a thing as a "Geek Squad", I had an extended warranty on an HP computer I bought at a big box retailer. The sound card started failing so I turned it in. It took me three months and the exhaustion of my entire collection of colorful epitaphs to get it back and and it was still broken. I finally fixed it myself and swore never to buy another extended warranty in my lifetime.

Well times change and if you have a lick of common sense, you eventually find yourself replacing your PC with a new Mac and (if you are like me) you probably get intoxicated by all the Apple Store karma and go ahead and purchase AppleCare despite the fact a not so small part of you is screaming "No, No, No ... for the love of Pete No!"

Well fast forward to the last few months and Apple was finally presented with an opportunity to prove the value of AppleCare or validate my more cynical side. I've been dealing with a recurring problem with my USB port on my MacBook Pro. It just seems to have a mind of its own and with increasing frequency has been kicking off printers and USB drives. Most notably it garbles up recorded audio which can be extremely frustrating. As a result, it has been in and out of the Apple store several times.

During this period the Apple Genius gang has replaced the logic board (twice) the i/o board as well as a few other parts. I think they even put in fresh cheese for that little mouse on the wheel. To rule out software being the cause, I even did a complete rebuild of the hard drive.

Despite all these valiant efforts, the USB port still keeps on failing. This morning the Irvine Store Genius crew officially declared it a lost cause. For the first time in many years, I felt bad about the death of my computer. With my PCs it usually felt like a relief when the computer finally died. Almost like it had been put out of its misery and was now in a better place where there were no such things as autoexec.bat files and viruses. With my MacBook Pro, I felt like Elliott as they were wheeling in the crash cart on E.T. and declaring him dead. That MacBook Pro represented my return to the fold. It marked the end of my PC purgatory.

Of course, on the other hand this means AppleCare is springing to give me a new MacBook Pro. The new machine is faster than the old machine in just about every way. I went ahead and paid for an upgraded screen and processor, (the LED on the MacBook Air has spoiled me forever) so it will be a week until I have the new machine. It is a good thing I seem to have the setup process figured out.

Getting to the point of this post (there is a point) I must say that AppleCare is a "must buy." The Apple folks really tried hard to fix my machine and you could tell how frustrated they were that their fixes were not sticking. You hear so many bad stories about computer tech guys. I found the complete opposite to be true at the Irvine Apple Store. Those guys were working hard on the problem and calling me regularly with status updates. They understood how much I rely on my computer and acted accordingly. You really couldn't ask for better customer service.