They get letters

A few short letters I thought of writing during and after my trip to Montreal for ASAs:

Dear Fortunate Timing: Thanks for taking me to Montreal on Wednesday, instead of Thursday.

Dear Canada: Your twenty dollar bill is lovely.

Dear Montreal: I really like your city but I think you ought to work on the whole running-red-lights-at-high-speed issue. Admittedly, it was impressive to see that Porsche rocket down the hill, but the narrow margin between it and my knees still makes me a little queasy.

Dear Air Canada: My overall experience with you was quite nice. Forgetting to transfer my baggage to terminal 2 in Toronto so that I could clear customs in time to catch my flight to Phoenix, however, was a pretty big oops. Thanks for holding the plane a little longer.

Dear Customs/Immigration Guy: I was sweating because I had been running. Didn’t mean to freak you out or anything. Still, you could have been a little nicer when it took me a second to get my brain in gear and tell you what I’ve been doing in Canada. For a few seconds, “Waiting with low blood sugar for my bag” was all I could think of.

Dear Apple: I had earlier believed that I had escaped the sudden and random shutdowns I hear tell of on the MacBook. Turns out, not so much. It’s hard to write and give a presentation on a computer that doesn’t turn on. It’s like the prettiest, most expensive lucite paperweight I’ve ever seen, currently. *

Dear ASA: Again with the cross-country trip? 2007 is New York. Maybe 2008 could be in Miami, or Boston, or Chicago—yeah, we haven’t all gone there for at least a couple of years. How about some attention to the West? Seriously, Salt Lake City hosted the olympics; I think it could handle us, but you’d all have to get over the High Culture bias first. I can tell you where to go for a beer, if you want. Denver, Seattle, San Diego, and Portland are also just fine.

Dear ASA: If you’re going to have conference hotels, how about having the conference, you know, at the hotels? The palais was a pretty neat building, but if the meetings aren’t even going to involve the hotels in the slightest, maybe we could promote any of the multiple very nice, much cheaper, free-breakfast-including spots instead? Again, you’d have to get over the High Culture bias first.

Dear cabbie: You say you’ve been driving that elderly couple, the one I shared a ride back to the airport at 5am with, all week? Do they know how much you’ve been ripping them off? The hotel-airport fare isn’t normally $50, dude.

Dear Portugese restaraunt on Crescent: You’re kidding, right? The only thing Portugese about our meal was … well, I don’t know anything about Portugese food, but I’m pretty sure you don’t either.

Dear French-Canadian TV: Wow, we can’t show anything like that on broadcast television in the States. How very European. Also, I caught a little bit of Star Trek 2 dubbed into French late one night. Know what’s the same in any language? “KAAAAAHHHNNN!”

Dear sociology bloggers: Sorry I couldn’t stay. See you next year.

* I was going to do the joke where I write, “My computer has been shutting itself down unexpect NO CARRIER”, but Drek beat me to it. Damn you and your compatible sense of humor, Drek.

Update 8/26/2006: Because I know folks are on the edge of their seats, I returned the MacBook for repair, received it three days later, and it has performed great ever since. Fingers crossed that Apple has zeroed in on the shutdowns problem and I’ll have smooth computing from here on out.

Because I can

Blogging from the patio at the dentist’s office. Not too shabby.


Gorgeous today in Flagstaff, after the mass of heavy rain we’ve had for a week. After the recent fires in Oak Creek Canyon there was concern of rain causing mudslides, and that’s exactly what happened this week—though the destruction doesn’t look to be nearly as heavy as down in Tucson, where the Rillito topped its banks, Sabino Canyon looks to be entirely washed out, and half the city seems to have been underwater at one point or another.

Back in Mac

Just in time for the 4th of July, the (once-suspected to be ill-fated) MacBook was delivered on Monday. The good news is that they didn’t end up formatting the hard drive—as is frequently done during repair—so I didn’t have to spend two days getting everything put back together again. Various case pieces are at least better fit together than they were, but there is still a bit of gaposis. No way in hell I’m sending it in again, though.

So now it’s full steam ahead with unlimited productiv—hey, widgets!


