Thursday, October 04, 2007

Everything Is Broken: What do you do when a piece of equipment fails shortly after the warranty is up? Case in point: my iBook. It is dead. When it first started going into Kernel Panics (see last month) I naturally did a web search to find out what steps to take and I took all of them. Still the Panics came. So I let the local Mac shop have it for a few days. After a while they claimed they had fixed it by doing exactly what I had already tried. Naturally I got it home and it immediately Panicked again. I could, and may still, bring it back to the Mac shop, but it's pretty clear that they do not have the ability to do anything I haven't already done. So, for all intents and purposes, my iBook is toast. (For the truly geeky out there, I am pretty sure the problem is with the PRAM. If you flash the PRAM the damn thing works for a few days before it goes back to persistent Panics.)

Now my iBook was getting obsolete pretty fast, and it never had really enough juice to do photo-editing other than at a glacial pace, so I decided that rather than pay whatever it would take to find and fix the issue, I may as well bite the bullet and get a new laptop. But how could I get another Mac?

I liked my iBook. The new Mac laptops are even better. But how can I go back and support a company that sold me a product that failed in less than 2 years? Isn't that like rewarding Apple for a bad experience? I know Apple has a stellar reputation when it comes to laptop quality, but wouldn't buying another one just make me a sap. I wanted another Mac but what kind of tool gets a smackdown like that and gives that company another chunk of profit? In such circumstances, you are pretty much compelled to go elsewhere. It's a shame, because you can't get a Mac anywhere except from Apple, so now I am back to Microsoft and Vista (which is more than a little flaky, btw) on an HP. Dell was out because they sold me a pile of crap laptop prior to the Apple. Sony has nice laptops, very cool looking too, but there's quite a premium over HP. Lenovo was another choice, but I got a discount on the HP through my day job.

Next in line for breakdown was my wireless router. As with laptops, I have been through three, abandoning manufacturers as they betray my trust. My first router was a Belkin. After about month of use it ceased to generate a signal stronger than one bar even when my iBook was right next to it. It was replaced with a Linksys which served me for about 14 months. Then it developed exactly the same problem, it just ceased to generate a strong enough signal to be read. It worked fine with a wired connection, but not wireless. I have two wireless devices -- my laptop and a Roku Soundbox -- neither could get a signal so I am sure it wasn't the wireless card. So now Linksys is on the feces list. I have ordered a new router, this one an SMC.

So for those of you scoring at home, the feces list now contains Dell, Apple, Belkin and Linksys. On the bubble are HP and SMC.

Oh, and my wireless mouse ceased to function. It's about 3 months old. Add Logitech to the feces list.