Scripting News for 5/16/2006

Now that I’ve seen a picture of the black iBook, I want the white one. Looks just like the IBM ThinkPad that I already have and never use.  

Decide for yourself 

Here are two events, you can decide for yourself, if it’s a coincidence, or a marvelous example of planned obsolescence.

1. Last night before dinner I logged on to check my mail, and my Mac laptop said very politely, in several languages: Please reboot me. So I did, and I started to write a blog post about it, but it asked to be rebooted again, so I did it again. And again, and again, and again. Until I realized, sadly, that the Mac is broken.

2. At almost exactly the same time, Apple announces a new consumer laptop, the replacement for the Mac that broke, with a faster CPU, a slightly larger screen, and it comes in black too. Normally I’d lust after this machine, esp in black, but maybe Apple sent a message to my Mac, to seal the deal. “Tell Dave in your own Mac-like way that it’s time to cough up another $1500 for Uncle Steve. Love Apple.”

So, dear reader, do I decide that I’ve gotten enough use out of this lovely laptop (no sarcasm) or should I try to have it repaired? Should I drive down to the nearest Mac store and buy a new black one (but they’re probably sold out) or should I try to install a fresh copy of the OS on my old machine?

All the data (knock wood) is backed up, in case you’re wondering.

I’m leaning toward driving to the Mac store. πŸ™‚

Sticker shock 

I went for a walk yesterday along the beach in Coronado, across the bay from San Diego. Nice beach, and there are some nice houses on Ocean Boulevard, which is adjacent to the beach. One was for sale, a kind of ordinary semi-run-down ranch house. They had brochures, so I took one. I was more than surprised when I saw the price.

18 responses to this post.

  1. Re: the new consumer MacBooks — I’m typing this on one (white, though). Overall it is a pretty nice machine, with two issues I consider relatively painful:

    1) The stock configuration has too little memory — 512MB. The machine gets pretty pokey when you’ve got several apps going. 1GB is probably a reasonable minimum.

    2) The thing has a PCjr style chiclet keyboard, which is VERY painful for touch typists — I keep missing keys, and I’m a pretty fast and accurate typist. It’s a real step backwards from the keyboards on the old Powerbooks.

    If they hadn’t saddled this thing with such a crummy keyboard it’d be a nearly perfect laptop…


  2. Lucky You!
    My advice: Go to the Apple store as fast as you can.
    At least, that is what I would do if I were you. πŸ™‚


  3. Posted by Don on May 16, 2006 at 12:33 pm


    Before you shell out money for a cool new MacBook, boot from your Apple CD in the drive and run the Disk Utility on it. That might fix your current laptop.

    As for expensive homes in Coronado, what else is new?



  4. Posted by Darren on May 16, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    Isn’t that laptop still covered by warranty or AppleCare? It’s probably worth fixing, regardless. Perhaps it’s only HD problem. I’d reinstall the OS and check drive’s S.M.A.R.T. status.

    The new MacBooks are very nice indeed, and seem a lot closer the the 12″ PowerBook than the iBook (DVI output, audio input, multiple displays), but 1st revision hardware is always buggy as all hell, especially with Apple. Personally, I’d wait a while and save myself the headaches. Also, the MacIntels don’t run Classic OS 9.


  5. You have applecare, don’t you?


  6. Posted by Megan on May 16, 2006 at 1:24 pm

    Your inclination to purchase the black MacBook tells me you’re not a hard-core Mac addict… but don’t give up on the ol’ guy yet. It could just be an OS hiccup.


  7. Don’t do it, Dave! You are just feeding the egotistical money machine that is Job’s Apple. I know it is tempting, but don’t give in!


  8. Re. your iBook.

    Sounds like you have a problem with the hard drive – one that may be fixable using the disk utility program or TechTool Pro (which comes with the three year AppleCare warranty).

    You could call the helpine for advice.

    I had similar problems, eventually fixed for free but it sounds like you may not want to be bothered with all that as the ygo through quite a checklist first. Which if my experience is to go by (and this is an example of Apple not being smart) if you go and buy a replacement the treat you as a new customer, and better than a loyal one.

    So I got my old iBook fixed for free (which wasn’t cost effective so got another new one). That was promptly sold for about 90% retail price – so ended up with a newer faster iBook for the cost of a larger hard drive and three year warranty.

    If I felt I always needed the newest latest models I could feel hard done by today but don’t.

    The lesson from my experiences is that bits fall off and break sometimes but if you insist, Apple more than make up for it.



  9. Posted by Joel on May 16, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    I don’t know about TechTool Pro, as suggested by another reader,
    but Al Whipple’s DiskWarrior is AWESOME.


  10. Posted by Dave Anderson on May 16, 2006 at 2:51 pm


    I love conspiracy so I think that Steve Jobs sent out a special virus that zapped your Mac so you would be compelled to buy a new one. After all, those who are already in the process running out to get one have already drank the cool-aid. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my Mac for ten years because I could compile and run small talk objects while I was waiting to connect to the main frame. That was before the Java hype stole many of our hearts away for disappointing ride. Secretly, think that that OS X was rooted in the Next architecture which was an amazing leap forward that no one was ready for or was willing to buy. Alas, now were are here with the Oreo Cookie Mac, cool and groovy on the outside (right you did say you like black) but Intel white on the inside, who’d ever though… Now I’m like you Dave, secretly wished to have been a hippy but missed the peace, love and … by a few years.

    Keep on Trucking!


  11. Skip the house, go for the new Mac. Look at all the money you saved today!

    The difference between Apple and everyone else… that feeling that you need to go to the Apple store and get one right away. I never have that feeling about a PC.


  12. Posted by Heavyboots on May 16, 2006 at 3:41 pm

    Reboot. Start holding down cmd-S after the chime. You should come up in single user mode with a lovely spew of text.

    With regards to the new MacBooks:
    I’d wait a while–probably 2-3 months at least. Early adopters are usually burned (sometimes almost literally if you got one with too much thermal paste!).

    With regards to the old iBook:
    Run the “fsck -yf” command and see if there’s just a problem with your directories.

    If it’s 10.4.4 or higher (I think?) it should automagically fsck until it gets a clean directory result back.

    Reboot again and you *may* be good to go. Otherwise, run “archive and install” from your original 10.4 DVD to get a fresh copy of the system back on the ‘Book.

    Or… just drag it to the genius bar at the nearest Apple Store. They should be able to do more in-depth diagnosis and repair and you can drool on the new MacBooks while you wait. Don’t forget to use the website to make an appointment first! (Click the “Visit an Apple Store pop-up menu at the bottom of


  13. Posted by Heavyboots on May 16, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    Gah! That thing about “Reboot” above the “with regards to the MacBook” should be the first thing *under* “With regards to the old iBook:”. Ooops!


  14. Bringing home a brand new computer is Christmas again for us geeks. πŸ™‚ enjoy


  15. Life’s to short to be using slow machines. πŸ™‚ Go buy a new one.
    At the same time get your old one fixed. Then auction it off on eBay and give the proceeds to your favorite charity.


  16. you could always send the thinkpad down under… i’ll be sure to use it! πŸ™‚ m.


  17. Posted by sfenerule on May 17, 2006 at 6:43 am


    Book a flight to Jakarta, and cast the iBook into Mount Merapi. Or, meetup at the Fifth Avenue store on Friday and we can subject it to a ritual stoning at Jobs’ Q’aba.



  18. Ending is better than mending!


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