It is just as I suspected, sadly. The flashing question mark of death means my beloved MacBook needs a new hard drive. Genius confirmed.
This is crappy, but there is a silver lining. I use Time Machine to back up all my data, and I hadn’t backed up my entire computer since about October. But for some reason on Friday before I left work, I was all “Hey, I haven’t backed up my computer in a while. I should probably do that.”
So thankfully I did. And thankfully I will not lose a single thing. This is amazing news, because had I not done that, I would have lost everything I’ve been working on for the past few months, including my organization’s magazine that I’ve been working on since December. HUGE relief.
Of course the other silver lining is that it was only the hard drive, and they’re fairly inexpensive. It could have been the motherboard (which actually happened to me two years ago, but I’ll get to that story in a minute). The Genius said it wasn’t my fault, and hard drives just fail, especially in laptops. This made me feel a bit better.
It’s also my work computer, so my work will cover the expense. I even negotiated with the Genius to knock off the price of labour, so I am paying for the hard drive only. I am of course always looking for a way to save ol’ Alligator Arms some moolah. His budget consciousness has rubbed off on me.
I also kind of got a story out of the whole thing.
My boss has meetings in Ottawa at this time every year, so he is away for a few days. Two years ago, the first day he was away, I went to power up my old MacBook Pro. It didn’t turn on. No Apple logo, no Mac chime, not even the flashing question mark of death. Just a blank screen. Bad news.
I took it in to see a Genius, and they informed me that unfortunately my motherboard/logic board had failed, and the repair was going to cost $1,700, nearly the price of a new Mac.
Because my boss is “budget conscious”, I knew that he was not going to be a fan of this sudden expense. I wouldn’t call him cheap though. I knew he wouldn’t say “Too bad for you, your computer is too expensive.” But I knew he wasn’t exactly going to be thrilled, and I was debating about whether I should wait until he got back to break the news, or call him while he was away.
I was in my coworker Lexy’s office discussing my plan of attack, when she accidentally knocked a full glass of water onto her two-week old laptop’s keyboard. She had never done anything like this before, it was just a fluke accident.
We stared at each other in shock as her computer immediately started acting crazy. It was clear it was not going to survive the water attack.
We had never had a computer incident in our office before, and now we had two fail in the same day?
I just looked at Lexy and said “Shotgun, I’m calling (Boss).”
I was sure Alligator Arms could handle the news of my computer suddenly dying, but Lexy’s too? I didn’t want to be the second one to call him.
So I called him up, and explained about my computer. He took the news pretty well and said to just do what I needed to do and research getting a new computer, in a budget-conscious sort of way. He was all “It’s okay, it happens,” and was very understanding about the whole situation.
And then Lexy appeared in my doorway and mouthed the words, “Can you just tell him?”
I hesitated, and then said tentatively into the phone “Also…” and explained about the water accident.
That was all Alligator Arms could take. He is pretty easy-going, but hearing about two computers breaking while he was away was just too much. Dollar signs were probably flashing in front of his eyes. His tune instantly changed from “Oh, it’s okay, no one’s fault, we can deal with it” to a stern “I don’t want to hear it. You two need to deal with it,” (budget-consciously, of course).
Thankfully, because Lexy’s computer was so new, it was replaced at no charge by the time our boss had returned (I went with her to Best Buy, and we may have left out the part of the story that included water, and they didn’t check for water damage – they just swapped it with a new one), but I still did have to get a new computer.
So now, of course, the big joke whenever our boss is away is whose computer’s going to break this time?
So it was pretty ironic that mine actually did break, again, while he was away two years later at the exact same meetings.
Before he left last week he said to me all jokingly “Now don’t be calling me about any broken computers while I’m gone!”
I laughed and told him not to worry.
When I told him this morning that my computer wasn’t turning on, he was all “Ha ha ha, very funny.”
I seriously wish I was joking…
But I’m very lucky this time that the problem wasn’t anything major. I hope that by the end of the week Alligator Arms will be able to laugh about this. Maybe even tomorrow.
Don’t let this story scare you away from Mac’s! I truly think it has just been bad luck. I think all computers these days have about a two-year life span before something goes wrong. And I do have an old Mac iBook G4 from 2003 that still works! It’s slow and extremely outdated, and the battery doesn’t hold a charge for longer than two minutes unless it’s plugged in, but hey, it turns on.
If this story teaches you anything, it should be to back up your work. And try not to break two computers in the same day.