The entire day was not a bummer. I am composing this on my seven-year-old computer. The machine hiccuped and coughed continuously over the past few days, and my local Apple store nursed it back to health. Not complete health, but Mac is now in remission.
Seven years together–my Mac and me. Seven is a noteworthy number - seven colors of a rainbow, the country calling code for Russia, seven dwarfs in the Snow White story, seven continents. A long time – time lived in my current hometown and house, seven days in a week – but in the life of electronic gadgets it is a lifetime. A long, old age lifetime.
Unsuccessfully dealing with computer glitches landed me at the Apple store. Hub and I bundled up on a cold, windy, wet, dreary day, fired up the car and set off on the 20-minute ride. The store is not far, but a string of traffic lights prolong the trip.
We park, the charge $5.00 for eight hours, hoping we will not need nearly that much time. We walk the long block to the store stooped forward against the wind.
Inside the brightly lit, sleek store a crew of about 15 green-shirted Apple geeks stand around, a few helping customers but most talking amongst themselves. One bright young face approaches and signs us in, his fingers furiously hitting the screen of his square, thin device. “You can sit here,” pointing to a couple of high stools under a counter at a table in the back of the store, “a technician will be with you shortly.”
I take out my computer, charger, and backup device. In a few minutes another young, fresh-faced geek appears, “Hi, I’m Arthur. Can you tell me what the problem is today with your computer?”
“I’m having a number of issues. It takes a long time to start up, the battery doesn’t last very long, and it stalls while using some apps.”
“OK, well let me run some diagnostics. It is an old machine, you realize, and I must tell you if it is a hardware problem, Apple no longer manufactures parts for it. You would have to go to an authorized repair shop and pay for parts and labor. The closest one is over an hour away. But the good news is, if it is a software issue we can fix it here at no charge.”
Arthur hooked my machine to a gizmo and walked away. Every few minutes he stopped by and checked it, sometimes unplugging the device, restarting my machine, then starting another diagnostic.
Suddenly a message flashes across the screen, “SOFTWARE CORRUPTED.”
“OK, well then,” Arthur says, “We can restore the machine here. Then you can take it home and upload your backup data into the computer. It takes a long time, so you don’t want to stay and do it in the store.”
Arthur did what geeks do to computers while I watched. Finally done, he explained how easy it would be to install the backup.
Our Apple adventure over in far less than eight hours, hub and I drive home with our restored computer and uncorrupted software. Delighted to once again have a working computer, I plug in my backup disc, fire up the computer and sit back, waiting for the magic to occur.
Except there is no magic. Only multiple problems.
A message displays on the screen – computer software and backup software are incompatible.
Should we return to the Apple store? Neither one of us was eager to go out in the rain again.
So instead we called 800-MY-APPLE. Hub followed the customer service rep’s instructions while I stood by fuming. Then I fixed dinner, we ate dinner, I cleaned up from dinner and did laundry. Meanwhile hub, the computer, the customer service rep, and the backup “time machine” bonded.
Now all is well, but only temporarily.
My Mac’s battery is dying. The hard drive is over the hill, working on borrowed time. The machine still runs slow, but with any luck will not stall.
The good news: the fix cost nothing.
The bad news: I will need a new computer soon. I like the idea of a new machine, but do not like the idea of paying for it.
My trusty Mac hums away, hopefully lasting long enough to one day win an award as the oldest running machine taken into an Apple store.