Friday, 13 June 2008

Do the monster Mac!

As some of you may be aware, my beautiful three year old Mac Mini, Jarvis, has passed. Over the counter at the Apple store. He has been succeeded - but can never be replaced - by Jarvis II. Jarvis II is a 20” 2.66GHZ 4GB SDRAM wireless everything Adonis of the computer world. The only thing he dunt do is make tea. Since he weren’t exactly built for such a task, I’ll let him off.

Getting him were easy. Call the Ultimate PC and Mac Gallery in Central (Stanley Street), reserve one as the new stock comes in. Apparently these things fly out the door (not literally; he dunt come with a jet-pack, neither) and they were waiting twenty-four hours for new stock from Apple. It seems those crafty wizards at the bright centre of the universe, namely where they think up and produce these machines, keep the bulk of their available stock for their own online sales. Which would make sense. But it also means I have to wait a few extra days to get my sweaty mits on my model. But anyway, what’s a few days when you’ve wanted one for months?

So I get him home Friday night. On paper, this were possibly the worst night to have picked him up, seeing as it’s the shortest night I’ve got all week and the one time I can’t be up till 3am due to having to be at work for 9am Saturday morning. However, it took about ten minutes to actually get him out of the box, two minutes to connect him and get him on my window ledge, and then about thirty minutes to familiarise myself with Leopard OX and Pages - the iWorks equivalent of MS Word. I shudder to think how I ran Word for Mac on Jarvis I, even though it repeatedly gave me trouble and even did this really bizarre thing: it would stop working, quit my stuff even though it were unsaved, and then simply close the programme. Is this kind of militant behaviour common in MS stuff? Does it just do what it wants, as opposed to what the user wants? Is it that rude that it would close an application with neither warning nor saving anything you’ve accomplished? Is there a word for this anti-social action? Oh, hang on, let me try the dictionary... Ah yes, here we are: ‘crashing’. Oh. Never heard of it. Must be a Windoze thing.

Anyway, long and the short and the tall of it were that it took me substantially less time than I thought to get used to it all. And while I were in perpetual awe of the very, very clear 20” screen and totally worshipping the lightning fast reactions, I did need one more thing.

A wireless modem.

Being a long-suffering-standing customer of PCCW and Netvigator, I decided to throw all caution to the wind and take them up on their current offer of a jump from my kitsch old 1970s-ish ZX81-looking wired modem to a spanking new wireless modem - that looks and feels like the black plastic cover is the most expensive thing about it.

Having to wait three days for the installation man did nothing for my impatience, but hey, at least in all that time I could transfer any files I deemed necessary and get on with really playing and getting to know my lovely shiny shiny Jarvis II without the distraction of Tinternet.

So the man comes Tuesday morning (“Madam can receive her man at 9am, Tuesday?”) and it takes him about two minutes to plug it in and ten minutes to arse about shitting himself because he has no installation CD for a Mac. When I pointed out that the last Mac I had didn’t need any installation software, and if he waited long enough, Jarvis would get annoyed and bloody well do the necessary himself, he started to click some stuff and stumbled upon the right course of action, software-wise. When I say “stumbled upon”, I mean Jarvis opened a wee window and told him to follow the steps therein. It then took a further ten minutes to set up whatever it was he were setting up.

With him over his Beavis and Butthead penchant for smiling to himself over the fact that there were two single gwaimuis (foreign birds) occupying the same flat, both shuffling round in jim-jams, he got on with it and very soon he were out the door.

I played on Safari 3.0.4, the same version I had on Tiger and Jarvis I, and everything were hunky-dory. Authorised my new Jarvis II for my iTunes account (on the UK store, as Hong Kong dunt have one and probably never will, the way people squabble over rights and management over here), downloaded new Adium X and stuff like Transmission, and were loving it.

Skip to last night. A disastrous turn at the pub quiz saw me packing it in, in favour of checking some mail and going to bed. What actually happened, as so often does in our house, were me checking mail, being sent on a wild and woolly convoluted path of a million links, attachments and MSN conversations, until eventually I minimised Safari to organise some icons I’d made. An hour later I went back to Tinternet to upload them, along with some sounds that I know Bestest Flatmate would probably like to use as her ringtone or message tone, or similar, on her phone.

And that, dear readers, is why I’m lounging on my sofa, wireless keyboard under my fingers, bitching about the bloody useless gits that supply sub-standard equipment on behalf of PCCW.

As of last night, around 3am, the modem ceased to connect. I knew it were the modem and not my settings cos (1) my settings hadn’t even been touched or viewed, (2) I can still pick up (secured) wireless accounts from every other bugger int building, and (3) my iPod Touch would connect, but as soon as you tried to find a page, it would say the network was unstable and the page could not be found.

At 3am I decided to give it up as a bad job and went to bed. This morning I find that not only is my Tinternet fucked - and by “fucked” I mean unusable as I cannot connect - but that my nowTV channels are all off. Completely. Not a flicker of a picture, not a whisp of sound, nothing. Absolutely nothing. A phonecall to 1833 833 later, during which I’ve to be careful not to swear or get angry as the nice girl does her best to find out what’s wrong, and it turns out my modem is, and I quote, “not good”. Riiiiiiiight. But that’s ok, cos the nice lady will send another man, and he’ll make it work. Let’s skip my truck-load of scepticism and get to the real issue: he can’t come till Friday. Friday 8pm - 10pm, to be precise.

So, thanks to PCCW, I have no cable/satellite TV or Tinternet until Friday night. Thanks, PCCW, I love you! You are the greatest! You are fab! You’ve cut me off for TWO FUCKING DAYS because yer fucking modem is shite. Well thanks! Let’s add up all those times I’ve had to call you because the fucking nowTV channels don’t work, as well, shall we? Hmm... I called twice last week, and once a week for perhaps two weeks before that. Something tells me I’m backing the wrong horse.

And here I am, Wednesday night for me, wondering why nothing in Life is as reliable as a Mac. Please, someone tell me they’ve had no trouble with their wireless modems or shifting Tinternet. I wouldn’t mind so much, but I’m paying for services I can’t use. And that’s just robbery, the way I see it.

But then, if yer reading this then they’ll done summat to fix the situation. Not before bloody time - especially as it shouldn’t have fucked up int first place.

* UPDATE: It’s now Friday night and the man has been - and found the fault lies with the building. Apparently, we “weren’t getting a good signal strength” from our connection to the building, and that were affecting our net connection and consequently our nowTV channels. All fixed now. We’ll see how long it lasts, eh.

So all is right with the world again - I have my 'net back, and even the TV is working. Bloody marvellous.

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