No Mo' Apple Blues for Me

So many readers responded by comments and e-mail to my Powerbook woes and request for help getting a new Macbook with helpful hints on how to save a failed hard drive, select a back-up system and transfer music and video files from an iPod to a new computer, and with donations, I thought I'd post a follow-up.

Things are looking up. Here's what happened.

After receiving the failed diagnosis from the Genius Bar at the Apple store on Sunday, I took the Powerbook in to the local authorized Apple repair shop on Monday. Hard drive failure diagnosis confirmed.

The options were: Buy a new hard drive and have them install Tiger on it and transfer the music and videos from the iPod to the new hard drive, for a cost of $400 (and maybe throw in a few hundred more for additional memory since the Powerbook only had 512 mb memory and then think about still more for an external hard drive).... or give them the Powerbook and they'd give me $400 for it, which I could then put to the cost of a new Macbook.


They will also remove the hard drive when they get around to it in ten days or so (they are very busy) and give it back to me at no charge in case I later decide to see if anything is salvageable.

I decided to sell them the Powerbook and go with a new Macbook.

With the $400 for the old machine and $450 in donations readers sent in, I'm only $450 short of a new Macbook. As between spending $400 to repair an old machine and $450 for a new one, it was actually an easy decision.

When I get the new Macbook, I can either use one of the third party applications you all suggested to transfer the stuff on my iPod to it, or I can bring the new Macbook and my iPod to the repair shop and they will do it for $39.00.

So, I'm almost to a new Macbook. Thanks to all of you who donated,I couldn't have done it without your contributions.

I expect to order the new Macbook within the next week. I can't wait to have my "kitchen machine" back, hooked up to its 23" Apple display. It's really the machine I gravitate to and use the most at home. Best of all, I'm not going to lose my iPod content.

And I have no more bad feelings towards my Powerbook or Apple. In fact, I can't wait for the new Macbook to arrive.

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    one suggestion: (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:03:51 AM EST
    get a real laptop, instead of a playtoy one. apples are good for many things; doorstop comes quickly to mind. they're also good for holding up windows with broken sashes. what they aren't very good for is being computers. you found this out the hard way.

    i recommend going with an HP/Compaq. go to:


    for the money you're about to spend on that mac, you can get a machine with at least 1g of RAM, 100g hd, dvd/cdrw, windows xp pro, and a host of other goodies. then spend your $39 to transfer your ipod stuff to a good machine. it will also have a vga port, so you can plug your external monitor in.

    one other thing: get an external, USB connected backup hard drive. again, you can get a 250g one on newegg for a good price. backup all your data & songs to this, so in the event that you suffer another hd meltdown, you don't have to pay someone to attempt to extract this data from the internal one.

    for the money, it's one of the best computer related investments you'll ever make, i guarantee it.

    there's a reason so few businesses use apple computers, they just aren't very good.

    I've owned both Mac and PCs (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 08:15:20 AM EST
    My opinion of PC's are unprintable. The last PC I owned was an HP. Never again.

    I am fortunate that I telecommute. The company provides me with a PC and a printer as well as high speed internt. My intel Mac is on the left of my desk. The company required HP is on the right. When  I hooked up the PC to the computer, I noticed that both the HP computer and the HP printer had USB ports, just like my MAc. I took a USB cable and hooked up the HP printer to th HP computer. Nothing. No response.

    I disconnected the HP computer and hooked it up to my Mac. The Mac immediately identified the printer and said  I could print now. I scrounged around and found an old parallel printer cable and hooked up the  HP printer to the HP computer. The HP computer stirred to life. "new hardware found." Didn't know what it was, but knew it was  there. Progress I supposed.  

    The HP figured out it was a printer. The HP didn't know it what type of printer it was and asked me if I had the disk.  So I inserted the disk. It then installed the necessary software to run the printer.

    After about 15 minutes,  the HP computer  had recognized the HP printer and allowed me to print- but only with Parallel printing cables- desite both machined being equipped with USB cables AND only after installing software to recognize the printer.

     The Mac recognized the HP printer in seconds and required no software installation and actually could use the USB  ports. Imagine USB ports that were more than mere decorations!

