How an outdoor mall dealt with a lunchtime power outage. And some Apple observations.

Power’s out at the mall. No teriyaki bowl for me. Subway it is! (Hmm, and no iced coffee either. *sigh*)

Near as I can tell, the Apple store is just completely shut down. Hazards of making checkout depend on computer network, I guess. For contrast, Subway just dug out a pad of paper credit card slips and did texture rubbings w/ a pen.

Odd: muzak is so omnipresent I didn’t notice it was still playing. Speakers must be on another circuit from the stores.

Turns out only some buildings have lost power. Including all the coffee except Starbucks. But Jamba Juice has power!

Was weird walking through mall at lunch seeing lighted stores on right and dark on left. Some stayed open, some closed, some adapted.

Coffee Bean was mostly closed during the power outage, but they set an employee out front with two urns of coffee. No ice, though.

I went by the Spectrum for lunch, and the line to get into the Apple Store for the new iPhone was still stretched past several storefronts into the nearest courtyard, right up to the fountain by the carousel — even though they’d launched that morning. Actually, I had several co-workers who were late today because they went down at opening for the launch.

From what I hear it was fairly chaotic, at least in the morning. Apple’s new policy of making you activate the phone in the store was causing delays, especially factoring in the fact that iTunes’ servers got swamped. That would explain why the line was still so long several hours after opening.

Usability note: One of said co-workers got tripped up trying to sync music to his new phone, because the default is to not synchronize music, and the “Sync only checked songs” box looked close enough to being the right option that he didn’t dig deeper.

After nearly 4 years of faithful service, our G4 PowerBook has crashed. This machine has been rock-solid through 2 OS upgrades, a RAM upgrade, and a battery recall. On Sunday, the hard disk finally gave out.

We only lost a few recent files. I had a chance to grab them on Saturday, but unfortunately I misread the signs and thought it was a software problem. Hey, you install a bunch of stuff including a system update, and the machine freezes, you figure it’s a software problem. Until it happens again, and this time it won’t come back up. 😡

After doing all the diagnostics & resets I could possibly come up with, I set up an appointment at the local Apple Store’s “Genius Bar” during my lunch break today. They confirmed it was the drive, and since it’s long out of warranty, they pointed me to a local repair shop. (They were willing to do the job, but can only order parts directly from Apple, so it would’ve been insanely expensive just for the drive.)

Fortunately, as far as laptop hardware failures go, a hardware drive is relatively easy to fix. If the case were simpler, I’d be willing to do it myself, but as the Apple tech joked, “It takes 36 screws just to get the case open.” At least, I think he was joking.

So instead of having to replace the entire computer, or send it in and wait several weeks, we’re looking at ~$200 and 3–5 days. And while I was at it, I sprang for double the capacity.

I can live with that.

Update: It turned out to be the RAM upgrade, not the disk, which makes it considerably simpler to resolve. Finally got it back the following Monday.

Lining up for the iPhoneSince I was going to the Irvine Spectrum for lunch anyway, I figured I’d drop by the Apple Store and see how many people were there for the iPhone launch. I walked by around 1:50pm, about 4 hours before the event, and sure enough there were a bunch of people lined up all along the shops.

You can see some lawn chairs and umbrellas. The campers are sort of hidden in the shade, which is why I upped the brightness on the second picture. Of course, I’m sure everyone waiting in line appreciated the shade. Those shadows will only get longer over the course of the afternoon, and while there’s a nice breeze once you get out into more open areas, the corridors of the mall are better at channeling people than wind.

Looking toward the Apple StoreWhen I walked by the first time, I only noticed the line running to that corner you can see at the end, maybe 3 storefronts down. About 10 minutes later, after stopping at Kelly’s Coffee, I saw that they were wrapped around that corner, almost the entire length of Forever 21, and stopped at the edge of the patio for the restaurant next door.

Not a huge line—I’ve waited in much longer lines for movies—but bigger than I expected for a phone.