April 12, 2013

And Then the Computer Died

In our last Brickmuppet adventure:
I noted that I was dealing with a fragment of a kidney stone that my recent surgery was unable to remove, a related infection, and a kidney that was painfully restarting after having been blocked for some months prior to the surgery. I'll be fine in a day or so, but...

I got up this morning, bled myself, crawled into the chair and cut on the computer. The screen lit up white...and then went black. I did this 4 more times. Then I noted that the keyboard lights indicated that the machine was on...as did the noises from the iMac itself. I was dealing with a dead monitor. Normally this would be no biggie. Any normal person could just run it through another monitor. I, however, am not a normal person, but rather one of those thumbless untermenchen who are helpless before this most simple of fixes.

I am an iMac user

....and the simplicity and beauty of the integrated-all-in-one iMac was biting me on the backside.

Ghaahh... I was having to bleed myself every 30 minutes.
But I NEED the computer if I am going to have ANY chance to catch up on the impossible amount of homework, papers and make-up I have accrued over the last week and a half (and the netbook won't talk to the ODU system).
I made a decision. 
There was an infinitesimal chance I could get the machine fixed today. There is a very reputable Mac dealer/ repair shop a tad over 25 minutes away...They are not open on weekends
This would be CLOSE.
I waited until 09:30 for the rush hour traffic to disperse. I then bled, packed up the iMac in it's awesomely designed iMac box, loaded it into the car,  bled myself again, then hopped in the car with my emergency containment unit (just in case). I zipped away at exactly the speed limit.

And then the Berkley Bridge opened.

....And I sat and I sat and I perspired and it began to rain and I looked desperately at the emergency containment unit...but...

I my haste I had neglected to pack a coat or a blanket or a towel to conceal the utilization of the emergency containment unit and I was surrounded by cars, including at least one SUV with a bunch of little girls in it.

And then the rain began to really come down.

So I was all like...

Finally, the bridge closed.....I zipped along at exactly the speed limit and contemplated getting  off to use some fast food joint's restroom, but that part of town between the tunnel and my exit is not an area one wants to park for any length of time with a delightfully industrially engineered and beautifully labelled iMac box in ones back seat. So I squirmed and drove exactly the speed limit to my exit and...


Fortunately, I was able to turn into an industrial park, take a back road and get to Mac Specialists at 4772  Euclid Road in Virginia Beach.

Mac Specialists (formally Connecting Point) is one of, if not the oldest Apple stores in Virginia. It was set up as a computer sales and repair store and school back in 1980 and has been a Apple only establishment for most of that time. The store had an excellent reputation for service and greatly hyped Apple widgets in Southeastern Virginia for three decades. The store is no-nonsense and no frills but all service.  When Apple started its own line of hipster oriented, gorgeously designed, snobtacular stores staffed with vapid, beatnik. cult members, it threw the mom and pop shops (that had built the Apple brand for years) to the wolves. Apple cut them off from ordering new machines. Apple even opened an Apple store in the Best Buy across the street from Mac Specialists.

That was several years ago and Mac Specialists is still there, having persevered via sheer excellence in the quality of their repair work, Mac training and customer service. These qualities were made all the more glorious by the stark contrast to the customer service and expertise at the Best Buy across the street. I gather that Apple got complaints....I further gather that there were rather a lot because Jobs some years ago allowed Mac Specialists to start ordering and selling (but not displaying) Apple products. It's a store with NOTHING on display....but if someone wants to order an Apple they can walk in sit down, describe what they want and the parts will arrive...assembled.

Which is how I got Holo, my iMac.

The store does a bang-up job on repairs as well, when my iMac was struck by lightning some years ago they fixed it and saved the data. I've upgrade the machine to a two TB drive through them. Their bills are itemized minute by minute, part by part. The owner is extremely knowledgeable and still gives classes on using Apple products. The owner,  John Crow is a former Brown-Shoe who flew an A-6 Intruders. He is courteous and ethical and I have been thoroughly impressed every time I've been there.

He also let me use his bathroom.

Thus bled, I fled and hightailed it home the long way so as to avoid the evil tunnel/bridge combination.

I got home,  ran into the bathroom and as I stood there I heard the phone ring in the other room...Now, no one EVER calls me and this gave me the opportunity to reflect upon the fact that in the event anyone does I probably should not have the SpeedyCake mix of Seniorita as my ring tone.

Soon after, I picked up the phone an checked my messages, it was Mac Specialists. The computer was ready.

I hobbled outside, hobbled back in, grabbed a blanket, hobbled to the car and drove back to Virginia Beach.

I was informed that it was a really odd problem, but it was so interesting they were able to learn something. It seems to have been some kind of permissions problem in that the backlight for the screen was...denied permission to be on.

There was NO WAY to find this out at home but hooking it up to a disagnostic set up allowed them to determine it wasn't a hardware issue right away. When they figured out the problem they couldn't believe it and tested it 19 times before deciding that this bizarre thing had happened. It took them 17 minutes and  they decided to write it off as a "Whut!?" So my bill was naught.

More importantly, they let me use the bathroom.

I raced home, barely beating the Friday rush hour traffic. Along the way I alternated the radio between my MP3s and Rush Limbaugh who was...non-political today as today was one of his charity radiothons; this time for Leukimia. It was facts and figures and science in Rush's voice, but no news and almost no commentary.

Anyway, I made it home, bled and then set up the computer...Unable to make it through the tunnel during rush hour in my condition, I used MY COMPUTER WHICH IS FIXED to send my assignments electronically...and now I'm using it for blogging.

For those of you that endured that unpleasant story, there is Cheesecake below the fold.


Cheesecake is by Granada

..it was a request.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 06:37 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 1224 words, total size 8 kb.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at Fri Apr 12 19:15:08 2013 (Omb+U)

2 Thank you for sharing that Bob!(TM)...but I'll just stick with the cheesecake.

Also, you should have actual text in your comment or it is very likely to end up in the spam bin.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Fri Apr 12 19:19:47 2013 (F7DdT)

3 I feel your pain (well, some of it). There were a few weeks after my kidney-stone episode where I became very familiar with the location of every public lavatory between home and workplace - and with the experience of trying to think about anything else while sitting on a 'bus as it inched its way through traffic ...

Posted by: EdwardM at Sun Apr 14 22:50:24 2013 (Y/DdB)

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