pssssst! brainfag is retired! i'm now at


Hey Nate! Get to work, chump!

posted in Home Jabber on November 21, 2006

Yeah yeah yeah, back in the states, back to work! Holy crap I haven't been able to focus one iota since returning from Korea. A big part of this has been trying to get an office/studio space set up with Joseph. We landed a very nice studio on 28th & Alberta, but after a week of trying to suck just a tiny bit of the internet juice that flows all up and down the street without any success, I finally gave up. Picture me pointing our newly purchased Super Cantenna (found on eBay for $25 with free shipping, just about equal to the price of shipping all the connections to make my own Cantenna) this way and that way, hovering over kismet on my Powerbook 3400C running Xubuntu Linux, trying to decipher the wifi signals barely creeping up the wire. No luck! Add the fact that we can't use the bathroom in the space, and have to run out and bother a business or bike three blocks down to Joseph's house on 25th every time nature calls -- just not working.

But luck was somehow on our side. Joseph happens to live in a huge house with a vacant downstairs, currently mid-repairs and being used as storage (why they don't fix it up is beyond me, it's a beautiful space.) The landlord is super cool and said we could use a room if we cleaned it out. Hell yeah! Yay! Here's the before and after shots from flickr:


new studio, pre-cleanup


new studio, post-cleanup

Note also my new iMac 20" on the right there.. amazing computer, but again, Apple managed to ship a defective refurbished product. I am seriously losing faith in Apple hardware. After excitedly unpacking the gleaming white Apple-fauncy beast, I was greeted with fans screaming like a banshee. They soon slowed down to a dull roar. Applecare walked me through resetting the PRAM (or whatever they call it now), and when I powered up the computer it sounded like a fucking jumbo jet was landing on my desk. All six (!) seven (?!) fans were at full blast. "TURN IT OFF!" squeaked the Applecare "Genius" voice on the phone. It quieted back down to the dull roar, which now sounded reasonably quiet. Good trick, Apple! The rep told me "computers run hot, there's going to be fan noise," and hung up. Fuck that. This was a defective product.

I took the iMac and my problematic Macbook Pro down for repairs. The iMac miraculously healed itself after being in the shop for two days (I'm not making this up), and they called me to pick it up. "We ran tests, heard the problem, but before we could open it up, it just stopped. Haven't been able to make it do it since." OK... ? The problem hasn't returned so far, so who knows.

However, they've had my MBP in the shop for almost three weeks now, and are still waiting on parts to fix the logic board buzz and right speaker distortion. It's going right up on eBay as soon as I get it back.

In other news, I finally did my civic duty as a liberal monkey and stuck it to the man! You know those ubiquitous letters you get where an irate party has decided to pursue a lawsuit against some corporate entity, and you just happen to be in the swath of the injured? And promises of sharing in the bounty if you just fill out these forms, and dig up when you were affected by whatever violation the corporation let slip? Maybe you don't know what I'm talking about. But I seem to have gotten more than a few of these; usually I just disregard them. This time, however, I went through the effort, and months later I am reaping the benefits. Check out my big fat check for $2.17! Take that, MAN!

5 comments on this entry

Nate... just to clarify, you're losing faith in *refurbished* Apple products, no? That is, products already considered defective at one point, eh?!

Not to belittle your issues, but I personally have only had one real issue with factory-fresh Apple hardware in five years and a dozen or more products.

Just out of curiosity, is that iMac a G5? Because my PowerMac G5 (with, oh yeah, seven fans!) was pretty darned loud. My Mac Pro, however, is usually quieter than my own breathing.

Did have one extremely weird problem with that PowerMac, though, come to think of it. For the longest time, I had "journaling" turned off on the primary hard drive, without realizing it. No idea how that happened, but when the computer crashed or got turned off without shutting down properly, it would start checking the disk when you turned it on. Strangely, while checking the disk, the seven fans would get faster and faster and faster, until it sounded like a jet plane was going to land. I'd panic and shut it down at some point before it finished checking the filesystem, and boot from a CD to do the fix. Then it would work fine for another month or so. It was strange and alarming. One day I noticed that journaling was turned off, switched it on, and the problem has never returned.

Congratulations on the studio. It looks beautiful. I hope I get to see it in person sometime soon!


I guess that is a correct clarification, I've only had these issues personally with refurbished Apple gear. But "refurbished" should mean "we checked this over, repaired what was wrong, and consider it as good as a new product, hence the same warranty" -- not, "someone returned this, let's ship it out and see if the next person just doesn't notice what's wrong, but if they do, they can bring it into the shop, and then we'll deal with it."

Seriously. The first Macbook Pro arrived with the Q, A, and S keys not working at all -- you couldn't even get the computer to boot without them (first startup requires registration). And this iMac, a 20" Core 2 Duo, was very obviously having some fan issues -- which when I brought it in, they informed me someone had the same problem a few days before and a new logic board was in order. (However, it healed itself before the logic board was replaced..) Both of these problems would be blatantly obvious to anybody testing them before shipping.

The iMac is now quiet. I can hear it, but it's definitely a bearable, low hum.

I'm not alone here, either. There's a sea of complaints out there about their new line of Intel machines -- whines, random shutdowns, overheating, discoloration, defective batteries, warped screens, on and on. I understand it's a new chipset, but I really believe their quality control has slipped. Honestly, though, it's hard to complain when their prices have dropped so low -- I got this iMac for $1300! I bought my TiBook used for $1400 four years ago! Hell, my Powerbook 3400C went for $6,500 nine years ago!

Nate 11/21/06

Nate this new space looks AWESOME. I'm super jealous, sitting here in Brooklyn with NO WINDOWS.

You have every right to complain about your refurbished Apple problems. I've got a G5 refurbished iMac and I haven't had any problems with it since day 1. $1300 might be "cheap" but the damn thing should still work!

Alec 11/23/06

I agree, though. My friend Mike got a refurb iMac and it's worked great. IMHO, refurb should mean that it's just scratched or something ... which, for an Apple product, *does* mean it's gone down in value several hundred dollars!!


a real office space for nate's cyber-brain trust!!! hooray!!! it's about frickin time. work yr badass self, homeboy. but there is this: more and more macs in my friends lives seem to freak and glitch and stagger into coma... i just bought a crappy yet blazingly fast pc laptop that has so far jumped thru every flaming hoop in the digital circus of potential defect. the halfassed little beast simply slides thru... i just dont trust that slic mac smooth talking....

dwight 11/27/06

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