Wednesday, February 18, 2015


NOTE: We can't always be on the road so this occasional series of posts presents stories of a more general nature, things that happen to us while at home.  Hope you enjoy them...

There's not a lot my son can do. He can't play sports the way he'd like to; play a musical instrument; move out on his get the picture...but there are some things he can. These he develops a passion for such as movies, gaining knowledge on sports, travel, etc.

One thing Tim loves is his music. Hopefully, I've inspired it, but he has great and evolving taste in music. For Christmas or birthday presents, he only has one request. iTune cards.  Along with his noise cancelling headphones, it's a great convenience for those hours long drives or flights to help him pass the time easily.

Tim loves his iPod and he has the largest capacity one ever made at 160GB.  He loves to boast that he's up to whatever this weeks number of songs the you can imagine his dismay not too long ago when his beloved iPod would no longer sync with iTunes on his computer or anybody else's.

Not only that, but when he logged onto iTunes, his account was empty.  A blank slate.  Easy you say, just sync the iPod with iTunes and problem solved but iTunes would not recognize the device. The backup and sync icons were grayed out.

A little backstory will come in handy here. One day, a few months ago, Chrome...the Google browser that Tim prefers to use...would no longer work on his laptop. Nothing that anyone at Google or the many offering advice on the Internet could suggest would work.

The last resort was reinstalling Windows 7. The update only install didn't work so we backed up his data and did a complete reinstall.

That fixed the Chrome problem. Unfortunately, now we had the iTunes problem.  Again, nothing we could find would fix it except I was finally able to get our desktop to recognize it and sync the songs on the iPod into iTunes but Tim still could not sync newly bought music back down to the device.

While resetting the device (wiping it clean and starting over, basically) would be the option, the empty iTunes window on Tim's laptop had me scared from trying this option. I didn't want to be on the hook should my son lose thousands of dollars of music, so a trip to the Apple Store and the Genius Bar were in order.

I booked a reservation online at the store in Rancho Cucamonga, a 28 mile drive away. It's only 12 miles to our closest store in Pasadena but we'd have problems parking and it's not free either. An extra 15 minutes would be a small price to pay not to have to deal with the crowded conditions in Pasadena.

We made a day of it. Tim got dropped off to see an early matinee of 'Whiplash' in Claremont. Letty and I had a snack for breakfast and did some clothes shopping. Our plan was to meet up again after the movie, have a quick lunch, then head to our appointment.

The Apple Store is located in Victoria Gardens, a giant outdoor mall that is so big it has several streets within to drive your car around.  It also has two streets called Main Street (north and south) and, of course, we picked the wrong one to park on. By the time we found the store, we'd whittled down our lunch time to 30 minutes.

The plan was revised to go to the store and see if maybe we could check in early.  No dice.  We are told to come back 10 minutes ahead of our appointment and check in.

The Apple Store site said our visit with the genius should only take 15 minutes so we decided to put lunch off until after our visit.

Coming back at the appointed time and checking in, we're told to wait at a nearby table to be called for the genius. Ten minutes later our name is called and, seeing Tim in the wheelchair, we're told to wait where we are and the genius will come out to us.
I set up Tim's laptop and iPod so we can get right to work.

25 minutes later, we're still waiting for the genius.  When we ask, we're told we're next on the list.  What was going on when they called our name to go up to the bar? Who knows, we're never told.

The same guy that told us to wait at the table for the genius now comes and tells us to head to the bar. What happened to the genius coming out to us? We're told they could help us at the bar better.

I break down our setup,head to the end of the bar (where a foldout platform is deployed for wheelchairs) and set it up again. We tell the genius the problem. She doesn't want to hear it, at least from us. She wants to hear it from Tim.

"It won't sync," he says.

"What are the symptoms?" she asks.

"It won't sync."

See, the problem is that Tim relies on his in-home IT specialist (me) to diagnose the technical problems. He can't really describe whats happening because he didn't deal with it.

Finally, I tell her she needs to listen to me because I'm the only one who can describe what's been going on.

OK, it needs a full reset. I make sure to ask that Tim will not lose any of his purchases.  No, he won't but anything he's copied from a CD (about a thousand songs) will be deleted.


Reset commences, genius disappears ("I'll be right back."), and the synching begins.  About 10 minutes later, it appears the sync is complete but we want to make sure the genius looks it over and gives her OK but she's nowhere to be found. Out of the 25 or so employees just standing around the sales floor, she isn't one of them. Eventually, we ask what happened to our genius and someone goes to look for her.

She was out back smoking a cigarette. Finally, she give her OK and our hour and a half at the Genius Bar is over.  What an ordeal.

Stomachs rumbling, we finally head over to a nearby Fuddruckers to have a giant hamburger to quell our hunger.

Remind me why it is everybody is so crazy over Apple products again...

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
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