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The Other Guys

The Other Guys
by Gary Woods

The other day, my big beautiful 27" iMac monitor developed a little burn mark in the upper left hand corner. It was about ¾ of an inch long and a ¼ inch wide with a brown mark in the center surrounded by yellow. I did my best to ignore the problem but finally I had to do something. As I do with most things having to do with Apple I ran it by Edwin Togami of the Apple Users Group and he said "if you take it to the Apple Store they'll probably send it out." Then he said "take it down to the Mac Mechanic" on E Gutierrez St across from Smart and Final, "they'll probably work on it there."

The independent Apple Dealer used to be the life's blood of the company but ever since the Apple Stores arrived on the scene Apple seems to want you to work through them for everything. I love the Apple Stores, they look great, the people are knowledgeable and there's always a kind of buzz about them. But lately, I've kind of felt like they're a victim of their own success. These days if I want to buy something I reserve it online for pickup because waiting in line at the stores is just too tedious. A friend of mine bought an iPhone from the Apple Store and even with a reservation it took her 4 hours to finish the process. It kind of reminds me of the old Yogi Berra quote when he said "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."

Well now, getting back to my monitor with the burn mark, I have Apple Care, the extended Warranty so I knew wherever I took it the cost would be covered so I threw a blanket over my baby and put it in the back of the Explorer and trotted down to the Mac Mechanic. I checked it in about 1PM on Monday and Tuesday got a call stating that the monitor was indeed covered but in doing some diagnostics they found that the hard drive was a little iffy. They said the hard drive was also covered but if I wanted them to load on my data it would be $50. That sounded like a reasonable number to me so I signed off. Wednesday afternoon I got a call and went down to pick my computer.

With a whack on the credit card machine for the $50 for the data transfer I was up and running again. I would still definitely recommend that you back up your data before you take your computer anywhere to be worked on. Funny things can happen to your data when somebody is working on your machine. I use Carbon Copy Cloner for backup and it's saved me more than once.

So, here's my recommendation. Next time you're sitting there in line at the Apple Store waiting to try out something or to just pay for something you've already picked out think about wandering down the road to the Mac Mechanic at 216 E Gutierrez St. They've got all the stuff the Apple Store does and you won't have to stand in line to get at it.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc