Apple, Samsung and Hanes

What director Quentin Ferrentino sees just before the iMac hiccups, stutters and croaks.

What director Quentin Ferrentino sees just before the iMac hiccups, stutters and croaks.

Is the Super Bowl finally over? No, I see we’re still second-guessing coaches, lip-syncing sharks and that crucial, botched call — Nationwide’s decision to run that dead-kid ad instead of throwing it into the trash.

We didn’t watch any of it here at Rancho Pendejo, not even the ads. Herself was on a mission from God to clean up the joint, and I was doing a job of work, hammering away at a video review of the Novara Mazama for Adventure Cyclist and trying to troubleshoot ongoing technical glitches with the old iMac.

At 6 years of age, this ‘puter may be nearing the end of its useful existence, though a 15-year-old G3 “Pismo” PowerBook is still ticking right along with all its original equipment. Not so the iMac. Its optical drive croaked a while back, and ever since I “upgraded” to Mavericks I’ve been enjoying occasional and inexplicable freezes that force me into an irksome hard reset that occasionally costs me a bit of work. Kindly old Doc Google tells me I’m not alone in my suffering, and this is one of the reasons I’m dragging my feet on the Yosemite and iOS 8 upgrades.

Last night after a weirdo crash that left both monitors black, but with a moveable cursor, I booted into Safe Mode, which runs a few diagnostics, then said fuck it and booted again, this time into the Recovery HD, and ran Disk Utility.

The hard drive “appears to be OK,” says DU, so I repaired permissions and called it good. This morning nothing was on fire or defunct, which is better.

Now if Samsung will get around to installing a new drain pump in our 5-month-old washing machine, we’ll really have it going on. The goddamn thing has been on the sidelines for a week and I need to upgrade my undies to something a little, um, fresher.


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34 Responses to “Apple, Samsung and Hanes”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    As you know, I just bought a new iMac, iPod Touch, and iPad within the last 60 days. The Touch and Pad were pretty painless changes other than a flurry of app updates. But that iMac, oh brother. The ease of using Apple stuff in the past lulled me into false complacency. That, and the mother of bad assumptions along with my general stupidity, made the transition to the new iMac kinda like wiping a pissed off bobcat’s ass, who also has the itchy piles, with a roll of sandpaper in a small, dark closet. But, I would do it again, after doing my homework and backups, since the old iMac, same age as yours, was giving me the problems you are experiencing. And, I don’t depend on mine for work. the new one is really working well.

  2. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Pat, I feel your pain. I’ve been working on (while also working on) Macs since the late Eighties, when we got an SE for light graphics work at The New Mexican in Santa Fe.

    They used to be easy to work on, in both senses of the word. I used to call Macs “the computer for people who don’t give a shit about computers.” No mas, no mas.

    Even a no-talent knucklehead like me used to be able to get under the hood and bang on things with relative ease. Swap processor cards and drives, install memory, run Apple’s utility suite when things got weird (rarely), get a second opinion from Norton Disk Doctor.

    Some of the old PowerBooks were modular deals, letting you slide Apple or third-party drives in and out of bays depending on what kind of work you were doing. Didn’t need an optical, Zip or floppy drive for your road trip? Plug in a couple of blank plastic placeholders and you have a lighter laptop for the trek through the airport.

    Now these things are all buy-and-toss. Disposable, like diapers, only a whole shitload more expensive. I hate that. You should be able to keep one of these things around for a while and make simple upgrades yourself. But I’ve watched the OWC videos detailing how to replace HDDs and optical drives in this ’09 iMac and I’m having a hard time getting up for it. Once you tote up the unbillable hours, the price of replacement parts, and the potential for expensive catastrophe, deploying the credit card seems the smartest option available.

    And the new ones? Man, the user can’t even add memory after the sale. Don’t like what you bought? Buy another one. Apple has Geniuses to feed.

    The iOS stuff reminds me a lot of Old Apple. Sure, you can’t work on the goddamn things, but at least they seem to work for you.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      By the way, I bought an Apple USB super drive to go with the Mac. An extra $80 for that.

