Tag Archives: iMac

And We’re Whole Again

This morning, the Apple Store called to let me know that my iMac had been repaired. And a great cheer was heard from the crowd!

So what was wrong?

As expected, they replaced the video card — that wasn’t hard to predict given what I saw, and all the testing I did. However, they also replaced an IR board. Now, I was unaware that the iMac had IR, so that acronym may stand for something else.

And, it was all covered under warranty, which is terrific. However, had I had to play for it, the repairs were just under $250, which I don’t consider bad at all considering the complexity of this machine. I would’ve guessed that it could’ve easily been upwards of half a grand.

So… I guess now AppleCare is on my list before my warranty expires in May!

Imagine a World Without an iMac

For me, that day is today.

Friday morning, I found my iMac i7 locked up, and hot enough to fry an egg atop it. It was hot, hot, hot. From there, it was pretty well downhill — I couldn’t boot it, from the internal drive or the DVD, and eventually, it just died.

This morning, I took it to the Genius Bar at the West County Apple Store, preparing for the worst. Chris took good care of me, and apparently, I’d done all the right things — safe boot, Carbon Copy Cloner to get a copy of the drive, replicated the problem on a screen sharing session back to the iMac. From what he tells me, it sounds like the video card has gone kaput.

They have one in-stock at the store, and he thought they might be able to get it installed tonight. That would totally rock. With the winter storm coming in, I’m gonna need my Mac to process photos.

Wait… winter storm? Yep… there’s another coming. Read on…

2010 and My Tech

Braddog has a yearly tradition of reviewing the tech that has shaped his year just passed. I was inspired to do the same!

#1, iPad. I had no idea that it would become so pervasive in my life when I bought it.

#2, DVR. I snuck into the late 90s this year by switching to UVerse, and gaining use of their DVR technology. Again, I had no idea just how much I’d be using it!

#3, AppleTV. A new addition this year, and one that has not only entertained my not-so-techhy wife during her recovery from foot surgery, but has also converged a lot of varied and entertaining content in a room that had none.

#4, iMac i7. This new machine could’ve been ranked higher, as I use it daily for so much of my online life. But the real gain here was real estate. I displaced a eight-core MacPro, gained a bigger screen, and lost almost no processing power.

#5, Lightroom 3. This software jewel has become my electronic shoe box of photos. I keep a personal library of just over 100k photos (yeah, I’m a pack rat), along with an archive of old family photos from both sides of the family. Lightroom makes it just flat easy to maintain all this, and keep some sanity around finding images that I’ve shot, along with history that others in my family have captured.

And yes, you could put guitars on the list, but my guitars are acoustic, and despite having some electronics in them, and occasionally being pumped through my Marshall amp, I didn’t feel like they fit in the list.

It’ll be cool to see what 2011 holds for me. Will there be any fundamental shift as big as the iPad in the cards for this year? Who knows, but I can’t wait to see!

Landlocked and Near Calamity

So, things have been pretty quiet from the Deauxmayne of late. Why? Read on…

Since December, I’ve been doing all my work on a “late 2008” vintage MacBook Pro. Nice machine, and while I knew it wasn’t gonna be the same kind of horsepower I was used to on my eight-core MacPro, but I figured I could make it work. And I did, for a while. However, with bigger images out of the 7D, and bigger memory footprints needed for bigger Lightroom catalogs, I found myself landlocked. It was obvious that I needed more memory to crank everything through, but my sad little MBP was maxed out at 4GB. (Yeah, yeah, I know. Some folks have had success putting 6GB in ’em, but it’s an unsupported configuration, and as hard as I was stressing the little machine, I figured I’d probably run into trouble.)

How bad was it? Well, for some images, I would try to do an edit in Lightroom or Photoshop, and have to wait minutes between edits. It was bad, bad, bad. And for Lightroom, I couldn’t run with everything in the same catalog, which was hampering my ability to find my images easily.

