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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Same here.

    I got a second hand iBook a couple of months ago. It's "only" 600mhz, but that's plenty fast for me -- I work in a tcsh shell most of the time anyway, and it's plenty reponsive for me. The person I bought it from got it in Spain, so it's got a weird keyboard, but once I got used to that I started to see that as a feature, not a bug -- having to type by memory rather than being able to look at the keycaps is great for your touch typing abilities :)

    But then the hard drive started getting noisy. Very noisy, like an old mechanical clock: *TICK TOCK* *TICK TOCK*. It would start doing this randomly, and then wouldn't quit doing it for anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. I actually recorded audio & video of it doing this with my Clie, thinking it would help tech support at Microcenter diagnose the problem, but it was obvious from the description that it was hard drive failure and that wasn't needed.

    So I called around, and found out that most of the local computer stores either don't sell laptop drives &/or don't install them. The Apple Store would do it, but it would be $350 or so and I'd end up with the same 15gb drive that it came with. Microcenter, on the other hand, agreed to do it as an "upgrade" for $30, plus $170 for a 40gb drive, but when they realized what a pain in the butt it is to work on iBooks they jacked it up from a $30 "upgrade" to an $85 "repair". Bummer. On the bright side, the Mac tech told me that iBooks are normally shipped offsite for repair, at a rate of $420, so I was getting a deal there. I guess.

    So a week later, I got the laptop back, with an bigger drive, and all was well.

    For a day.

    Then the cat accidentally bumped the iBook off a shelf. It landed on the hardwood floor with a loud, painful thud. The screen was open at the time. The hinges of the screen are now, well, floppy. If you open the lid, the plastic twists agonizingly; you have to carefully twist the hinges to get it to open, and the screen needs to be propped up against something or it tends to flop over.


    The computer aspect of things still seems okay: it boots, it runs, it shuts down, it comes back on, etc. The sleep light isn't coming on when the lid is closed, but for now I'm attributing that to the messed up hinge, and in any case everything seems okay operationally -- it still seems to sleep normally, it still seems to wake up normally.

    I looked up a few iBook case mods on Google, then partly dismantled the lid, and found that the hinges are attached to some kind of metal (magnesium?) ring that goes around the edge of the display. That ring is now snapped on either side of each hinge. I really don't know how to fix this -- the part looks simple enough, but is possibly exotic & therefore expensive. I'm debating trying to bond the two broken segments with epoxy or something, but I have no idea if that would be strong enough -- it seems like opening & closing the lid puts a lot of stress at the metal right there, and I don't know how strong things have to be.


    I'm getting a bit disillusioned with Apples. I mean yeah, if the machine dropped, that's abuse, and I accept that. But I've read people talking anecdotally about iBooks that have been dropped half a dozen times and somehow kept working, and this one dropped once, from two or three feet, and is in bad shape now. And the hard drive, I think, can't be called abuse.

    Further, my current desktop is a dual G4, and as long as I've had it it has had power problems when booting [], where the power light briefly flickers and the fan comes on, but the drives never spin up and the boot chime never sounds. This problem is transient, and the machine seems to run just fine if it gets past that point, but I've never been able to make that problem go away. The G4 tower I had before that failed when the motherboard died; the iMac I had before that died when the CRT started making scary electrical zaps before eventually failing altogether.

    Four Macs I've had, and all four have had issues.

    My fiancee is telling me that my next computer should be a PC if the Macs are going to keep breaking down like this. I try to argue that Macs have such a good reputation for reliability, but the track record at home is a bit more tangible & discouraging than the possibly Reality Distortion Field addled ravings of random strangers online ;). Maybe I'm just rough on my computers, but then it's true that I haven't had problems like this on the Wintel side, and all the Macs I've had have had issues.


    On the bright side, I've just received confirmation that my copy of OSX 10.3 has been shipped. Maybe that'll distract me for a while... :-/


    So... Allison, your motherboard is dead, eh? What are you planning to do with the machine? Interested in selling any parts...? ;)