Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It Only Hurts When I Backup

I begin with a confession. Not many minutes ago, I urged the Toshiba Satellite laptop I am currently using to go be fruitful and multiply itself.

I was that angry with it.

I am using this four-plus-year-old laptop because my less than one-year-old Acer is off in that limbo known as Repair, a place to which CompUSA sends all still-under-warranty computers. In this limbo, my Acer will have a portion of itself re-soldered, thus enabling it to be connected to its AC power cord and then on to the greater glory of having its battery recharged. This is the second time my Acer has visited Repair for this very purpose. In all fairness to Acer, the problem has more to do with me, tripping over said wire than any significant design flaw.

It is true, however, that Brian Fagan, a devoted Mac user, pointed out that the new Macs connect the AC power supply to the body of the laptop with a magnet rather than the male/female prong-and-sleeve coupling found on most PCs.

"Finals time," the CompUSA repairman said, investigating my Acer. "Students get spacey studying for exams and trip over their power cords. Biggest single injury this time of year."

"Look about you," Brian Fagan invited me with a twitch of his mustache. "You will never see a person in the repair line with a Mac computer."

This is the same Brian Fagan who has announced to me on several occasions that the Cro-Magnon got short shrift, which probably means he is brewing up a new book--a book on the Cro-Magnon. But that is another matter; what is of matter is that Brian is given to making assertive statements.

Steve Cook, also a devoted Mac user, and used to Brian's assertions, smiled before nothing, "Shelly has his computers repaired at CompUSA, where people with Macs don't go."

Subsequently, I got an email--with attachments--from Liz Kuball, a forward from Mac, advertising Adobe's recent release of a new version of Photoshop that would allow her to install it on one of the Mac computers listed in the attachment. An emerging photographer, Liz has slathered for the time when Adobe produced a version of its program better suited for the new Intel Macs. In an exchange of emails, we both wish-fulfilled over the possible configurations for a new Mac, each resolutely pledging to get the maximum use of our respective Dell and Acer, not even considering a switch to Mac until "sometime in 2008."

Actually, the Toshiba is not to be faulted for what it allows, the biggest problem being I cannot introduce MS Word into its innards because of some defect in the CD/DVD drive. The great irony is that I have, lurking somewhere under the bed, a Mac G-4 Powerbook, given me by Brian Fagan after he switched up to a more recent model. The G-4 worked very nicely, thank you, the last time the Acer was off being done to, but it appears to be hors de combat, which gets me at long last to the point here, best expressed a week or so back by Sam Kuper, during a visit from his chores at the Darwin Project at Cambridge University. PCs have some qualities Macs don't; Macs are better designed than PCs in some areas but not in all areas.

A vocal and enthusiastic fan of fountain pens--my Ancora is great for writing first drafts, ditto my Conklin, Mont Blanc, and Sailor--but as all things tend to do, fountain pens sometimes leak. Everything of a mechanical nature finds a way to go non-mechanical, and so there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Amusingly enough, as I was typing this, the service department of CompUSA called to tell me my Acer is ready, which sounded important because classes start tomorrow and it will be nice to be able to get my lecture notes down in MS Word.

Rushing to pick up the Acer, and stopping at Peet's for a latte to go, I stood behind a man who made me wish Fagan and Cook were there to see his plight. "This damned thing--" he said, waving a Mac Powerbook around. "I'm going back to PCs."

My Acer was nicely scrubbed up and pronounced fit of wind and limb, ready to go, the tech said. I was even given a new battery. When I got home, I fired up my old friend, thinking I had some time to go before considering the jump to Mac. Then I discovered that in the repair process, my hard drive had been wiped clean.

Go be fruitful and multiply yourself, I thought, thinking about the logistics of contacting, who holds in their server a copy of the data on my hard drive. All was not lost,that is, not if you don't add time to the equation.

1 comment:

Pod said...

for some bloggy reason i couldn't leave a comment above. i love book stores, especially old secondhand ones, especially in england. i get so lost in th eimages a book conjures up. one of my favourite feelings being lost, and so it is wonderful that a bookstore holds so much potential and energy. i love that everything ever invented has always been hanging around somewhere, waiting to get out