Just One of Those Days

Ye Olde Reliable MacBook died. No, not really. But it was a very sick little machine for a little while there.

On vacation, it was having trouble importing pictures into iPhoto. The operation just wouldn’t complete, but I noticed that some of the pictures it could get to seemed corrupted.

So — trip to Wal-Mart for a couple new CF cards to fill up, instead of reformatting the used ones. Figured The Beast would be able to make short work of fixing anything that might be broken. Then while letting the Boy™ watch Spider-Man on the MacBook on the flight home, it thoughtfully shut itself off without warning, and the boot-up screen changed from the gray Apple logo to a gray Ghostbusters logo, minus the ghost.

Made an appointment at 4:00PM yesterday for the Genius Bar, then borrowed the wife’s MacBook to write the script for this week’s PJTV Hair of the Dog. Finished, I headed down to the studio to plug the computer into the teleprompter to rehearse a few lines, and got a nasty reminder that her machine has a newfangled Mini DisplayPort output instead of good ol’ Mini WhatEverLastYear’sPortWasCalled.

Ran down to the Apple Store three hours before my Genius Bar appointment to pick up the necessary cable — Mini-DP-to-big-ass-RCA. Time each direction: 20 minutes.

Discovered it would take two adapters to make the thing work. Mini-DP to DVI, then DVI to Video. Whew. Fifty bucks later, I had the cables I needed.

Running a bit late, I started putting the adapters together while driving (I know, I know.) They — and you’ve seen this coming a mile away, I’m sure — didn’t fit together. Although they sported identical labels, the male DVI was for computers, the female DVI was for video, and never the twain shall meet. Extra prongs on the male end, which is fitting enough when you think about it.

Took the first exit and looped around back to the Apple Store to try again. They had no two cables, or even three, which you could use to devolve an ultra-modern DisplayPort output to a simple RCA jack.

Back in the car and on the phone to PJTV Superproducer Mark Anderson to figure out how we could make the prompter work. Much discussion, no solutions. Told him I’d go downstairs and fiddle with stuff and see what I could come up with.

In the end, nothing worked. Or rather, nothing I could make work that didn’t involve precariously balancing my wife’s shiny aluminum computer four feet above a concrete floor, on the tip-top point of a tripod.

Taping cancelled, I headed back down to the Apple Store again, broken MacBook in hand. Sure enough, it was a bad hard drive. Hey, it happens. But thanks to AppleCare, I was back on the road with a replacement drive, installed and partitioned, in under 15 minutes. Never even had to show ID, hand over a credit card, or wait in line.

Back home, I hauled out my OS X install disk (still in the original box, in the original packaging, carefully stored in the office) and went about the dreary business of installing the OS.

That done, it was time to install a year’s worth of patches and updates… and our internet died. Keeled over it did, slipped this mortal coil. It was an ex-internet.

By this time I was getting really quite tired.

Internet fixed — no boring details on this one, you’re welcome — patches installed, Time Capsule backups restored, it was like the MacBook had never been ill. Except for all that driving and the stupid cables and such. Anyway.

Capping it off, I installed the 2.4 update to our Apple TVs and… there’s no other word for it… it sucks. Everything clean and elegant about the UI has been larded up with useless data, added theatrics, and text pumped up so big that it screams at you like a comment troll with his hammer laid down hard on the CAPS LOCK key. Seriously, now when I run the thing all I can think is, “Dude, you got a Dell!”

And that’s about as bad as a sunny day can get.