Thursday, April 21, 2022

Rustomers: Do I Call The Cops or The Jops?

My name is Rus.

Here's one of many crazy IT customer stories from over the years as an Apple Tech.

The first 3 installments are published here:

You Better Do What The Boss Says
The bMac 

Back in mid-2005, I started working for a computer repair shop as their Authorized Apple “Repair Guy”. I worked there for a little over a year.  I had invested financially in the business with the hopes to expand Apple repair in my area and implement a unique wireless internet technology they had exclusive rights to.  
After having served as the manager of an Apple Store and being an Apple Genius at two other Apple Stores, I was trying to help Apple scout out a location for my home area. After multiple attempts to get them to my town and failing, I finally decided to open my own business. I needed to start out small and work my way up. So, I began with this new business. My desire - at a later date - I would open a new branch in a different location in town that solely focused on Apple repair. At the same time, I would be an exclusive internet provider to my Apple customers.
Besides Best Buy & a CompUSA store, the location was - with me - one of two brick & mortar locations that did authorized Apple service within 100+ miles. I had previously served as CompUSA's  authorized Apple Tech, so I took a lot of their customers with me as they had a very poor reputation otherwise. The local CompUSA ended up closing less than two years after I left. Best Buy, in my town, also had a pretty bad reputation for computer repair. A few other  notable repair places had closed or contracted in size, so Apple sent most of their authorized repairs to my location. 
This meant that the location I was working at was the only business that wasn't a large national chain that was doing Apple Authorized Service Repair.
One day, a customer comes in and I happened to be running the check-in at the front desk. He put a rather unusual looking Apple laptop on the counter and asked if we "worked on these". I said, "Yes we do and I happen to be the Apple guy." He explained that he had recently moved, that his laptop had been in storage for a bit, and he forgot his password. He asked if I could "get in and reset the password, or just remove it."
Most computer repair techs know that usually this is code for "I stole this laptop or obtained it nefariously and I want to use it for myself or sell it, can you break into it for me so I can continue my criminal plan."
I said, "Sure, I can look at it, do you have the power adapter?
He said, "No I need to buy a new one, my dog chewed through the wire on my old one."
I didn't let on that this was getting more and more suspicious

I am thinking to myself: "Really? You're gonna give me the dog chewed through the wire bit?"

 I proceeded, "I've got one, I'll just use mine."
 He said, "How much to buy a new power cord?"
I assured, "When I get it repaired, I'll sell you a used one for $40 added onto your service of $85."
He said, "Oh, you can't just do it right now? You're my Apple guru, you can do it right now licketty split. I have confidence in you."

I wanted to say, "I have just 'con' in you. I need 24 hours and I'll have it by tomorrow afternoon."

(I left off the first part)  He agreed. I did however ask him to fill out the paperwork for check-in. 
He said, "Oh I trust you with it, I'll just pay cash tomorrow when I pick it up."
I said, "Ok. Then I need at least a first name and phone number."

He wrote it down on the checkout form.

I said, "You know what, I'll just do it for the cost of the power adapter,
but I don't have that here - so I'll have it ready first thing after 1PM tomorrow."

He exited the door and I immediately pulled out a power adapter and startup CD. I removed the password and rebooted. I doubt his back tire had rolled over the last of the pavement in the parking lot before I had it completed.

The laptop booted up to an excel spreadsheet - contained on it were sales figures from Apple Educational Sales. Also, next to that the notes application with "Note from Steve: If you need to close the sale, I'll make it happen. Call me at ***-***-****."

I proceeded to look at the contacts. The computer owner was listed as a known local Apple Executive. I proceeded to browse through the contacts. The Steve number was STEVE JOBS! A personal/private number. OMG!
I shouted out pretty loudly, "I can't believe this."
The Boston accent, manager of the business said, 
    "What is it Apple Guy?

Did Steve Jops just give ya a promotion?"

I said, "No, but I do have his phone number now."

Everyone gathered around me at the front desk. We each were in awe!

I told them my suspicions about the laptop and we discussed how to handle it. I told them I wanted to contact the owner of the laptop first and ask him how to proceed.

