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Old Dec 21, 2012, 02:56 AM   #1
Raytrace
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Are you smarter than an Apple Store Genius?

Okay I've been having a problem in recent months. When I hit play in iTunes, nothing happens immediately. The play symbol does change to pause, but there is no sound. After 5-10 seconds, the music begins. I can pause and resume immediately, but an extended stop will result in the same delay sequence.

Video playback is also affected. The picture starts and 10 or so seconds later, the sound starts.

Anyway I can't figure out what is going on, so I took it in and left it at the local apple store. This is a 2008 Mac Pro running ML BTW. After 3 days of inpatient care at the store, I get the call. The "genius" tells me that they can't perform the standard testing and diagnostics because there are "third party" parts in the Mac Pro. He worries that if they damage a component, they can't replace it with a stock item, so they won't do anything.

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!! Is there a Mac Pro on the planet that does NOT have third party parts in it? Of course it has an aftermarket USB 3.0 PCI card in it, that is what expansion slots are for!

I have already explained that my issue has been present through two OS X versions, two different video cards, multiple hard drive configurations, a memory upgrade, and other hardware changes. The problem clearly does not care about said hard parts.

Anyway I've lost some faith in the Genius Bar and still have my problem.

Are YOU smarter than an Apple Store Genius?
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 11:18 PM   #2
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Based on the way you are talking about the Apple employee (who was just doing his job), I doubt anyone is itching to jump up and help you out. You might try honey...
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 01:10 PM   #3
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The simplest solution appears to be for you to go to the store and remove the 3rd-party cards. Doing so makes the removal your responsibility, and not something the store has to cover.

If removing the cards causes the problem to go away, then that seems like evidence that it's not something Apple can repair.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 12:37 AM   #4
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As I already explained to the kind employee, the problem has been occurring throughout most of my hardware changes.

Can you imagine taking your Ford into a Ford dealer and having them refuse to work on your vehicle because you now have an aftermarket muffler or distributor cap on it?

Yeah, me neither..

Besides, I can't put the original video card in because ML does not support it!!

I know he was just doing his job; that's what the lawyers told him to do. There's more than one way to troubleshoot a problem like this and they seem to know of only one. If they reach an obstacle, sorry bud, yer outta luck!

Apparently I would have to spend hundreds of dollars on new hardware with Apple stickers on it before they are willing to help..

Some business plan huh?
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 12:44 AM   #5
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Standard operating procedure for Tech work.

If you think there's a problem with the Apple hardware or software you must remove as many variables as possible.

I keep the original RAM, storage and any other items I need just in case of situations like this.

They want to believe you but Techs can chase a lot of fantom problems only to find that a 3rd party item is the culprit.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 12:01 PM   #6
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I think if you somehow added a third party element to the Ford's computer diagnostic system you might get the same response the Apple guy gave you.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 12:03 PM   #7
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Apple Genius requirements are not high.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Spink10 View Post
Apple Genius requirements are not high.
Lol if you think this is true.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:15 PM   #9
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Lol if you think this is true.
I laughed so hard when I read my statement - completely forgot to finish it. I guess I qualify to work for Apple as a Genius.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:19 PM   #10
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I laughed so hard when I read my statement - completely forgot to finish it. I guess I qualify to work for Apple as a Genius.
You get points for wordplay
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Raytrace View Post
As I already explained to the kind employee, the problem has been occurring throughout most of my hardware changes.

Can you imagine taking your Ford into a Ford dealer and having them refuse to work on your vehicle because you now have an aftermarket muffler or distributor cap on it?
That analogy is not valid at all. You and I both know that computers are an entirely different breed.

I work for Geeksquad, I can't tell you how many issues are caused by 3rd party accessories. Because we are a retail store that sells other components for replacement we have no issues in testing. But we are ALWAYS nervous when someone comes in with a custom rig because our stress tests can potentially kill an already failing component.

