Mac Meltdown


Greetings! Well, I guess I have to eat crow. I've bragged about how good my Mac is for years, but I finally had a problem. Now, to be fair, my Macs have held up remarkably well. My first Mac laptop lasted for over five years before it died and that was only because I poured a Pepsi in it by accident. So I thought that my new Mac Powerbook would last almost until the cosmos implodes back in on itself. It seemed reasonable, given my history with them. But this time...well, you'll see.

I was having some trouble connecting to the internet and I was playing Slap In The Face. You know, when you phone one tech support person and they can't solve your problem and they get tired of trying, so they suggest that maybe it's somebody else's fault, slap you in the face and run away giggling. It's their favorite game. It goes like this:

[Steve] "I'm having a problem with my internet connection."

[Internet Tech Support Guy] "Hmm, I don't see anything immediately wrong. I think you need to talk to another department. Here, let me transfer you, SLAP! Hee he he heee!"

[Voice Of Tech Support Person 2] "You have reached the department of extreme unhelpfulness. Our office is currently closed. Have a nice day, SLAP! Hee he he heee!"

Anyway, this had been going on for some time. Having exhausted all my options at the telephone company, I decided to phone Apple. I doubted it was their fault, but the telephone help desk had insisted that it was a Mac issue. As I was sitting at the computer with the heating pad on my back waiting for tech support, I managed to solve the internet problem myself. I felt quite elated...for about a minute, until my computer exploded! A huge puff of smoke erupted from the computer along with an equally unencouraging smell.

Just then the tech support person came on the phone and I exploded at them. They, wisely, decided to pass me on to an expert. So I waited. And I waited some more, growing more irritated by the second and all the time expecting the final slap. I was not happy with anybody, especially not Apple.

I waited for several minutes, cursing Steve Jobs and his shoddy products and how he'd let me down and presently I felt a very warm sensation on my back. I didn't register this right away, since I was expecting my back to be warm, due to the heating pad. But then it got warmer. And warmer. And then my back was on fire!

I realized that my heating pad was on fire and I yanked it out of the wall, threw it in the sink and poured water on it. It finally dawned on me that my heating pad had exploded in smoke and not my computer. Just then, tech support finally came on the line.

I tried to explain that the problem had been taken care of, but the ultra-helpful tech support woman didn't believe me, because computers that explode don't just suddenly become all right. She wouldn't let me get off the phone until I admitted that the fire had actually originated with...another device. She hadn't heard that one before. It was a new one on her.

Apple has really great tech support.

Until next time, keep your pen on the page, and SLAP! Hee he he heeee!.

Steve Sharam
For more of my cogitations on life, check out my newly re-minted blog

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magic smoke

I work at a company that makes electrical devices. We often say that once you let the "magic smoke" out of the electrical component it won't work.

Back on fire? That is a new one for me too.


For me too:P

"No wonder we're not picking up any radio signals from alien species. They're not sending any! They're too afraid we'll answer." - George Carlin

Steve Sharam

How dare you...

even consider the problem is in your Mac.
The problem is NEVER the Mac.
It is ALWAYS the fault of the router or the cable modem, or the ISP, but NEVER is the Mac at fault.

You should know better.
SLAP ! Bwa ha ha ha haaaaaa !
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

I repent

Mia Culpa.

"No wonder we're not picking up any radio signals from alien species. They're not sending any! They're too afraid we'll answer." - George Carlin

Steve Sharam


It happened to me too, once, with my PowerBook 170. I had just purchased a new laptop, a shining new iBook, and was in the process of giving the PowerBook to a friend, demonstrating its goodness. It then went POOF! Smoke came out of it and fizzle sounds and everything. So I did not give it to my friend. It has not happened since, in any of its successors, thankfully, and I knock on wood (my head) that it won't happen again.

