Tag Archives: imac

Of Apples and Pampers

I don't have Photoshop on my new computer. Otherwise this image would probably have been funny as hell.

File this post under “I’m Not Fucking Kidding” and “Even My Twisted Brain Couldn’t Have Thought of This.”

Perhaps I need a new category called “I Shit You Not.”

Hello my little wannabe negativists. Today I regale you with a tale that illustrates, without question, why I am the all-time Guru of Negativity. If you have the mental wherewithal, step inside my head and see what it’s like to be in my shoes.

The story begins last Friday…

Friday after work I picked up my iMac from the local authorized Apple factory repair shop. Lo and behold, the thing was finally fixed, and only after 15 business days. Three full weeks.

But…

There was a new problem. The fan now ran at full speed and the covenant of a super-quiet computer had been broken. The thing sounded like a vacuum cleaner.

I would have asked, “Why me?” but I don’t much care for asking questions where I already know the answer.

So Monday morning I schlepped the thing back into the shop.

That’s when this conversation took place:

Me: This thing has already been here 15 business days. Will you escalate this for a fast turn around time?

Employee #1: This sort of thing shouldn’t take long.

Employee #2: I can escalate you to some Pampers.

Me: Eh? Er, what???

Employee #2: Some poopy Pampers I just found in the parking lot. Seriously, can you believe people??

You’re preaching to the fucking choir, lady. But, more importantly…

WHAT IN THE MOTHERFUCKING HELL??????

These are the people that Apple hires to provide my warranty repair?

I am not making this up!!! That was the conversation. Verbatim. No embellishment. No artistic license. No lie.

At times, like when shit like this happens to me, I seriously doubt that I’m alive. I figure this reality must be some kind of mind fuck and I’m already dead and gone and shipped to Hell. And part of that Hell is that I don’t get to know it. Makes it so much more delicious and sublime, eh?

So yeah, neither employee bothered to actually answer my question. At this point, I had fucking had it. I decided to be more proactive about my repair.

I called them Monday at 1pm. “Is this Tom?” they asked. They were beginning to recognize the sound of my voice. Good!

“It might be ready today,” I was told. Yeah, I’ve heard that happy crappy before. Lies.

I waited all afternoon for the call that never came.

Then I did something brilliant. I got off work and drove directly to the shop. I walked in and they said, “Here ya go! All fixed.”

Fuck. Were you ever going to let me know that? Assholes. Thanks for the call.

“The piece of tape must have come loose. I re-taped it.”

That’s it? That’s an all-repair for you motherfuckers? And what’s this about a “piece of tape?” The fate of my iMac hangs in the balance over a piece of fucking tape? Jesus Christ!!!

Conclusion: The thing seems fixed. But I know I can’t trust my own senses. We’ll see. And that shop was one of the worst things to ever happen to me in my whole life. The hate in me in swelling.

This is the sort of shit that happens to me. Hopefully you can now begin to see how I reached Guru status.

This post written with a Mac.

From a Crap to a Bling?

File this post under Product Reviews (Pending)…

Once upon a time I purchased an iMac from the Apple store…
That’s when everything went right to Hell.

This post was written on a Mac. Barely.

代言 iMacIt sucks to have my luck.

This is the story — still in progress — of a computer that desperately needs to be put to sleep in more ways than one.

One fine day, after waiting four goddamn years, it was finally time to buy a new computer. My old one was running Windows XP, crashed often (frequently with Blue Screens of Death), literally took twenty minutes from boot before it could open a browser, and sounded like a Boeing 747 taking off, even though I had paid extra for the “super-quiet case.”

Yeah, there’s one of me born every minute.

For months before the big day, I had been using Apple “Mac Mini” computers at my new job. It was the first time I’d ever used any Apple computers. It was love at first byte. (Har.)

My first day on the job and the boss showed me to my desk. There was a nice widescreen LED monitor. I looked around but didn’t see any computer. I called my boss over and asked, “What makes this thing go?” Continue reading →

The Curious Case of Computers and a Curse

代言 iMacChagrined, I couldn’t castle because the damn cheating computer cleverly had me in carefully choreographed check. Cheeseballs chasing a checkmate!

