Make way for a replacement Turing Test: you can always distinguish between artificial intelligence and a real human being by their reaction to a confession.
I discovered this during an experiment with the Sirian humanoid who now runs the Apple Store Customer Service.
The sequence of events started when I retired my trusty Mac Pro 8-core, back in 2012. In its place I have squeezed the massive and gorgeous 27” display of an i7 iMac, maxed out in every respect but without an internal SSD. Behind it hums, ever so softly, a Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt R4 RAID enclosure with each of its four slots containing a one terabyte drive.
Having abandoned hope of getting a new desktop system with USB 3 before Christmas 2012, the iMac 27” i7 was the only suitable option. I was slightly frustrated as the Apple Store did not, on this occasion, invite me to opt for an evening delivery. But with daytime delivery forecast for Friday, I needed no better excuse to take the day off.
My order for the iMac, RAID system, and a Thunderbolt cable would have been delivered a day early, had I been in, but was automatically re-delivered the following day. I grinned happily while signing for its receipt, and carried the three boxes inside. The iMac was first to be unpacked, and set up temporarily with a FireWire umbilical for migration from the Mac Pro. As it went through initialisation and updating, I opened the other boxes.
To my great surprise, instead of a Thunderbolt cable, I had been sent a second identical RAID system. I doubted that this was part of some spectacular but unannounced ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ deal, and in any case neither was of any immediate use, without the cable. Fearing the best, I located one on Amazon and paid extra for express delivery.
As FireWire Target mode was not migrating my 700 GB or so from the Mac Pro, I drove into town to pick up an external SATA enclosure, ask after Thunderbolt cables, and stock up on sushi for the weekend.
The local Maplin staff impressed with their knowledge of Thunderbolt, recalling that cables were listed in their new catalogue, but sadly had not then appeared on their ordering system. I returned with a neat little USB 3 SATA enclosure, USB 3/2 cable, and sushi (not from Maplin).
The Thunderbolt cable pitched up on Monday, and I set the first of my RAID enclosures on its claimed over 10 hour ‘synchronization’, which eventually took around 36 hours. There was still no sign of Apple’s Thunderbolt cable, nor any recognition that I had got a bit more than I had expected (or paid for).
It was then that I rang Apple Store Customer Service, and conducted a brisk, clear and efficient exchange with its Sirian voice. But all it seemed interested in doing was informing me that each of the items in my order had been delivered; it could not countenance my suggestions that anything else had been sent in error.
So there I was, enjoying every moment with the largest display and fastest RAID 5 system I have ever used. Time Machine performs its backups in seconds rather than minutes, and once I had got another Thunderbolt cable I could have launched the other Pegasus R4 on its long journey of synchronisation.
All my attempts to confess my good luck were rebuffed by the artificial intelligence at Customer Service. But before you flood me with pleas to share my fortune, I already had that sinking feeling that my son had made prior claim to the extra RAID, which he has used, rent-free, ever since.
Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 24, 2012. Despite publication there, no one came forward to reclaim the RAID system.