Apple is more than willing to test and work on a stock or BTO machine (its half the reason the stores are there in the first place), but if they kill a component that they can't replace in their systems, how many customers do you think are really going to understand the business workings of replacing parts under vendor agreements? None. It always comes down to "derp, its got an apple on it, derp derp fix it!"
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:27 PM   #12
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Take out the 3rd party parts and take it back. It's a bummer they don't support it, but its fair. Apple geniuses have the power to replace, and they have proprietary diagnostic software which is often very helpful, but their tech "know-how" is suspect in my experience.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by nuckinfutz View Post
Standard operating procedure for Tech work.

If you think there's a problem with the Apple hardware or software you must remove as many variables as possible.

I keep the original RAM, storage and any other items I need just in case of situations like this.

They want to believe you but Techs can chase a lot of fantom problems only to find that a 3rd party item is the culprit.
This guy gets it.

I've had this one lady come into the store 5 times now, and she's pretty pissed that she continually getting blue screens of death. I've explained to her dozens of times that in the store we have not gotten one, so the the cause has to be something else in her home. I finally convinced her that its likely the printer she has. "NO! NO! I've had the printer for years and this has never happened!"

Finally, after a far too long phone conversation I got her to bring it in. I set up her desktop right on the check in counter, booted it up. Unit starts to desktop fine, then I instruct her to watch as I plug in her printer. Nothing happens, I say hmmmm, I wonder what happens when I go to print. BOOM. Blue Screen.

I thanked her for finally allowing us to get to the bottom of her ongoing issue, and that we would take care of it for her (bad printer driver).
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:33 PM   #14
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Sorry - but I'm with the Apple Genius on this one. This one seems to be actually trying to do his job... which is to isolate the problem... instead of just replacing parts (at your cost) until the problem disappears.

It is worth pointing out... and I don't say this to insult you... but you have not yet been able to isolate the problem either. The tech also does not know if one of the 3rd party parts is physically marginal. Removing it could, in theory, break it. Apple repair shops are limited in where they can source parts from. If Apple doesn't make, then I doubt an Apple Store can order it. This tech is protecting Apple (part of their job) - and they are protecting you from a huge inconvenience.

Take all of the 3rd party stuff out. Start with the stuff that isn't basic (like the video card) but get back as close to factory as possible. Just doing that will eliminate a bunch of stuff as being the culprit.

BTW.... except for HDDs and RAM, my 2008 had no 3rd party parts. And I could have removed the extra HDDs and RAM and been back to a factory machine.

Geniuses - even good ones - can't just divine the problem... no matter how good they are.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:38 PM   #15
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Sorry - but I'm with the Apple Genius on this one. This one seems to be actually trying to do his job... which is to isolate the problem... instead of just replacing parts (at your cost) until the problem disappears.

It is worth pointing out... and I don't say this to insult you... but you have not yet been able to isolate the problem either. The tech also does not know if one of the 3rd party parts is physically marginal. Removing it could, in theory, break it. Apple repair shops are limited in where they can source parts from. If Apple doesn't make, then I doubt an Apple Store can order it. This tech is protecting Apple (part of their job) - and they are protecting you from a huge inconvenience.

Take all of the 3rd party stuff out. Start with the stuff that isn't basic (like the video card) but get back as close to factory as possible. Just doing that will eliminate a bunch of stuff as being the culprit.

BTW.... except for HDDs and RAM, my 2008 had no 3rd party parts. And I could have removed the extra HDDs and RAM and been back to a factory machine.

Geniuses - even good ones - can't just divine the problem... no matter how good they are.
Bingo.

What the OP is describing is STANDARD tech bench problem isolation. You want to find the cause of the issue by eliminating as many variables as you can. Replacing a part may fix an issue, but that doesn't mean the part itself was the root cause. In order to do his job correctly an Apple Genius has to first use Apple's own diagnostic software, something that I'd bet can't be done when running 3rd party parts.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 02:18 PM   #16
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Bingo.

