The Random Griffith

MacBook still busted, for all intents and purposes

Posted in a b c = apple butthurt column by Jackson Griffith on 13/05/2010

Not going to embark on another “my Mac’s busted” rant. If I had the money, I’d take it in and get it serviced. Maybe the optical drive slot might get fixed, and I could get OSX install disc 2 out of the drive, so I could insert disc 1 and locate the missing iMovie program, which disappeared, so I could make a little movie of me singing a song I wrote called “I Need a Job,” so either people could get a few laughs about this middle-aged white guy abasing himself in a last-ditch attempt to get somebody to see the wisdom in hiring him so that he can stay in Sacramento, and I’m talking about myself in the third person now, which I generally dislike, but at least I’m not framing it like: Jackson needs a job, like right now, so won’t you consider hiring a guy like Jackson?

So it would help to have a working computer — for that, and for my writing. I’ve got lots I could be doing, but, well, I don’t want to go into my situation, but it’s the most random and bindlestiffian existence of my entire adult life. Most people drink lots of cheap wine and smoke lots of crack cocaine to get where I am, but I did it stone cold clean and sober. Yes, you’re seeing my byline around, but that’s not enough; what little I make in writing, I eat, or pay my storage, or pay to keep my phone turned on. Right now, I’m down to my last $20. Not complaining, mind you, just stating a fact. So having a working computer — I can’t even load my Microsoft Office suite on this third hard drive of my computer’s 28-month existence, because of the design flaw in my MacBook’s disc-intake slot — would really be a plus. I am hobbled, as it stands. Not good.

Anyway, didn’t want to rant. I want to turn this life around, which has been thrashing around like a fish on the dock since my marriage crashed and burned, followed by the company where I worked. I’d prefer to stay here, or in Northern California, but I’m going to consider moving somewhere else where I can find a day job. Austin, Texas? Thinking very seriously about it.

Somewhere. Anywhere that will have me. This is really starting to suck. —Jackson Griffith

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Dear Mister Steve Jobs

Posted in a b c = apple butthurt column by Jackson Griffith on 02/05/2010

Dear Steve: Now that your Apple Incorporated company has launched the iPad, perhaps you guys there in Cupertino can get back to some basic housekeeping. For starters, I’d like to recommend that you acknowledge that those MacBooks you’ve been selling, the ones that that have the slot insert for optical media — e.g., CDs and DVDs — contain a serious design flaw that needs to be fixed. I would like my MacBook fixed. I would like the Apple OS X disc that’s lodged in the drive to be removed, where it tries to eject and gets blocked by some obstacle, and then begins spinning in the drive, and sometimes will keep trying to eject unless I turn the computer upside down which causes the disc drive to engage. There’s nothing wrong with the optical drive itself, contrary to the putative “genius” at one of your stores who told me that it would cost me around $300 to get the drive replaced.

Now, I don’t expect you to figure out what’s wrong with this computer other than the drive slot problem, or why I’m on my third hard drive in 28 months. I will freely acknowledge that I stupidly did not purchase the AppleCare option when I bought this computer at the end of 2007, when I got laid off from my last job and needed a good computer to launch a freelance career as a writer and songwriter. I was watching my pennies. I expected this MacBook to be substantially more durable and reliable than it has been.

Here is how having a broken Apple MacBook impacts me. I won’t go into the shredded first hard drive, which contains a partially completed novel, some memoirs and a bunch of musical files; that’s my stupid for not backing them up on another drive. But as it stands now, I can’t load Microsoft Office, so I have no way of reading Word files (I’m a writer, and that’s unfortunately the standard of our trade), and I can’t submit my work to editors in MS Word. Fortunately, the kind folks at Google have a Documents app that allows me to compose onto their cloud, and I can even send any documents I compose and save there to people as an MS Word attachment via GMail. Isn’t technology wonderful? Thank whatever deity for Google, for those times when Apple stuff stops working, right?

But I digress. There are other things wrong with my MacBook, which might be easily fixed if I could load the first OS X program disc. For example, I no longer have iMovie, which I just went looking for. Where’d it go? It was on my computer before? There’s a folder for it. I could go grab the missing application off my install disc, but there’s that other disc (OS X Install Disk 2) jammed in the drive. D’oh!

You see, I’d gotten the great idea to take one of the songs I’d written and then recorded in GarageBand (one of the few apps that seems to be still working on this MacBook), and I thought I’d mate an MP3 of my song with some generic footage, like me looking out the window or something, and then I would load it onto YouTube. I’m trying to get my music out there where someone might appreciate it, and since I can’t burn any CDs in iTunes because there’s a disc jammed in the drive, because of the stupid design flaw in the disc slot on the side of my MacBook, I don’t have that option, and I was trying to do some kind of end-around maneuver. And now, iMovie has disappeared, too.

Grrrr! Boo! Hiss!

Look, Mr. Steve Jobs. I’m not saying I’m anything real special, but your company needs people like me. I’m very creative. As a very creative person, I depend on tools that work. And when a certain manufacturer of tools becomes so flaky that it won’t fix design flaws in the hardware it sells, and those tools stop being useful, or there are problems that outweigh the utility of those tools, then people who depend on those tools start looking for alternatives. And I’m getting pretty fed up with Apple, and with the “we are so godlike it must be your problem” attitude of your company.

I’ve lived with a crippled computer for a few months now. My crippled computer is hurting me professionally, as there are things that I used to be able to do that I no longer can do. It shouldn’t be like this. This computer should work, and work right, and this design flaw in my MacBook should be addressed by your company and fixed, and you should fix the computers of other MacBook owners with the same problem. And if you don’t think it’s a design flaw, like the keyboard top of my MacBook that was flaking around the edges, which your company did fix, for free, poke around online and you find other disgruntled Mac users with the same problem.

I’m mad. I’m not going to go away, either, and I won’t shut up until my problem gets addressed. I may be a nobody Joe Doakes, but I’m a nobody Joe Doakes who knows how to communicate. And what I’m communicating to you is: Fix the design flaw in your MacBook optical drive slots. Now. —Jackson Griffith