Monday, November 18, 2002

iPod warranty (and CompUSA extended warranties)

My iPod's performance started degrading over the last month. It was one of the first units made/shipped into the customer channel and, as is typical, it was not as durable as later units, apparently. The headphone jack was cracked, the battery was not holding nearly the charge that it should, and the hard drive was taking longer and longer to spin up (there is a bug in the 1.2.1 iPod software where particularly long songs will have a brief pause about 12-14minutes in while the unit buffers the next hunk o' data -- the pause is normally about 1/4 - 1/2 second... mine was growing to about 5 seconds and beyond).

Fortunately, Apple extended the warranty to a year.

Unfortunately, I went to the Apple Store SoHo on 11/9 -- my warranty started on 11/7.

Fortunately, the guy at the genius bar was extremely kind and Apple replaced my iPod anyway. Thank you, thank you, thank you-- a very happy customer who will sell iPods to anyone I run into.

Unfortunately, the replacement iPod only has a 90 day warranty.

Fortunately, CompUSA has an amazing set of add-on warranties.

However, convincing CompUSA to tack a warranty onto a piece of equipment bought somewhere else can be a challenge. The sales people are often not aware that it can even be done and are not terribly motivated to do so otherwise (likely, a comission issue -- it takes a bunch of time to do and doesn't generate the sales credit of, say, a new iPod).

The key is to ask for an 'after-market TAP modification' for your iPod. Something like that, anyway-- that'll be close enough. Just convince the sales person to get the 'after-market TAP' form. It has a checkbox that is clearly labeled something like 'add-on warranty to device purchased elsehwere'.

When you purchase the extended warranty, you will need a copy of the purchase receipt or-- in the case of a replacement-- a copy of the paperwork that clearly indicates that the device to be warranted is a manufacturers replacement.

It helps if the device is still in its original packaging. In my case, that meant leaving the "don't steal music" plastic wrapping the iPod in place until after I purchased the CompUSA warranty.

In the end, I now have "drop kick quality" warranty coverage for my iPod. What that means is that I could drop kick my iPod, take the pieces into CompUSA and they will replace it. The downside is that a total replacement voids the existing extended warranty. The upside is that they replace the unit with the current equivalent by monetary value. If, in two years time, the $299 iPod is a 20GB unit with video support, that will be what CompUSA replaces my current iPod with, if it needs replacement.

For laptops, the CompUSA warranty covers damage to the LCD. Most other extended warranties-- including AppleCare, the last time I checked-- specifically exclude the LCD.
4:03:27 PM    

Neat trick... there is a default you can write that will cause Mail to spew a bit of debugging information to the Console any time the Junk mail filter is executed against a message:

defaults write LogJunkMailActivity YES

... cause Mail to spew something like this ...

2002-11-18 13:53:47.849 Mail[964] Getting junk mail level for 'Urgent Assistance & Investment'
2002-11-18 13:53:48.071 Mail[964] result: IsJunk, category: Junk, score: 0.61, threshold: 0.60

Die Stupid Nigerian Oil Scam, Die! Seriously-- I don't understand what the score and threshold mean, exactly, but it is an interesting way to sort of get a feel for just how much crap Mail is shielding me from (answer: A LOT! A WHOLE FREAKIN' HELL OF A LOT!).

Speaking of Spam, it struck me that the lobbyist and legislators are missing a critical piece of information in their efforts to enact laws governing unsolicited email. There are really two kinds of spam. The first is the rare kind that is actually perpetuated by legitimate, typically large, businesses into a target market-- this is the kind that it the legislators seem to think they are trying to regulate.

The second type is the nasty one. This is the garbage that ranges from scams to porn to illegal drug sales to pump and dump scams toreligious fundamentalist garbage to that stupid "opt-in" email greeting virus. This is the stuff for which 'opt-out' is merely an 'opt-in' for more crap. From briefly looking at the history of spam passing through my system, I would say that about 99% of it falls into this second category. It is also the category that the legislators should address first as it is much more problematic than the first type of spam.

It is not coincidental that the first kind of spam is easily filtered whereas the second kind routinely slips through...
2:58:17 PM