Houses, Apple and me

Lately I’ve been lax about my blog.  The decision to try selling my house again naturally brought on a cascade of events.  And then my 16-month old iMac started what seems like death throes.

Apple and me, we go back to 1998 when I was a tech at AOL in Albuquerque, getting more tired by the day of fixing other people’s virus infected Windows systems.  My young teenage daughter had friends with the knack of attracting viruses to her Windows system and I was distinctly unenthusiastic about coming home to yet another clean-up.

In those days most everyone I knew had Windows, even though the first personal computer I ever met was a cute little box-shaped tower with the necessary keyboard alongside the new thing around — a mouse.  The first Apple Macintosh.

If you’ve been reading my Polio blogs you know I have a rebellious streak as wide as the Rio Grande.  Could be deeper, too. …  One day during a drought I observed a bunch of ducks walking across the river,  and showing some leg in the process …

So I traded in my Acer 98SE desktop for one of those cute and colorful early iMacs.  Eventually my daughter got a Mac, too.  Peaceful times for techs ensued at home.

Macs of increasing complexity have seen us through ever since.  There have been a few head-scratching issues, but the only fatality (apart from old age) occurred when a glass of water spilled over a laptop keypad.  But we knew exactly what precipitated that event.

No such luck with my youngish iMac.

It had been having issues ever since El Capitan went in at the same time its one-year warranty ran out. (Blog on that matter is here.)  As usual I didn’t buy an extended warranty.  My general view is that companies that push customers into buying those things aren’t standing very tall behind their products.

Since September I have called Apple more times than can be remembered.  At least ten times, with generally long periods of troubleshooting.  Long enough that I thought I deserved a nap when the work finally ended — and I’m rarely inclined to doze off during the day.

They sent me two different keyboards to see if they would fix some typing problems.  Like all the other things done previously these appeared to help.  For a while.

Last weekend the iMac quit fooling around with keyboard problems in favor of demonstrating a clear internal problem of its own. Up there on that iconic aluminum pedestal.  Uncontrollable scrolling set in.  With every program I opened, from Preview to iTunes and iPhoto, Pages, Safari and Mail.

You need to watch 21,000 photo thumbnails flying up and down to understand the state of dizziness that whomped me.

So I called Apple one more time.  After all, their senior techs had said a few times to call back if the wired keyboard didn’t fix the issue for good.  This Monday I got a woman who was entirely pleasant as she told me in forty different ways that “You have done everything that can be done.  There us nothing more that you can do.  I don’t want to waste your time doing those things over again.”

Did you notice how neatly she shifted responsibility for the machine’s breakdown from Apple over to me?

For once Apple failed to send me a survey after that call.  The one I would have loved to rate!  Do they have a trick in their phone system that automatically routes certain repeat callers to the “I am so sorry” queue?  The folks who don’t ever have surveys sent about their success in helping you out?

The Apple Computer Death Squad.

Well…  I have chosen in my life not to wallow in misfortune.  Any wallowing allowed is directed towards preventing problems by the application of common sense, and the dogged persistence of a stubborn New Englander in believing we can get through anything if we try hard enough.

On my puny Social Security check who could afford a shiny new Apple anything?

However, my digital life has been entirely in the Apple-sphere for years on end.  I do now use Windows 10 occasionally — to check how the other side lives.  For me, really, it’s hard to adjust to that less integrated world when you’re accustomed to Apple’s streamlined style.  I mean integrated in the sense of hardware and software harmonizing with a pleasant lack of drama.

So — fuming about predictability — soon enough there was I, ploughing through Apple’s offerings, falling victim yet again to their marketing porn … er, wizardry.  Among other things I learned that it shouldn’t be a bad thing for credit card averse me to utilize a line of credit offered through the store.

So…  Welcome to my new, entirely portable digital world.  A 12” MacBook Retina with 512 GB of flash storage, a different yet comfortable keypad and trackpad.  With Just One Single Port.  Which you use for everything from charging to backing up data and connecting a separate display or TV.  With dongles, sold separately.  With fiendish cleverness Apple avoids an intermediate price between one which only converts the USB-C to a USB-3, $19, and the AV version that includes the TV capability along with ports for charging and USB-3, $79.

I don’t own a TV, so I ranted with no shame in front of the dogs for a bit.

It was, at least, easier to manage that one USB-C port than I would have guessed a week ago.  Supposedly these ports will be Very Big in the future in all sorts of computers.

So here’s my first historic post from both a home with a For Sale sign out front and a tiny laptop ready to hit the road to California with me and the dogs when the time comes.

The dogs, it must be admitted, were edgy about this morning’s photo shoot of my spectacularly clean and tidy domicile.  Must have worn themselves out trotting after the realtors involved because ever since Elf and Opus have flopped down and checked out in favor of a good afternoon’s napping.  To be followed by a pleasant, even if bolted, dinner and early bedtime.

One of these days I hope our roles will be reversed, for once,

We replaced some of our cozy messiness as soon as the realtors left.  Happy sighs on that score.

Me, sitting here listening to the music of Buffy Ste. Marie, Mary Chapin Carpenter, David Bowie and Julian Bream, sounding good via a bluetooth speaker or on the MacBook’s built in speakers.

I watched ever greyer skies close in over the rugged West Mesa while the neighbor’s rough looking tiger cat kitten prowled around the field across the street, looking for lunch.  Or maybe dinner.  Are my dogs too well fed?  …  I wouldn’t change a thing for them.  Then down came darkness and a band of mixed rain and snow.

But I did break with tradition and get the extended warranty for the new laptop.  My trust in Apple’s gorgeous products has been just a bit shaken around lately.

Let the real estate project begin.

2 thoughts on “Houses, Apple and me

  1. Even Apple’s wonderful products do fail eventually. I had a 2008 MacBook, which I used to take our National Assembly’s minutes. I replaced its hard drive with a hybrid hard drive and flash memory, doubled the RAM and replaced the battery. That improved the performance no end, but the replacement battery gave out. The charge would decline precipitously: 100% – 50% – 0% in three easy steps. I resented the thought of buy a new battery for an elderly machine, so added hugely to our credit card bill by buying a MacBook Pro Retina on E-Bay. And it’s lovely!


    1. I know you rely on your laptop heavily for those meetings… So I am glad you were able to replace the one that you managed to patch up for a good while. You and I are both in debt now, it appears! My iPad Mini, a bit over a year old, has developed an awful problem with its screen orientation button. I’ve gone through a number of fixes without success, and suspect now that the flaw is in the hardware. Mostly I use it when I am lying down, and that’s when the orientation makes a big difference. So I’l nurse it along as much as I can, but after that will perhaps get an Amazon Fire or something like that rather than another expensive iPad. It’s a shame, two nice and fairly new Apple products becoming defective about the time the manufacturer warranty ran out!


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