    • Steve O Says:

      Anyone read John Gruber over at Daring Fireball? The current state of Mac software has been a frequent topic. Suspect #1 is the imaginary requirement to link WWDC to a new edition of iOS and OS X. They have half the team coming up with new features before the other half can fix the new features from the last gyration.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Hey, Steve, thanks for the reminder about Daring Fireball. A techie introduced me to the site a few years ago and I promptly forgot all about it. Some interesting reading there. Like this:

        “I don’t regret upgrading from iOS 7 to 8, or from Mac OS X 10.9 to 10.10. I definitely don’t want to switch to Android or Windows. But I’d like to think that a year from now, I’ll be running new versions of iOS and OS X that don’t do much more than what today’s versions do — instead, that they just do those same things more reliably and consistently.”

        Myself, I deeply regret leaving Snow Leopard for Mavericks. But I like friction bar-cons and nine-speed drivetrains, too.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        One other problem is that documents I created with Pages 2008 can’t be opened by the version of Pages (5.5.2) that came installed on the new iMac. Error message says “This document is too old for Pages to open. First save this document with Pages 2009 to allow opening it.” My few documents are simple, so I opened them in Preview and copied and pasted them into the new Pages. If I had a bunch of complex documents, quien sabe?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Pat’s issue with Pages is a good argument for keeping your word processing simple.

        Apple’s early word processors, like MacWrite, were fairly simple deals. Microsoft’s bloated Word became the standard, however, and it seems as though Apple has been chasing Word/Office ever since, first with its AppleWorks office suite, and now with Pages and its little helpers.

        I didn’t even bother to install Word on my last couple of laptops. Instead, I stuck with the basic word processor TextEdit, which comes free with the machinery.

        It’s actually fairly robust: You can run a search and replace, save a document in a variety of formats (including Word and PDF), and check spelling and grammar. It’s fine for writing; lit’s also possible to edit Word documents using TextEdit.

        Caveat: I also cheat technological death by keeping old computers around as backstops. I have elderly Macs capable of running equally elderly versions of Word, Pages and AppleWorks.

  3. Larry T. Says:

    But wait…….I’ve heard the old “anyone who doesn’t use Apple stuff is a moron” for years along with claims they never have problems, though the kids my wife tries to teach use the “computer ate my homework” excuse just as much with Macs as with the Micro-crap things. Guess I know the truth now, thanks to you guys.
    Samsung washing machine? What’s wrong with Sears Kenmore as old Tim Allen used to say….”Sears? Damn right Sears!”
    It was easy to skip the $tuporbowl here in Italy since the silly thing didn’t come on TV until the wee hours of Superbowl MONDAY.

    • Steve O Says:

      Moron? You’re making the same mistake with computers that we make with politics, an assumption that the 2% of extremists on both ends speak for the 96% of us in the middle. People who actually work for a living don’t have time to either gloat or whine.

      Wish I saved my work somewhere… Not that long ago in a similar discussion we laid out about 20 ways that the false conservative versus liberal argument parallels the equally falls iOS versus android debate

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve always worked with Macs, barring a brief and unsuccessful detour into Linux. They really once were the computers for people who didn’t care about computers, especially journos and arteestes. They still have fewer mechanical issues, I think, and for sure less malware, though that’s going to change as the platform grows in popularity.

      But they’ve grown more complex, less intuitive, and less user-friendly … in part, I suspect, because of Apple’s focus on the iOS side of its business.

      The iPad, iPhone and iPod seem to be more about consumption than creation, which is fine, as far as it goes. What I need for work is something more like the old Mac Pro — not the one that looks like a hipster’s bathroom trashcan but the one that looks like a computer. All parts easily accessible by the user.

