Friday, June 7, 2013

Back In Business

I had no idea how dependent I’d become on my computer until it stopped working last Friday. No, I wasn’t looking at porn when it happened; Mrs. Chatterbox and I were checking a site showing the controversial new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II when the screen suddenly went blank. Incidentally, it’s not the worst painting of the Queen I’ve seen and I disagree with critics who say she looks like Winston Churchill in drag.

 CJ, our son and technical guru, struggled to identify the problem, without success, and a technician at the Apple Repair Center made an appointment for me. I hadn’t realized how heavy my 24 inch IMAC was until I lugged it across a massive mall parking lot to the Apple Store. Zak, the tattooed technician assigned to me, repeatedly stroked his Herman Melville beard while trying to resuscitate my nonfunctioning baby. No go.
 Eventually, Zak said, “More than likely the problem is a damaged optical display cable. The cost of replacing it, including labor, will be $48. If that doesn’t work the hard drive probably needs to be replaced for around $500. Either way, parts for a computer this old will need to be specially ordered. Turn around time will be about a week. You’ve backed everything up on a portable USB drive disk, haven’t you?”
 Not knowing what he was talking about, I shook my head.    
 “Your data needs to be transferred and stored outside of your computer while we make repairs.”
 “How often does data get lost?”
 “Approximately thirty percent of the time.”
 “What will that set me back?”
 “Around a hundred bucks for the device and around thirty for labor.”
 I decided to take my chances and pass on backing up my files, but at the last minute I called CJ for an opinion on whether or not I should pay for the precaution of backing up my files. He reminded me, “Aside from your novels and posts, all of the pictures from your last five trips are stored in the computer. They could all be lost. Do you think you’ll ever go back to India and climb on a camel again?”
Hell No! I paid for the back-up.
On Wednesday Zak called with good news and bad news. “Which do you want first?” he asked.  
 “Give me the good news,” I said.
 “It was a problem with the optical display cable. The hard drive doesn’t need to be replaced.”
 Sounded good. “Okay, give me the bad news.”
“Well, it seems that one of our technicians accidentally drove his screwdriver through your display panel. A new one costs $600. But don’t worry. We’re going to replace it for free.”
 I thought of a lot of snarky things I could say, but I’d spent years in retail and hated it when customers tore me a new one over something I didn’t do or had no control over. This wasn’t Zak’s fault so I just asked when it would be ready.
 “We’ve put a rush on the panel. It should be delivered here tomorrow. You’ll have your computer repaired by Thursday at the latest.”
 I’m back now from picking up my computer and it’s working fine. I just rebooted and the site I was looking at  before being engulfed in this calamity has just popped up on my screen. Now that I’ve had another chance to look at it, the painting of Her Majesty does look a bit like Winston Churchill in drag!
        e told .


  1. It's good you're back online. I thought you were just taking another vacation or something. If there's one thing I like about Facebook it's that I can post my vacation photos there and have a copy of them in 'the cloud' in case my computer goes blooey.

  2. Three cheers for Apple! Glad it was something simple, and they fessed up to their mistake and made things right. (I doubt the $600 will put much of a dent in Apple's balance sheet. ;) Glad you're back.


  3. Thank God you're back. I thought you'd gotten lost on another trip to the great unknown. I'll have to check out that portrait of the Queen.


  4. It is striking how dependent we become on these machines.

    Glad you are back in business.

  5. I am glad to hear that the problem was fixed without too much blood being shed. I felt the same way when we found out that the surge protector our home computer was plugged into was not very good after lightning struck a little too close to home last summer.

  6. So the new display is like new glasses and you get a better resolution? I hate technology because when it goes down there is never an easy fix. I think you lucked out nicely, but probably should start saving for a new computer.

  7. Computer malfunctions are one of life's great annoyances! And they are always so unexpected! I have now subscribed to an online backup service called Livedrive, which costs what to me is a very reasonable $5.00 or so a month and gives me much more than that in piece of mind. It continually backs up your files whenever you are connected to the Internet. I used to have a portable hard drive that I used for backups -- until it malfunctioned and all the data on it was lost.

    Anyway, it's good to have you back as we all look forward to your posts and comments!

  8. Feeling your pain. My android tablet died during vacation and took four new chapters with it because I was too lazy to at least use e-mail as a backup. Brat had a extra MacBook Pro for the price of a battery. Oh that reminds me, I have an e-mail I need t send :)

  9. I tend to place computer repair guys in the same category as mechanics. I don't understand what they do, they could be overcharging me and I'd never know, and they patronise me because I'm a woman.

  10. The horror! I have a desktop and a laptop, but nary a backup for my data. Only a couple of flash drives with some writing. I need to ask my resident Genius about backing up my pictures, in case I ever have a hankerin' to look at a painting of Queen Winston Churchill.

  11. I know what you mean about being dependent on your computer. If mine went kerblooey, it would definitely suck. Now that I have a smart phone, I won't be completely SOL if it does. But typing with just one fingertip blows. But, I can type in bed, finish what I'm writing, then roll over and go to sleep. Like I'm just about ready to do right after I hit 'Publish.' Good night.

  12. It's so expensive to get anything done, it's discouraging!

  13. Welcome back, Stephen! Glad you didn't lose anything on the computer, and all is well.

  14. I think you got off lucky. Friends of ours had a hard drive catastrophe and needed special backup services that cost well more than $1000. Speaking of doing a backup ... yikes ... I should get on it.

  15. How does someone accidentally drive a screwdriver through a display panel? Arrgghh - I hate technology. And, yes, the word 'backup' makes me feel nervous, too ... I really should sort something.

  16. After going through all that, your perspective changed on the Queen shot, huh. I like how your son knew just the right words to say to get you to make the wise decision to back up your computer without giving you his opinion. That way you felt like it was your decision. Ha. I have an iMac about 6 years old and had to replace the hard drive two years ago. Since I am attached to this computer, it was worth it to have the work done, and I can relate to the carrying the computer to the store, only fortunately for me the Apple store was near the front of the mall.

  17. Yes we are addicted to computers. My smartphone is a nice fill-in.