Sweet Success

My blogging has suffered during the past two months because of several new projects I had going. When I bought my iMac it came with a string of new programs, which I have promised to master. One of them is iMovie. Another goal was to convert a collection of forty-year old home movies to DVD. Right after Thanksgiving, I had the movies converted by Dave and Joe of Retired Fim Guys, and I  loaded them into iMovie.  Since then I have produced One Mile High, The Four Presidents of South Dakota, and The Tea Party Kids. These movies are a legacy of Busia Barb that I am leaving to my grandchildren. One Mile High won the First Award in 1970 from the South Side Cinema Club.

The fifteen minute long movies have a lively music background, and One Mile High has voice over narration. The super-eight movie quality is terrible compared to today’s video, but the story lines, music and narration make up for the lousy picture quality.

The second project, that consumed me involved publishing “Nightmares From Obama,” on Amazon Kindle as an eBook. Gladly, I can report that you can now buy and download the book to your computer, or to your Kindle reader from Amazon for $2.99. You may even get lucky and get it for free during the introduction period.

Publishing the eBook put a strain on the iMac. I learned that Amazon set up Kindle publishing on a Windows machine. In order to make my book happen, I switched back to using a PC. Most authors write books without graphics. Nightmares From Obama is a book of cartoons (47)and text. Learning how to format the manuscript to show the cartoons was a challenge to this aged brain.

Both projects have been on my list of goals for some time. The fact that I accomplished them both is what I consider a success. Success breeds desire to do more, and I now have plans for a dozen more movies, and a minimum of nine more eBooks.

Trick. . . or. . . Treat?

The spirits have attacked Grump Joe’s Place computer. What evil lurks within the bits and bytes of the iMac?

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An Apple Atta Boy

Yesterday, I did something really stupid. I was in a hurry, and I paid for it in time. The night before, I had attended my Lions Club 70th Anniversary party, and took about a hundred photos. I promised to post them on the club website, “WE SERVE.”  In the past twelve months, I have observed a trend on this website. The day after a major Lion event the number of views jumps. It happens because people want to know what transpired at the event. They are looking for news while it is still hot. It was my goal to capitalize on that observation.

The first thing after breakfast, I whipped open my trusty little red point and shoot Nikon and removed the media card. In one smooth move my hand went to the computer and shoved the card into the media card slot. Or, at least, I thought it was the media card slot. It wasn’t. I missed that slot by three-eighths of an inch and shoved the card into the CD drive slot instead. My pictures were swallowed by the iMac, it iAte my media card.

Don’t panic, I said to myself, just figure out how to open the thing and pick the card out. The iMac design is a thing of beauty as well as function. I looked everywhere for a screw or tab or anything that would give me a clue as to how to open the case. I found nothing. Don’t Panic. I shot off an e-mail to  my son Mike who owns the same model. I asked him for the key to opening the box. His reply was not encouraging. He didn’t know, and he reminded me that the warranty is probably void if I attempt to open it myself. Smart kid I thought. Don’t panic. I went online and found an Apple Service Center in Orland Park. They didn’t open until ten and it was still before nine. I called anyway, they were closed. Don’t Panic.

Grandma Peggy tried to console me. I reminded her that every time we visited an Apple Store in Illinois, Arizona, and California, it was the only store in the mall to have people. I’m sure this will take forever to fix. The last time I had a laptop fixed by a local service known for its great response, it took two weeks to get it back. That is, after I paid a premium to have it placed on their “look at it” within 24 hours service special. They didn’t say “have it fixed” in 24 hours.

After what seemed like eternity, ten  rolled over on the clock. I dialed the Apple Store. Amazingly, I got an answer after listening to Apple commercials for a minute. A real live human answered the phone, and he sounded like a bona-fide U.S. of A. all American kid. I expected to hear a heavy Indian dialect. Phew! the panic began to subside. I took the first appointment they had open. It was at 11:40 a.m. on the same day. I didn’t even know if I could get there by then, but I took the appointment.

Grandma Peggy helped me wrap Baby in a blanket to keep her warm and from getting scratched in transit. It was seven degrees yesterday.

