So I recently bought an Airport Express after agonizing for about 3 months over the best way to handle my now wireless situation at home. I wanted to be able to print without having to cart my computer over to the printer, plug it in, etc etc. That was the essential thing I needed, but bonus wifi frills I was considering were the possibility of shared storage (so I can plug in a hard drive over by the printer and use it to stream crap to devices on the network), or streaming tunes wirelessly. Plus I didn’t want it to cost any money.
Long story short, I got the airport thing, which lets you plug your printer and a set of speakers in. I got that for the same price as a wifi printer and got to keep my sweet trusty Samsung 1710 for a little longer. So I get it at J & R because any time I can buy an Apple product somewhere other than Apple, I do, and I got it home and set it up. Barely a hitch. The thing works, I can print and my speakers have been liberated from the computer. Sweet, yet I still feel empty inside.
And then in the middle of a song, about 5 days later the thing stops working and starts flashing a yellow light at me. Back up a little, I used to work at an Apple Store as a Mac Genius (the repair guys). Forward: I do a ton of troubleshooting and crap and it just won’t work. The thing’s broken. I make an appointment at the apple store (for 5 days later because that shit is booked solid), and stew.
Here’s where I’d like to go on a tirade against Apple’s in store service policy. I won’t, but it sucks. You have to go there and sit and wait. Usually to get turned away with a half-assed solution. I think I prefer hours on the phone with india to hours sitting on artsy wooden benches. At least with india you can call right back if you don’t like the results. With Apple I suppose you have to find a different store and start all over again.
Back to my story. I wait an hour past my appointment time to be seen. I get a seriously by-the-book guy as my genius. He hears my problem, reproduces it, and then tries something that hadn’t occurred to me: he plugged it into the computer directly (with an ethernet cable). What happens? Well it works perfectly, without so much as a hiccup. I had been doing all my configuring wirelessly, and while it had worked perfectly fine at first, I guess I should have assumed that was a fluke. I mean, who would assume you can configure a device meant to run totally wirelessly, wirelessly? What an idiot, right?
Anyway, he returns to me to show the screen with the proof he had set it up all fine and shit, beaming and maybe even a little smug, and I realize I have a choice. I can let him have his moment and just take the piece of shit home (did I mention I threw away the packaging as soon as I got it working? Don’t ever do that, or you could be stuck with something that works in the store but not at your place) and try his dirty trick of plugging the wifi thing in… OR I could insist he do it the way I was supposed to be able to do it and let me see that it worked before I agreed to leave.
I chose b. And if Apple is listening, if I had been served at the time of my appointment, I probably would have accepted the guy’s verdict, and you could have spent the next hour helping 4 other customers. Anyway, we probably spent 50 minutes sitting there, trying to get the thing to stream music and it wouldn’t do it. I made this point: shouldn’t it not be this hard to get it to work? Did yours at home (he told me he had some) take this much futzing? He tried to make the point that apple can’t control for whatever my specific situation at home is… Something I can appreciate, having delivered that line to people myself in the past. Thing was, the store’s airport express shows up fine and dandy, no warning lights in the setup software, unlike mine which continued to flip to yellow at random points.
I would rather not get too detailed about what happened next, but I will say that I got a replacement and I’m not proud of how it had to go down. Noone was happy in the end. So I come home.
On the subway this kid of about 12 is walking around the mostly empty car looking closely at nothing, then i accidentally make eye contact with him so he comes over and sits next to me. And I ignore him. A few stops later some people get on and sit across from us. I notice they are watching the kid next to me and smiling, which I assumed was because he was mumbling to himself. I glanced over and he had a fully loaded swiss army knife completely unfolded, turning it over in his hands, caressing the various blades and screwdrivers and sporks. I switched cars at the next stop and I swear to god he almost followed me. NY is nuts sometimes.
So what happened with the stupid airport express? Well the new one had the same fucking problem, of course. What did I do? I plugged it in to my computer and set it up over ethernet, that’s what. I live in constant shame.