Ray Bradbury Has Died
"A fool,' I said. "That's what I am.'
"Why?' asked my wife. "What for?'
I brooded by our third-floor hotel window. On the Dublin street below a man passed, his face to the lamplight. "Him,' I muttered. "Two days ago----'
Two days ago as I was walking along, someone had "hissed' me from the hotel alley. "Sir, it's important! Sir!'
I turned into the shadow. This little man in the direct tones said, "I've a job in Belfast if I just had a pound for the train fare!'
"A most important job!' he went on swiftly. "Pays well! I'll--I'll mail you back the loan! Just give me your name and hotel----'
He knew me for a tourist. But it was too late; his promise to pay had moved me. The pound note crackled in my hand, being worked free from several others.
The man's eye skimmed like a shadowing hawk. "If I had two pounds, I could eat on the way----'
I uncrumpled two bills.
"And three pounds would bring the wife----'
I unleafed a third.
"Ah, hell!' cried the man. "Five, just five poor pounds, would find us a hotel in that brutal city and let me get to the job, for sure!'
What a dancing fighter he was, light on his toes, weaving, tapping with his hands, flicking with his eyes, smiling with his mouth, jabbing with his tongue.
"Lord thank you, bless you, sir!'
He ran, my five pounds with him. I was half in the hotel before I realized that, for all his vows, he had not recoreded my name. "Gah!' I cried then.
"Gah!' I cried now at the window. For there, passing below, was the very fellow who should have been in Belfast two nights ago.
"Oh, I know him,' said my wife. "He stopped me this noon. Wanted train fare to Galway.'
"Did you give it to him?'
"No,' said my wife simply.
Then the worst thing happened. The demon glanced up, saw us and darned if he didn't wave!
I had to stop myself from waving back. A sickly grin played on my lips. "It's got so I hate to leave the hotel,' I said.
"It's cold out, all right.'
"No,' I said. "Not the cold. Them.'
And we looked again from the window. There was the cobbled Dublin street with the night wind blowing in a fine soot along one way to Trinity College, another to St. Stephen's Green. Across by the sweet shop two men stood mummified in the shadows. Farther up in a doorway was a bundle of old newspapers that would stir like a pack of mice and wish you the time of evening if you walked by. Below, by the hotel entrance, stood a feverish hothouse rose of a woman with a bundle.
"Oh, the beggars,' said my wife.
"No, not just "oh, the beggars,'' I said. "But, oh, the people in the streets, who somehow became beggars.'
My wife peered at me. "You're not afraid of them?'
"Yes, no. Hell. It's that woman with the bundle who's worst. She's a force of nature, she is. Assaults you with her poverty. As for the others-- well, it's a big chess game for me now. We've been in Dublin--what?--eight weeks? Eight weeks I've sat up here with my typewriter, and studied their off hours and on. When they take a coffee break, I take one, run for the sweet shop, the bookstore, the Olympia Theatre. If I time it right, there's no handout, no my wanting to trot them into the barbershop or the kitchen.'
"Lord,' said my wife, "you sound driven.'
"I am. But most of all by that beggar on O'Connell Bridge!'
"Which one, indeed! He's a wonder, a terror. I hate him, I love him. To see is to disbelieve him. Come on.'
On the way down in the elevator my wife said, "If you held your face right, the beggars wouldn't bother you.'
"My face,' I explained patiently, "is my face. It's from Apple Dumpling, Wisconsin, Sarsaparilla, Maine. KIND TO DOGS is writ on my brow for all to read. Let the street be empty-- then let me step out and there's a strikers' march of freeloaders leaping out of manholes for miles around.'
"If,' my wife went on, "you could just learn to look over, around or through those people, state them down.' She mused, "Shall I show you how to handle them?'
"All right, show me! We're here!'
We advanced through the Royal Hibernian Hotel lobby to squint out at the sooty night. "Good Lord, come and get me,' I murmured. "There they are, their heads up, their eyes on fire.'
"Meet me down by the bookstore in two minutes,' said my wife. "Watch.'
"Wait!' I cried.
But she was out the door and down the steps. I watched, nose pressed to the glass pane. The beggars leaned toward my wife. Their eyes glowed.
My wife looked calmly at them all for a long moment. The beggars hesitated, creaking, I was sure, in their shoes. Then their mouths collapsed. Their eyes snuffed out. Their heads sank down.
With a tat-tat like a small drum, my wife's shoes went briskly away, fading.
From below in the buttery I heard music and laughter. I'll run down, I thought, and slug me a quick one. Then, bravery resurgent----No, I thought, and I swung the door wide. The effect was much as if someone had struck a great Mongolian steel gong, once.
I thought I heard a tremendous insuck of breath. Then I heard hobnailed shoes flinting the cobbles in sparks. The man came running. I saw hands waving; mouths opened on smiles like old pianos.
Far down the street at the book shop my wife waited, her back turned. But that third eye in the back of her head must have caught the scene: Columbus greeted by Indians; Saint Francis amid his squirrel friends with a handful of crumbs.
I was not half down the steps when the woman charged up, thrusting the unwrapped bundle at me.
"Ah, see the poor child!' she wailed.
I stared at the baby. The baby stared back. God in heaven, did or did not the shrewd thing wink at me? I've gone mad, I thought; the babe's eyes are shut. She's filled it with beer to keep it warm and on display.
My hand, my coins, blurred among them.
"The child thanks you, sir!'
"Ah, sure. There's only a few of us left!'
I broke through them and beyond, running. My wife, without turning, saw my reflection in the book-shop window and nodded.
I stood getting my breath and brooded at my own image: the summer eyes, the ebullient and defenseless mouth. "All right, say it,' I signed. "It's the way I hold my face.'
"I love the way you hold your face.' She took my arm. "I wish I could do it too.'
I looked back as one of the beggars strolled off in the blowing dark with my shillings.
""There's only a few of us left.'' I said aloud. "What did he mean, saying that?'
""There's only a few of us left.'' My wife stared into the shadows. "Is that what he said?'
"It's something to think about. A few of what? Left where?' The street was empty now. It was starting to rain. "Well,' I said at last. "Let me show you the even bigger mystery, the man who provokes me to strange wild rages, then calms me to delight. Solve him and you solve all the beggars that ever were.'
"On O'Connell Bridge?' asked my wife.
"On O'Connell Bridge,' I said.
And we walked on down in the gently misting rain.
Halfway to the bridge, as we were examining some fine Irish crystal in a window, a woman with a shawl over her head plucked at my elbow.
"Destroyed!' the woman sobbed. "My poor sister. Cancer, the doctor said; her dead in a month! And me with mouths to feed! Ah, if you had just a penny!'
I felt my wife's arm tighten to mine. I looked at the woman, split as always, one half saying: A penny is all she asks! The other half doubting: Clever woman, she knows that by underasking you'll overpay! I hated myself for the battle of halves.
I gasped. "You're----'
"I'm what, sir?'
Why, I thought, you're the woman who was just by the hotel with the baby!
"I'm sick!' She drew back in shadow. "Sick with crying for the half-dead!'
You've stashed the baby somewhere, I thought, and put on a green instead of a gray shawl and run the long way around to head us off here----
My wife cut across my thoughts. "Beg pardon, but aren't you the same woman we just met at our hotel?'
The woman and I were both shocked at this rank insubordination. It wasn't done!
The woman's face crumpled. I peered close. And yes, it was a different face. I could not but admire her. She knew, sensed, had learned-- that by thrusting, yelling, all fiery-lipped arrogance one moment you are one character; and by sinking, giving way, crumpling the mouth and eyes in pitiful collapse, you are another. The same woman, yes; but the same face and role? Quite obviously no.
She gave me a last blow beneath the belt. "Cancer.'
I flinched. It was a brief tussle then, a kind of disengagement from one woman and an engagement with the other. The wife lost my arm, and the woman found my cash. As if she were on roller skates, she whisked around the corner and sobbed.
"Lord----' In awe I watched her go. "She's studied Stanislavsky. In one book he says that squinting one eye and twitching one lip to the side will disguise you. I wonder if she's nerve enough to be at the hotel later.'
"I wonder,' said my wife, "when my husband will stop admiring and start criticizing such acting as that?'
"But what if it were true? Everything she said? And she's lived with it so long, she can't cry any more, and so has to playact in order to survive? What if?'
"It can't be true,' said my wife slowly. "I just won't believe it. Now, here's where we turn for O'Connell Bridge, isn't it?'
That corner was probably empty in the falling rain for a long time after we were gone.
There stood the gray-stone bridge bearing the great O'Connell's name, and there the River Liffey rolling cold, gray waters under, and even from a block off I heard faint singing. My mind spun back to December.
"They have their self-respect,' I said, walking with my wife, "I'm glad this first man here strums a guitar, the next one a fiddle. And there now--in the very center of the bridge!'
"The man we're looking for?'
"That's him. Squeezing the concertina. It's all right to look. Or I think it is.'
"What do you mean, you think it is? He's blind, isn't he?'
These raw words shocked me, as if my wife had said somethink indecent. "That's the trouble,' I said at last. "I don't know.'
And we both in passing looked at the man standing there in the very middle of O'Connell Bridge.
He was a man of no great height, a bandy statue swiped from some country garden perhaps, and his clothes like the clothes of most in Ireland too often laundered by the weather, and his hair too often grayed by the smoking air, and his cheeks sooted with beard, and a nest or two of witless hair in each cupped ear, and the blushing cheeks of a man who has stood too long in the cold and drunk too much in the pub so as to stand too long in the cold again. Dark glasses covered his eyes and there was no telling what lay behind. I had begun to wonder, weeks back, if his sight prowled me along, damning my guilty speed, or if only his ears caught the passing of a harried conscience. There was that awful itch to seize in passing the glasses from his nose. But I feared the abyss I might find, into which my senses in one terrible roar might tumble. Best not to know if civet's orb or interstellar space gaped behind the smoked panes.
But even more, there was a special reason I could not let the man be.
In the rain and wind and snow for two solid months I had seen him standing with no cap or hat on his head. He was the only man in all Dublin I saw in the downpours and drizzles who stood by the hour alone with the drench mizzling his ears, threading his ash-red hair, plastering it over his skull, rivuleting his eyebrows and purling over his glasses. Down through the cracks of his cheeks, the lines about his mouth and off his chin the weather ran. His sharp chin shot the drizzle in a steady fauceting into the air, down his tweed scarf and locomotive-colored coat.
"Why doesn't he wear a hat?' I said suddenly.
"Why,' said my wife, "maybe he hasn't got one.'
"He must have one,' I said.
"Keep your voice down.'
"He's got to have one,' I said, more quietly.
"Maybe he can't afford one. Maybe he has bills to pay, someone sick.'
"But to stand out for weeks, months in the rain and not so much as flinch, ignoring the rain--it's beyond understanding.' I shook my head. "I can only think it's a trick. That must be it. Like the others, this is his way of getting sympathy, of making you cold and miserable as himself, so you'll give him more.'
"I bet you're sorry you said that already,' said my wife.
"I am. I am.' For even under my cap the rain was running off my nose. "Sweet God in heaven, what's the answer?'
"Why don't you ask him?'
"No.' I was even more afraid of that.
Then the last thing happened, the thing that went with his standing bareheaded in the cold rain. For a moment, while we had been talking at some distance, he had been silent. Now, he gave his concertina a great mash. From the folding, unfolding, snakelike box he squeezed a series of asthmatic notes, which were no preparation for what followed.
He opened his mouth. He sang. The sweet, clear, baritone voice that rang over O'Connell Bridge, steady and sure, was beautifully shaped and controlled, not a quaver, not a flaw anywhere in it. The man just opened his mouth. He did not sing so much as let his soul free.
"Oh,' said my wife, "how lovely.'
"Lovely.' I nodded.
We listened while he sang the full irony of "Dublin's Fair City' (where it rains 12 inches a month the winter through), followed by the white-wine clarity of "Kathleen Mavourneen, Macushlo,' and all the other tired lads, lasses, lakes, hills, past glories, present miseries--but all somehow revived and moving about, young and freshly painted in the light spring and suddenly not-winter rain.
"Why,' said my wife, "he could be on the stage.'
"Maybe he was once.'
"Oh, he's too good to be standing here.'
"I've thought that--often.'
My wife fumbled with her purse. I looked from her to the singing man, the rain falling on his bare head, streaming through his shellacked hair, trembling on his ear lobes. My wife had her purse open.
And then the strange perversity. Before my wife could move toward him, I took her elbow and led her down the other side of the bridge. She pulled back for a moment and gave me a look, then came along.
As we went away along the banks of the Liffey he started a new song, one we had heard often in Ireland. Glancing back I saw him, head proud, black glasses taking the pour, mouth open and the fine voice clear:
I'll be glad when you're dead in your grave, old man,
Be glad when you're dead in your grave, old man.
Be glad when you're dead,
Flowers over your head,
And then I'll marry the journeyman . . ..
It is only later, looking back, that you see that while you were doing all the other things in your life, working on an article concerning one part of Ireland in your rain-battered hotel, taking your wife to dinner, wandering in the museums, you also had an eye beyond to the street and those who served themselves, who only stood to wait.
The beggars of Dublin--who bothers to wonder on them, look, see, know, understand? Yet the outer shell of the eye sees and the inner shell of the mind records, and you, caught between, ignore the rare service these two halves of a bright sense are up to.
So I did and did not concern myself with beggars. So I did run from them or walk to meet them, by turn. So I heard but did not hear, considered but did not consider: "There's only a few of us left!'
One day I was sure the man taking his daily shower on O'Connell Bridge while he sang was not blind. And the next, his head to me was a cup of darkness.
One afternoon I found myself lingering before a tweed shop near O'Connell Bridge and staring in at a stack of good, thick, burly caps. I did not need another cap, yet in I went to pay out money for a fine, warm, brown-colored cap I turned round and round in my hands, in a strange trance.
"Sir,' said the clerk. "That cap is a seven. I would guess your head, sir, at a seven and one half.'
"This will fit me. This will fit me.' I stuffed the cap in my pocket.
"Let me get you a sack, sir----'
"No!' Hot-cheeked, suddenly suspicious of what I was up to, I fled.
There was the bridge in the soft rain. All I need do now was walk over----
In the middle of the bridge, my singing man was not there. In his place stood an old man and woman cranking a great piano-box hurdy-gurdy that ratcheted and coughted, giving forth no melody but a grand and melancholy sort of iron indigestion.
I waited for the tune, if tune it was, to finish. I kneaded the new tweed cap in my sweaty fist while the hurdygurdy prickled, spanged and thumped.
"Be damned to ya!' the old man and woman, furious with their job, seemed to say, their eyes red-hot in the rain. "Pay us! Listen! But we'll give you no tune! Make up your own!' their mute lips said.
And standing there on the spot where the beggar always sang without his cap, I thought; Why don't they take one-fifth of the money they make each month and have the thing tuned! If I were cranking the box, I'd want a tune, at least for myself! . . . If you were cranking the box, I answered. But you're not. And it's obvious they hate the begging job--who'd blame them?--and want no part of giving back a familiar song as recompense.
How different from my capless friend. My friend?
I blinked with surprise, then stepped forward. "Beg pardon. The man who played the concertina----'
The woman stopped cranking and glared at me.
"The man with no cap in the rain----'
"Ah, him!' snapped the woman.
"He's not here today?'
"Do you see him!' cried the woman.
She started cranking the infernal device. I put a penny in the tin cup. She peered at me as if I'd spit in the cup. I put in another penny. She stopped.
Do you know where he is?'
"Sick in bed. The damn cold! We heard him go off, coughing.'
"Do you know where he lives?'
"Do you know his name?'
"Now who would know that?'
I stood there, feeling directionless, thinking of the man somewhere off in the town, alone. I looked at the new cap foolishly.
The two old people were watching me uneasily. I put a last shilling in the cup. "He'll be all right,' I said, not to them, but to someone--me, I hoped.
The woman heaved the crank. The bucketing machine let loose a fall of glass and junk in its hideous interior.
"The tune,' I said numbly. "What is it?'
"You're deaf!' snapped the woman. "It's the national anthem! Do you mind removing your cap?'
I showed her the new cap in my hand.
She glared up. "Your cap, man, your cap!'
"Oh!' Flushing, I seized the old cap from my head.
Now I had a cap in each hand. The woman cranked. The "music' played. The rain hit my brow, my eyelids, my mouth. On the far side of the bridge I stopped for the hard, the slow decision: Which cap to try on my drenched skull?
During the next week I passed the bridge often, but there was always just the old couple there with their pandemonium device, or no one there at all.
On the last day of our visit my wife started to pack the new tweed cap away in the suitcase.
"Thanks, No.' I took it from her. "Let's keep it out--on the mantel, please. There.'
That night the hotel manager brought a farewell bottle to our room. The talk was long and good, the hour grew late, there was a fire on the hearth, big and lively, and brandy in the glasses, and silence for a moment in the room perhaps because suddenly we found silence falling in great soft flakes past our windows.
The manager, glass in hand, watched the continual lace, then looked down at the midnight street and at last said, under his breath: "There's only a few of us left.'
I glanced at my wife, and she at me.
The manager caught us. "Do you know him, then? Has he said it to you?'
"Yes. But what does the phrase mean?'
The manager watched all those figures down there standing in the shadows and sipped his drink. "Once I thought he meant he fought in the Troubles, and there's just a few of the IRA left. But no. Or maybe he means that in a richer world the begging population is melting away. But no to that also. So, maybe, perhaps, he means there aren't many "human beings' left who look, see what they look at and understand well enough for one to ask and one to give. Everyone busy, running here, jumping there, there's no time to study one another.'
He half turned from the window. "So you know There's Only a Few of Us Left, do you?'
My wife and I nodded.
"Then do you know the woman with the baby?'
"Yes,' I said.
"And the one with the cancer?'
"Yes,' said my wife.
And the man who needs train fare to Cork?'
"Belfast,' said I.
"Galway,' said my wife.
The manager smiled sadly and turned back to the window.
"What about the old couple with the piano that plays no tune?'
"Has it ever?' I asked.
"Not since I was a boy.' The manager's face was shadowed now. "Do you know the beggar on O'Connell Bridge?'
"Which one?' I said.
But I knew which one, for I was looking at the cap on the mantel.
"Did you see the paper today?' asked the manager.
"There's just the item, bottom half of page five, Irish Times. It seems he just got tired. And he threw his concertina over into the River Liffey. And he jumped after it.'
He was back then yesterday! I thought. And I didn't pass by!
"The poor beggar.' The manager laughed with a hollow exhalation. "What a funny, horried way to die. That silly concertina--I hate them, don't you? Wheezing on its way down, like a sick cat, and the man falling after. I laughed and I'm ashamed of laughing. Well. They didn't find the body.'
"Oh, Lord!' I cried, getting up. "Oh, damn!'
The manager, surprised at my concern, watched me carefully now. "You couldn't help it.'
"I could! I never gave him a penny, not one, ever! Did you?'
"Come to think of it, no.'
"But you're worse than I am!' I protested. "I've seen you around town, shoveling out pennies hand over fist. Why, why not to him?'
"I guess I thought he was overdoing it.'
"Yes!' I was at the window now too and staring down through the falling snow. "I thought his bare head was a trick to make me feel sorry. After a while you think everything's a trick! I used to pass there winter nights with the rain thick and him there singing, and he made me feel so cold I hated his guts. I wonder how many other people felt cold and hated him because he did that to them? So, instead of getting money, he got nothing in his cup. I lumped him with the rest. But maybe he was one of the legitimate ones, the new poor just starting out this winter--not a beggar ever before; so you hock your clothes to feed a stomach and wind up a man in the rain without a hat.'
The snow was falling fast now, erasing the lamps and the statues in the shadows of the lamps below.
"How do you tell the difference between them?' I asked. "How can you judge which is honest, which isn't?'
"The fact is,' said the manager quietly, "you can't. There's no difference between them. Some have been at it longer than others and have gone shrewd, forgotten how it all started a long time ago. On a Saturday they had food. On a Sunday they didn't. On a Monday they asked for credit. On a Tuesday they borrowed their first match. Thursday a cigarette. And a few Fridays later they found themselves, God knows how, in front of a place called the Royal Hibernian Hotel. They couldn't tell you what happened or why. One thing's sure, though: they're hanging to the cliff by their fingernails. Poor fellow, someone must've stomped on that man's hands on O'Connell Bridge and he just gave up the ghost and went over.
"So what does it prove? You cannot stare them down or look away from them. You cannot run and hide from them. You can only give to them all. If you start drawing lines, someone gets hurt. I'm sorry now I didn't give that blind singer a shilling each time I passed. Well, well. Let us console ourselves and hope it wasn't money but something at home or in his past that did him in. There's no way to find out. The paper lists no name.'
Snow fell silently across our sight. Below, the dark shapes waited. It was hard to tell whether snow was making sheep of the wolves or sheep of the sheep and gently mantling their shoulders, their hats and shawls.
A moment later, going down in the elevator, I found the new tweed cap in my hand. Coatless, in my shirt sleeves, I stepped out into the night. I gave the cap to the first man who came. What money I had in my pockets was soon gone.
Then left alone, shivering, I happened to glance up. I stood, I froze, blinking up through the drift, the drift, the silent drift of blinding snow. I saw the high hotel windows, the lights, the shadows.
What's it like up there? I thought. Are fires lit? Is it warm as breath? Who are all those people? Are they drinking? Are they happy? Do they even know I'm here?
Macbook Owner With Defective GPU Beats Apple In Court
original article, sorry for the fucked formatting.
A few years ago, Apple sold me a $4,000 computer with a defective graphics chip/logic board. The defective part was the Nvidia 8600M GT GPU, and when it was discovered that the machine was defective, Apple refused to take it back and issue me a refund. Instead, they promised to replace the 8600M GT boards when they failed, up to 4 years from the date of purchase.
Three years later, the board failed, and predictably, Apple refused to replace it. Instead, they used the fact that the machine wouldnâ(TM)t boot (due to the failed logic board) to deny the repair. Not only that, but in addition, they tried to charge me a hefty sum of money to have it replaced, knowing full well that Nvidia pays for the full repair cost.
Three and a half months ago, after having my repair denied, I announced on this very site that I was going to sue Apple. Reading these lawsuit threats often, many people assumed that I was bluffing or blowing off steam, but true to my word, I did exactly what I said I was going to do. I sued Apple.
I did not take this step lightly, however. In the months following the announcement, I did everything in my power to keep my dispute with Apple out of the court system.
First, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. In their rebuttal to the BBB, Apple blatantly lied about the diagnostics they had run on my computer, and the BBB promptly closed the case, leaving Appleâ(TM)s âoeA+â rating intact.
Next, I spoke with Apple Executive Services â¦ three separate times. Each time, I was told that âoeWe value each customer and hope that they have a positive experience with Apple, and are sorry that you did not have this experience, but you will get nothing.â â¦ or something to this effect.
After that, I sent a demand letter to Apple via certified mail. I informed them that if I did not have my issue resolved within 10 days, I would sue.
Only then, after Apple failed to reply, did I file a Small Claims lawsuit.
Last week, the trial was held.
I arrived at the King County Courthouse shortly after 8am, and about forty five minutes later, the clerk performed roll call. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Apple had sent not one, but two people to represent the company. When Apple told me that I would get nothing, they really meant it.
After calling roll, and before calling the docket, the clerk went down the case list and asked each litigant if they would be willing to try mediation. Mediation keeps cases out of the court system, and keeps the outcomes confidential. This is especially beneficial to companies, as having judgements issued against them by customers is bad PR.
Always one to exhaust all good-faith remedies before resorting to more drastic measures (really, nobody can say I didnâ(TM)t try my hardest to stay out of court), I agreed to try mediation, and to my surprise, so did Apple.
Since everything said in the mediation room is confidential, I cannot go into details about what happened there, but I will tell you that it failed (for the same reason that everything else failed), and the case was sent back to the courtroom.
In retrospect, I am glad that mediation did fail. After seeing that Apple sent two guys â¦ two guys who were in continuous contact with Apple legal via text and cell â¦ I knew that I was outgunned, outspent, and out-everything elsed. $500,000,000,000 vs. $37 and a pack of chewing gum is not a fair fight. Because of this, I offered settlements that were ridiculously favorable to Apple and unfavorable to myself, but even these were rejected. Thank goodness that they were.
After failing mediation, shortly after 11am, we were called before the judge, sworn in, and I read my opening statement. I said basically everything Iâ(TM)ve been saying on this blog for the last several months. I stuck to the facts, handed my exhibits to the clerk (several printed pages), and was as professional as possible.
When it was Appleâ(TM)s turn, their representatives opened by throwing a hail mary pass. While holding up the press release outlining the 8600GT replacement program, they claimed that, because the CPU in my MacBook Pro was clocked at 2.6Ghz, and not 2.4Ghz, or 2.5Ghz as stated in the release, that I had a completely different computer â¦ one that was not subject to the 4 year replacement program.
You see, when I ordered my MacBook Pro, I paid about $300 extra for them to up-clock the chip from 2.5Ghz to 2.6Ghz. Yes, it was a classic Apple ripoff, and yes, I was dumb to order it, but I did it, mea culpa.
I had absolutely no idea that it would be used against me in a court of law to explain to a judge why I should not be covered by an extended warranty, and it caught me off-guard. Perhaps, despite everything, I am still a bit naive, because not even I expected Apple to just â¦ lie. At least not in such a silly manner.
Remember, I was not going up against the owner of some taco stand, I was up against the most profitable company in the USA. I honestly expected more than a silly fib.
After listening to Apple, the judge turned to me and asked for my response, and I explained to him, in detail, that the chips, logic boards, and GPUs in all of the MacBook Pro models were the same, regardless of the speed at which the CPUs had been clocked.
Confused, the judge turned to Apple and asked, âoeIs this true?â
There was some awkward silence as the Apple guys exchanged uncomfortable looks between each other, before one of them finally said âoeYes, it is.â
âoeSo, this machine IS covered by the 8600GT repair program?â, asked the judge.
âoeYes it is, your honorâ, replied Apple.
So, there we were. Not more than 2 minutes into the trial, and Apple conceded to trying to hoodwink the judge.
This is more or less the way the rest of the trial played out. I made a point, Apple rebutted it with something completely off-the-wall and irrelevant, and I explained to the judge why Appleâ(TM)s rebuttal was nonsense. I took the time to explain everything clearly, I answered all of the judgeâ(TM)s technical questions in detail, and at one point, the judge even declared that he would accept my testimony as that of an âoeexpert witnessâ.
Apple, well, they didnâ(TM)t really have a defense. They just kept repeating things like âoeItâ(TM)s Appleâ(TM)s policy to do thisâ, and âoeItâ(TM)s Appleâ(TM)s position that we do thatâ. The Apple guys seemed genuinely surprised that I knew as much as I did about computer hardware. Iâ(TM)m not trying to insult iPeople, at least not in this article, but during both mediation and the trial, I realized that Apple has a strong expectation that their users not be tech-savvy and, as such, Apple seems used to infantilizing and bamboozling their customers with silly and nonsensical explanations of highly technical matters.
Years ago, I remember debating the Mac vs. Everything Else issue with a friend of mine, and every time I would bring up the relative attributes of a particular component, he would always respond with âoeSpecs donâ(TM)t matter!â
I thought he was just being stubborn, but after this experience, I realize that this type of âoeI donâ(TM)t care about gigahertz and whatchamajiggers, I just know that Macs use pixie dust and purple elephant dung to make magic!â mentality is a part of the Apple culture from the top down. From the lowest-level sales rep all the way up to the corporate guys.
As the trial went on, I showed the judge evidence that the 8600M graphics cards were known to be defective, I showed him that I had an 8600M in my machine, and I explained to him that, despite their promise to do so, Apple refused to replace my board because it would not boot, and it would not boot because the 8600M had failed.
The judge accepted these explanations, and when he asked Apple what it would cost to replace my logic board if I paid in cash, I interjected and explained to the judge that if Apple replaced only the logic board, it would simply be another logic board with a defective GPU, therefore, such a solution would not be acceptable.
The judge responded by asking Apple if my machine could be fitted with a different GPU, and when they replied âoeNo, that machine will only accept an 8600M GTâ, the judge declared my make & model of MacBook Pro to be defective and unrepairable by any means.
Eventually, over the continued objections of the Apple folks (one of the guys kept arguing that I should give Apple one last chance to fix it), I was awarded a cash amount. The amount I was awarded is enough to replace the computer, which means that I should once again have a 17â laptop. Assuming Apple actually pays me.
Now, I didnâ(TM)t get everything I asked for. When I filed the suit, I was pissed off, so I asked for the kitchen sink â¦ a refund of Apple Care (which I only purchased when I learned the machine was defective), compensation for loss of use, and even some punitive damages.
Had I been able to show loss-of-use damages, I probably would have gotten them, but the judge awarded what would âoemake me wholeâ â¦ essentially, putting me back in the same place that I was before Apple wronged me. This being the case, I received compensation for the machine itself, plus court costs, costs of service, etc.
It was a fair ruling, a little more than I expected actually, and I thanked the judge.
The Apple guys, well, they were none too happy. By the time I stood up, they had already beat a hasty path to the courtroom door. I was going to offer my hand, thank them for their time, and explain that it was nothing personal, but they werenâ(TM)t interested in any of it.
And that was that.
I guess what they say is true. The sun even shines on a dogâ(TM)s butthole every now and then, and on this day, I got myself a nice tan.
David faced Goliath, and not unlike the AT&T case a couple of months ago, David somehow, someway, came out on top.
Even though Iâ(TM)m glad it turned out the way it did, one question still nags me:
Why did it have to come to this?
At one point, the judge asked Apple how much it would have cost them to have simply replaced my logic board when I had taken it in, and one of the Apple guys said âoeOh, it wouldnâ(TM)t have cost us anything, Nvidia foots the bill for each board we replace.â
The judgeâ(TM)s face almost hit the floor as he shot me a quizzical look, to which I just shrugged. I knew that he, and everyone else in the courtroom was thinking the same thing:
If Apple could have replaced my logic board at no cost to themselves, then why in the hell did they drag this out for so long, and why did they send two people to court to try and make sure that I got absolutely nothing? Friends, this is a question I have been asking myself for three months, and it is a question that I do not have the answer to.
You know, I fully respect a person or a company that stands up for himself/itself when they are in the right. Itâ(TM)s the correct thing to do.
What I donâ(TM)t understand, however, is why Apple fought so hard against me when they were clearly in the wrong. It wasnâ(TM)t even a judgement call. I knew they were wrong, the judge knew they were wrong, the clerk knew it, the audience knew it, and you could tell â¦ you could just tell that Apple knew it as well.
And what of the shareholders? What should they make of this? Appleâ(TM)s stock has been an E-ticket ride lately, but this incident should really give shareholders pause. I mean, what kind of judgement are the current leaders of Apple using?
Think about it â¦ instead of repairing my computer under the repair program that they, themselves, announced â¦ at absolutely no cost to themselves â¦ Apple paid two guys to come to Downtown Seattle, and â¦ well â¦ lie, so that I would not have a non-defective computer. When you factor in the time it took them to get here, the time spent in court, and the time to get home, Apple paid two guys a dayâ(TM)s wages to defend this suit.
In addition, instead of paying nothing for the repair, they paid a legal team to oversee the case, and, oh yeah â¦ you guys, the shareholders, are buying me a new computer too. Thanks.
As far as I can tell, Apple spent all of this time and money, solely to be a bully. Was that really money well-spent? I mean, you can almost excuse the holy wars against Adobe, Samsung, Android, and the prototype guys â¦ but a local blogger?
The obsessiveness of crushing all perceived enemies, no matter how big or small, regardless of whether they are wrong or right, should be of concern to all iFans and financiers. Itâ(TM)s getting to the point where itâ(TM)s really, really just sick.
Gone are the days of the scrappy underdog, throwing a hammer through the window of conformity, and what has emerged is â¦ well, itâ(TM)s far worse than what it was rebelling against.
Apple has become the Orwellian nightmare that it warned us about some 30 years ago. A huge vehicle of sameness backed by legions of newthink practitioners, gleefully cheering as Big Bully annihilates one thoughtcriminal after another.
Apple may be profitable, but itâ(TM)s not well. Something is wrong at the highest levels, and if I was strongly tied to the company financially, I might be worried. Although blinded by Appleâ(TM)s success in the near-term, I donâ(TM)t think history will judge the company favorably.
Anyway, now comes the hard part.
Collecting the money. A judgement is only a piece of paper. Itâ(TM)s worth nothing if you canâ(TM)t collect.
If what I have seen from Apple is any guide, they will spend $50 Million to get out of paying my four-figure judgement, simply out of spite. Just how much of the shareholderâ(TM)s money will Apple end up spending because they tried to screw Seattle Rex remains to be seen.
Iâ(TM)ll fight on, though. No matter how many obstacles Apple throws in my way, Iâ(TM)ll keep going. After all, itâ(TM)s what I do. I guess you can say I â¦
Update: Wow, this article really set off a firestorm. Iâ(TM)ve received scores of emails from people who were given the same âoeit wonâ(TM)t boot so we wonâ(TM)t repair itâ explanation that I was, and were forced to pay for the repair out of their own pocket.
This really is a larger suit, perhaps a class-action suit in the making (as much as I detest class-actions for their unfairness toward the class), and I am exploring the possibilities of bringing a second suit against the company for fraud, misrepresentation, etc.
Iâ(TM)m simply astounded by how many people received the same treatment as myself over the 8600M issue.