17.2.06

Are you there Jobs? It's me, Fred.




My apologies to Judy Blume for the subject line.

So, there I am plunking away on the typewriter I've borrowed from my next door neighbor when I hear a thud behind me. One of the cats has knocked over my toasted iBook. The office is a bit of a mess with all sorts of things in there that don't belong, so it's paradise for the cats.

I try firing up the computer once again, thinking that perhaps the flop it just took might have been just the kick it needed to come back to life. Computer chips are tiny, right, so a crack in it the width of a hair could cause it to short out, right, so maybe all it needed was a jolt in the right direction to put things back to plumb. Right? (I know I'm a babe in the woods when it comes to technology, but weirder things have happened. Don't judge me. Don't you judge me!)

Needless to say, it didn't work. The computer chimed, the hard drive spun to life, the power indicator glowed a soft blue, but the screen remained black as night. I had a half a thought of calling the place where I'd purchased it a couple years ago and see if they wanted to give me a few bucks for it for parts. I'd had a replacement screen put on it by them which they'd scavenged off a dead machine, and I paid a pretty penny for it, so maybe they would give me a pretty penny for my machine. Everything worked except for the logic board.

Then I had a lightbulb-over-the-head moment. It suddenly dawned on me where I could get lots more than the computer store would give for my computer--eBay! So I took a few digital snapshots, fired up my daughter's computer and wrote a charming eBay listing. I made the opening bid $25 and let it fly. By the end of the day the bids were up to $100. The next day it went up to $150. I was starting to feel pretty proud of myself. The only downside was my daughter looking over my shoulder when I would check the listing to see the current bid. Somehow she thought she deserved a cut of the profits. I've raised a monster.

Bidders started asking questions about the iBook. I hadn't listed the processor speed, because I didn't know what it was. They showed me where to look. Some bidders wrote in with suggestions for getting the machine started, which I thought was pretty cool. I tried their suggestions to no avail. Then someone wrote to ask the serial number of the computer.

I thought this was a strange question. I wrote back asking him why he/she wanted to know. eBay has an option where you can post your questions and responses at the bottom of the listing. One eBayer saw the question and told me why they wanted to know. The person who wrote to me works for Apple in Canada. He told me that there was a group of iBooks that were sold a while back that all seemed to come down with logic board problems. Apple notified dealers that if anyone was having a problem, they would replace the board free of charge. Mr. Canadian Apple guessed that the person who wanted the serial number knew about the recall and was looking to nab it out from under me with none the wiser. (Or perhaps the person was going to look the serial number up and then tell me to bring the computer in. Must not expect the worst out of people, after all)

I brought the laptop to the place where I bought it, the same place that told me it had a bad logic board and they could replace it for $800. The fellow who helped me looked it up on the computer and said, "Oh, yeah, they'll fix it for you. We'll send it in and we'll get it back next week." I was a bit dumbfounded. Didn't he think that the person who checked the machine out for me last time and told me the bad news should have checked to see if Apple would cover the repair?!? His response was, "Yeah, he shoulda checked."

If my name was Bruce Banner I would have turned green and trashed the place, but my name is Fred so I took it like a man and walked out the door. I did steal an iPod, though. That ought to teach 'em. The iPod had a key attached to it by a short chain, and the insides are empty--no electronics. What I'd stolen was the bathroom key for the store.

It might take a few hours, but eventually someone will feel my wrath. Someone who had the burrito supreme for lunch.

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