Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Computer Breakdown

Remember this top photo? I posted it on the blog on November 18th. After I had finished editing it in Photoshop, I quit the program and opened up my Firefox browser to create the blog post. The browser was open to my Facebook page, and this is how the page looked.
I  should have known something was really not right with my computer. Somehow the photo and the browser combined to make this bizarre image. I took a screenshot of it and posted it on Facebook. Computers don't act like this when they are well and functioning happily. I dismissed it as a strange computer glitch and expected/hoped/wished it would be okay. I tried not to think any more about it. Between November 18th, when I took that top photo and December 10th, when my computer died, I noticed some crazy stuff going on. My browser never quite shut down without a "force quit." I got the Macintosh "spinning ball of death" many, many times a day. I often had to do a hard shut down because the computer literally stopped functioning. Then, on December 10th, after my zillionth time restarting it, the computer would not restart. We took it to the local MAC repair shop, and after a few days they notified me that they had to replace the hard drive and the operating system. A new hard drive meant that I had to reinstall my files from my external backup. I had done my last backup on November 30th. So, the only photos that survived between then and December 10th were the ones I had posted on the blog and Facebook.
I had taken several photos of this Townsend Warbler on December 6th, but this is the only one I posted on Facebook. I was so glad to see it. The really interesting thing is that without this visual reminder I wouldn't have even remembered what was missing from my iPhoto files.

 Like, this beautiful sunset of December 3rd. What a sight. I had taken about fifteen or twenty shots of the sun going down on this evening. This is all that's left.

After the computer was repaired and I had reinstalled all my files from backup, I tried to do some system updates when I got this message.

Oh I was not happy to see this. Back to the MAC repair shop it went. So, for about a week I used our old PC, learning the ways of that world. Then, on Tuesday the 16th, the repair folks called to say that they had done all updates and run hardware diagnostics. "Everything is fine, Robin," they said. Everything.

I now have my mac back, but I am wary. Weary and wary.


  1. Never had a Mac but have had windows laptops which I tend to change ever three years. A mac pro is twice the price so I figure I'm doing ok

  2. How these fickle, sensitive machines have a hold on us. Grrrrr.

  3. Stuff like this leaves me feeling helpless. It's all way beyond my ability to understand, much less to fix. Still, I love my Mac.

  4. Every time I hear an odd sound from mine, I worry. I am paranoid (it's not paranoia if it could happen) about saving to small drives regularly but not everything. That's the problem-- figuring out what matters the most. I've also never had a Mac and the cost is some of why. Mostly though I have had very long-lived machines. One thing I do, whenever mine starts to act up is do a system restore to a date before it was that way. Generally that solves the problem as it was something that got added either by me, an update (hate updates) or by where I'd been.

  5. We expect our computers to work and it's such a pain when something happens. I'm planning to get a MacBook after the holidays. Guess I'll go with the extra-cost protection.

  6. Bill-- I think laptops really start to decline in their third year. Not sure what I'm going to do when this one finally dies. I was pretty comfortable with the PC.

    Sabine-- We are definitely attached to our computers. Haven't gotten into our iPhone nearly as much.

    Pablo-- It is a bit disconcerting to have the computer die. It's my photo album, file cabinet, newspaper, and communication device. Yikes!

    Rain-- I run a Virus program once a week. I do regular backups. I think computers have fairly short lifespans. We do life support at the end, but they do finally die.

    NCmountainwoman-- We have the Apple Care Warranty. It has definitely come in handy. The computer I had prior to this one started dying six months before the warranty expired. I sent that thing to Apple several times. They would ship it back "fixed" and it would break again. Finally, they gave up and asked me where I would like to pick up my new laptop. Brand new, for free! Yes, get the warranty.

  7. Steve always gets the warranty and it has come in very very handy. Apple has even honored it when it was a week out of date.

  8. Our first computer (back in the 90's) was a Packard Bell---we later learned it was one of the ten worse computers ever made. I wouldn't even go into detail about how many times I wanted to throw that evil piece of tec out the window.

  9. Tara-- I would never buy a computer without a warranty anymore. They can be very cranky pieces of insanity.

    MandT-- Interesting that you wanted to throw the computer out the window. I wanted to smash my mac against the wall very, very hard. It's amazing how angry it made me to have it keep failing. Deep breath, deep breath.

  10. I am Patti and I am a computer addict. I so understand your frustration. I have a dead XP to my right collecting dust but housing backups. It isn't actually dead, just no longer guarded by Microsoft. They sure know how to make us keep the techs in business.
    Hope all your problems are in the past tense now.

  11. Hi Patti! I am Robin and I am a computer addict! I spent quite a bit of time yesterday having a delightful "chat" with an Apple Support person. S/he helped me update my operating system, which my computer would not just do on its own. I think things are cleared up now. I hope your computer behaves FOREVER!

  12. Do you use Time Machine? It does hourly backups for 24 hours, daily backups for the last month and weekly backups beyond that. I'm not even aware of its operation.

  13. Yeah, what Mark says. Time Machine is great and you don't know it's running. The first backup takes awhile, but after that, it just updates what's changed.
    I don't want to jinx myself, but of my various laptops, I've only had one that needed the hard drive replaced, and that happened before it actually failed (they guy who sent it out said they wouldn't replace my hard drive until it fails, but they in fact did).
    I suggest running your virus protection daily. Just set it to run at such and such a time each day.
    Losing photos is awful! I hope you never lose another. The ones you've posted above are gorgeous (well, not the last one, but the warbler and the sunset).

  14. Mark-- I do use Time Machine. That's how I got almost all my files and photos restored. I have been having a hard time, though, figuring out where to set preferences on Time Machine. It has given me an update notice every ten days, but I would like it to tell me more often than that. I can't find where to do that. Do you have an external drive hooked to computer all the time? Or does Time Machine backup somewhere else for you?

    CCorax-- Yes, I'm a big fan of Time Machine I would have no files left without that. I think I will run my virus protection daily. That's a great idea. Right now, the only hiccup I'm seeing on my new hard-drive and Yosemite OS is one of my email inbox won't delete messages. Isn't that weird. I'm sure it's a sign of doom.

  15. I hate it when things like that happen. It can be really frustrating to have to fix your computer when you had all sorts of plans for things you wanted to get done. I think that sometimes, it is interesting that a computer will break down right in the middle of a project or when kids have their work to do.

    Raymond @ CKS Global Solutions LTD