So, I've a 15" powerbook, 1.5ghz. A week after her 1 year birthday, the hard drive fails - dies completely. Luckily I have AppleCare, and was able to salvage most of my data thanks to firewire target disk mode. I talked to Apple Tech Support, who pointed me to a Apple Authorised Service centre in Dublin, a nice place called Mactivate. I call them, they drive down and pick up my powerbook a couple days later [monday]. The fix, a simple, good ol' fashioned, hard drive replacement. It couldn't get easier or more straightforward. Or so I thought. Mactivate says they'll be able to have it fixed in 5-7 business days, because they're really backed up at the moment. Fair enough. I can scrape by for a week without my powerbook, it'll be tough, but I can do it. So I call them 5 days later [friday] and ask how my beloved powerbook is doing. They say that they've just had a chance to look at it, and that it needs a new hard drive. (Umm, yup, we knew this from the beginning. A note taped to the lid of the powerbook said so...) So they tell me that they need to order me a new hard drive, which will take a few days. They tell me to call back the next week [on Wednesday]. So I call the next week [Wednesday] and they tell me that they've tried to order the drive from Apple Europe, but that Apple doesn't have the drives in stock, and that they're backordered for at least a week, possibly more! Now, this is the 5400rpm 80gig hard drive. THE MOST USED hard drive in Apple's current powerbook line. And Apple just plain doesn't have any in Europe? So I ask the tech guy is there's any other option, maybe put in a smaller or slower hard drive for the time being? Or even let me pay for a larger one? Nope. his hands are tied. All he can do is tell me to call back on the friday, to see if Apple has updated the stock status of the new drives in question. So I phone AppleCare, and ask them what they advise. I paid $350 for Applecare, and now I'm looking at being without my computer for at least a MONTH. (12:1 is not a good now you have it - now you don't ratio in my book.) Furthermore, I'm a postgrad student with a chapter of my dissertation due in two weeks. I was fine being without my machine for a week, even two to get it fixed, but a month or more is right out. We don't buy computers and service plans to wander around without a computer for a month. I ask if they can track down a drive in an Apple store or retailer nearby (maybe London?!?!) and ship it to my Authorised Tech so I can get a machine back in a reasonable amount of time. They just fumble around saying no... no.... I ask about a slower drive or even a loaner computer. Something, as I NEED this thing for work - it's why I bought it. They offer no help whatsoever, but give me a case number. The one year birthday of my powerbook is also the one year anniversary of me switching. I'm not amused. Especially since my old windows laptop, circa 1998 with a 266MHz pentium II still works fine - on it's first hard drive. Unfortunately it's on the wrong side of the ocean at the moment. So now I'm over two weeks in, without my powerbook, and I've talked to my repair shop again, who says that Apple still has none of these hard drives available in Europe. As a whole, no 80gig 5400rpm laptop drives - Apple's most popular - are available on the continent of Europe. Full stop. Bullocks. I love my Apple, and even how it handled the hard drive failure. Very pleasing. But since it's gone into the shop, I've been losing respect for Apple by the day. What's worse? My housemate is buying a new laptop, and I had just convinced her to switch, to buy an iBook. She was excited about the prospects of the iBook and very keen. Yesterday she ordered a Dell. I still tried to convince her that my experience was a one-off, and that she should get an iBook. That there is no comparison. She said that as a PhD student she couldn't afford to be where I am. Bummer, neither can I, so how can I blame her? If anybody wants to offer me any words of wisdom, please do. I could use 'em. So could my neglected dissertation. PS: Yes, yes I am kicking myself for not owning a firewire hard drive that I could run my machine from. It's an oversight being rectified with a visit of some friends from states-side in a few weeks.