Sadness, Misery, and, yes, Despair

We own two pieces of Apple equipment and work kindly provided me with a third. At home, we have a G4 Cube and an Airport Base Station (Graphite, for those of you keeping score at home). My work machine is a PowerBook G4 (TiBook). Every single one of these things is broken.

The Cube went first. It appears that the graphics card (an NVIDIA Geoforce 2MX) completely wigs out when it gets cold. If we leave the computer on all the time, it works fine. But if we put it to sleep or shut it down, we have to let it run for at least 15 minutes before it behaves itself again. Until that time, the screen is fuzzy, lines all over the place, and it crashes. Once it’s warmed up, we can reboot it and we’re good to go. So, we haven’t bothered to get it fixed.

My TiBook went next. The DVD-ROM drive has been in bad shape for months. It sounds like a sick Cessna and only reads half of the discs put into it. But the real problem is the power. If I am using it on anything other than a table (ie, any place where it can move like, say, a lap) it will randomly shut itself off completely. When I go to restart it I will hear things inside the computer kick into action and immediately stop. Reminds me of a car on a very cold morning. If I shake it a few times, it then spins up. If it weren’t for the spontaneous shutting off, I’d think it was the hard drive. But it’s got to be the power supply. I need to find a week or three when I can part with this computer and use an alternative machine (almost certainly running Windows) until it is fixed.

The deepest cut of all came just tonight. For the last few days, our Airport Base Station has been randomly rebooting. It suddenly just restarts itself killing the active network connections we may have open at the moment (usually this happens to me when downloading a large file requiring me to start over again). On the advice of someone from Apple on the phone today, I did a forced reload in which we wipe it’s brain and reinstall the factory settings on it. This worked great. Until it spontaneously restarted itself again. That’s when it all went to hell. It never came back. I’ve done forced reloads about 6 times since then and in every case it reboots and then goes into error mode. It’s a doorstop now.

And you want to know the truly ironic part? When I sad down to write this, I popped open my browser, opened a new blog entry form and began to type the title. As “Sadness, Misery, and, yes, Despair” popped into my head, the screen of my TiBook went absolutely crazy. It was like a badly tuned tv station during an Earthquake. Clearly, I have angered the Apple Gods. Or maybe their QA ain’t what it used to be. Either way, I have a bevy of lemons here I have to make Vodka Collinses out of…

Actually, there’s one more bit of irony. We have two PowerMac 7100/80s which both work perfectly. Too bad there’s little use for 7 year old computers these days. We set one up not too long ago and spent the next few hours watching every After Dark module (I have them all) and wishing that it still existed. We decided to keep one of them (we were going to sell or donate them both) just so we could have an old CD-ROM junker for Jack but also so we could have After Dark.