What’s a fair per-day rental rate for a MacBook? ‘Cause I’m thinking about drafting an invoice.


As of today, June 30:



That looks awfully familiar.


Update: Hey, hey, hey:


What's happening?

Apparently, the pending part of return pending is more fluid than I imagined it would be. MacBook Repair Return Watch as of today, June 23, unchanged from Tuesday, June 20:



Spare parts

A quick update on the MacBook repair front, because I know you’re all sympathetic to my plight. After being misrouted by DHL, the package was a bit delayed getting to the repair facility, and I talked to AppleCare this morning, since I’ve been staring at the unchanging status message for a week:


It turns out that they’re really repairing it. They’ve replaced most of the external case in order to fix the warp, and are waiting on some parts to finish up. On one hand, it strikes me as good practice to repair, rather than replace, the unit, even if it involves fairly dramatic re-building of the MacBook’s body (“we have the technology…”). It suggests that somebody is actually looking at the work that is being done, and I like the idea of Apple Certified Craftsmen running their fingers along the case seams. (To be fair, there are plenty of things that I like—gnomes, for instance—whose actual existence I’m not prepared to assert.) And it makes it more likely I’ll get back the same quiet and not-too-hot machine that I started with. On the other hand I’m a bit cranky because they won’t have the final couple of parts (at the master Apple repair facility, they have to wait for parts?) for “another few business days.”

So on balance I think the good outweighs the bad, but I’m still more-than-ready to get back to work on that fun little machine.


June 20 update. A change in status.




Now I just hope to get the shipment before evacuation.

My mostly-good MacBook

There is good news about the MacBook, and there is bad news about the MacBook. The good news is that in ten days of use I haven’t seen any of the extreme heat or moo-noise issues that are making the rounds on the complain-a-rama forums. Instead, I have had a solid week+ of perfect performance: It’s fast (I put 2GB of RAM in it), quiet, not unreasonably hot (no more so on the lap than the Toshiba it is replacing), has a keyboard that takes a bit of getting used to but is quite nice to work with, and the screen is slick: A nice wide aspect ratio, clear and sharp. It’s light enough to carry around for a twenty-minute walk from one’s hotel to a coffee shop or campus.

And until the last few days, I would have noted that the build quality is excellent. I was going to say that the laptop has a bit of heft, but it’s a solid, comfortable-feeling piece of equipment. And so we come to the bad news: It’s still largely solid, but the bezels around the keyboard and the screen have some warp—whether it was there when I received the MacBook or developed over the past week of (relatively light) use, I’m not sure. But it’s certainly there now. I’ve posted a few photos.

Manufacturing defect? Purely cosmetic? Something that represents a heat-related issue? Something that will get worse? I don’t know. On one hand, it strikes me as a mostly but not entirely cosmetic issue, and I hate to be That Guy who gets all cranky when his laptop gets a scrape. But I’m concerned that this represents a defect that could come back and cost me more time/money/effort in the future. And the nice people on the phone at Apple did indicate that it’s something that they can remedy, so as much as I don’t want to give up my otherwise-perfectly-functioning LovelyBook, I’m going to ship it on home for a checkup.

If it comes back mooing, I’m gonna be pissed.


Update: Apple has a pretty slick mail-in repair program, with just two potential issues: 1) They seem to have forgotten to put my pickup order in the system the first time around, and 2) They should probably put the number to notify DHL that you’re ready for them to pickup the box, on something other than the invoice that you seal up inside of the box. Just sayin’. Folks need that number, and it’s all taped up inside the box.


I present the two most dreaded words in the expedited mail business: shipping exception.




Update: It has come to my attention that the interaction of those two words with two more words—holiday weekend—creates an even heavier dread.


Update II: FedEx delivered! They managed to truck my little package along much more quickly than they or I had expected, and I’ve been putting the new machine through its paces since Friday. Perhaps I’ll do something bloggy, like a review, before too long. The short story is: This little thing is pretty cool.

About, the short version

I’m a sociologist-errant. This site is powered by Textpattern, Pair Networks and the sociological imagination. For more about me and this site, see the long version.

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