Monday, January 13, 2014


Or, less euphemistically, you're a clapped out, geriatric waste of space. You're a computer. Specifically a Mac. More specifically: my iMac, born 2006.

You don't look old, you look fresh and shiny and well cared for. That's me, your devoted carer, reflected in your screen. But you were programmed to die young and you've had it. Your Motherboard is dead and without that mother-f….r you're an empty carcass. The god Apple who created you doesn't replace vintage mothers. He "doesn't make the parts anymore". There are approved independent engineers who will replace your mother for about £300 but the maximum guarantee they'll give for her longevity is 90 days. Sorry mate.

This is the suitcase in which I carried my sick Mac to hospital last night, the shiny Apple Store on Regent Street.

This is the Apple Store and that's me in the foreground, disguised as Augustine, struggling to push reluctant suitcase into the premises. The store stays open late and my appointment at the Genius Bar was at 7:45 pm. In spite of my anxiety about Mac's health, I must admit that I always enjoy the welcoming ambiance with all those twinkling Apple toys to try out and the blue t-shirted assistants running around smiling and being helpful.

I was lucky since my assigned Genius, who looked about twelve but might have been thirty, was probably the smartest of them all -  several other Geniuses kept coming to him for answers. Not only was he articulate and knowledgeable but he also wholly agreed with me about the outrageousness of built-in obsolescence. Having examined my Mac, held his ear to its chest,  he gave me the verdict which I've anthropomorphised above.

But not all the news were bad: the good news were that Mac's hard drive (with all my files, but not old software) could be removed and then plugged into my laptop and/or a new computer and I could do this myself. He must have been aware of my geekiness because he drew some immaculate how-to diagrams which will allow me to perform the operation at home. This Genius did not try to sell me anything and spent nearly two hours giving me valuable, impartial help free of charge. I had also brought my MacBook laptop and he fixed some functions which were not working properly. So things are not quite as bad as I thought they might be although I will, in due course, have to decide about getting a new desktop. The old version of Dreamweaver, the crucial tool I use to design and upload my website and Blaugustine (the main blog) does not work on more recent Macs, like this laptop. So, for the moment, I'll continue to post only on this Mirror Blog.


marja-leena said...

Yikes, that is the same vintage and model as mine! Never had a problem, yet. I better make sure my backups and kept up to date!

Good thing your hard drive is fine. I had to replace the one in my previous computer which still works but is outdated of course.

Best of luck with future arrangements, Natalie!

Tom said...

I must confess that not being a computer geek, I struggled a little with all this. My general conclusion seems to be that in some way or other, there is about to be a reincarnation, transfiguration, or resurrection in the coming days and/or weeks. Or will it be pouring old electronic wine into new bottles? Either way, it all sounds very exciting, after a suitable period of mourning, wailing and gnashing of teeth of course.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Marja-Leena, I fervently hope your iMac won't give you the same unwelcome surprise I had but yes, by all means back up often and have an expert do a general check-up once in a while.

Tom, it's not really so complicated. With your general DIY expertise, it would no doubt be child's play for you.
My big desktop computer itself can't be revived, but its hard drive (where all my vital documents are stored) can be removed and, with the help of certain screwdrivers, a cable and a little thing called a caddy, it can be plugged into my laptop (or a new Mac desktop if I decide to buy one) so that my files can be transferred there. However, the software I was using on the defunct Mac, essential to keeping up and updating my website, won't work anymore because those versions are out of date. Buying new version is very expensive.
That's the gist of it.

Rain Trueax said...

I use a standard PC but went to laptop with keyboard and monitor when at home or just the laptop on the road. I live in fear of it dying which is why I try to save everything on jump drives which I am always buying more of at higher and higher GB levels. I know though if it dies, I'll never have everything there. The reason I went to the laptop as the 'one' machine is because my old desktop began to black screen me. And I got tired of transferring everything when I got home. I am like you, love whatever I am most used to using and it takes a lot for me to go for the new one-- like dying computer will do it. Since most of my work is writing and photo work, I don't want all the bells and whistles. I want reliability

Ellena said...

You sound like an expert to me, Natalie. I bought some back-up gadget 6 months ago. It's sitting in a drawer because I don't know how and what to do with it.
Good luck with whatever comes next for you.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Rain, is a jump drive what we call a flash drive or memory stick, those little things you plug into a slot in your computer? If so, then you'd be much better off buying a good quality powerful external hard drive and backing up all your files on it - they have huge memory capacity, so you don't have to keep buying new 'jump drives'.

