I got back my Mac computer on Monday. This is the end of the line. It's working fine now, but if it dies again, seriously dies, that's it. I had a two-year warranty on parts and repairs and my warranty just ran out. I could have renewed it for another three hundred, but as far as I'm concerned if it dies I'll just buy a new, non-Mac computer.
This time it was the "logic board" which I think is pretty much what they used to call the motherboard. Since we've doubled the memory, replaced the hard drive, upgraded the operating system and now replaced the "logic board" there really isn't too much left to replace.
So this may be a golden age of laptops for me, or I'm going to chuck this and move on.
This is the "fish-or-cut-bait" point of my time with my MacBook Pro. It's been sent back to the mysterious place where they repair them.
A few days ago I turned it on and got only a kind of psychedelic static on the screen. I took it in and the diagnosis is either the screen failing or the motherboard failing. The motherboard is what I'd suspected all along. So far I've had the hard drive and the RAM replaced already. There isn't that much more left to replace.
So what will be the outcome? I'm on total warranty for about another two weeks. There are several possibilities. First, the guys could discover what's wrong and replace it. At this stage, they (those who are in charge of making these kinds of decisions) might junk it and give me a new one. Either one of those things would be fine. Also, they could try to stall me until my warranty runs out. I could kind of counteract that by extending my warranty, but I can't get an "everything" warranty that includes replacing the computer.
In any case, the ball is in their court. I should hear something in a few days. If the worst outcome happens and I get back the computer only to crap out completely without a warranty I'll just go back to a Windows laptop. They're cheaper, and at least from my experience, they're better-made.
I got my compute back. It's working except that there may be something very wrong with it but they don't think so, but maybe. That's not really comforting. Plus, while they put everything that was on it back on it I've still got things I've got to reconstruct, but what the hell, what else do I have to do with my life?
Well, it went back to the Geek Squad today. At first it didn't run, then it ran, then it didn't run, then they sent it back. Presumably it will come back with a new battery and a complete diagnostics workup.
Meanwhile, I've been in a kind of a haze all day. Granted, it was rainy and dark, but I never seemed to wake up. I think I could have used a third cup of coffee. I ended up dozing this afternoon, and I'm ready to climb back into bed.
I mentioned the other day how Edward Snowden seems to be traveling around the world, revealing secrets in accordance with President Obama's diplomacy. Releasing NSA secrets about China when he was meeting with their leader, releasing secrets about the US spying on Germany when he was meeting with Merkel. I also have mentioned how this reminds me a lot of the U-2 incident, wherein the CIA had a spy plane go down over the USSR, thus blowing up the US-USSR peace talks in Paris in 1960.
Slate.com, which is part of the Washington Post's internet presence, spells it out in case you didn't understand the narrative of Snowden's world tour. If you don't understand WaPo's long history of cooperation with U.S. intelligence agencies, please read the last ten years of my blogging.
For those who think that Edward Snowden deserves arrest or worse, cheer yourselves with the thought that Sheremetyevo International Airport might possibly be the most soul-destroying, most angst-inducing transport hub in the world. Low ceilings and dim lighting create a sense of impending doom, while overpriced wristwatches glitter in the murk. Sullen salesgirls peddle stale sandwiches; men in bad suits drink silently at the bars. A vague scent of diesel fuel fills the air, and a thin layer of grime covers the backless benches and sticky floor. It's not a place you'd want to spend two hours, let alone 48.
Yet there he remains, a guest of the Russian government. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both have repeated the fiction that Snowden "did not cross the Russian border" because he remains in the transit zone at Sheremetyevo. But as of Monday evening, Snowden was in violation of Russian law, which requires anyone staying in the airport longer than 24 hours to have a valid transit visa. Whether Russian authorities have given him a visa or are allowing him to break the law, they have made a deliberate decision to let him remain there, assuming they are not holding him against his will.
Secretary of State John Kerry has appealed for Snowden's extradition on grounds of "respect for the rule of law." Although the United States has no extradition treaty with Russia, Kerry has pointed out that it has transferred seven people to Russia in the past two years to honor Russian requests. For the moment, the Russians seem disinclined to respect the rule of law, which is not surprising as they don't respect it at home. The last time a prominent former Russian secret service agent escaped to the West, Russian agents poisoned him with polonium 210, leaving a trail of radiation all over London and Hamburg.
Too much remains opaque, and too much reporting seems sensationalized, to draw conclusions on what this affair says about the National Security Agency, except that it is shockingly bad at protecting supposedly secret information. But something interesting has been revealed about the nature of contemporary international relations. In this narrow sense, the Cold War is back: We are once again dealing with a Russian government that sees the world ideologically, in black and white. What's bad for us is good for them, and vice versa. If Snowden is embarrassing to the United States, he should be protected as long as possible. If we think Bashar Assad is cruelly and recklessly destroying Syria, then Russia will lend him support. If we fear Iran's nuclear program, then Russia will help build it.
Russian foreign policy also has an internal logic: It is intended to support the legitimacy of the current regime. Russia has no important economic or geostrategic interests in Syria, but the fall of another dictator might send a message of encouragement to its own people. With Snowden, the Russians are treading carefully. Although the temptation to use him as an anti-American propaganda tool must be very strong, they haven't praised him too loudly, perhaps for fear of encouraging the hacking of their own government's documents.
This incident underscores that no common worldview can be relied upon in dealing with this Russian government; there is no agreement about international rules of the game, let alone the rule of law. That is, of course, the case with many countries, but since the 1990s many in Washington have maintained the illusion that there can or should be a special relationship between the two former superpowers. Bill Clinton's decision to let Russia join the Group of Eight was the result of one such outreach. The Obama administration's ill-fated "reset" of Russian-American relations was another.
That doesn't mean there can be no resolution: It is perfectly possible that, as in Cold War days, Russian authorities will seek to trade Snowden for something or someone else they want, whether a spy or a criminal. It is possible that they will detain him for a while to see if he can be useful. By the time you read this, they might have just let him go elsewhere, as the Chinese did, to rid themselves of the problem. But they won't send him home as a gesture of good will or a matter of principle, as Kerry seems to hope. We can expect that only from some of our allies, and Russia isn't one at all.
And if you don't think that there's an effort within the military-industrial complex to sabotage Obama, read this.
I've got a bunch of computers. I've got one desktop strictly for my music composition. I've got another one I used to have for my music which is kind of a spare. I had a laptop that I used for my Madden game, which died and which I replaced with a refurbished one. And I had a laptop with my screenplay and all my itunes. And I have a MacBook.
The laptop with my screenplay and the itunes died last night. Luckily, I had a backup of the itunes, so I've moved them over to the Mac. But I'm not sure what to do about the screenplay. It's not like I've even worked on it for a couple of years, but I'd still like to have it around, you know, just in case someone asks me for one.
So I'll probably be heading over to my computer repair store later this week.