I went back to the contacts. 


I won’t lie, I wrote a few down: Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Jonathan Ive, and of course, the owner.

I turned the laptop off and turned it over. 


The label on the bottom had a “DVT sticker” on it meaning that it was an Apple prototype. 

I decided to open it up. The specs were to say the least - extraordinary on the Apple side. But what was more interesting was the specs of the optical drive. The optical drive wasn’t there. Instead, there was a blue board with an Intel Core Duo processor on it. There were wired leads going to places all over the PowerPC side of the laptop. Take into account that this was mid-2006 - six months before Jobs would announce to the world that Apple was switching to Intel processors.

I put the laptop back together and rebooted it. I couldn’t figure out how to boot Windows or figure out how to use the daughter card. I checked the Apple System Profiler. It stated 2.87Ghz G4. (I now think that it may have actually been booting off of the Intel processor and masking a G4 to the OS.)

I felt strange messing with everything much more. I shut it down. At 6:30PM, I called the owner. As discovered, it was an Apple Executive - someone my best friend actually knew. (Yes I told my friend before calling the owner to tell him the amazing story.)

The owner was relieved. He said he had just moved into a new house and it was missing from the move. He asked me how I got it. I told him the name of the person that brought it in and gave him a description. He said that was the head of the moving company his family had hired for his move.

I offered to meet him at a local coffee shop to give him his laptop back.

After the exchange, and buying me coffee, he expressed that he wanted to press charges against the thief. I asked if I could check with my business associates as to how they’d like to proceed. 

The next day, I set up with the City Police a basic sting. I’d call, saying the laptop was ready for pickup, he’d come in, I’d say the magic words, “Glad I was able to get this fixed.” (if and only if I could discern that there was no weapon or no harm would come to me) and police would swarm from the back and arrest the suspect. 

The suspect came through the door. (I had moved several boxes to the top of the counter and other boxes blocking the only route to behind the counter.)

He got about halfway to the counter and I said, 


“Glad I was….” 


I didn’t  get the rest of the sentence out. With guns drawn, police officers swarmed the suspect. It was rather funny. Everyone in their offices were doing a very poor acting job “to not notice”.  The suspect, instead of giving me an evil look, gave me the “I coulda cut you in on this” nod and then a smile.

After the cuffs went on, everyone came out of their office.

The owner said, 


Steve Jops needs to give the Apple guy here a promotion!

The End.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

The Cat & Mouse Game with The LogiTech G602 Gaming Mouse & why you'll never be able to pair it

Recently, I picked up a Logitech G6 (G602) gaming mouse.It didn't have a USB dongle or adapter with it. I thought I'd take a risk for $2, take it home and attach it to my ANYPOINT receiver with the Logitech Connection Utility Software and have an awesome mouse. 

I also assumed since it had a switch on the top that turned a light on from green to blue that it worked off a receiver and bluetooth. So, if the receiver didn't work for some reason, I'd just pair it via bluetooth. Right?

The interesting thing is that the Logitech Connection Utility will give an error when you power cycle to pair the mouse.

The Logitech Connection Utility (or the ANYpoint pairing utility) works simply. Just open the application and power cycle the mouse with the switch on the Logitech device.

Well, after 4 hours of sorting through forums and emailing Logitech support, I came up with the problem that doesn't seem answered straightforwardly anywhere on the internet. I'm not sure why the Logitech website doesn't just state this outright.



I don't care what you read elsewhere or what some hack website says. This mouse cannot be paired with any other dongle except the original. It has a proprietary 500mhz single channel dongle. This is done to increase response time and to prevent interference. To repeat, this is not a software issue. It's not a bad/broken mouse issue either. (Although these mice did have a pretty high failure rate apparently.)

The funny thing is, the most popular - #1 search term - for this mouse is a YouTube video from a user named "Three Beer Minimum" that states in a roundabout way that all you have to do is use an older version of the Logitech Connection Utility with an ANYpoint receiver and it's that simple. I honestly think this may be a "hit whore post" or a joke. I can't tell ... maybe the channel name is a clue.

The official response from Logitech is ... 