      Trouble is, they’re nearly as old as my iMac and nearly as costly as a new iMac. Sigh.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Hi Larry, what’s cooking? Anyway, I still go with Apple. Most of my troubles were from my own ignorance. If I had backed up all my music and photos onto thumb drives or CD, then the switch to the new iMac would not have been pretty painless. I also have an Apple TV box in the living room, and an additional wireless router in our studio. It offers real entertainment options, especially music, or radio from anywhere, all over the house. Plus I don’t tinker with hardware at all, so that’s no trouble. And the security, including free firewall software, is much better than MS. When I bought the Touch at the local Best Buy, the sales guy said Macs were selling well but PC hardly at all because the new Windows OS is so bad. But PC sales are down all over. But I like to have one for the storage and to run the household wireless network.

  4. Steve O Says:

    Let me get this straight… Insurance is for when people die, but if they actually talk about somebody dying, it’s offensive?

    Sounds like the same argument against showing American flag draped on coffins when talking about the wars.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It didn’t offend me … I didn’t watch it. The impression I got from snooping around Teh Innertubes was that it sorta spoiled the whole singing-shark, Katy Perry, dumb-ass play-calling vibe.

      • Steve O Says:

        I didn’t see it, either. So my ignorance lets me boil it down to the lowest common denominator, which probably isn’t fair. Still, said boiling leaves us offended by addressing directly the product they’re shilling. Meanwhile … it’s my understanding that a TD celebration included pretending to shit on the football. Seems like after that, our Offense-O-Meter ought to be pegged out.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      After you guys mentioned it, and the 24 hour “news” folks churned it, I went and watched it. Looked like a public service announcement to me about preventing childhood accidents. Guess putting some reality into a total bullshit money making afternoon submitting a whole bunch of people to a giant experiment on how much you can slosh a brain around before permanent injury occurs, well that’s OK.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Did it make you want to buy some beer and a new car to go with it?

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        We didn’t watch it either. From what I am reading Bud Light and Blue Moon were the big beer choices. Catching me drinking either of those would be like Larry enjoying a lunch of Chef Boyardee ravioli with a tumbler of MD/20/20 to wash it down.
        We went and saw a concert instead at the Arizona Folklore Preserve 10 minutes from the house. Lady really moves all over the musical map with a great covers of Nat King Cole songs and smoking hot Western swing. Her husband Dave makes an upright bass sing including some really good solos.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Man, I love me some Western swing. In college the hot band around the Greeley-Fort Collins area was The New Starlite Ramblers.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        The AFP is a little venue run by volunteers and U of A, Sierra Vista. It’s up in Ramsey Canyon in a very pretty place. Little venue that holds about 45 seats. It was just Carolyn and Dave performing, no band. But it was really good. Tickets were $15 for our Saturday concert, and since they only had 4 reservations for Sunday, we got to hear different sets on Sunday for $5. They are also playing the Cochise County Cowboy Poetry Festival gig next weekend.

  5. Libby Says:

    Didn’t watch the Super Bowl or pre-game. Did see the WC Elite Men race – wow!!! – and have stayed away from any other results so I can watch the U23 & Women events I DVRd.
    I need to buy a Mac laptop. My PC is defunct and my iPad mini & phone are filled with photos and videos with no room for any apps.i can’t even use my mini anymore – no memory left ( 16GB).

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The women’s race was really good, Libby. Best of the weekend, for my money.

      Have you tried freeing some space on your iThings by backing up the pix and videos to your computer? iPhoto should ask if you want to delete the pix and vids you import. You can also use Image Capture to do the same thing.

      • Libby Says:

        Anthony McCrossan, was talking about the women’s race and I pretty much tuned him out for spoilers. He also spoke to a Brit who may have had a very good placing but I tuned that out, too! So the Men’s race was a stunning U23 race, too. Hearing Richard Fries calling the race from Tabor was a surprise. I’ve been a spectator at races he’s called and it was slightly surreal to hear his stylings from a European venue.
        Yes, I need a laptop to take advantage of the fixes you have so thoughtfully suggested. Will have to go to the Apple Store to have a salesperson guide my purchase and relieve me of a huge amount of money.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Libby, keep an eye out for factory refurbs. I often go that route rather than new, reasoning that (a) I’m saving money, and (2) a refurbished model has already had its bad day.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Factory refurbs? I’m typing this on a factory-refreshed Dell laptop I bought in a panic when my lighter, sleeker laptop took a dump a few days before leaving for Italy back in 2009. Just before coming here in 2014 it seemed ready to happen again so I dragged this old thing out, dumped all the files onto it and here we are, Maybe the best $249 I ever spent? Certainly when it comes to computers and such.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    TCWSNBN strikes again. Literally.