Now burning heating pads, that I've seen often. I only use rice bags now. They don't burn up as often.

slapping games

Hey, I think you're on to something! You may be spilling the secret: corporate powers get together and plan yearly conferences, where they conduct interspecies training in dodgeball customer service. Seminar titles include:

  • How To Use a Binary Exponential Menu Code (In Spanish) So Customers Can't Find The Right Person To Talk To,
  • Perfect Your Foreign Accent So Customers Will Doubt What They Heard You Say,
  • The Art of Double-Speak And Techno-Jargon: Confuse Customers So They Think The Problem Is Their Fault,
  • Time Management: Proven Techniques That Keep Customers On Hold Until They Hang Up Because They Have To Pee Or Pick The Kids Up From Soccer,
  • and, of course, your favorite and mine, Rules For Playing Slap In The Face (And How To Make Sure The Next Operator Knows Nothing About The Customer's Situation So S/he Has To Repeat It Again.

My ISP (comcast)plays an expert game of "Slap in the Face," - and is a longtime tournament champion. So does my phone company (Verizon), whose monthly 102-page invoices would even confuse the head of the IRS. But definitely the worst in my recent experience: Sears appliance repair. I won't throw up the details because it makes everyone around me gag when I start to spit and spray while ranting.

Anyway, whenever I need to call a helpline, I drink Maalox on ice and leave frozen dinners and lunch money for tomorrow in the kitchen for my family.

And while I'm complaining, what IS it about music on hold? Most of it sounds like the customer service secretary bought her favorite Barry Manilow cassette tape in 1983 and has been playing it under water ever since.

There. I feel better.

Enjoy your Mac. You probably make far fewer calls for help than I do. I have Windows.

Heh, good point

There's likely some over-arching government agency, The Department Of Face Slapping, that co-ordinates consumer discomfort. Probably a wing of the Department Of Redundancy Department;)

"No wonder we're not picking up any radio signals from alien species. They're not sending any! They're too afraid we'll answer." - George Carlin

Steve Sharam

And now for something completely different...

SLAP ! Hee he he heee!
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Apple Tech Support...

...can let you down (it's true!). Years ago I had a G3 iBook that suffered a motherboard failure in which the screen and the RAM both stopped talking to the CPU. The machine also had a busted CD-ROM drive (unrelated problem), so I sent it in to Apple to fix both. They sent it back with the hard drive completely wiped -- as in no operating system, no files, nothing. Oh, and they didn't fix the CD-ROM drive, either, which meant I couldn't boot off the backup CDs. Back to Apple for another fix... I think it was six weeks before I had a working machine again. Then of course I had to re-load my apps and files, update the OS, reset preferences...

MacMedics handles all my maintenance now.

I've actually never had a serious problem

with any of my Macs and they've performed very well...except for the exploding heating pad, which technically wasn't their fault. I wonder if the heating pad was running Vista...

"No wonder we're not picking up any radio signals from alien species. They're not sending any! They're too afraid we'll answer." - George Carlin

Steve Sharam



Heating pads should be

Heating pads should be outlawed! My mom's house burned down because of a short in one-no kidding! Thank goodness for the cat who woke everyone up--no injuries, but also no more heating pads. Apple's tech support is very good, if you just go with the fact that they are way smarter and cooler than you and soooo overqualified to help you.


I have a friend working in Cork with Apple customer service, and he is the exact opposite of what you describe. Plus, the people he's working with (we've audio iChatted) sound just as quiet and humble as he is....

Plus, in my now-ancient experience with Apple phone tech support, they were always helpful, and never smarter, cooler or overqualified--acting in their demeanor....

Anyway, the one(s) I know are quite nice. :-)


Customer Service Slaps return

I feel the pain of having to call customer service lines to get help for one thing or another. Currently my all in one printer/scanner has given me the proverbial finger. I use the scanner on a regular occasion and this is the THIRD time that it has kicked out the automatic functions I have set. I miss my apple computer.. I have never had problems with anything Apple. Unfortunately my office has not seen the fruit (light) in switching. So I sigh, prepare a strong cup of coffee and head into the fire of the endless "on Hold" sessions to get this printer fixed... yet again. I wish it would go up in smoke. Then I might get something that worked! Glad to know I'm not the only one stuck in this oblivion hell. Well off to go get slapped and giggled at. I can now laugh at it all myself. Thanks.