"... this is NOT a bluetooth mouse, and it can only connect to the original receiver that came with the mouse (or a replacement 500mhz g602 SPECIFIC USB receiver. This mouse will not pair with an Anypoint receiver"

Hopefully you stumbled on this page before you spent your time or money, or both on figuring out this issue.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Why We Want & Need Digital IDs …

Apple, along with a few states are starting to roll out Digital Driver’s Licenses. As with any major shift in safety, and as with automobile seat belts in the 70s & 80s - a lot of misinformation is being spread throughout the internet and on social media. Confusion  about how Digital IDs will work, how supposedly easy the system will lead to law enforcement abuse and voter fraud are among the chief concerns.
The current ID system is broken and outdated. It’s easily faked, forged, and hacked. With most states going to National ID but not enforcing all safety measures, a stanadards based ID could be a big safety net, rather than a problem. Similar looking people can possess real, current state issued IDs.  Mag strip readers are easy to obtain. Anything visual or in card form can be reproduced. However, if the license were tied to 256bit encryption over RFID with no touching of the phone by either party - that’s what I’d call  “the most secure solution”. Also, the phone market is so competitive that if in an unlikely scenario it is abused - competitors will make 100% sure it’s national news that “the other company’s system” failed.
While we need to question new technology and can't just accept it under "it's easier"  - we also have to accept that this is the next convenience and innovation that smartphones can provide us.

For those who would like more detail on how this technology works and the benefits of it visit:

Monday, March 01, 2021

Hard to find information about solar tax credits and why getting the tax credit may be hard to get

I’ve been researching solar panel installation; in particular, a Tesla solar roof.

A big misconception about solar installs is the federal tax credit.

Before I continue, I want to make sure that anyone reading this realizes that I’m not a tax advisor.

That said:

The typical solar panel install nets about $7000 in potential tax credits.

If you get a refund, YOU CAN NOT TAKE A TAX CREDIT
If your standard deduction is higher than the “form 5695 residential energy tax credit” - combined with your other deductions, you can’t take a solar tax credit either 
Tax credits only work to reduce your tax liability (what you owe). 

If you OWE money to the IRS, ie $3500. You can bust a $7000 credit up over 2 years by carrying credits to the next year. In other words. $3500 on your 2020 taxes and $3500 on your 2021 taxes.

Realize, that if you have a typical home mortgage and make less than $75,000 a year, and are married filing jointly, it is likely your standard deduction of $24,200 exceeds most case scenarios unless you have a home business with more than $18,000 in OTHER QUALIFYING  tax deductions.

Also realize that NO DEDUCTIONS ` even if you qualify in combination with your liability or deductions come if you lease your panels. A lot of companies like SunRun and Vivint lease panels. Many of these companies will claim to give you a rebate after the install of $2500 or so. They are giving you a part of the 26% tax credit THEY are going to receive for your install.

From every unbiased source I’ve seen and the hundreds of customer reviews I’ve read, it’s not a good idea to lease your panels - even considering that this method is one way of “getting some cash back”.

Leasing solar panels dramatically reduces the value of your house, and it’s highly likely that your next home buyer won’t want to take over your contract. Know that if you terminate a solar panel contract - you owe 100% of the solar install immediately. While most “solar lease companies” claim they won’t put a lien against your home but they will do what’s known as a UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filing
No title company will approve the sale of your home until you’ve cleared up a solar financing/lease bill.

↑ losses from clearing UCC claims CANNOT be recovered through taxes. Meaning, you can’t claim a loss on your taxes or any associated attorney fees with a UCC claim - even if you had attorney fees as part of your other business deductions.

I hope this made a little more sense if you were confused about this as I have been. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to help.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The 2nd Pitch: Apple Should Buy Aptera

First, I want to make it clear that I’ve been asking for Apple to make a car since before Apple was considering making a car.

See my June 25, 2008 post:

Apple: The Only Company Capable Of Revolutionizing The Car Market

Consider now vs 2006 - before the iPhone but at iPod peak.