    • Larry T. Says:

      Guess he’s now TCWTTGHGTTTR (the cyclist who tried to get his girlfriend to take the rap)? This prick goes around claiming he’s a changed man but his actions and behavior still spell sociopath it seems?

    • Larry T. Says:

      Had to laugh when reading the quote from the girlfriend about how she has teenagers at home to protect from media frenzy, but introduces herself to the owners of the wrecked cars as “Mrs. A-hole” instead of using her own name. How sloshed was she?

  7. Jon Paulos Says:

    Ya know, this is pretty much the only site I go to where the comments are worth reading.

    That Nationwide commercial reminds me of the line from (I think) PT Barnum. “It doesn’t matter what you write about me as long as you spell my name right.” Of all the millions spent on those commercials, which one are we talking about now?

    And that Lanceypants guy. After I read the article in the Aspen paper’s web site, it sounds like it was taking two to tango on that one. She didn’t have to do it, but was willing to take a hit for him, and in the end they all fessed up without a lot of beating around the bush. I know he’s a jerk, but I’d give him a pass on this one. Even the DA sounded sensible, so remember that the next time some DA plays the flaming asshole card. This is your model for how appropriate enforcement should look.

    And the OGWGFIW jerseys. Jeepers Patrick, ya want me to front the money for this and organize it?

    • khal spencer Says:

      Thankfully Lancypants didn’t hit and kill one of O’Grady’s Invisible Bicyclists, the guy who rides more per year and in worse conditions than the covergirl on Bicycling, who is riding home from a job as a dishwasher or cook, at some post-party hour, on a beater bike and with that reversed gimme cap and cigarette dangling.

      Driving while stupid is one of those things I fear most.

      (admittedly plagiarizing heavily from Patrick’s published work)

    • David R Says:

      I’m with Larry on this one: the guy’s a compete dick. He was more than willing – indeed, was probably adamant – that she take the rap for his mistake. Jon, I don’t know you of course, but I’m betting that you wouldn’t have put your S.O. in that position. “Protecting my family and it’s name” my ass; they both thought they could buy their way out. They’re damn lucky it was late at night and what he hit was some parked cars rather than someone walking across the street.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Jon, I agree with you on the Armstrong story since the all the facts of the incident haven’t been reported, amount of damage for example, and the DA seems to have settled on a misdemeanor charge. I won’t “what if” the thing. If my granny had wheels she would be a bicycle.

      I have a slightly used Old Guys jersey you can have for $100.

  8. Boz Says:

    To Make a short story long, here’s my two cents worth on the computer crap: I’m running a i7 core HP that’s a 2010 vintage. The Repugs couldn’t lie enough to fill the hard drive and it could outrun the Millenium Falcon on it’s worst day. But that wasn’t always the case. After a couple of years of service, she fell victim of some interweb skullduggery. Seems some sneaky (possibly Russian) bastards (I will find you and I will kill you) had dumped a steaming pile of spyware into my pride and joy. Numerous exorcisms failed to clean up the mess. I brought it to a local computer repair place for a look see. After a couple of weeks, I stopped by to check the progress and was told the found nothing. They charged me twenty bones for the effort and off I went, thinking I might have to buy a new rig, or at least a hard drive. Once home, I hooked it up and hit start. Hmmm. This resembles my old ‘puter, but doesn’t LOOK like my old Betsy. Strange, but no boot password screen. My Fabian Cancellara background was gone. The control panel and most other functions of the menu were “different” than before the check over. The good thing, though, is this baby was is super-charged, lightening fast and bullet proof. Love it !! I called the tech who had worked on it and he said they did nothing but a scan and had no clue what might have happened. He did say to stay away from all the fancy anti-virus security and stick with the basic Windows Defender and firewall. After two years years, so far so good.

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