A progress report on the patient

The laptop, that is.

It’s back from the repair shop, taking a charge like it should, and as a bonus, the touchpad is fixed, which means I won’t get scolded on airplanes anymore for using my wireless mouse.

Audio and video still randomly decide when to stop working, but I didn’t ask anyone to fix that. When dealing with this sort of machine, you learn to choose your battles wisely. The bottom line, the beast is back, for better or worse.

Thanks Dave*.

One more thing — my previous post about the perils of purchasing a refurbished laptop is drawing some decent search engine traffic. I hope my warning isn’t going unheeded.

*My local computer repair shop of choice appears to do business without a website of its own, but I’ve never walked in and seen the place anything but bustling, replete with work in progress piled on the shelves. I guess there’s still something to be said for a sign on the street and word-of-mouth advertising.

Resist the urge to buy that refurbished laptop

Especially that blue Toshiba model that you see for around $1,000 when that’s exactly what you can afford to spend.

Back in December 2004, I did my research, I comparison shopped, and I bought a lemon.  A refurbished lemon with a 90-days-only warranty at that.

I’m not going to get into model numbers and vendors here, but let’s just say that when a deal sounds too good to be true, the quality control guys were probably all on holiday that week.

So now, as my laptop is in the throes of the second of what are commonly listed as the three major malfunctions of this particular genus, I’m faced with a choice:

Do I spend another couple hundred bucks on repairing the lemon, knowing that Problem Number Three looms out there in the dark, or do I fold and ante up for a Mac product of one flavor or another?

And then there’s the wildcard entry: Computer #3 in the house, the dormant desktop that needs a hard drive.  I could always hit up Fry’s for a cheap and big drive, then install Ubuntu…

…not sure I want to take on that sort of project right now, though.

Anyone having any luck with Ubuntu out there?  We tried Redhat a few years back, and it was more compiling than I was really willing to handle.

If you see a picture of a shiny white computer on this blog sometime soon, you’ll know what happened…

Ten reasons I’m buying a MacBook as soon as I can afford one

I’ve been using Microsoft OS-based PCs since Mom and Dad upgraded from an electronic typewriter. The first program I remember using way back in the DOS days was The Print Shop. I made banners. It was the ’80s.

Times have changed. Here’s ten reasons I’m switching to Apple when I buy my next machine:

  1. Spotlight: Because Windows can’t handle the simple task of instantly finding little tiny digital files that are all physically within a few inches of each other. And don’t give me any “Google Desktop can do that” crap. Google can have my e-mail, my calendar, my search history, and my news subscriptions, but my melodramatic teenaged poetry does NOT need to be indexed, thank you very much.
  2. Genius Bar: In-person human tech support. Where do I sign up?
  3. CS2: Because I need an excuse to buy it. (I get a supercool discount at school.) I’m assuming the Intel-friendly Mac version will be out by the time I’m throwing money at a MacBook.
  4. Because I’m looking forward to the challenge of moving all my music and podcasts to a fresh install of iTunes. Okay, that one not so much. Luckily, I don’t buy any music from the iTunes store, so all I can expect to lose is some podcasts, and really, how many times do I need to listen to that Gillmor Gang from last February?
  5. That big honking touchpad, and the fancy mouse with the little dot in the middle. Yes, I mark out for buttons.
  6. Street Cred: If I’m going to get paid to be a hotshot web geek, a cranky malfunctioning giant loud overheating Toshiba A75 just isn’t the image I’m shooting for.
  7. iMovie: Because Windows Movie Maker isn’t exactly the last word in user interface.
  8. Because the 13-inch MacBook is smaller, lighter, and has longer battery life than the beast I’m carrying around right now.
  9. Hel-fucking-vetica.
  10. Because it comes in black.