RIP Tagalong's Laptop

Posted by Ben on 2006-08-24

I took a writing course a while back and the professor told us, "no one wants to live the life everyone wants to read about." Simply put, the best stories depict events that suck to the people that are living through them. That being the case my computer is going through one hell of a story. Aright, I'm exaggerating a bit, but it's definatly not happy.

I suppose I should start from the beginning. A couple of days ago, I thought I'd take some of my free time and watch a few youtube vids, nothing special. Except for the bit when my entire computer froze up on me and refused to play anything anymore. No worries, I'm running on a really old version of Opera, and odds are the vid tried to do something the browser hadn't heard of and something spit up on itself. Bored, I put Sal (my laptop) to sleep and trundled over to Tim's house to do my nightly hangout. Once there, I did my normal routine of hooking up Sal into Tim's network, telling her to wake up, and turning on the nearest game system.

Half an hour later someone politely pointed out that Sal was still trying to wake up. Hmm...that's never happened before (actually it has, but that was because Sal hit the floor of my car when I braked too hard (stupid people in front of me couldn't drive) and the harddrived stopped spinning). Alright, nothing a little hard reboot won't fix. After about 5 minutes of trying to boot up I decided to take drastic measures. I pointed Tim at Sal and said, "FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT!!"

Tim immediately attempted a bit of Mac magic (both Sal and Tim's computer Omega are macs) and told Sal to boot up as an external harddrive to Omega. This worked, which was good news because it meant Sal wasn't totally hosed (probably) and we could run a couple of diagnostics. The diagnostics said everything checked out ok, which was bad news because it meant we did't know what the heck is going on. This of course called for Tim's version of extreme measures: running from a boot disk (we're nerds okay? You want actually extreme go watch some random sport thing).

We grabbed the Mac OS X Tiger install disk, popped it into the DVD drive, and rebooted (again) this time telling Sal to boot directly to the disk in the DVD drive. Sal booted up just the hard disk. Which was good because it meant that my harddrive and OS system were running just fine. And bad because now we REALLY didn't know what the heck is going on. Tim, of course, had a theory, went into my settings to toggle a couple

One failure to reboot later and NOTHING was working properly. Sal refused to boot up either as normal or to the boot disk in the drive. Hell, she wouldn't even give the DVD back. I even tried shaking her, just in case that worked (it never does). Tim officially pronounced my computer hosed, and suggested I take it in for servicing. This of course meant getting up early, but since my keep my whole life on that computer, I figured that I was willing to make that sacrifice.

The next morning, at the Apple Store, I'm asked if I can reproduce the problem. I turned on Sal, watched the OS NOT load for a couple of minutes, and decided that was enough reproduction. The Apple Store guy nodded, pulled out an external harddrive, and hooked it up to Sal. He told Sal to boot from the external device, and after that was successful tried to run a few diagnsostics. This time, not even the diagnostics ran. Great, juuust great. He also, officially pronounced Sal "hosed" and suggested that it's probably a problem with the logic board (which I JUST learned is the motherboard for a laptop). Unfortunatly, they couldn't fix that type of problem in house (The support at the Apple store is mostly software support for people who don't know how to use a computer properly. The hardware problems they ARE capable of doing are things like, "Well, when you threw your computer across the room, it unseated the harddrive, so I'm just going to retighten these screws for you." They CAN'T deal with hardware replacements).

Bottom line: I'm out $350.00 (I KNEW I should have opted for the extended warranty) and without my computer for 2 weeks. As an added bonus, there's NO guarantee that any of the data on the hard drive will return intact. Which is really silly because I had not one, but TWO chances to back up everything the night before. This really sucks.

Fear not though faithful reader. Pretty much everything to do with the comic is decentralized and kept on at least 3 different computers (mine, Tria's and Tim's). Besides which, I still have a working desktop to get my writting done. That of course means that desipte my personal life (and like 3 different stories I was working on) being on hold...or dead, the comic will keep going without a hitch.

And just to clarify, NO flaming or using this rant to fuel the "MACS SUCK" camp. Or the "PCs SUCK" camp either. The circumstances around the problem are extremely rare and unusual. They can happen to any computer, PC or Mac, and technically almost never happen. Using it to fuel the "Macs Suck", "PCs Suck" arguements would be like: going to Norway, getting hit by a freak metorite, and blaming Sweden.

Anyway, that's my interesting real life story. Back to regularly scheduled interesting lies.

- TagalongDT