    Why HP would sell a computer that did not already have all HP printer software installed is a mystery. If Mac can do it....  

    Mac- Plug and play. PC- Plug and Pray.  


    I love these tunderations (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:48:01 AM EST
    between users.... reminds me of Chevy vs Ford arguments when I was young.

    Why HP would sell a computer that did not already have all HP printer software installed is a mystery.

    Because the customer might want to use their already purchased Cannon?? Epson?? Brand X???

    Do you think there might be a "bundling" issue some happy lawyer would love to address??

    Installing printer software should take no more than 10 minutes..

    Your trouble description is unclear. If you tried to hook up a USB cable between the HP computer and the printer you would still have had to use the install disk, just as you did the for the parrallel port cable.

    If you hooked up both at the same time, aint gonna work.

    In the meantime, use whatever makes you happy. That's what makes this country great.

    No central planning...


    What's unclear about this? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:17:55 PM EST
    The Mac recognizes any of the printers you mentioned w/o adding any software. The USB cable worked on the Mac w/o installing any software.  It did it in seconds. Plug and Play.

     Conversely it took me 15 minutes or so to make the HP work with the HP. Plug and pray.

    Surely you can comprehend this. Currently I have the HP printer hooked to the Mac with a USB cable and the HP hooked up with the Parallel cable at the same time. No issues. I can print from either computer.  The only issue is, apparantly the USB port on the HP computer is for decorative purposes only.

    (I only use the HP for work related computing btw).

    And lets not talk about malware. Mac leaves the Windows machines in the dust.

    As for your bundling and happy lawyer comment, bundling goes on all the time with Mac and Windows. How many lawsuits has it generated?

    Then there is your confusion of democracy with free market econmy principles. These are two different concepts and they are not one and the same. Not sure why you included it.  


    MB (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 03:40:53 PM EST
    Uh, note the Chevy vs Ford comment.

    And I'm sorry if you couldn't explain the problem clearly, but never mind.

    BTW - Do you think you could actually have a democracy without a free market? Or vice versa?


    BTW (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 04:06:28 PM EST
    Oh BTW - If you are saying that the HP printer wouldn't work with USB when installed using the install program, then that is a separate problem.

    If you are saying that you wanted to hook the printer to the Mac and to the HP PC at the same time, I assume your printer has two USB ports.
    If it does, check and see if what you actually have isn't one low speed USB port and one high speed USB2.

    My Cannon i960 lowspeed USB connection will not work on its highspeed USB. I would guess the HP is the same. I would check and see which one I had tried to install to.

    Assuming that you have two low speed USB's and assuming that the HP PC is installed correctly, I still wonder if it would work since what the printer will see is two computers on its universal serial buss. That wouldn't be the same if one was a parrallel port.


    I'm saying the USB (none / 0) (#37)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 05:20:47 PM EST
    port doesn't work on the HP. You are deliberatley obtuse. If you are going to go the Ford Chevy route, try Model T  (HP) v. Porsche (Mac).


    MB (none / 0) (#42)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 10:52:28 PM EST
    If the USB port doesn't work then take it back to the dealer and have it fixed and quit moaning.

    Simpler. It is supposed to work.

    But you must use the install disk.


    Jim you are obtuse (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Jul 26, 2007 at 07:51:59 AM EST
    For the record, I don't want the d@mn thing. Its forced upon me.

    Why should I have to use an install disk? Why should it take 15 minutes to set up the printer?

    The Mac did not require me to use any instal disk. It knew what the printer was and was ready to go instantly. Why doesn't the PC operate that way? Why is the Mac a porsche and the PC a model T?

    Are you really this obtuse or are you just being your usual self chasing hookah smoking catapillars?


    Yes - think about it, the answer will come to you (none / 0) (#40)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 05:32:27 PM EST

    Thanks, but (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:21:29 AM EST
    I have a great PC laptop and desktop. The Macbook also has 1g of RAM, 120g hd, and a 8x dvd burner and cd burner.

    I have a lot invested in Apple products to go with the powerbook (like the monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse, cords and a bunch of software programs, including MS Office for Mac) and I can use them all with the macbook. I also like the Mac for both the iPod and using my camcorder and camera to make movies.

