iBook Woes

14 October 2005 at 22:51 (General)

My iBook started packing up again. Similar problems to last time: “IOATAController device blocking bus” on boot. Intermittent freezing while running the GUI. Smelt like a kernel panic.

I’m well and truly sick of messing around, a few months ago I had the logic board replaced twice and the hard drive and CDROM replaced. A total of six trips to the other side of town. Anyway, I was over that way the other morning so I decided to drop into the apple store and asked the guys if they thought my iBook once again needed medical attention.

Now over the past few months I’ve fallen in love with freemacware.com. I’ve tried out most of the software they’ve exhibited plus some. That’s a lot of programs. I’ve also hacked various parts of the OS and played with some UNIX gear. No serious hacking, I don’t think I even entered the //Library/ directory. Anyway, so I took it into the bloke and told him that it’s been up to it’s old tricks during the last week or so…. So we open it up and take a look. He’s browsing around through my machine, trying to determine if there’s anything funny that could have caused the mayhem. He notices a few odd directories in my root and the hundreds of apps I’ve been playing with and comments “You have a lot of stuff here, it could be anything, any one of these freeware programs could be doing something to your kernel that isn’t expected.”

I’m standing, speechless… look at the majority of these apps, they are small, harmless little programs.. But I understood that Apple’s warranty doesn’t cover non-proprietary software that could have been causing issues.

So I agreed that the first thing to do was probably go home and reinstall to check that the error wasn’t on my behalf. Just before I left the guy commented on how used my computer looked. He quickly added, “lots of work done there, the keys are so shiny”. I looked, sure enough the keys I use often (the alpha keys) are really shiny compared to the function keys which are matt.

I was looking at this while trying to trouble-shoot when I got home. As I polished up my ‘l’ key a little chip of paint came off. tee hee, I scratched with my nail and the whole thing fell off really easily. It felt nice and smooth. I went to the ‘a’ key and gave that a scratch and sure enough it peeled off.

I went around the board checking each letter. Many of them started coming off with little work and after I’d pealed ‘j’,’k’ and ‘l’ off my right hand enjoyed the silky-smooth home keys. I didn’t try too hard, I didn’t want to damage the surface of the keys, just take the paint off. Pretty soon the only letters remaining were ‘q’, ‘o’,’p’,’z’,’b’,’n’ and ‘m’.

It was all games and grooving till it hit me hard. fsck, what if i’d just voided my warranty? Up until this point things had been looking all right. I’d been backing up my data and doing a clean install OSX. However when the system loaded the first few times, the hard drive was making a hell of a lot of noise. It sounded like my dad’s winblows machine which hasn’t been defragged for years and has win98 running with about 20Mb free space. Anyway, something was not right. I was wondering what to do, perhaps I should have wiped the disk instead of just asking the installer to erase and install.

So I popped the disk back in, booted and found the diagnostics tools. I went to wipe the disk but it wouldn’t let me, S.M.A.R.T. was failing (the hard drive needs to be replaced).

I fretted for a little bit and then ran around trying to find my warranty. I should still have a year left provided they see past my vandalism. I read carefully, the “abuse/misuse” I’d inflicted hadn’t caused any of the problems I was trying to claim under the warranty, so according to what I understood they’ve set out, I should be fine. But still, it looks sketchy.

meh. I’ll take it in tomorrow and see what they think. I would expect this level of modding should be fine, I mean it’s not like placing a sticker or getting it engraved would void the warranty.



  1. Deirdre said,

    … So, you’re saying there’s a problem with your computer, yeah? And I’m guessing “the hard drive needs to be replaced” is not something good.

    That thing is trying to kill you. You can see that, can’t you?

  2. toto said,

    Well, yeah. there’s a problem with my computer but I’ve already had the harddrive replaced before so I don’t know what the issue is. They will want to do more tests and replace more stuff but I’ve already had pretty nearly every component replaced already (I just want a machine that works)

  3. toto said,

    I dropped it off. the guys there know me by name.

  4. Deirdre said,

    You didn’t hit them, did you?

    Apparently tech support is a tricky business:

    I worked as a computer tech for an insurance company. One day I received a call from supervisor on the sales floor.

    Me: “Hello, IT.”
    Supervisor: “Hello?”
    Me: “Hello?”
    Supervisor: “Hello?”
    Me: “Hello?”
    The phone went dead. I put the phone down, and it rang again.

    Me: “Hello, IT.”
    Supervisor: “Hello, did you just ring me?”
    Me: “No you rang me.”
    Supervisor: “Did I? Oh, well, the reason I’m ringing now is because you couldn’t hear me when I rang you before.”
    Me: “Yes I could.”
    Supervisor: “No you couldn’t.”
    Me: “Yes I could.”
    Supervisor: “No you couldn’t.”
    Me: “Believe me, I could.”
    Supervisor: “Can you hear me now?”
    Me: “Yes, of course I can.”
    Supervisor: “Oh, that’s all right then. Catch you later.”


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