This Week’s Work #4: Tech Support Edition

An old monitor now connected to Jen's MacBook Air on her desk.

Things have been breaking around here lately. First, my iMac started having problems which eventually lead to it being taken in for service at Mac Superstore. Turned out the computer had a bad video card and thanks to the helpful service department at Mac Superstore, it was repaired under a special extended warranty Apple is offering for this particular model of iMac (the computer is no longer covered by Apple Care).

Then, Jen’s desktop monitor started giving her trouble. I spent several hours one evening troubleshooting it to try and figure out the source of the problem. She’s using a MacBook Air connected to external KVM. At first, I thought it was just some loose cables. But I eventually determined that not only was her monitor dying, a USB hub she was using had also stopped working. In search of at least a temporary solution, I wrangled up an old 19″ monitor from the shed and then I dug through my collection of various computer parts and cables until I found another USB hub. I originally acquired the hub back in 1999 when I bought my first-ever Mac. These old peripherals have (mostly) solved her computer problems but she will be getting a new monitor soon if for no other reason than she’s finding it difficult to play Diablo III on the current display.

It’s funny how these kinds of things can affect you. I was really down for a few days about the iMac once it started to go. Knowing it was outside the warranty period, I figured for sure it was gonna be an expensive repair. I had considered just selling it for parts and putting those earnings towards another computer. Which was a lousy thought as the iMac is only a little over two years old and I was hoping to get more time out of it. I’m glad I called Mac Superstore first! And while it was frustrating at times dealing with Jen’s computer issues, I always appreciate the opportunity to solve these types of puzzles. It gives me a chance to get a better understanding of how things work. Or at least, how they’re supposed to work.

Here’s some things I worked on over the last week:

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January 26, 2014

2 responses to This Week’s Work #4: Tech Support Edition

  1. Martin said:

    I love re-using old ‘kit’; something that I seem to do more and more often these days, I therefore can’t help but feel the old stuff is a little more robust than the new stuff! Much of my old computer equipment got retired because I was young, free and single with disposable income. I therefore had the resources to upgrade after I felt the item hat sweated its value. Now all the new stuff seems to be retiring way before its time. I’m so please I never seem to chuck anything away! I also enjoy trouble shooting. I started my IT career as a techie but that’s a long time ago now and I’ve worked to a more operational role. I also like to beat those ‘that shouldn’t happen’ scenarios as generally it just did!

    • Shawn said:

      I try to not hoard too much when it comes to older gear/parts, etc. In terms of the old LCD display and the USB hub, they both worked and I knew I wouldn’t get much money for them (if any at all) on the aftermarket.

      Jen’s got a new monitor since I posted this blog entry but she’s still using that old Belkin USB hub from 1999. It’s working for now but as it’s only USB 1, I can see a point in the future where it might be necessary for her to have something faster.

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