    I never use the Mac for work, so there was never anything on it other than my iTunes library and some photos and video, which are also on cd-roms and my PC's. I will back up the new one though, just for the iPod stuff.

    Learning a new system is tough after decades on a PC, but it's fun. When I get near a PC, I gravitate to work and paying bills, completing timesheets and answering emails. When I'm on the Mac, I just surf around, blog, play with the video and music and enjoy myself.


    I reject the suggestion (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 07:45:20 AM EST
    that a macbook is a "playtoy."

    you're free to do so. (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 08:11:55 AM EST
    of course, you're also wrong. great thing about america, even those with little to no knowledge of a subject are able to express their ill-founded opinions, without fear of the state interfering.

    jeralyn, i hate to break the news to you, but most of your "apple" stuff isn't uniquely configured to only apple products. the monitor is a standard monitor, with a standard vga port, usable with any system, just as an example.

    actually, jeralyn made my point for me: she uses the mac for what it is, a playtoy. the pc is what she uses for serious business.

    your honor, i request summary judgement in favor of pc based laptops!

    all kidding aside, i still strongly urge that you (and everyone else on the site) check out newegg, for comuputer items. they have a great selection and the prices, even including shipping costs, are excellent, especially by comparison to what places like best buy and the official apple stores are going to charge.


    Mac Envy? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:19:38 AM EST
    I Never could understand mac haters.

    My understanding is that the super geeks all moved to mac after the Unix platform (OSX) was adopted.

    Geeks do like their toys just like nuclear physisists like their toys.


    And it is clear that mac is not more expensive when you compare the speed and power.


    squeaky (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:58:48 AM EST
    And it is clear that mac is not more expensive when you compare the speed and power.

    Never made the comparsion, but even if you are right, the question is:

    Do you want a sundae with chocolate topping, walnuts,  whipped creme and a cherry on top?

    Or do you want a plain chocolate sundae?

    That is why feature and price comparsions make sense.


    Poor Analogy (none / 0) (#23)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:50:38 PM EST
    Unless all you use the computer for is word processing....

    A cost analysis from Computerworld:

    But first, let me say to all those people who have ever bought a Packard Bell or eMachines PC and believe that great value in a computer means any model that sells for $600 or less: I agree -- Apple doesn't have an answer for you. In fact, I suggest that you skip this article entirely. You're not going to find anything of interest in it.

    Knock yourself out ppj.


    squeaky (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 03:03:45 PM EST
    Are you just trying to be disagreeable, or do you actually think that people shouldn't do featue and cost comparsions??

    Are YOu Just Being an Idiot (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 03:31:38 PM EST
    The link I provided is a cost analysis.

    Squeaky - So?? (none / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 04:40:23 PM EST
    And a fine cost analysis it is, if you want one from someone who has an Apple agenda, or at least that is my take after reading the artucle.

    Your orginal comment emphasized high end stuff, etc. By point was that not everyone needs it, and that everyone should do a feature/cost analysis. If you want a super high end machine, great. If you want a low end machine, great.

    Just don't rely on a magazine article. Do your own work. Set down. Write it down and then discuss with several stores.


    Thanks For the Advice (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 04:42:52 PM EST
    But I am covered. I have no need for a pc.

    BTW (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 04:47:26 PM EST
    Your analogy is ok for the under $600 pc but if you need more power etc the cost for an apple can be lower than a pc.

    Old stories die hard..... the one where apple is more expensive for the same machine is now obsolete.  

    As they say:

    Think different....... Why am I not surprised?


    You may be right (none / 0) (#41)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 10:49:11 PM EST
    And if so, that will show up in a feature/cost analysis..

    Are you going to provide (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 08:24:28 AM EST
    support for Jeralyn's Windows install? I sure wouldn't want to.

    Actually I wouldn't use a PC for work (none / 0) (#39)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 05:28:19 PM EST
    if not required to. Leo only uses a Mac for work.  We are both lawyers.

    I've yet to find anything a PC can do that a Mac can't- including reading Windows software. On the other hand, I am not aware of any PC able to read Mac software.

