Apple FUCKED me. Its true I helped. iBook battery wouldn't charge. Battery OK. AC adaptor OK. Must be the DC board. Very simple fix. Take it to the Apple store and they say it'll have to be shipped to Apple. Why? I don't know, they have a laptop repair guy on site. So they ask,
"Did you back up your hard drive?"
"No, why would I need to?"
"Apple might replace your drive."
"Why would they do that? The drive is fine. Its a simple DC board swap."
"Just in case, you probably want to back up your data."
"I don't have the room for it anywhere. Don't worry, they wouldn't replace the drive."
I've had, oh almost 10 repairs by Apple done now. Every time they've told me to back up the drive. Every time the conversation goes something like the above. This time -- get the computer back. Boot it up. Panther install screen. AUGH!! Look at the work order... they replaced the drive. Frantic call to AppleCare (got the world's calmest and nicest tech support guy) reveals that the technician noticed a ticking noise, figured the drive was about to fail and replaced it. Very nice and thourgh of him, but not so good for me.
Can I get the drive back? Almost assuradly not they tell me. The procedure for a drive replacement is to put all the broken drives into a big bin and every day ship that bin back to the manufacturer. So most likely my drive is at Toshiba and I'm unlikely to get it back out of their corporate maze. But there is hope. The repair was done by Flextronics, a shop in Tennessee, not Apple. Talked with a human there and they're talking with all the techs who handled my machine to see what happened to the drive.
There are two lessons here. One: backup your data before giving anyone else your machine. Two: never replace anyone's hard drive without asking. The first is for me. The second is for Apple. Apple Customer Deflection^WService's attitude was essentially "we told you so" and "it would cost too much to do otherwise". But both the AppleCare rep and the fellow at Flextronics asked if there was a note on the repair to not replace the drive. It sounds like if you put a note to that effect on the repair job they might stop and think before replacing the drive. This is something I'm going to suggest to the folks at my local Apple store. If the customer says they're not backed up, put a note on the repair not to replace the drive!
PS Certain really critical pieces, like my CVS repository, were backed up. Others, like my spam filter training database, were not so email is going to suck for about a month.
PPS Anyone want to suggest a cheap, reliable, external USB 2/Firewire drive or enclosure? Either in the 40 gig range for just backups or the 150 gig range for a little more than just backups.