Monday, February 22, 2010

Mac Maladies

When I started this blog, I told myself that I did not want to feel obligated to write a post apologizing for not posting, but since it's been over a week (and numerous people have checked in on me to see if everything is ok), I am back and quickly recapping the last 10 days of my mac's maladies (for those who are/were concerned).

Let me begin by setting the stage, I purchased my Apple Powerbook G4 in August 2004, when notebook computers were still being called laptops. Needless to say, as a designer, my computer is my #1 tool and this one has been for the last 5+ years. Therefore, when I started noticing a decrease in performance in the last year or two, I was not taken by surprise.

I have replaced the charger three times ($80 a pop) throughout my mac's life because of normal wear and tear and in the last six months bought a new battery, replacing my old-45-minute-charge battery with a new, up-to-4.5-hours-charge battery. And I must say, that $130 purchase was well worth it.

It was all hunky-dory for a while and then things went downhill fast. My mac began freezing, and not your occasional I've-been-abusing-her-no-wonder-she-froze, but a full blown, need-to-let-her-rest-for-24-hours-freeze. The. Worst. Kind. I knew this wasn't normal so I made an appointment at my local Apple store's Genius Bar and the genius gentleman, told me it was going to take a little while to check her out and promised to call me once he diagnosed the sickness. Twenty-four hours and three phone calls later, he reported that one of the two 512 MB memory cards was bad and recommended I replace both of the cards since they were really old. Happy that the memory was the only thing, I quickly ordered two 1 GB memory cards for $120 total. It took a week for the memory to arrive, but once they did, I popped them in, turned my computer over, and hit the power button. The moment of truth: she started up just fine, but (I'm guessing) halfway through the startup she froze and all of my attempts to revive her failed miserably.

So, back to the genius bar I went. This time, I was assigned to a different genius gentleman and after my 10 minute schpeel recapping the most recent events, he told me he thought it might be my hard drive hardware, but the only way to make sure was to wipe my current hard drive (completely erase everything: software, files, etc.) to see if that would clear up the problem. And that's the second time I left her with a stranger. Fortunately, it didn't take more than a couple hours before he called me back and told me that the wipe did not fix the problem, and instead I needed a new hard drive all together, another $150. Feeling like I had been painted into a corner, I called him back, told him to proceed, and waited for the final phone call telling me she was ready to be picked up.

Before Justin and I decided to have the hard drive replaced at the Apple store, we looked into various alternatives for the repair. We could have purchased a hard drive (about $90) and installed it ourselves, but after googling videos on that procedure we opted against it because we saw it would require removing 60+ screws and having to remember where they all went, no thank you. The second alternative we considered was having a third-party replace the drive; it would have cost about the same as at Apple, but they could not get it done in less than 5-7 business days. Therefore, we opted to fix it with Apple because we thought the charge was fair, they already had my computer on hand, and they said they could get it done in less than 24 hours.

Not even 18 hours later, I received the call that she was back together and better than ever. I rushed over to the store after work and was back in business on my train ride home. So, watch out for new posts this week!

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