What the OP is describing is STANDARD tech bench problem isolation. You want to find the cause of the issue by eliminating as many variables as you can. Replacing a part may fix an issue, but that doesn't mean the part itself was the root cause. In order to do his job correctly an Apple Genius has to first use Apple's own diagnostic software, something that I'd bet can't be done when running 3rd party parts.
The problem isn't that the third party part is causing problems.

If anything happens to an apple component during the repair, it can be replaced, easily. Say, for example, a stick of your ram drops on the floor and breaks (accidents happen). The Apple store have no way of replacing that RAM - hence they're unwilling to service it. Or say, for example, they replace the logic board, and it doesn't accept your RAM - who's fault is that?

Also, who's responsibility is it to determine if the third party parts are causing the problem? Yours, or theirs? If you fit a third party water pump to your car, and take it in for overheating problems - is it their responsibility to, under the warranty, diagnose that third party pump?
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 03:44 PM   #17
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Also, who's responsibility is it to determine if the third party parts are causing the problem? Yours, or theirs? If you fit a third party water pump to your car, and take it in for overheating problems - is it their responsibility to, under the warranty, diagnose that third party pump?
Well, if I'm willing to pay them to do so (as the service agreement stated), I don't see why they can't at least try. I was not looking for warranty work, I wanted to pay to have an issue fixed. If they LEGITIMATELY identified my Western Digital hard drive as a problem or my OWC memory, I'd gladly address it!

If I pulled all the third party parts out, there would be no memory, hard drives, or video card.

Yes, I'm sure that would indeed solve my problem..
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 03:56 PM   #18
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Well, if I'm willing to pay them to do so (as the service agreement stated), I don't see why they can't at least try. I was not looking for warranty work, I wanted to pay to have an issue fixed. If they LEGITIMATELY identified my Western Digital hard drive as a problem or my OWC memory, I'd gladly address it!

If I pulled all the third party parts out, there would be no memory, hard drives, or video card.

Yes, I'm sure that would indeed solve my problem..
Your best bet is to take it to an authorized Apple repair shop... or even just a repair shop that is familiar with Macs, but not necessarily authorized. Apple Stores, far as I know, can only provide Apple parts ... and their diagnostics are limited to Apple routines. And - their experience is limited to Macs. Since you have so many 3rd party parts, you need a 3rd party shop that has experience with your parts. So to speak.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 04:00 PM   #19
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Don't know if I am smarter but I usually know more about Apple hardware, OSX and especially Logic Pro.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 04:01 PM   #20
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 04:28 PM   #21
Brian Y
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Originally Posted by Raytrace View Post
Well, if I'm willing to pay them to do so (as the service agreement stated), I don't see why they can't at least try. I was not looking for warranty work, I wanted to pay to have an issue fixed. If they LEGITIMATELY identified my Western Digital hard drive as a problem or my OWC memory, I'd gladly address it!

If I pulled all the third party parts out, there would be no memory, hard drives, or video card.

Yes, I'm sure that would indeed solve my problem..
The service agreement states that they are able to service Apple hardware. 3rd party parts aren't covered by the service agreement.

Say Apple took your machine for repair and returned it with a broken hard drive and 2 dead sticks of RAM. Would you be happy if they turned around and said "Sorry about that, but we can't do anything about it"? - since they cannot be responsible for 3rd party products.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 05:10 PM   #22
Raytrace
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The service agreement states that they are able to service Apple hardware. 3rd party parts aren't covered by the service agreement.

Say Apple took your machine for repair and returned it with a broken hard drive and 2 dead sticks of RAM. Would you be happy if they turned around and said "Sorry about that, but we can't do anything about it"? - since they cannot be responsible for 3rd party products.
The problem with that is we all know that apple does not actually manufacture memory, video cards, and hard drives. They are all third party to begin with. So they are limiting their liability with stickers and logos.

I am generally a fan (not a fanboi) of Apple products and service but this I think is just a bad copout. Any tech worth his salt would is not likely at all to simply break something that has been working fine for months or years.