I didn’t want to hear Peggy’s lecture on asking for directions so, I printed the instructions for getting there before we left. I parked exactly according to the certified instructions. I told Peggy to wait in the car as I ran into the mall to find the store. Baby is very heavy, and I didn’t want to carry her far. It is a good thing, I did the scouting trip. We parked at the opposite end of the mall from The Apple Store.

As I expected, the store was crammed with customers. Most played with iPhones, some played with MacBooks, others sat with blue-shirted staff receiving one-on-one instructions. They gave me  instructions over the phone to check in with a staff member. I crossed over the line and ran head on into a blue-shirted kid with headphones, a microphone, and an iPad in hand.

This blue-shirt met me with a body block as I crossed the line. Within ten seconds he had me checked in and arranged for another blue-shirted staff member to meet me at a specific entrance to help unload and carry Baby to the store. Then, with my  problem noted, he alerted the service staff  to look for a guy with a heavy brown jacket and a plum-colored shirt. All of this was done while we stood within four feet of the line.

I rushed back to the car, and we drove to the opposite side of the mall. Within a few seconds a blue-shirt with bleached white spiked hair popped through the mall door pushing a cart. He gingerly lifted Baby out of the back seat with the blanket intact. I parked while Grandma Peggy escorted the blue-shirt and Baby to the store.

Grandma Peggy and I stood around looking lost and wondering what happened to Baby, she disappeared. A completely different blue-shirt saw us looking bewildered. He asked if he could help.

“What’s your name?”

“Joe,” I responded.

He searched his iPhone.,”yep, you are checked in.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Is this the best spot to wait?”

“Actually, no,” he replied, the front of the store is best.

“Good, I will look over the MacBook Air while we wait, but how will I know when it is my turn?”

“Someone will find you.”

The blue-shirt escorted me to a MacBook Air, and  quizzed me on how I wanted to use it. I told him, and he began to steer me toward an iPad when I felt a light tap on the shoulder.

“Are you Joe?”  asked another blue-shirt, this one with tattoos from his wrist to his elbow.

“Yes.”

“Follow me.”

I looked at my watch, it was 11:40 a.m. He led me to Baby. Blue-shirt with the tattooed arm asked what was wrong with her. I explained my stupid move.

“Don’t feel bad, lot’s of people have done  the same thing.”

“I’ll be right back.”

He disappeared with Baby in his arms. Peggy’s blue blanket was on the floor. I picked it up before she saw where it was. I handed it to her and she smiled, “I saw that.”

Within minutes, blue-shirt with tattoos came back with Baby in arms; the  media card clenched between his fingers.

“Oh thank you,” I said. He handed me the tiny card and I stuck it into my wallet with my credit cards.

Blue-shirt with tattoos, and I had a technical discussion about how to get the computer open. He graciously explained the process. I was glad that I hadn’t been brave enough to attempt it. We kidded back and forth as he tested the CD drive to see if it had been damaged during the fishing process. They do this so often that they developed a fishing tool to find media cards without opening the computer. I can see why. Opening an iMac would have taken them much more time than it did to fish the card out.

Blue-shirt with tattoos arranged for another blue-shirt to assist me with transport back to the car. This guy was built like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and carried Baby under his arm.

I looked at my watch as we drove away. It was 12:15 p.m.

This was my first Apple Store experience. I bought the computer on-line to avoid the crowds at the Apple Store.

I cannot say enough great things about the Apple blue-shirt staff. Every one of them was courteous, and treated us with the greatest respect. They all had one goal, to make certain the customer was satisfied and being taken care of. They have something that is missing from other major stores,” SERVICE.”  When I was a  kid, most stores had great service and attitude toward customers. Sears was one of them, but they succumbed to the competitive pressure of K-Mart , and now they are owned by K-Mart. Had they remained a service oriented organization they may have done better. Apple has found that service pays. As my son often tells me, when you buy an Apple product you pay a ‘Apple Tax.’  Apple can charge more for its product because  of two things; Quality, and Service.

I give Apple and the Orland Park Apple Store five stars for their best practice of treating the customer right.

Last night, I finally got back to reporting on the Frankfort Lions Seventieth Anniversary party; only twelve hours off schedule.

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