I signed up for Apple Pro Care thinking that it would be a bargain to have their 1-on-1 consulting once a week. But it's been a disappointment so far. To be fair, I'm not the typical Pro Care guy.
A typical Pro Care person has money and doesn't know a lot about computers. They want assistance to get through the basics. I have a computer science degree. I'm a software engineer. By all rights, I should not need Pro Care.
Still, I find I don't learn software if I don't have to, and if I can have someone teach it to me, I'd rather learn in that way.
The problem is that the people I've met are not software types. I suppose those types end up doing software. Most of them are graphic artist types, those who might otherwise not have much income doing graphic arts, but are nerdy enough to use the Mac to help them out.
Of the four people I've had sessions with, only the first guy, who I met to talk about IPhoto was decent. The next two guys don't seem to have extensively used Keynote at all. This is one gripe I have with the way ProCare works.
Presumably, because of scheduling, it's hard to guarantee that you can meet a specific person. You can't even find out who you're going to get when you sign up online. It's not like Apple has a list of "pros" and their expertise, and their credentials. Thus, I was likely given whoever was available that had played with the software more than once.
There's a second problem with the 1-on-1. I don't think some of them have been trained to teach very well. I've done teaching before, and I have a sense of what I think is good or not, and it takes a lot to be good.
I'll give you an example. I wanted to learn about GarageBand to do podcasting. However, there was no way, when I signed up, to convey this information. As it turns out, the person who was supposed to do my session begged off and asked another guy to do it instead. He apparently teaches GarageBand for the Apple Store.
The bad news was that he knew very little about podcasting. He was more of a musician type and understood music features more.
Lucky for me, the Apple Store had invited Tee Morris as a special guest to talk about podcasting. Unlike the Pro Care guy, this guy actually podcasts for a living and has co-written a book on the topic. I had to spend a few hours at Tyson's though, since he was scheduled to talk at 1 and I was at the store at 9 AM.
Tee is a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy. He's written fantasy books. He's been an actor. He's a geek. I don't know how good he is at any of them, but he's certainly very capable as a presenter.
He showed us GarageBand and some of the tricks he uses to edit. He told us his opinion of "ducking" and how he prefers to edit volume himself. He talked about using clicking noises so he could mark errors while reading wave forms, and so forth.
This is the kind of practical experience that is highly useful to new podcasters, and the kind of information that was completely lacking in the 1-on-1 session. They really should tape it, make the employees of Apple who do Pro Care training, review and learn more about it.
I suppose if you get a good person, the Pro Care sessions might be worth it, but even though these folks know more than the average person working at a store, they really need even more training when it comes to ProCare. It's too bad the .mac website is also lacking. They have basics there, but nothing too sophisticated.
The lesson I learned? It's better to look for special guests and go during their sessions. They have more knowledge about the topic, and can give you inside information that the average Apple employee, who's generally ten times more capable than other store employees, can't.
I may still do some of these training sessions, but sadly, they're rather disappointing. Fortunately, there are other things that make up for it.
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