    Sorry to disagree with you.


    sour grapes (none / 0) (#24)
    by baba durag on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:54:21 PM EST
    About five years ago I had a bicycle stolen... (none / 0) (#2)
    by jerry on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:20:20 AM EST
    and I was actually kind of happy about that.  The bike that was stolen was a great bike -- it was so perfect for me that I really couldn't justify getting a new bike.  But it was about ten years old....

    So having it stolen was a bummer, but also an opportunity.

    So uh, I am pleased to hear your hard drive crashed...??

    Great analogy (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:23:58 AM EST
    like a cloud with a silver lining???

    ok, so using that analogy, (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 08:14:00 AM EST
    i should look forward to my house burning down, so i can have a new one built?

    hmmmmmmmmmmm? no, no, i think i'll pass! lol


    I know it's hard to find silver linings (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:46:31 AM EST
    unless you need one.  We live in Enterprise AL where that tornado hit the high school and sadly killed eight students.  It also destroyed 253 homes outright.  This community with it's outlying regions is about 40,000.  The downtown was hit and about five businesses weren't even standing afterwards, they were completely gone.  We have cleaned up.  The kids attended H.S. at the community college.  My sons grade school split the days in half with another grade school that got hit and had to be condemned,  it was hard but the lucky people are starting to get their new houses now.  Some people are rebuilding on the old lot on the old foundation footprint but it was time when everything you might have hated about your old house you could change.  It is exciting for them.  They get to pick new colors and everything.  Yes they lost, but life goes on sometimes with hidden improvements.  I still can't find a silver lining for Iraq though, that is one I'm not sure exists.

    In light of this HD crash issue (none / 0) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:37:59 AM EST
    and that it apparently is an inevitable occurrence, would it make sense for computer manufacturers to just sell machines with 2 HDs?

    Kinda like most aircraft manufactured for private ownership these days have 2 spark plugs per cylinder such that if one stops working the other will kick in and the plane won't crash.

    The consumer would just be able to buy the machine w/2 HD's instead of having to F around learning about, finding, buying, installing, etc., a back-up HD.

    I sure wouldn't mind paying a couple hundred extra at purchase for the convenience...

    They're available (none / 0) (#17)
    by roy on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:12:34 PM EST
    There's an old but nice technology called RAID that lets you, among other things, automatically and constantly keep two or more hard drives synchronized.  So every bit you save gets copied to each drive at the same time.  If one physical drive fails you just use the other.

    In addition to the cost of the extra drive(s), you have to have a RAID controller, which should be less than $100 if you aren't doing anything fancy.  Some computers have these controllers built into the motherboard.


    Yes, Macs do (none / 0) (#20)
    by Sailor on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:24:16 PM EST
    Some computers have these controllers built into the motherboard.
    I don't know whether it's hardwired but Macs give you the option of all the different RAID flavors.

    Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives says it all.


    Thanks roy (none / 0) (#21)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:27:27 PM EST
    J's troubles are making nervous about my computer...

    With Mac Laptop (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:34:11 PM EST
    You can have two bootable HDs. For less than two hundred dollars.

    An external (bootable) firewire HD and the one in the machine.

    On desktop models you can have up to four internal (bootable) HDs for less than $100 each.


    Virtualization... and offsite backups (none / 0) (#32)
    by jerry on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 04:30:29 PM EST
    Instead of running on your hardware, in the future you may run on virtual machines within your hardware.

    This makes backing up entire systems very easy to do, and when one piece of hardware dies, you just install virtual machine software to the new hardware and restore your virtual machine.

    Right now, I backup my machine mostly by copying the directories of my data over to a different machine's disk drive.  Programs like rsync and unison help ensure only the changes programs are copied over.  When a piece of hardware dies, recovery is one great disk copy away.

    Once a month I copy my files to a cd that I either take to work and file away in a drawer or send to a buddy.  This gives me an offsite recovery option good for when my apartment burns down or someone rips me off.

    And my quicken files and a few others are actually backed up on my Treo on an encrypted sd card.


    I'm glad Jeralyn (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:48:15 AM EST
    I'm out of puppy money so I haven't contributed yet, but I'm glad that many did and I'm glad that life is looking up!