Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Cult of Mac or Why I'll Never Buy Another Windows Computer

This is the iMac G5 that I bought 3 years ago.

I used to think that people who bought Apples were assholes. I heard all the stories about how they were easier and more user friendly. I thought it was hype. I thought it was for people who liked style over function.

Then I began looking for a computer for my wife, and the simplicity thing became an issue. She pretty much hates the computer because it intimidates her. My search coincided with the release of the iMac G5. I fell in love with it... the simple, clean form factor. So I bought one.

In the time that I have owned it, I have had exactly three problems with it. The first was an issue with my non Apple wireless router that I had used with my Windows laptop. For some reason, I couldn't get a decent signal on the iMac and it would constantly hang. I called Applecare and they recommended an Apple Airport... of course, right? But as soon as I bought and installed it, I had no problems connecting with the iMac or the Windows laptop.

The next problem was a little more serious. The fan kept running... really loud and all the time. When it powered on it sounded like a jet engine spooling up. Then it started shutting down by itself. Often. And it started occurring more and more frequently. Finally it shut off altogether and wouldn't power up.

As you would guess, it was about 6 months out of warranty and I don't have the extended Applecare. I checked the Apple forums and discovered that there was an existing issue with some iMacs where faulty logic boards were causing them to overheat and shut down. Sure enough, I called Apple support and they told me that even though my iMac was out of warranty, they would still replace the logic board for free. An $800 part... free. I took it in to the closest Apple authorized service center (a CompUSA) and it was fixed in two days. Good as new. Actually, better than new.

Last week I noticed the iMac was off during the day. I powered it back up and a couple of hours later I noticed it was off again. I powered it up again and I also noticed a lot of lines in the lcd like it was getting some kind of electronic interference. It crapped out again shortly after.

I called up Apple. It's been over a year since I had the logic board replaced, so I figured I was SOL and was looking at buying a new iMac. Eventually. When my family didn't have to eat or be kept from freezing anymore. I explained my problem and explained the similarity to the previous problem I'd experienced. It was immediately escalated to a G5 iMac specialist who had me run a utility and check the data log. He told me it was the power supply that was failing.

"Shit," I thought to myself and started to look up prices for a replacement. But he told me that the power supply should have been replaced when it was brought in for the original service (CompUSA's screw up) and that it would be replaced for free at any Apple Store. I set up an appointment on Monday and it was done by Tuesday.

And that is why there is a cult of Mac... and why I am now a part of it. I'm officially a convert now. When my laptop finally dies, or becomes so useless that it needs to be replaced, I will buy an Apple laptop. I'll be replacing the iMac in the next year or so and this one will be bestowed upon Fletcher and Blythe for Webkins and games. Are Apples expensive? Yeah. But good customer service is so rare these days that when you find a company that provides it... consistently... and beyond the period where they are reasonably obligated to, you stick with them.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Halloween circa 1978


For the last couple of weeks Blythe has been talking about her friend "Sara". At first we weren't sure if it was one of her classmates, but after we were informed that she lived in our house we figured she was either an imaginary friend or a ghost. And since Fletcher is our first defense against spirits and he hasn't raised the alarm yet it had to be an imaginary friend.

Sara is a wunderkind... She has all the coolest toys and can stay up late. She rides a horse and has unicorn wallpaper. She has eyes that light up at night and she poops rainbows. She doesn't have to eat fish or vegetables and subsists on yogurt, cheese sticks and orange juice.

The other day I came home and Blythe told me that Sara was, in fact, here and she wanted to introduce me. I assumed that I would have to carry on a conversation with the thin air for a couple of minutes, but low and behold I found her little golem, Sara in the corner of the living room.

Tea towel $ 1.00
Disney nightgown $ 9.00
bead necklace $ .50
Manfrotto tripod $230.00

Crossdressing Star Wars battle droid imaginary friend... Priceless.

Escape from Massachusetts

Monday morning I got in an accident in my truck. I was going around 40-45 on the turnpike during a snowstorm and hit an icy patch on a slight downgrade. I managed to slide from the right lane, nearly hit the right guardrail, cross over to the left guardrail, bounce off and come back across and hit the right guardrail. I felt pretty relieved as I didn't hit too hard and figured there was little damage.

That was when the Penske truck hit me.


It caved in the rear passenger door and quarter panel... knocked me sideways quite a way too. My lower back is hurting, as is my neck. But after all of that I still think I dodged a bullet.

As another driver was getting into the tow truck with me, I looked out of the windshield and noticed some debris in the road. Then I saw the plow trucks, and the semi, and the long strip of the left guardrail that was missing. Apparently, a semi came around the corner just as a couple plow trucks came out of an access road right behind us. They pulled out into the right lane that the truck was in. The semi driver tried to avoid them by going further right into the breakdown lane... where we were. He saw us and turned back to the left... and slammed into the left guardrail and the back of one of the plows. He hit it so hard that it destroyed his front axle and knocked one of his fuel tanks off. If he hadn't made that split-second decision, or if he'd jacknifed his trailer, I wouldn't be writing this right now.

I met him afterward. He admitted that he was driving 55... too fast for the conditions and road. The State Policeman threw the book at him and he's probably been fired from his job by now. On the one hand, I'm pissed that he was driving so fast, but it's tempered by the fact that it wasn't all his fault and his quick action probably saved my life.

If you're driving in the snow and rain, drive a little slower than what you "think" is safe.

And if your job doesn't close, or open later due to inclement weather, you tell them to go fuck themselves. Stay home and play with your kids.


I went and picked up my truck with the tow truck today. The pictures don't seem to do it justice... or justify how sore I've been. But it's enough damage that it can't be fixed, at least not cheaply enough to make it worthwhile. And it would never be the same. I feel pretty good about the licking it took, though. Blythe's car seat was on that side and it didn't move a bit.

What a bitch.