I’d been looking at the new quad i7-based iMacs, and figured I’d start saving my pennies to get one later this year. However, my laptop was really struggling, and it was taking the joy (and practicality) out of working with images from my camera. It was bad, bad, bad.

Darla came to my rescue on Wednesday, taking me to the Apple Store at West County Mall, and putting a new iMac i7 in my hands! Absolutely wonderful! Now, the default memory complement of the iMac is only 4GB — which is the same as the laptop — so I knew I needed to enhance that almost out of the box.

I spent a lot of Wednesday and Thursday getting the iMac up, and beginning to migrate applications and data from the laptop. I’d decided to install everything fresh, rather than migrating apps from the laptop. This would be the first clean install I’d had in years. Yeah, that’s one big task, but it was mostly done by Friday.

On Friday, OWC graced me with another 8GB of memory, taking me to 12GB overall. I could not believe how well Lightroom and Photoshop CS5 ran under those conditions. I was even able to re-combine my Lightroom annual catalogs together again, making searches across my whole catalog once again possible.


That brings us to the near calamity part of this story. Saturday, my external FW800 drive started failing. I tried different cables, and different power supplies, and nothing seemed to help. I extracted the drive from the enclosure, and dropped it in my Thermatake BlacX. And the drive just churned. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. I do have a backup strategy, but because of the fiasco with the performance of my laptop, I hadn’t been keeping it up to date over the last few weeks.

The drive eventually came to life, but of course, I didn’t trust it. Becky suggested that we go out this morning, and figure out a replacement strategy. Overnight, I researched the Drobo, thinking that’d be where I’d land. However, I saw some info that implied that there were some folks having problems with them staying mounted on iMacs, and that the performance might not be quite what I was hoping for.

I landed on a pair of 2TB My Book Studio FW800 enclosures, one as a work drive, and a second as a Chronosync’d clone. So today has been spent copying data from my original 2TB drive to the first of the new twins. In retrospect, I’m not as convinced that the old drive was in as much danger as I thought, but getting away from a cobbled-together solution will help me peace of mind.

So… New iMac, and new storage. It’s been a big week at the Deauxmayne!

New iMacs

I have a certain sentimentality for the iMac. My first Mac was a 20″ G5 iMac, acquired just a bit over four years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed cutting my teeth on it. I guess there’s always a certain nostalgia for your first love, eh?

This morning, the twitterverse is all agog about a potentially new iMac on the near horizon. The buzz is that it would be thinner, and include Blu-Ray.

Myself, I’d welcome that.

I have a great attraction for an all-in-one environment like the iMac, but I also see some pitfalls. The latest gen of iMacs allow for easy memory upgrades by the user, but a nearly impossible internal harddrive replacement. Last I saw, that operation involved removing the screen from the chassis, and that’s not a comfy spot for most, myself included. That leaves you with only USB or FW800 externals drives. Where’s eSATA? That would definitely solve the need for replacing the internal harddrive, as eSATA bays are available all over the place.

Another thing missing from the current line is a second Ethernet port. While I don’t have an immediate need for that extra port, it’s interesting to see companies like Drobo begin using that for faster-than-eSATA iSCSI drive connections across a second Ethernet port for their DroboPro high-end storage solution. For a data junkie like myself, that’s a real attractive path, despite the quite high entry pricepoint.

However, I think an iMac might be the only way to foist the last Windows machine in the house my spouse’s clutched fingers. She’s been on Windows for better than a decade, and I suspect that moving her to a Mac is unlikely. We’re running into some issues where she can’t browse my photo archive easily from her machine. Microsoft and RAW files still don’t get along with a piece of software to act as referee. She’s been going through an incredibly convoluted series of steps to view, select and print images from the datastore, and I’d no idea she was doing all that. An iMac would solve that in a snap, but I don’t know that she’s ready for that leap.

With new announcements coming though, anything is possible!