Computer Purgatory.

Yesterday started out as a normal Monday, well, normal for me anyway. Up at five, write a blog, do email, Facebook, Twitter, read the news, pack up my MacBook Pro, drive 20+ miles to teach from 8-1, and got my class schedule for next term (five week terms at the particular school I am teaching at).

Typical student stuff in the classroom. Some very good, some not so much. I packed up the Mac. I decided to skip the gym. I ranted at Jamie on the phone about something that had annoyed me in class. Annoyed me a lot. To the point that I didn’t think I could go to the gym. So, I came home.

I chatted with Ian and unpacked the Mac. I made a mental list: grade late papers (See annoyed comment above), write blogs for Tuesday and Thursday. Respond to all of the amazingly generous people who are responding to my education survey, finish my review of The Sims 3 Showtime. Ian would cook steak and cheese subs before we left for his class. While waiting for him to finish class, I would complete Chapter One of my textbook on writing.

I opened the screen. Got a flavored Peliegrino returned to begin, but the Mac wasn’t ready.


The screen was dark… very dark. I could just barely make out the windows on the screen. Not good. I managed to save and close all the windows (survey questions, list of people I had sent it to, textbook file, students quotes doc, on-going blog posts doc, Chrome), the usual stuff I keep on my desktop. I figured, it was unhappy about being put to sleep — and I rebooted.

It made the Apple noise, and the white screen with the little apple appeared. I got some guacamole, chips, and cheese. came back and there was the little apple on the white screen, with a spinny thing underneath it.

Not good. When was the last time I did a back up? Two weeks ago…

I pulled the plug and battery and tried again. And then again. I tried a third time, before digging out my phone and dialing 1-800-My-Apple. I was somewhat panicked. The nice man on the phone said, “I’ll be glad to help you, for $50, please.”

I explained my predicament to him, and he said, “I have some ideas, $50, please.”

“Ok,” I said, “It’s like this, it’s not about the $50, but if I pay you the money and then have to go to the Apple store and put my computer in to be serviced for an unknown amount of money, then I have thrown that $50 away. So, if you think it’s hardware, just say so and make me an appointment at the Genius Bar and be done with it.”

He was quiet for a moment, and then asked for my zip code. He set the appointment at the Genius Bar. This made me sad. Two weeks felt like an eternity all of a sudden.

I reconsidered my day: no late paper grading, expect annoying email from student who cannot manage to come to class or turn papers in on time. Awesome. Figure out how Ian is going to get to school in case I was later than 5pm. Look at the clock: 2:40, yup, set up that ride. No survey responses, no blog writing, no textbook. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Damn it.

At the Genius Bar, they did not charge me $50. Michael (said genius) played with my machine for almost an hour. He concluded it was the hard drive. I smiled politely. I got my first computer in the year he was born. I had never seen a hard drive failure that made the screen go dark like that, I was (and am) skeptical. He did manage to get it to boot — we looked a the screen with my files on it, yup all there. Nothing was clickable. Nothing.

Not my grade book, or my working files folder, or the textbook in process.

“When was the last time you backed this up?” He asked in a way that suggested that I was not bright enough to be backing up my machine.

“About two weeks ago,” I replied, somewhat curtly. I stared at the screen and began to consider what was probably lost, not retrievable, not rebuildable. Part of the intro to my textbook, maybe. Did I save that to the flash drive? Can’t remember. Gradebook — I just have to redownload the grades from the Moodle shell, ok. My Sims. Damn it–wait! I uploaded the house to the exchange. I’m so smart! But the review and blog–with screen shots would be lost.

Michael interrupted my mental inventory, “It’ll be three or four days.”

Days? I can’t be a whole work week without a computer–how will I grade papers? How will I write?” I had been thinking hours, you know, drop a new hard drive in it. Actually, I had already talked to the salespeople about the cost to replace it. Because it’s not the hard drive. If it is, I will be shocked.

Michael, and his little genius buddy assured me that I could write a novel on my iPad without any problems.

No I can’t! The screen’s too little, the keyboard is…stressful…I need a keyboard with all of the functions in one place. I was moving into panic mode. Quickly.

Chris (who was on the phone not with me) suggested that I go to Rent-a-Center and rent a PC-laptop until mine could be repaired. A PC?

So, that’s what I did, I went to Rent-a-Center and got a 15-inch screen PC, that wouldn’t boot up by the time I got it home (I think they gave me the wrong power supply). I also got a MacBook Air, 13 inch.

My Mac has a 17inch screen, so this is a huge adjustment. The Air doesn’t have anything installed on it — and I don’t want to pay for and install anything, because one of two things will happen in three days, my old Mac will have a new hard drive, and be fine (I doubt this, but ok fine), or I will be purchasing a new MacBook Pro. Either way, in all likelihood, I will be returning the Air. It’s tiny.

So, if you think I was ignoring you yesterday, I wasn’t. I was in Computer Hell. Today, I will return the PC and try to get one that is comparable (Ian needs a stronger machine, and JL’s is 12years old. YES, really!)…

I missed the gym yesterday, and will miss again today. I finished the MNINB challenge and now it’s on to Tuesday, without the aid of Word, Excel, Chrome, or Pixelnator. Without The Sims. I don’t even have a DVD drive on this little thing. But I am grateful I have it…

So, the moral of the story? Do a back up, Do it now. Today. Do it weekly–more than that if like me you write every day. Because you never can tell when your computer might die.










6 thoughts on “Computer Purgatory.

    • Mine too. And it suddenly stopped working. Pretty desktop picture (that took the Genius an hour), nothing on the screen is clickable… Nothing. Made me so sad.

  1. It is very painful. Been there, had that happen. I save everything to Flash, I don’t use my hard drive at all. As I said Painful. And I back up my flash to 2 others every week. Obsessive? Paranoid? Never lose data.
    Just one question, does JL USE his laptop, or is it a decorative item?

  2. If it makes you feel better, when my hard drive crashed, they were able to get everything off of it that I wanted (pictures, music,Word files). So, don’t count it all as lost quite yet. My hard drive (and motherboard, or something?) were like fried. My cousin runs a computer business and he was able to save it all.

    Hope you have a similar experience! *crossing fingers*

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