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.
A 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.