In case you haven’t noticed, this is my “C” post in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. And I’m just as subtle as always.

Today’s tale is one of torment and revenge. It even includes a possible effort to update the Bible. And it features the continued suffering and destruction of yours truly. Curious? Intrigued? Then keep reading!

This post is in honor of a Crapple iMac Computer. Yes, I said, “Crapple.” That is the word I have chosen in honor of this auspicious occasion.

If this was Sesame Street the word “Crapple” would probably be constructed something like this:

“Crap.”

“Apple.”

“Crap.”

“Apple.”

“Crrrrrrap … aaaaapple.”

“Crrap … aapple.”

“Crap-pple.”

“Crapple.”

I guess it helps to imagine two silhouetted faces frothily spitting those words back and forth at each other.

Anyway, growing up as a lonely anti-social and awkward geek, computers have always been very important to me. More important than people. (Har! No contest there.) I owned three before graduating high school. So I guess the progression goes computers, cats, poop, then people.

Since then my computer has evolved into my primary work tool and my primary source of recreation. I’d gladly shoot my TV, but I’d (usually) take a bullet for my computer.

Evil Water at the Evil Eyes Lounge, Stonegate, YorkOn the other hand, I remain very much cursed. Sure, negativity has been ingrained in me since the moment of my conception, but it has also been nudged and nurtured by the curse. DNA and environment have conspired to make me what I am.

Sometimes I feel so cursed I speculate that God might be using me as an instrument to help introduce a new book in the Bible. It would, of course, be a sequel to the Book of Job. It would be called, of course, the Book of Tom.

The over-riding and oft-asked question manifestly revealed in the book of Job is, “Why do the righteous suffer?” (Wikipedia.)

Indeed! Great gurus aren’t just born. They are made. If they have the potential and are lucky enough to capitalize on the right set of circumstances.

But let us not digress and commit the sin of making this post too much about me. (Ha!)

In a nutshell, here’s the rest of the story:

My wife’s computer was about nine years old. I purchased it in July 2002. (Yes, I remember the date.) I finally got cable internet to my house, but my existing computer was so old the cable tech couldn’t make it work on broadband. So I ran down to Staples and bought a new Compaq so I’d have high speed internet that night. (Since leaving the big city I had been relegated to dial-up so I was ready.)

That was a long time ago. Since then the computer is barely a paperweight. It takes half an hour to do things like open an email or view a web page.

Meanwhile, my computer was about four years old. Not too bad, but it was having serious problems. It would BSOD (blue screen of death) all the time. It would literally take about 20 minutes after turning it on before it became usable. It was slowly dying.

Additionally, I had paid extra for something called the “super quiet case” with a special cooling system, but that thing was the loudest motherfucking computer I’d ever heard in my entire life. Being in my office was like listening to a jumbo jet taking off. It was slowly driving me mad.

I ended up hating my computer. But it was all I had. To this day, it is still the only computer where I have ever produced my Hyppo and Critter comic strip.

I was screwed. My computer sucked and I couldn’t afford to buy a new one. I tried over and over again starting a computer fund, but to no avail. It’s hard to save what you don’t got.

At work I was using a computer called a Mac Mini. It was awesome. It was about the size of an external hard drive and sat right there on top of my desk. At first, I didn’t even know it was a computer, it was so friggin’ small. And, although a few years old, it ran like butter. And, it was so quiet, you literally couldn’t tell it was turned on even though it was only a couple feet away.

It was love at first byte.

I’d never used a Mac before but I took to it like Tiger to a high-priced whore. But there was no way I’d be able to afford one of my own. Not when having a single dollar bill in my wallet felt like I was carrying a fortune.

Long story short, my sister stepped in and bought me one as a gift. She was buying herself a 27″ iMac with all the upgrades. She threw in a base model 21.5″ iMac for me. Brand freakin’ new.

