19 February 2010

dropping in

I know. I dropped off the face of the Earth. Sorry! I have been having terrible computer troubles ever since I visited the NBC Olympics website (and no, I'm not linking there!) the other day. My screen - an Apple cinema display - began having intermittent seizures. I'm not sure how to describe them, except that there were geometric patterns, lines, colors...chaos. It began in my browser window while I was in Firefox and I quickly shut the browser down and restarted. It was ok for awhile, but then got bad enough that I called the Apple Store and set up an appointment with a "Genius." Note: I'm fairly sure the designation has nothing to do with their IQs. :P While I was waiting at the store, some poor guy who had a power supply replaced on his iMac 4 months ago was back in for another $178 replacement, and the "Genius" said too bad. It was a month out of warranty. Nonplussed, I asked if he really wasn't going to help the poor guy. He said he couldn't if it was out of warranty. This is not actually true, as I found out later talking with the manager. Apple techs have "a lot of grey area - it's on a case by case basis." Hmmm.

Well, my turn came and I whipped out my monitor and my (PPC) Mac mini. The "Genius" couldn't find anything wrong by plugging in the monitor to his computer. This was good. He said that it could be the video card. This was bad, because the video card is soldered to the motherboard and is almost as expensive to replace as buying a new computer. So I left my life in his hands overnight so that a diagnostic could be run, and said I'd be back at 8 when the store opened. The next morning, a different "Genius" was there. A really nice sales guy tried to get the "Genius" interested in me, but it was some time before either of us could get him to actually go and take a look at my computer in the back, because it wasn't in the system yet. (!) When he came back with my computer, he said, among other things, that there was nothing wrong with it and the website was probably too graphics intensive for such an old computer, and I should buy a new one. Hello! This computer is 5 years old. Perhaps it's not the latest, but I have another Mac, this one 13 years old, running beautifully, thenkyewverymuch. I noted that I am on way more graphics intensive websites all the time and it's never ever done this. Well, says "Genius" man, "you should take it to someone on the street." Someone on the street? Yes, because "if you were going to get hip surgery, you'd want a second opinion, right?" Hip surgery?!

So I took it home and plugged it in. Same problem they were not able to replicate. And then it dawned on me. They didn't actually run the computer with the monitor plugged in. Because they were so sure that it wasn't what I suggested it might be: a software incompatibility. So I set to work tracking down whatever it was that might have been downloaded from the NBC site and then I threw it all out. All better. Then I called the manager at the Apple Store. I might have gloated a little. She apologized for the "Genius"'s behavior. Profusely.

Sadly, the gloating did turn out to be a bit premature (although enjoyable). I went online again and it seems there's something out there that isn't compatible with my system. I think it's something to do with Flash and Firefox. And since then, I've been running the computer off a "safe boot" which only allows Apple installed system software to load. This works for awhile and then I have to reboot. Meanwhile, I've been purging everything having been downloaded into my system in the past couple of days. Note that Firefox is supposed to ask permission to download anything, but it doesn't, and it also upgrades itself - grrrrr. After the last purge, I've been up and running for several hours, and have even been able to go back online (using Safari). I'm really hoping I've purged the bug finally.

So now back to your regularly schedule programming. Here's a lovely finished Brandywine by Helen. And another being knit by Therese. So far, I've sent $3,500 to Doctors without Borders, all thanks to generous knitters like you! Thank you!!! $5 of each Brandywine Shawl pattern purchase goes to Doctors without Borders (MSF) for their work in Haiti. There's a long way to go to reach my goal of 10,000 patterns sold, but I know we can do it together!

Have a great weekend! I'll be trying to get over the bug the kids shared with me before heading off to Stitches West next week.

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Blogger Michelle said...

I have had Macs since 1989. The only browser I run on my MacBook is Safari. I used to use Outlook, but Safari is always trouble-free.

7:11 PM  
Blogger JelliDonut said...

Wow! I can't believe you got treated so badly! That is a shame and not something Apple should do. Might as well have a Windoze machine! I quit using Firefox--too many troubles. I'm back to Safari, and while it's not perfect, it IS less aggravating. I hope things are better, computer-wise.

7:15 PM  
Blogger scifiknitter said...

I still use Firefox at work on the windoze machine I use there, but I have pretty much abandoned it on my beloved Powerbook in favor of Safari, which has improved a lot over the years through steady upgrades.

I've got the Brandywine in my queue!

9:07 PM  
Blogger Rudee said...

I haven't bumped into this problem yet, but I do know that firefox did an automatic upgrade 3 days ago. You're right...it's annoying. I hope you get your problem fixed for good.

I haven't cast on my Brandywine. Yet. I did buy some bee-u-t-ful yarn with which to do so when I'm able. It's Kraemer sterling in a dark green. I'll send you a tiny picture when it's done so it doesn't overwhelm your graphics.

You're incredibly generous to have donated so much of your proceeds to DWB. Thank you!

10:18 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Wow, that's awful customer service! Glad you called and told the manager about it. I *hate* it when people treat me like they're "geniuses" (as it were) and I'm not! I mean, maybe I'm not, but maybe they aren't, either. :)

(heart) Brandywine

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, ladies? Do you realize you can change the default on your Firefox to NOT auto download new versions?
Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Update

That being said, Firefox has always had a problem, and still does, with memory leakage. The longer you've got the browser open, the worse it gets. If you're going to use it as your default browser, I suggest closing it and reopening from time to time.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Tiny Tyrant said...

I will say that on my PC firefox will download, but won't install without my permission. Maybe you are missing a setting somewhere.

Have fun at Stitches, I'll be in Bodega that weekend knitting with a house full of Scrapbookers. Yeah I'll be the only knitter. :-)

12:40 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

Yeah. Thought I had that auto install box unchecked! I wonder if it re-checked itself when I installed the last update (that I chose to install)? It definitely re-asserted itself as the default browser.

But all's well with Safari! :)

4:29 PM  
Blogger Kathy in San Jose said...

I've found that I prefer the "geniuses" at some stores over other stores, and I will go out of my way to work with ones that I trust.

Hope to see you at Stitches!

7:06 PM  
Anonymous sil said...

Ugh! Computer stuff is the worst, you forget how much you use your computer for.

I use a pc, but the apple products I do have are wonderful. I must admit, their "customer service" is among the worst so their products better be good. My experiences have always been negative, so it's not just you. (I'm guessing that doesn't make you feel better though).

Good luck!

6:41 PM  

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