12 June 2008

Mac Madness

Just ask A.Pants. I'm a wee bit forgetful.

So it really should come as a surprise to anyone who actually knows me that I managed to pack for my California trip without remembering to include (a) my cell phone charger or (b) the power cord for my Macbook Pro.

Hateful, I know.

Consequently, I spent a great deal of my time back in L.A. (after the Big Bear trip) looking first for a Helio store (where I bought a replacement charger for my cell phone) and for an Apple Store (which, I should point out, I've been mis-naming for years, thinking it's called the "Mac Store." Go figure).

My Helio store adventure was without mishap; I always find those stores practically deserted, with amiable slacker types hanging out just waiting for someone like me to bumble into their store and give them something to do. In fact, when Atticus ate both my plug-in charger and my computer/USB charger some months back, the helpful slacker in the New York store took pity on my and sold me the travel charger, but comped me the USB charger. My experience at the Helio store has, in fact, softened my irrational rage at all things Millennial.

Anyway, my Apple Store experience provided a bit of a bump in my road, and ended up sidetracking a couple days of the vacation in a fruitless search for what was going wrong with my computer.

See, having forgotten my power cord and being up in the mountains two hours east of L.A. (i.e., nowhere the freak near an Apple Store) I was forced to run my computer on its battery for the entire weekend. I rationed its use, generally only turning it on when it came town to download photos from my camera. Had there been a wireless signal at the cabin, I'd have likely blown my battery wad in the first few hours of my visit.

Anywho, on the last day of our visit to Big Bear, I pushed the computer a little too far, and the thing shut itself down for want of battery power. I had a brief thought of, "Oh, gee, I hope that's not bad for the computer or anything," but given my experience with PCs, I was pretty certain that all I really needed was to buy a power cord and recharge the battery. In fact, I've long subscribed to the believe that, with the nickel cadmium batteries often used in computers these days, it's good to run the battery completely down every once in a while, to prevent it from developing a sort of memory of the point at which it generally gets recharged, keeping it from shortening its own life.

So I got back to L.A. and went the next day to buy my Helio charger and my Mac power cord. Luckily for me, both stores are located on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, a short drive from where A.Pants and I were staying.

To make an already too-long story short: After the abrupt shut-down in the mountains, my computer refused to take a charge from the new power cord.

A.Pants had to get on a plane to the plains Tuesday evening, so I spent all day Wednesday variously attaching and removing my the power cord from the computer, popping out the battery and replacing it, all in the vain hope that some combination of those two things would make the computer work again. Taunting me, it occasionally did start to boot up, and even stayed on long enough for me to draft an e-mail, before it would just shut off again.

Thursday morning, out of frustration, I made an appointment at the Apple Store's Genius Bar in the hopes that some Mac-savvy genius would be able to help me.

When the appointed time arrived, I sat down at the Bar and explained my problem to the attendant Genius Barkeep. With a furrowed brow, he took my new power cord and plugged it into my computer. Nothing. He took the battery out of my computer and put it back. Still Nothing. (Please note that, to this point, I think I qualified as a Mac Genius, since I'd already done these things).

Next he took my cord and plugged it into his computer.

Nothing. No charging. No light indicating power was flowing. Nothing.

"Looks like we sold you a bum power cord," he tells me. "Sorry about that. Lemme get you a replacement and we'll test it before you go."

Everything should be so easy, kids.

I briefly considered demanding some sort of compensation for having nearly torn out my own hair, but I was frankly grateful. Better that than something requiring I ship off my computer for repairs in some distant place, right?

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