I am presently without laptop. Overall, it is no big deal, but I keep finding little annoyances here and there. Weekend mornings, I rather enjoy sitting in the La-Z-Boy with a mug of coffee and the laptop, listening to the radio, and checking up on email and web sites. Today, I am at a less than comfortable desk hidden away in the back room. I started using Pine again as a mail client, which is great, but it took me forever to figure out what “my” configuration options were, in order to change it from an “I barely know how to use a command line” email client to one that lets me do the stuff I used to do with it, like mass tagging, deleting, jumping to messages by number, and handling multiple email addresses. I took a really great photo of a child's rusty wagon, lacking wheels, on the side of the road with a big “FREE” sign next to it, but have no way to get it out of the camera because the only thing I have that can read the memory card is the laptop.
So, yes, as many of you know from instant messages, I was stuck for almost two hours at the Genius Bar last night. Their setup was pretty nice–you could go to any demo machine in the store, click on the Genius Bar, then enter all of your information. There are then two giant plasma displays behind the genius bar showing approximate wait times and the next five people about to be helped. The system as a whole is well thought out and offers a lot more interaction and assurance than the simple “take a number” DMV style of help. You also get to sit at the bar and ask people why they are there, what they like/dislike about stuff, and make the obligatory “if this is a bar, where is the alcohol?” jokes. Unfortunately, it was a little short staffed for a Friday night after work.
My name finally got called and I was helped by a guy who seemed like a hybrid of Woz and the movie guy from Ain't It Cool News. He was really helpful and my laptop actually behaved enough to show the backlight issue I was having. My big fear was that because it is intermittent, they would look at it, not find a problem, then send me along my way. Basically, it sounds like they will be opening it up, gutting out everything but the LCD itself, then filling it with a whole new computer. The whole ordeal would have cost something like $1500, but because I got AppleCare two years ago, it ends up being free.
So yeah, I will be good with my smartphone and home server, but with the laptop being my primary machine, I will just have to change around the way I do a few things until it returns.