If entering the car market - Apple whose expertise is now quality at scale wouldn’t have to design or build a combustible engine. With materials and manufacturing advances in just the last 5 years, Apple wouldn’t have to assemble complex chassis. Apple could make a car design unlike any other on the road, powered unlike any vehicle ever built.

Combustible engines at scale are the single greatest obstacle and near impossibly insurmountable - even if a new car company outsourced it. An electric motor on the other hand is easy to build and has room for innovation. 

Volkswagen CEO Diess ‘Not Afraid’ of an Apple Electric Car”:
Germany’s Volkswagen is not concerned by any Apple plans for a passenger vehicle that could include the iPhone maker’s battery technology, its chief executive Herbert Diess said. […]
“The car industry is not a typical tech-sector that you could take over at a single stroke,” Diess was quoted as saying an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. “Apple will not manage that overnight,” he added.
While Apple’s plans are not public, Diess said its intentions as such were “logical” because the company had expertise in batteries, software and design, and that it had deep pockets to build on these competencies.
“Still, we are not afraid,” he said.
This is the reason the big players & even Tesla are facing a hard “to market” proposition. A car can be made electric with a whole lot less “factory” than a combustible engine and traditional styling & assembly. The “big guys” are looking at it from a traditional way. Apple innovates.

Electric cars can essentially be sourced for parts like chips, glass, camera lenses, and  batteries for phones and ironically even exploit a lot of the same parts as phones.

VW makes traditional cars. Aptera is making an out of the box design that doesn’t require huge manufacturing facilities. An obstacle is infrastructure to build. 

VW would want standard charging when solar is likely the innovation needed. VW wants SUVs and sedans. If a car were to fix range anxiety, be able to go 1000 miles on a single charge - enhanced by solar - and retain styling - Apple would quickly see demand.

Apteras are made easily scalable vs Tesla. Tesla, despite what sycophants push is a traditional car company & are made at great expense. Aptera is a molded unibody design & solar charge enhanced. They have the least possible drag coefficient that no other design can match. That bears repeating. No other design for a vehicle would EVER be able to surpass the design of the Aptera. Maybe a tweak here or there, but the design is as refined for wheel to the road vehicle as you can get. The body is as lightweight but rigid for safety as you can get. The interior is as space efficient as you can get. The technology is here and ready.

One may could argue that they don’t like how it looks. You’d lack taste if you said that but it is a fair argument none the less. What you can’t argue is getting any more aerodynamic or efficient of a design and more importantly- a build than the Aptera.

What exactly is Apple waiting on or are they waiting until the last minute to reveal they’ve been behind Aptera all along?

Friday, February 05, 2021

Why I switched to Verizon and you should too

1) Since the AT&T acquisition of DirecTV - then subsequently Warner Entertainment, AT&T has dropped in both quality of customer service and network availability. It is near impossible to get an issue worked out within an hour.

2) AT&T gives HBOMAX/Warner content as a monthly bonus to subscribers. AT&T owns CNN and is guiding its content. Similarly with HBOMAX. CNN is an outright propaganda network. It’s undeniable, even if you have left leaning politics, you know they regularly peddle misinformation for ratings. HBOMAX runs shows like (Emmy winning) Euphoria - a show that literally glamorizes teen drugs, teen rape, and family dysfunction. It’s a horrible show. Horrible. I repeat thrice; horrible. I’m sad that Warner owns Bugs Bunny and DC super heroes. Since AT&T acquired Warner - their content has gotten more aggressive and spiritually abusive.

3) The Verizon app and Verizon customer service. The Verizon app is easy to navigate & understand. AT&T’s app is a mixture of online & offline and accesses servers in weird ways. It’s hard to find what you need and is outdated. Verizon customer service is USA based. They are quick to resolve issues. They’re thorough and they follow up. AT&T has a system where a customer service rep will tell you one thing then an AI system will go in within 48 hours and “re-resolve” your issue to what corporate guidelines are.

4) I originally got BellSouth Mobility > Cingular >> AT&T because it started out as a GSM network. This technology was far superior to Verizon & Sprint CDMA technology. With the advent of LTE, this difference no longer matters. Since November 2020, Verizon is now on a superior 5G network than AT&T.Verizon is the leader in coverage and speed despite any claim in a commercial you see otherwise. All unbiased ratings of cell service agree.

