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Sunday, September 21, 2008

One Bad Apple . . .

Personal Weather Report - Extreme Turbulence. Thunderstorms Threatening.

Writing Activity - Judging Contest Entries and Preparing Blog Guest Interviews.

My Apple® is behaving badly, and I'm bummed to the core.

Several months ago, my beloved iMac® developed a minor problem. A bright yellow vertical line appeared about one inch from the right edge of the screen. My hubby, who is more technically savvy than I, said the line was about a pixel wide and suggested I take my computer into the shop right away to have the tech reps check out the problem.

Did I heed his advice? Um, no. I mean, the line was no big deal. It wasn't as though it was in the way, since that's the portion of my desktop where I store the icons for my hard drive and most active folders.

A couple of months went by, and the little yellow line was no longer lonely. A pretty lavender line the same size as the first appeared about two inches from it. Summer was fast approaching, and my hubby, who is a teacher and is off during June and July, tactfully suggested that might be a good time to have my machine serviced, even offering to help with the process.

Do you think I listened? Nope. I needed my machine, you see. The Romance Writers of America® national conference was coming up, and I was hard at work revising the manuscript I was going to pitch to an agent and editor. Not only that, but I'd just launched my first website and two blogs and had much to do to get them running smoothly. I couldn't possibly part with my computer at such a time.

Toward the middle of the summer a faint white vertical band three inches wide showed up on the left side of my screen. The desktop showed through it just fine, and opened documents covered it up, so I was still good to go. Plus, the band mysteriously disappeared not long after I returned from the conference.

So, did I head to the Apple store's Genius counter? No. If a large white band had come and gone, I convinced myself the two little lines would fade away of their own accord.

Did they? Oh, no! As of yesterday, they have many friends.

I was working away on a guest blogger's interview when my daughter, who was watching over my shoulder at that moment, witnessed my horror as the right one third of my screen began flashing in cool psychedelic patterns. When the light show was over, the right one third of my screen was covered by two wide bands, one an inch wide stripe of black and the other four inches of white.

I freaked! My baby was dying, I was sure of it. I could no longer see anything beneath the bands. In desperation I went on a click and drag frenzy as I sought to find each of the nine icons now buried beneath the blocked screen. I may crumble in the face of disaster, but I am tenacious. I fished for those icons until every one of them rested safely on the left side of the screen. Not trusting even that, I filed them in a folder on the hard drive in case more of my screen disappeared from view.

Thankfully my iMac decided to misbehave on a Saturday when my hubby was home. He is my rock, whereas I'm slippery sand. He returned home from a walk and came to my rescue. As tears of frustration filled my eyes, he pointed out that things could be much worse. I could have lost my data. Thankfully, it appears everything is intact. He put in a call to Apple, and the weekend duty tech set everything up so I can call Monday morning and make an appointment with the Apple store in Sacramento. The rep also said my extended warranty should cover everything.

What now? I watch in fascination as my screen displays various patterns each time I wake it from its sleep. The size and colors of the bands are changing faster than prices at the gas pump.














The most interesting to me is the mirror image band that appears from time to time. A portion of the main screen repeats itself on the damaged section.



If this weren't the computer I rely upon each day, I might enjoy watching the varying patterns and see the beauty in them. But that is not the case.

Instead of admiring my Apple's art displays, I'm busy copying files to my web email account, making backups and figuring out how to deal with my iMac being in the shop for several days.

I don't have to tell you it's not a good time for me to be without my computer, do I? I have contest entries to judge, a guest on my blog tomorrow and interviews to prepare for future guests.

I'm doing my best to learn from this experience. No matter how much I want to believe that my trusty Apple will never give me a moment's trouble, it is, as my rational hubby has reminded me several times over the past twenty-four hours, just a machine. "It's not a matter of if a computer will crash," he says, "it's a matter of when."

So, I'm exploring off-site storage options. Infrequent saves to thumb drives is not enough to satisfy me after this scare. And I've learned that I need to listen to my hubby's sound advice.

Losing the right side of my screen really took a byte out of my day, but I trust the doctors at Apple to work their hardware wizardry and to put a new face on my iMac and a smile on mine.

How often do you backup your files? Do you use an off-site service? If so, which one? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

4 comments:

Theresa Ragan said...

Wow, Keli. This is horrible and horribly fascinating. I don't back up nearly often enough, but I'm doing so right now! Good luck with that. Bummer.

Anne Barton said...

Hi, Keli! My condolences. Being without a computer is almost as bad as being without running water. How did we ever live without them?

I hesitate to say this, but . . . I'm not a Mac person. :) I know passions run high on either side of the Mac/PC aisle, and so I avoid discussing my PC loyalty in much the same way most people avoid discussing politics at the office. I have to admit, though, I like the "I'm a Mac. And I'm a PC," commercials. And just this week Microsoft started airing their response ad. It's kind of cute too.

Anyway, my husband is a tech guru and created a program that automatically backs up the computers in our house to an external drive each night while we sleep. It gives me peace of mind. :)

I wish you all the best with your computer woes. Those pictures were scary. :|

Anne

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hey Keli,

Hope your computer is almost home by now. I'm terrible at back up. Once and a while I save to a flash drive, but not often enough.

I don't know what I'd do without my email and files!

Anne, your hubby sounds like a whiz! Wish we had something like that. I even forget to run my anti-virus program - EEK.

sue

C.J. Redwine said...

I'm glad you'll have your baby back soon. (I smiled at the puns in your post, btw. I know you love them!)

As for backing up data...daily. No exceptions. Can't afford the risk.

And guess what?? My hubby's amazing IT guy FIXED my laptop already and I'm using it as I type. Wasn't that fast?? I'm sending him some pumpkin bread as thanks.