Sunday, March 06, 2005

Poisoned Electricity

Yesterday morning, went to fire up my trusty little iMac (last version before they turned them into desklamps. Fast little refurbed thing I picked up off the Apple site) and found that there was nothing to fire humming, no nothing. Called my Mac guy and asked him for a bit of help troubleshooting stuff. He stopped by, tried everything I did (unplug it, replug it in. Try another outlet. Try another power cord, etc), then came to the determination that beau gris really needed to go to the doctor. As it appears as though he got zapped by a power surge through the phone line (yes, I use dialup, and before this happened, I didn't realize that you could get surge protectors for phone jacks.), if I'm lucky, it'll just be the power source. Goodness, I hope that the drive's not fried.

At the moment, I'm using a loaner. This is the thing about a lot of mac users: they have tons of old stuff in their museums of Mac History. The machine I'm currently using is the first generation iMac: the aqua one. Hal found it curbside. Yup, someone just got tired of it and tossed it. He calls it "blue ground score," but I've nicknamed it beau bleu.
I'm running Mac OS 9.2 (I'd forgotten how nice that is. Though OS X feels like Windows, I liked 9.2 better.), use webmail so as not to have to deal with downloading too much crud via a slow connection, and have been having a blast looking at what the previous owner didn't bother erasing off the drive.

I had fun getting reconnected to the web. Since I'd determined that it was the phone jack that caused the problems, I got this thing wired up to a protected jack with an extra bit of phone cord I found lying around. Called my ISP (formerly known here as the Regional Clown Network, as they were pretty bad when they started here. They've since gotten things pretty ship shape and are cheaper than the alternatives), and played "let's increase your knowledge base" with the dialup tech support guy. I love calling with a problem every now and again, firstly because it keeps them on their toes, secondly because, well, I love telling them what my operating system is and hearing the cringe over the phone line. If you've ever had to make your living supporting anything on mac OSs, you know what I'm talking about. After I'd assured him that I wasn't really a mac user, that I'd just dated one, he relaxed. He actually laughed a bit when I told him about some of the stuff I found on the drive, given that it was ground score. Got the proper mail addresses and phone numbers in, et me voici donc.


"Poisoned electricity," by the way, refers to Hal's exclamation after seeing my comatose machine in inaction and then needing to give the loaner a hard reset for no apparent reason. This, unfortunately, is a price you have to be willing to pay if you prefer living in older houses with ancient wiring systems. My roommate's also lost a machine here under similar sketchy circumstances.

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