I never forgot, though, that for everything the universe bestows, there is a price that will be extracted. Why? Basically “because you wish it” works out to be the most plausible explanation.

The computer didn’t arrive as promised. Delay, delay, delay.

When it finally arrived, it had Spanish language keyboard and the manual was in Spanish, too. There was some kind of hella snafu there. No biggie. It was still beautiful and awesome. It was amazing how a computer could be so cool as to transform my whole office.

I called Apple and they sent me the correct keyboard at no charge. I still have the manual in Spanish as my memento of the occasion.

That should have been the glitch, but I knew it wouldn’t be that easy.

Spinning Beach Ball Of Death

The primary output of my shiny new iMac

As I began using the computer, I began to realize that something was seriously askew. It was slow and sluggish. Even though it had a beefier processor and double the memory of my computer at work, it ran like shit in comparison.

When a Mac pauses, the icon turns into a spinning wheel of color. It’s much like the “pause” hourglass on a Windows computer. On a Mac it has come to be infamously known as the “beach ball.”

And, just like Windows has the BSOD, the Mac version has come to be known as the BBOD or the “Beach Ball Of Death.”

At work my computers have never – not even once – crashed to the point where I had to hold down the power button for five seconds to reset, even though the computers are left on 24 hours a day for months at a time. At home, this happens two to three times a day.

The beach balls continually hit my computer all the time, and they typically last anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. If I’m lucky the beach ball will go away and I can continue to use the computer. If I’m not lucky I have to hold down the power button for five seconds and start completely over.

It’s not supposed to be like this. I’ve lived through several beach balls even while composing this post.

At first I tried to work the problem on my own. I adjusted settings and surfed the net for solutions. I did all the diagnostics I could find. I ran Apple’s built-in hardware tests. Nothing ever found a problem or did anything to help.

As a last resort, I even tried re-installing the operating system to factory condition. This was a major pain in the ass, but I was desperate. I turned on my computer, actually feeling hopeful, only to find my faithful beach ball companion waiting for me.

I was beat. It was time to call Apple.

Could I get a replacement computer? Nope. For that you had to call within 30 days, I was told. Like an idiot I had tried to fix my computer on my own for six weeks before finally giving up and calling them. For that I now had to be punished. Rules are rules, right? Too fucking bad for me that it has only been six weeks and the thing cost $1,199.

It’s still covered by warranty, though. So on Monday morning I’ll be taking the thing to my authorized Apple repair center and we’ll see what they can do. That means I won’t have my computer for a week.

And that is how that shit works. I wish for something. Normally the answer is “no.” But if, perchance, it is “yes” then there will be a price to pay. Why? Because I wished it.

That’s just the way it is. Either this is a new book in the Bible or I’m someone’s science experiment.

You can bet your sweet ass I’ll be back to report how Apple takes care of me. I’m pretty sure I have a few more “eat my ass” posts left just in case. On the other hand, if it goes well, I have a nice friendly post in the works describing the conversion of a lifelong Windows user and his journey to the Mac.

Which will it be? It’s your move, Apple.

This is my “C” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”

The conn of the fox

Sad CRT iMacAfter three plus decades in the PC/IBM-compatible world, I recently acquired two Apple computers. I plan to blog a bit later about the transition from one world to the other.

Apple products are sleek, stylish, elegant, quiet, cool and fun to use. My last PC computer was the size of a small suitcase and I paid extra money for the “super quiet” case. Yet it sounded like a 747 taking off and we practically had to yell over the noise when in my office. By comparison my Apple “Mac Mini” is so small that it sits on my desk and I didn’t even realize it was a computer at first. I mistook it for an external hard drive. The size and the fact that it made absolutely no noise at all was deceptive.

“The facilities at Foxconn are fine, but the management is poor. Hundreds of people work in the workshops but they are not allowed to talk to each other. If you talk, you get a black mark in your record and you get shouted at by your manager. You can also be fined.”
–An investigator of Foxconn’s Longhua plant

So, for the first time in my life, I’ve signed up as an Apple customer, I’ve made purchases from the Apple store, and I’ve received three shipments so far from Apple. And I’ve noticed that their boxes, sleek and stylish also, say things like “Designed in California.”

