Monday, March 28, 2005


I'm sorry to report that Dr. Barnett, our 20-inch iMac G5, has suffered from overheating. Leland and I were up to our usual Saturday morning routine of heavy coffee and light computer use when we noticed a strange smell. An exterminator had visited us 15 minutes prior so we didn't think much of it, though we thought it smelled of “cooked computer.” Then Leland saw smoke wafting above our fifth generation baby. I lunged for her power cord, and so ended the excitement. But where Apple is concerned, our cow-colored iMac practically burned down lower Manhattan. Here’s a sample of the questions I was asked after 20 minutes on hold:
  1. How long ago did the incident occur? As long as I've been on hold.
  2. Was there damage to other property in the area? None.
  3. How thick was the smoke? Not thick.
  4. What color was the smoke? Gray.
  5. Was the fire department called? Nope.
  6. Did you take a picture of the equipment during the incident? I wish I had!
  7. Has your insurance company surveyed the damage? Not in the half hour since the “incident” occurred.
  8. Was the damage cause by the product failure, or was it caused by actions you took in response to the product failure? What? Are you trying to imply that I'm some nelly that would run around and break things because I saw smoke? I'm sure that “the damage” was caused by my iMac’s little smoking problem, and nothing else.
I was glad they took things seriously; it’s the first time I’ve spoken to AppleCare without being second-guessed every other question. But, I did feel a little like I was in a dramatized courtroom when they tried to tell me it might be my fault. Dr. Barnett is recovering at Digital Society around the corner. If you wish to send her flowers, she likes tulips.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

the doctor is in

No, I'm not the doctor. Dr. Barnett is the name of our computer, and also of a certain horny t.v. character. (She's been hiding out for almost a year, but we expect her to make a dramatic homecoming any episode now…) I wanted “n8han” as my username and blogspot domain, but it was taken by an 8 year-old who’s apparently way ahead of me in this game. I started a new programming job last week. I left my last job after the cool, SoHo company was absorbed by a boring Dallas (yes, Dallas!) based corporation. It took me all of a month find someone within walking distance of the homestead that would hire an enthusiastic but wet-behind-the-ears PHP programmer. (That month did serious damage to my self-esteem, by the way.) I've worked with a number of HTML-spewing technologies, but I settled on PHP as the only one to allow me the following luxuries:
  1. to never again visit the msdn website
  2. to minimize my contact with the factory design pattern pandemic
  3. to test changes without rebuilding (leaving less time for head-banging-on-desk)
  4. to spare my ears and tongue the dot whar phoneme intrinsic to jay to the double eee projects
  5. to cheat like all hell because everyone’s using it for cool stuff and giving away their code
So far things are going great. The boss lets me pitch fifteen different ideas for a feature but is resolute once he’s picked his favorite. I’m sure that’s for the best; left to my own devices I would be dithering in prado all day. (Ok, that is what I was doing when I was left to my own devices.) Besides the boss-man I have exactly one other co-worker, a designer. A three person office will be a new group dynamic for me, but the other two have been at it for five months without the place turning into a season of The Real World: Chesea Internet Startup. I’d like to keep it that way.