But it's true that those stores cater to the masses and those of us on this forum are almost by definition NOT the masses.

With that being said I'm still surprised that NOBODY has anything to say about my issue. I thought this forum was full of real geniuses!
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 05:22 PM   #23
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The problem with that is we all know that apple does not actually manufacture memory, video cards, and hard drives. They are all third party to begin with. So they are limiting their liability with stickers and logos.
Apple is well known for customizing the firmware or other parameters of other manufacturers' products. Take the 2009+ iMac HDDs as an example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raytrace View Post
Any tech worth his salt would is not likely at all to simply break something that has been working fine for months or years.
It may not be likely, but it IS possible. They are limiting their liability by working on products that they can guarantee their knowledge of.

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But it's true that those stores cater to the masses and those of us on this forum are almost by definition NOT the masses.
Since you came to the forum for advice, clearly you don't know the solution to the problem. This probably makes you a member of "the masses."

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Originally Posted by Raytrace View Post
With that being said I'm still surprised that NOBODY has anything to say about my issue. I thought this forum was full of real geniuses!
As expected, you didn't get much help because you were insulting everyone that tried.

As one last attempt to get you some help, you should take your system to an AASP that has the experience diagnosing systems with 3rd party components, as has been recommended to you by others. When you get there, be sure to keep your attitude in check.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 05:48 PM   #24
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Apple is well known for customizing the firmware or other parameters of other manufacturers' products. Take the 2009+ iMac HDDs as an example.



It may not be likely, but it IS possible. They are limiting their liability by working on products that they can guarantee their knowledge of.
I realize it is a liability issue. It's just not the place to take any kind of problem to. I get it; they'll only look at bone stock and Apple branded machines, front to back.


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Since you came to the forum for advice, clearly you don't know the solution to the problem. This probably makes you a member of "the masses."
Well that's quite a presumptuous insult. Does that mean anybody who does not know absolutely EVERYTHING about EVERY possible problem falls under the label? Guilty as charged.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ezramoore View Post
As expected, you didn't get much help because you were insulting everyone that tried.
If you couldn't tell, my frustration was directed at the Apple store - most specifically, the policy that does not allow some basic technological common sense because of liabilities. If anyone felt insulted by my frustration with SOMEONE ELSE, perhaps they are a bit sensitive...maybe?

Yeah, nobody tried to help except to defend the store's policies. That does not help me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezramoore View Post
As one last attempt to get you some help, you should take your system to an AASP that has the experience diagnosing systems with 3rd party components, as has been recommended to you by others. When you get there, be sure to keep your attitude in check.
Thanks again for that one final insult..
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 06:18 PM   #25
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I realize it is a liability issue. It's just not the place to take any kind of problem to. I get it; they'll only look at bone stock and Apple branded machines, front to back.....
...
You came for advice. In my personal opinion you got good advice, which you don't agree with. Fine.... solve it your way, because it is obviously working very well. But please don't get in a huff because we don't agree with you. You asked for an opinion, but it seems you were looking for something else.

To go back to your car analogy... you are taking your Ford auto to a Smart Car dealership, and being frustrated that they don't want to mess about with technology that they don't support. Accept that, or solve the problem yourself...

imho only, of course...

Oh, and by the way, I spent several years as a tech support. Though we primarily provided software, we also worked with the clients when they purchased their hardware, so I also helped diagnose the clients's hardware issues. I am retired from that now, but I am telling you in my (retired) professional opinion... take the system to a competent 3rd party repair shop. They don't have to be Apple Authorized, they just have to be comfortable with Macs as well as PCs. Until you do you will likely continue to be frustrated. Or, strip all the 3rd party hardware out before condemning Apple.

It also may be that there is an unresolvable conflict between your 3rd party stuff and iTunes and Mountain Lion. The only solution may be to replace one of the non-Apple bits.

Good Luck. Seriously. But please don't get your knickers in a knot just because the people whose opinions you solicited don't agree with you.
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