5) Included Apple Music & DisneyPlus. I never thought I would enjoy these as much as I do. I do like owning my music more than subscription, but now I have access to 10s of 1000s more songs at any time without spending any extra. The best thing is that artists get paid for every listen. As for DisneyPlus- it’s been well worth it just to see The Mandelorian. DisneyPlus is way better than Netflix in my opinion and certainly more wholesome than HBOMAX.

6) I’m a former Apple employee who appreciates the quality of Apple products: Apple partnered with AT&T for the original iPhone. They have now officially partnered with Verizon as of November 2020 for phones and cell networks going forward.

I’m familiar with other cell providers. TMobile is good. I believe they’ll become even better with the acquisition of Sprint. (Even though Sprint/Boost has horrible customer service- I see that changing.) TMobile has great cellular internet values. 

Everyone else is pretty much a rebrand of the top 3 providers.  (The proper term is MVNO = Mobile Virtual Network Operator) Rebrands are cheaper because they expect you to be on your own, using the basics, never complaining. Most people I talk to are happiest with the Verizon MVNOs like PagePlus.

If you’re using all of your benefits, I believe Verizon is the champion as far as price too. All networks are roughly the same $75+tax for unlimited. If you add the value of DisneyPlus, Apple Music, and a $3-$5 gift card to your favorite places every month. I think consistently Verizon gives the best value.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Thoughts on The Purge: Social Media & Parler

Thoughts on the Parler take down:

First, it should be addressed that social media shouldn’tve suspended any Trump account. This act alone has ignited a fire so hot that I anticipate (2) outcomes:

1) A loony far-right person to do something really stupid - like the December 2020 Nashville bomber or the crazier side of the capitol raid in January 2021.

2) A loony far-left group like Antifa to do or to stage something and blame it on “the whole right of center”

I don’t appreciate tech companies playing with shareholder sentiment. Everyone has free speech & that includes individuals at companies, but it should stop at the individual.

As for the Parler take down. I’m for it.

I’m for it being erased from the internet. I’m for not even being able to resolve as a domain.

Parler is an example of the overstepping of boundaries of free speech.  It is the shouting fire in theaters example.

Parler literally is/was hosting conversations with open KKK forums.

There are interesting conversations there but the majority is crazy, nonsensical contrails/Q conspiracy talk spattered with respectable people trying to “legitimize” an alternative outlet on social media.

Parler is a dangerous precedent. It’s the modern Larry Flynt argument. “No matter how perverse, it should be allowed.”

This is contrary to the Constitution & true liberty lovers know it. If you believe in the concept of liberty - you must keep your private matters - private. Private matters are not for public consumption.

We have a responsibility if we want to command respect from others - to patronize each other with dignity and for business to treat ALL of our fellow man with respect. Being a part of a forum that literally promotes everything from Nazism to contrails climate change origins is wrong. In your heart, you know it.
Don’t fall for the secular lie that “respect is earned”. Everyone, including your enemies, deserve respect & kindness in your temperament. EVERYone - has a natural right to peaceful interactions of protest with you in public (this includes the public square of the internet).

I’ve seen this quote from Game Of Thrones author George R. R. Martin being bandied on Twitter: 

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

To frame the argument by a more respectable author:

Matthew 18:8 says::
“Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.”
I’d rather have a voice in heaven than a voice on Parler.

The Parler removal has led to 1000s stating they are dumping Apple products. 

Know this, Samsung (and other Apple competitors spanning decades) are  LOVING - if not provoking - crap about Apple on social media right now. They always amplify bad news about Apple. ALWAYS. Please don’t be a pawn in a game of corporate espionage chess.

In the end, don’t throw away everything for Parler. In broader terms, don’t fall for manipulation by extremist right wing media outlets & their crazy staff or any online personality or “influencer” right, left, moderate, or otherwise,

 Read more. 
  Listen more.  
   Respect more. 

This will win the war. 
This is how to win The Purge. 
Now what night of the year is that on again?