The phrase “designed in” is, of course, a euphemism for “made outside the U.S.A.” At my former employer we sold apparel products in our store that had large labels sewn into the garments. These labels were representations of the flag of the United States. In smaller print, under the flag, were the words “Designed in the U.S.A.” I often wondered if this actually worked on the non-critical thinkers out there. I guess that approach must work on some. The garment was actually made in Pakistan but I wondered how many purchasers actually realized that.

Some shoppers would make it very clear they only wanted “made in the USA.” I’d say great, and show them to the rack of USA garments. These were, however, about three times the cost for the same item. And, I’ll be painfully honest here, were not of the same quality as the items made in Pakistan. Sad. Even the most hardcore patriotic shopper withered in the face of such facts.

So my Apple products proudly proclaimed that they were “designed in California.” A check of the label told the rest of the story. “Made in China.” No big surprise there. It’s the age old story of companies wanting consumers with American dollars purchasing their products but not wanting to pay American workers to produce them. And it’s not just Apple. My Google toys were also made in China.

A few days later a news story about Apple caught my eye. It seems that their products made in China are handled by a company known as Foxconn. And, in 2010, “nearly a dozen” Foxconn workers committed suicide, some by jumping from buildings. In fact, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Tim Cook, the man likely to fill the shoes of Steve Jobs, personally visited Foxconn in 2010 to improve “working conditions” there. Cook was accompanied on his visit by “two leading experts” on suicide.

For its part, Foxconn also took action. Among other brilliant ideas it began attaching large nets to buildings, Apple said. Is it just me or does that seem like treatment of the symptom? Sure, you could fix the underlying problems that lead some to think suicide is a solution or, even better, just try to catch more of them before they hit the ground and cause annoying negative publicity.

Foxconn also hired counselors.

So nets and counselors, eh? Both of these solutions are decidedly aimed at workers. But where is any indication that Foxconn is willing to fix itself and improve working conditions? Sadly I can’t find evidence of that in the news reports I’ve seen.

Apple reported that it found 91 underage workers. Not a good sign of a responsible culture.

It was also reported that some of the materials used to produce its products, like tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold may not be “fair trade.” In other words, those products may be sourced from regions where armed conflict and/or human rights abuses are known to be occurring.

Apple said it had required companies to reimburse $3.4 million in “recruiting fees” to workers. Yeah, employees had to pay bribes for the right to be mistreated workers.

Chinese environmental groups recently released a report critical of Apple saying that the company didn’t do enough to address health and environmental concerns at its manufacturing plants. In one case, they claimed a worker at a Wintek Corp. plant had nerve damage caused by a chemical known as n-Hexane. Apple said it required Wintek to stop using n-Hexane after 137 workers had experienced health problems after exposure to the chemical.

It seems to me that a job has to be pretty poor indeed if that many workers think the only way out is to die. Last year, the Telegraph reported that 16 workers jumped, 12 died, and that 20 more people were caught and stopped by the company before they could jump.

Personally, when I eat a plate of food, perhaps a little chicken, I like to know that the chicken had a pretty good life, at least by chicken standards. At least up to the point where it was killed to become my dinner. I’d like to think it lived free and enjoyed the sorts of things that chickens enjoy. What I absolutely do not want to hear is that the chicken was mutilated at birth, kept in a tiny box for its entire life, and was forced to stay awake and eat under bright lights 20 hours a day. Some say God put animals on Earth for humans to use, but that’s just taking things too damn far.

I feel something similar about my shiny new Apple products. I’d like to know with certainty that the company I’ve chosen doesn’t abuse human beings. Even those in other countries. I’d like to know that the employees were paid a fair wage, given things like reasonable breaks, had safe working conditions and were treated with dignity and respect. I’d like to know that workers weren’t pushed to work 70 hours a week or subjected to so much stress that they “twitched” during their off hours.

Is that too much too ask?

Sources:

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