Wednesday Jun 20, 2007

Busy old month

First up, the main part of Julie's belated birthday present from me was a spa weekend at the Johnstown House Marriott over in County Meath, still one of our favourite retreats when we want to spoil ourselves. That was supposed to be followed by her even-more-belated Christmas present the next day-- a trial flying lesson up near Belfast-- but it was cancelled for the second time this year due to poor weather. (It's rescheduled for this weekend, but the signs don't look good so far...)

On Bank Holiday Monday, Julie again joined 40,000 or so other women in the Women's 10km Mini-Marathon. Lack of training opportunities meant her time wasn't quite as good as her last outing, but she still raised a tidy sum for the Niall Mellon Township Trust.

Following that, the other 'big bit' of Julie's birthday present was tickets to see George Michael at the RDS outdoor arena in Dublin... not especially my cup of tea musically (I enjoyed Sophie Ellis-Bextor's warm-up set more than I was expecting though-- and not just because of those legs!), but there's no denying he knows how to put on a show, and the weather couldn't have been better. Here's hoping it's as good on Friday for my birthday day out to see Peter Gabriel and Crowded House in Marlay Park, but as it's been tipping it down and blowing a hooley all week so far, that looks unlikely to say the least...

On the geek front, pretty much every gadget I own has given up the ghost this month. First my camcorder, which fortunately was repaired under warranty. Then it was the turn of my ageing Minolta S414 digicam, whose CCD has thrown a fatal wobbler. (I luckily have a bit of birthday money to replace that... price and feature-wise, I'm looking at something along the lines of a Finepix S5700, but I'd prefer the proper image stabilisation and the form factor of a Lumix-- suggestions welcome!) My PS2's optical drive then proceeded to expire noisily; cue a quick trip down to Game to get one of the new slimline jobbies. (And another trip back next week armed with WEEE documentation to take my old one back for recycling again, since they refused the first time.)

Finally, the video cable on my PowerBook G4 has failed to the point of uselessness, after creaking a bit for a few months... 'fortunately', the five-year-old Dell Inspiron 8100 that I was using as a home server also suffered yet another hard disk failure the other week, so the PowerBook can take over those duties when my new MacBook Pro arrives :)

Thursday Nov 30, 2006

PowerBook woes

My 15" Powerbook G4 died in various interesting ways yesterday.

It's been making a scary buzzing noise for months, but yesterday the hard drive gave up the ghost. While doing some diagnostics in its death throes, I also noticed that I seem to be suffering from the logic board failure that causes half your memory to go AWOL. Not sure which of those was responsible for the buzzing noise (if either)-- will find out when I replace the disk in the next day or two, I guess.

Of course, Apple being Apple, they'll only admit that the logic board was faulty on a certain range of PB G4s, with serial numbers from W8503xxxxxx to W8518xxxxxx... and three guesses whose is a W8502. So no free repair for me.

I guess that leaves me three possibilities (four if you count "do nothing and hope it doesn't get any worse")... sell my 2x512Mb memory sticks and replace them with a 1xGb stick in the 'good' slot (and hope none of the more serious symptoms of the failure appear); purchase AppleCare now for €450, even though I'll only get a year out of it now rather than three, and have it repaired under that; or pay the somewhat ludicrous €690+ that my local Apple authorised repair shop quoted me. Hrmm.

Edit: D'oh, just realised you can only buy AppleCare within a year of purchase, of course. Just have to cross my fingers for a while then, I think :)


I am a Principal UX Engineer in the Systems Experience Design team, working at Oracle (via Sun Microsystems) since the turn of the century. I currently work on sysadmin user experience projects for Solaris. Formerly I worked on open source Solaris desktop projects such as GNOME, NWAM and IPS.


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