Monthly Archives: May 2018

TechRestore vs Online Classified Sites

Every so often, a customer will come to us with a device they purchased from an online classified site.

Although it seemed fine at first, there’s a problem:

  • During set up they discovered it is iCloud locked
  • There is some functionality problem (buttons not responding, won’t charge, touch screen is erratic)
  • It was working fine, then it suddenly died.
  • It won’t work on their network, even though it’s supposed to be unlocked for their carrier
  • They can’t get ahold of the seller again to unlock, explain or refund the purchase

Sometimes, we can help resolve these issues and occasionally we find some damage that cannot be fixed. We hate being the bearers of news like this. Some of these problems can be avoided, but many people don’t know how to get their Apple device ready for resale. 

There is no completely reliable way to check iCloud lock without the device in hand.  Apple had an online tool to verify iCloud status on their site until early 2017 when it was suddenly taken down (presumably it was being used for nefarious purposes). There are other online checkers, but the best way to check it is to go through set up.

There is no easy way to confirm what network a phone will work on. Most late model phones (iPhone 5 and later) were unlocked when they were released, but some networks “lock” them once they are activated. Even if you call with the IMEI number, you can get different answers depending on who you talk to. “Jailbreaking” an iPhone can also lead to hardware issues.

Water damage can sometimes take a while to show up. We’ve done thousands (upon thousands) of iPhone repairs over the years, so we’ve really seen everything. Sometimes water (or soda or whatever) does its damage right away and the device never comes back. Often, corrosion occurs over time and shows up as little functional issues followed by a big collapse. The same is true when a device has been dropped over and over. Each drop shakes up the inside a little bit and eventually, something comes loose or breaks.

Of course, there are the other cautions of online classified private party sales. Whether you’re buying or selling, each site will have some safety tips so you don’t end up a headline on the evening news. Most of them are common sense but being overly cautious is usually better than being over trusting.

Watch this video and see if you can relate. We think it (hilariously, over-dramatically) perfectly describes what it’s like to buy something from an online classified (in this case, Craigslist).

Compared to how many transactions are conducted through these sites, the likelihood of having a problem is relatively low, but even one bad experience can turn you off to it forever. The ones we hear about, of course, are the bad ones.

At TechRestore, you can always buy and sell with confidence. No shady terms, no hassle returns if there is a problem.  We’ve been delivering quality repair and sales experiences (even on online classified sites!) for over 14 years. 

Our devices undergo a 25 point inspection by an Apple Certified Technician to become “Certified Restored”. They look and act like new. We stand behind them with a 90 day (extendable) warranty, too. 

Our store is brightly lit, staffed with friendly, knowledgeable staff and open at convenient hours! If you’re not local, we offer several shipping options for most products. We’re happy to answer questions and even help with set up if you need it.

We pay 10% more than Apple or Simply Mac for  devices you’re ready to sell! You can either bring a quote from them or we’ll show you on their site how much they would offer. We’ll even recycle unusable or no value devices for free! We adhere to a “no landfill environmental policy” (we have a verifiable, certified downstream).

What else can we say? We LOVE MACS! We use them, repair them, sell them and buy them. Come check us out and you’ll see our prices are fair and our quality is outstanding.

Artificial Intelligence in Its Place

Over 39 million adults in the U.S. use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their everyday life. Siri, Google, smart speakers, appliances, cars; the list goes on and on. AI is everywhere. It predicts the weather, customizes what ads we see online and even what shows up in our social media news feed. It has become so commonplace we automatically use it and hardly notice.

Artificial Intelligence is the science and engineering of intelligent machines that can make predictions based on computer programs and data collection.

Talos

Though it is now more integrated than ever, AI is not a new concept. Even in Greek mythology intelligent machines sparked the imagination. Hollywood has long enjoyed playing on our fears that rogue computers will betray and enslave mankind (H.A.L.Matrix). It’s no wonder the line between special effects and reality is increasingly blurred.

We are infatuated with the potential of technology and we know there’s almost nothing it can’t accomplish.

Right now, at MIT, technology is being developed that can “read thoughts” by sensing the muscle movements in your jaw. Perhaps more amazing, researchers in Japan have successfully “decoded” thoughts with deep learning – generating pictures of thoughts! (Incredibly cool, but don’t use it on me! Right?) Both projects have mostly humanitarian ideals and will certainly go on as practical and useful applications.

Whether life imitates art or vice versa, there is cause for concern.

Tom Cruise in “Minority Report”

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, cautions that AI is potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons to mankind. Since the best way to predict the future is to invent it, he and others sponsor OpenAI, a non-profit research company that aims to develop AI technology safely. The long term focus is on positive human impact and “setting AI free“.  To summarize: they believe putting development and technology in the hands of many will prevent it from being misused by a few (check out the site for their complete vision and mission statement). In other words, we can’t (and we shouldn’t) stop it, but we can (and we must) at least control this key time in its development.

Are they right?

While we’d like to believe it would be very obvious AI has gone “too far“, it’s more likely we won’t notice. For now, companies will continue to implement it into our daily experience (hello, magic mirror, one-click checkout, GPS, streaming music service, refrigerators, vacuums, nightlights, you name it). Our responsibility is to make sure we enjoy – but not depend too heavily on – AI. Be aware that you are using it. Siri and Alexa, for example, are wonderful assistants, but don’t forget they are also collecting data every time we speak to them.

Apple is actively developing Siri to be more natural. Deep learning networks map your preferences and habits. While computers are learning to talk like us, our conversation skills are declining. The way this tech will continue to impact our lives is very exciting. Really, isn’t AI supposed to make our lives better and save time? Well, save time and spend time wisely – invest in your analog life and the organic world around you!

 

While taking pride in Natural Intelligence, we’ll admit to depending on our devices as much as anyone (see what we did there? Natural – Artificial … nevermind).

Until computers learn to clean themselves, they will still be dependent on us! With that in mind, we’d like to remind you about our Spring Cleaning Special which offers inside and out cleaning to put some zip back in your Mac. You can even add an external hard drive back up to keep your documents and photos safe. This special runs now through June 21st (click link for details).

TechRestore also offers 10% discounts for all military (active or Veteran) and First Responders all day, every day! Thank you for your service!