Technology has not been my friend this summer. In fact, it’s been downright nasty. All these little gadgets I own have been breaking, leaving me with the strong desire to ditch them all and set up camp in a cabin somewhere in the mountains of Montana.

The problems started back in July, when the 6GB Hitachi microdrive for my digital camera died while I was photographing a wedding. All the gory details of that saga can be found in my previous entry,
Recovering the Photographs. Since then, everything else seems to be falling apart.

Cell Phone

Motorola v551 cell phoneA couple weeks ago I decided to switch my cell phone service from Sprint to Cingular, for the sole purpose of saving the $150 or so that it would cost to buy a new cell phone with an existing service. These cell phone companies give away phones to new customers who sign a one- or two-year contract. Never mind that my Sprint contract had expired and I would gladly have added another two-year contract if I could get the same deal on a new phone. But, no, those free (or $30) phones are for new customers only.

So now I have a fancy new phone with a camera and the whole shebang, but the signal is so poor that I can’t receive any calls at work—and many other places, for that matter.


As part of my self-styled penny-pinching program, I decided to switch my ISP from Comcast Cable to TDS Metrocom DSL. The DSL service is going to save me $35 per month for the first six months and $10 per month thereafter. If only I could get it to work. After I set it up according to the instructions, I tested the bandwidth and discovered that I was getting roughly 19Kbps. That’s slower than dial-up! I haven’t had a chance yet to call the service provider, because I’ve been too busy dealing with other problems (see below), but my inauspicious first attempt leaves me doubtful that customer support will be able to help.


Last Tuesday my iPod died on me. Well, it didn’t exactly die, but I couldn’t play any music on it, and neither the iPod itself nor iTunes showed any songs on the thing. A look at the directories in Windows Explorer and the Apple Finder bore no fruit. Apparently, I had what people in the business call a “corrupt file system.” I had already been through something similar with the digital camera’s memory card, so I knew where to look for recovery software. I got the files off the iPod and onto my iMac and then started the painstaking process of retagging the files that lost their artist, song title, or album information. I was happy to have the files back, so I tried to keep my complaints and under-my-breath muttering to aminimum.


But then, on Friday night, the unthinkable happened. My programs seemed to be running a little slow on the four-month-old iMac, so I thought I’d shut things down and restart. Sometimes we all need a fresh start, right? I selected Restart from the Apple menu, verified my intention when the dialog box popped up, and ran downstairs for dinner.

When I returned later that evening, the iMac was still trying to restart. Uh oh, let’s try again, I thought. I powered off the machine and then started it up, but again, nothing. Just a little Apple logo and a spinning gear. I then tried booting from the installation CD and ran the Disk Utility, but the Repair Disk function balked before doing much of anything and spat out an arcane error message. I tried linking my computer to my brother-in-law’s iMac, but that one didn’t recognize my poor machine’s existence. Finally I gave up and brought it into the shop where I bought it and am now waiting to hear the diagnosis from the professionals. Will they be able to recover any of the files from it? Will they have to replace the hard drive? Will any of it be covered under my warranty? Stay tuned.

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5 Responses to iMad

  1. Sarah G says:

    I have to admit, I giggled at your subject for this entry.  But
    “Ick!”  Ick, Ick Ick!!!  I thought we had problems with our
    (5? year old, G3) Mac.

    The other amusing part is that your RSS
    feed comes right after “This is Broken” in my list.  This was a
    nice little addendum to some of the stuff they’ve had lately about
    switching cell phone companies, and technological black holes.

  2. Darl Leman says:

    Reading this enabled me to put my summer of technology woes into better perspective Karl.  After all if you are “hitting the wall”, then my techno ineptitude isn’t quite as bad.  It all started with the purchase of a digital camera and quickly learning that downloading, editing, copying etc. isn’t as easy at it seems.  The wedding slideshow was the most difficult, including a round with Adobe software to make it all work.  My family brought in reinforcements for this project in the form of my soon to be son in law so I wouldn’t be caught cursing at my PC. Going wireless in our home promised to be an easy venture but after several calls with Comcast and Linksys, the wireless signal is interrupted every time our portable phone rings. I guess it is due to the similar frequencies.  I have been informed on how to change this but haven’t worked up enough nerve to try it.  Finally my last project was decidely lower tech involving connecting a new DVD player to my HDTV and my 25 year old amplfier/receiver.  I am happy to report that this was completed without a hitch much to the surprise of my very much technologically adept son. 

  3. Aunt Ginny says:

    See! If this kind of stuff is hard for you, what about us techno-geezers! I’m sorry you’ve had so many things go wrong in such a short span of time! Darl, you have my sympathy on the digital camera. There IS a pretty steep learning curve on that. I have Photoshop Elements (cheaper than Photoshop) but I had yto take a class before I understood what you could do. The Dummies book just made me feel like a big one for buying such a stupid book! One of these days, I’m going into the Apple story and have one of those kids they have working there explain the iPod to me. I really don’t get it. I know what they can do, but I don’t get it. We love our service from iserv and I’m enjoying our addition of DSL- no problems-yet. But they’re great on service. We also love our Alltel phone service and we get service many places up North.

  4. Dennis Holtrop says:

    When my flawless AT&T Wireless service of several years was unceremoniously voided and transferred to Cingular in the last year, I immediately became unable to take or make calls from within the walls of my own house!  I now have to go out on the back deck or on the front stoop.  Which is problematic when one does not feeling like dressing for the occasion of taking or making a simple phone call, eh?

    Technological progress is hugely overrated, IMHO.  I’ll probably have to go back to a LAN line.


    El Nuevo Luddite


  5. Karl says:

    Dennis, that was exactly my problem with Cingular. It works
    great–as long as you’re standing outside with no tall buildings
    around. Fortunately, I was able to get out of the 2-year service
    agreement because I bailed within the 30-day grace period. I switched
    to Verizon, which seems to be working much better. But here’s the
    irony: I originally switched carriers to save money, but with the two
    activation fees (one for Cingular, one for Verizon) and the additional
    $10 per month I’ll have to pay Verizon, it would have made a lot more
    sense just to stick with Sprint and buy a new phone without the crazy
    rebate. Oh well. Lesson learned.

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