I've noticed an increase in the amount of junk comments posted to my web log so I will be immediately removing the ability to post comments. Instead, I’ve created a forum if you wish to leave comments. Note, however, that you will have to register a username to post comments. Sorry, but this is the only way to keep the trash that comes with spammers off my site.
What turned out to be a pretty decent day at work quickly became an series of headaches and frustrations. Read on dear reader(s) for the PowerBook Saga:
It all started this past Saturday, March 20th, around 8:30 p.m. when I was leaving work. I stuck my beloved Titanium PowerBook G4 in its carry case and slipped that into my book bag (I'm a student after all, and work is a great place to get homework done...). I pick the book bag off my chair and go to slip the straps over my shoulders and *whoosh*, the damn thing slips from my hand as the straps come apart and surges straight down to the floor. My heart skips a beat and my testicles shrink up into my body (ok, that was a bit graphic) as I stare at my fallen gear.
I didn't mind so much that my book bag fell (after all, books are pretty durable), but the fact that the PowerBook was in the front of the bag and hit the floor first made it that much more painful. So I took it out of the bag and carry case for a damage assessment. At this point I’m thinking it’s probably ruined and I should’ve made a backup of my data, but I was pleased to find that there was no case damage and more importantly, no screen damage. What I did find, however, was that I broke the screen release button on the front. Apparently, the PowerBook hit the floor in an almost vertical position and the pressure on the screen latch caused the latch button to break where it catches the latch. So, nothing horrible, but now I can’t close the screen. I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a button and there’s no other damage, so who cares? Obviously, you’ve never owned a Mac or any Apple product. My PowerBook is my baby, my pride and joy. So I tell my colleague that I didn’t completely fuck it up and put it back in its case and back into my book bag and reluctantly go home.
I think it really hit me when I finally got home and set it on my desk. I F’d it up and will never be able to close the screen again says I. It’s tainted, no longer the pure blissful entity it once was. I kept glancing over at it the rest of the evening as I enjoyed a good game of Deus Ex: Invisible war. As sure as I was staring at it, it was staring back at me. Hmm, mind games with my computer. So I finally call it quits and hit the sack around 3 a.m.
I wasn’t in such a bad mood Sunday and so decided to take a trip to the Apple Store to get a repair estimate. Can't be that much to replace a little button. Here’s where the headaches and frustration kick in. The “Genius” (notice the quotes) at the Genius Bar (where only the most knowledgeable Apple technicians work, for those of you that have never been to an Apple Store) said that the entire upper portion of the case would have to be replaced. I politely said this was absolutely ridiculous and asked why the button couldn’t be replaced. Can’t just replace that little button with a teeny chip off of it preventing the screen from staying latched. Nope, we’ve gotta send it off to Apple for a full inspection and repair at a measly $400 cost for you, the loyal Apple customer. I asked if he had any other recommendations and he said I could shop around, maybe get a quote from CompUSA or something. So I drove a few blocks and talked to a technician there. He said the Mac technician wasn’t on duty and gave me a number to call the next day. He also informed me that they have a labor charge of $175 an hour. Boy, that’s kinda “up there”, I think. So, with blood pressure rising and headaches aplenty, I leave the store and head home, all the while thinking, “Which one wants to screw me worse?”
When I got home, I was determined to find an answer somewhere. I hit the Apple Discussion Boards. Somebody there has to have an answer. And answer they did. I thought my woes were bad. I read a post where some guy tripped over the power cord and dented the entire side of his week-old PowerBook. Ouch. My answer (and salvation) came in a post in this guy’s discussion pointing him to PBParts.com. So, I thought “What the hell?” and clicked away.
Pay dirt! Eureka! I found exactly what I needed for $330 cheaper. So I ordered the Latch Release Button for a mere $70 (still not cheap, but way better than $400 and a week without a notebook that I cannot be without). However, only one small problem still remains. How on Earth do I replace this thing?
To find an answer, I emailed PBParts and ask if they include installation instructions with the parts they ship. I got a response a few hours later stating they cannot include instructions (fair enough), but can walk me through the process. That’s what I call service!
A day later (the 23rd, or yesterday to be exact), I get my latch release button in a big FedEx envelope. So I rip the sucker open to find a blob of bubble tape surrounding a teeny tiny aluminum button with a spring included.
I decide to strike out on my own and in about 30 minute’s time, my PowerBook is whole once again! Replacing the button is a fairly straightforward process. Take off the cover, take out the hard drive, detach the old spring and swap out the button. Couldn’t be simpler. See, all stories do have a happy ending. I will be following the thread for the poor guy who dropped his new notebook though…
So what's the moral to my story? Always get a second opinion. Shop around for any repairs you need. There's always a better deal. Secondly, you should be ashamed of yourself Apple. I realize you are in the computer business to make money, but trying to screw your customers like that won't keep you in business for long. I pity the clueless customer that would go for such an outrageous prognosis. That kind of attitude has put a severe damper on my desire to buy a G5 or any new Apple product for that matter. You're lucky I worship my PowerBook.
Here's a preview of the next version of Gnome. It's most useful addition will be a spatially-oriented file manager (Nautilus). For those that aren't familiar with this concept, spatially-oriented means that it behaves much like a real desktop. In other words, if you pick something up and put it back down on the desk, it will be there the next time you look for it. The Macintosh uses a spatially-oriented file manager called "Finder".
I'm looking forward to this actually. I've been using a Mac for many years now and find a spatial desktop to be really handy.
How about a "roomy" 400 GB hard drive? Hitachi just came out with them, but who knows when you'll actually see them in stores.
Not only is it a huge drive, it's also Serial ATA, which means it's fast and really easy to install. Gotta love that!