Our Other Anniversary . . .

52 years ago today, on July 5th,1967, I walked across A1A in Titusville, FL, and met the love of my life. I knew it pretty quickly, but it took me a couple of weeks to get Jan to even go out with me.

But with a lot of persistence I finally wore her down, though today I’d probably be considered a stalker. And we’ve been together pretty much ever since.

Sometimes nagging pays off.

I hate Apple products.

Unlike most days at work where I get to do things I enjoy, like play with computer stuff,  I spent most of today doing something I hate, i.e. work on something Apple . . . actually anything Apple.

Which today meant trying to set up my client’s new IPhone 8+. Went round and round several times just trying to get the Apple ID configured and everything updated.

Just a real mess.

My feelings actually started with disdain though, before moving on to hatred. The ‘disdain’ started back in the early days of the Macintosh when reporter ask Steve Jobs why the Mac had a one button mouse while the PC mouse had two.

Jobs said the average user was too stupid to operate a two button mouse.

But my disdain metamorphosed in to pure hatred when I actually had to repair them. In 1998 I was doing tech support at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. We were an authorized Apple Repair Center since we had so many Apple products.

At that time Apple was the go-to computer for pretty much anything to do with computer graphics, video, or desktop publishing, so we had 100’s of  units scattered in classrooms all over campus.

One product we had a number of was the Apple Color LaserWriter, probably the only printer that needed regular oil changes. There was an open pan at the bottom of the printer inside the case, kind of like a cookie sheet, that held a layer of very slippery silicone oil.

This oil was used to keep the fuser clean and had to be changed out at stated internals, which was almost impossible to do without spilling some on the floor. Which then created a hazardous area and had to be surrounded by orange cones. This was due to the fact that the oil made the floor so slippery it was like trying to walk on ice.

Plus if someone bumped the table holding the printer, oil would splash out from the open pan and on to the floor, again creating a hazardous area, surrounded by orange cones.

Another Apple product that we had to repair was the 21” Studio Display Monitor like this one.

Apple Studio Display Monitor

Steve always seemed to have favored esthetics over function and reparability, and one of his favorite SSSS to not have any visible screws or fastenings on the outside of the case.

And the Display Monitor was just such a beast. The rear cover was just a rounded dome that was press-fitted onto the chassis. The factory service manual listed the tools necessary to remove the cover as 4 strong metal fingernail files and 2 dozen wooden popsicle sticks.

Yep! 2 dozen popsicle sticks!

You were to jam a nail file into the seemingly air-tight seam, hopefully making enough of a gap to be able to wedge a popsicle into the opening. You then proceeded to work your way around the rim, jamming and wedging as you go, just like changing a big truck tire.

Oh, and the reason you need four fingernail files? It’s because you’ll break at least two of them working your way around the rim.

But the manual neglects to tell you one important thing.

The dome is essentially spring loaded as it’s pressed on at the factory. So at some unknown-to-you point, the heavy dome comes loose, flies across the room, and of course, smashes into a brand-new, VERY expensive, LCD monitor, knocking it to the floor in pieces.

Then of course, there’s the infamous ‘melting’ G4 Cubes.

Mac G4 Cube

The G4 was a small (7” x 7” x 7”) computer that also illustrated another of Job’s pet peeves. He didn’t like cooling fans or the noise they made.

So the G4 depended on convection cooling for the components, pulling air in at the bottom of the case and exhausting it out through the top grill. Now that may have worked in mild San Francisco, but not in the Houston area.

The much higher humidity here, even in the air-conditioned buildings, meant that the whole convection cooling thing just didn’t work very well. And the heat buildup made the grill on top of the case start to sag and crack.


Happily, for this reason, and lack of expandability, killed the G4 off in just a couple of years.

Thought for the Day:

You ever get the feeling that some people slipped into the gene pool when the lifeguard wasn’t looking?



2 Responses to Our Other Anniversary . . .

  1. Rob says:

    In July of 1967 I had not yet started high school, that happened in September.

    I’m glad it worked out with the missus!

  2. DC Stultz says:

    I have never been able to justify the “Job’s Tax” on Apple products. Thus, the only single Apple product that I have is an old hand-me-down iPad that my sister gave me that she no longer used.


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