Ellena, I don't know what gadget you bought but usually they all have an instruction manual or leaflet. If you read this and follow the directions, you should be able to get it working. If it doesn't have instructions, take it back to the shop and complain! I'm no expert but I do read instructions carefully. You must lose the fear of technology! If you can drive a car you can understand any tech operation.

Dick said...

That's a grim saga, Natalie! I had no idea, having assumed that your life had gone into creative or social overdrive since your last main blog entry on December 20th! Good that you can still draw on your hard drive. And good too that your MacBook has been given a jolt. Ours is beyond restoration - not enough memory for an upgrade plus general dereliction.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Dick, glad to see you back here. It's the only place I'll be blogging from for the time being. Sorry to hear of your back problems and hope it will be made good soon - oh the winter blues!

Beth said...

Yes, the winter blues! Sorry about the demise of this old friend, Natalie, but new computers are faster and better and become new friends quickly. I have a cold (inevitable, everyone in the choir is passing it around) and looking out on snow and ice. Yech! This is the long stretch that we just have to endure. Nice to have the internet and far-flung empathy!

Natalie said...

Beth, the most annoying thing is that my "old" Mac worked fine, was fast and did everything I wanted to do and that the upgraded versions (after Tiger, which is the operating system I was using) are not as good, for my purposes. I can't remember if you use a Mac or a PC? I think it's a PC? Anyway I still prefer Macs but their success is based on customers' insatiable desire for clever new fun gadgetry, rather than longevity. It's not that I want to cling to old habits, but simply that it's horrendously expensive to get the latest stuff and that it's not actually better}

Adam said...

Glad you're able to work through these problems without total wipeout, Natalie.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Adam: No wipeout but it's turning out to be more complicated than I expected. Another report will follow.

Allan Lloyd said...

Hi. I’m here via Roderick Robinson, and I’ll check out the rest of your blog when I get the chance. This is just to suggest that Mozilla’s free ‘SeaMonkey’ is a not-bad alternative to Dreamweaver – a bit more basic, but I’ve been using it in preference for a few years now. On a 2007 iMac, running everything from Tiger to Mountain Lion. Worth considering.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

FigMince, you and your marvellous pseudonym are very welcome here and your suggestion could be exactly the solution I need. Thank you so much, I'm going to check out Sea Monkey immediately.

Roderick Robinson said...

Friday 27 Dec

January 6

Jan 13

Read the comments for December 27 and Jan 6 (in that order) before this. I'm following the penitence route. (Pronounced "rowt" in the USA leaving them nowhere to go when they need to use "rout" meaning defeat.)

That's better. Way back (a year ago - well, sort of) you referred to it as "beloved". With "clapped-out, geriatric waste of space" it appears that the reality pills I've recommended are finally taking effect. Here are two other adjectives that attach themselves to the Apple Org. as a naturally as a pilot fish to a shark: rapacious and cynical. Other than that I regard the company as sunny and unaffected - knowing that the only circumstances under which I would buy one of their products would be if the balance of my mind were disturbed.

What else have you come up with? The M/F word! Excellent, although spoilt by your misspelling of carcase. More of this and I see you adopting white and becoming a Microsoft bride.

Aha, I spoke too soon. The disgusting sentimentality of "twinkling Apple toys". You do realise that a spray above the Apple entrance releases a gas which takes complainants back to their second childhood.

But aha again, this time more happily. I see we have a kinship in that we have both tasted the sour fruits of Dreamweaver. Luckily in my case it was before I passed into senescence. At the time I found it unbeatably non-intuitive but that was before I acquired Photoshop Elements 11.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Roderick, I'm enjoying the gift of your back-dated comments - thanks!
The reality pills I swallowed had no effect on my determination never to switch to Microsoft and I'm afraid the next desktop computer which will, at some point, replace my dead iMac will be another Mac. Rapacious and cynical as Apple undoubtedly is, moral outrage will not be enough to make me abandon a technology that suits my modus operandi perfectly.

As for Dreamweaver the 2004 version I was using was fine but I'm resisting the outrageous demands for constant upgrading. I'm very grateful for your commenter FigMince's attention to my DW dilemma and his suggestion to try SeaMonkey instead - I've downloaded it and will see how I get on with it as a DW replacement.