iMac Heartbreak: Partie Deux

sadmacI sighed deeply, before I started typing. What a week this has been. So here’s what’s happening with this sad, sad iMac story I am telling.

Last week when I first wrote about what the last two months have been like, I cross posted my blog post to Apple’s discussion forum. I got a number of responses and a few of these were extremely rude, I must say.

A few people read (you must read ‘skimmed’ here) my first post and made a couple assumptions about how my computer went on the fritz, and decided that my case had no warrant.

I know that in recent years, blog posts get shorter and shorter. Everything is bite sized for easy consumption.

I really try to mine my experiences for this space. I always have… it’s evolved into one of my primary places of expression on my life and observations, and I have always written this way, even when the seeds of this blog were being sown in the national newspapers of Barbados and Trinidad. I write from my heart, and that includes everything I am feeling. If I could do it at 20 and not have a clue about life, certainly I am entitled to do it now.

Those few people who skimmed what I wrote, and assumed they understood exactly what I was going through, do what the Internet often encourages people to do. Shoot off fast responses, rarely thought out beyond the initial time it takes for someone to add just a little more negativity in the world.

I’ve decided not to entertain the negative in this. I’m having enough trouble managing the situation right now. Especially comments made by people who aren’t going through what I am, and who clearly don’t know what it means to be vulnerable and alone with a child to see about.

Of course, I may be tired carrying my baby on one hip, but I carry a sword in the next. My pen is always in my hand… I carry it around with me.

I responded to those biters, and now commenters in this blog, and so did two other forum members, but it seems that when I chose to mark the unkind responses as (decidedly) unhelpful, it removed the comments of  two persons who offered support and advice from the thread. No matter. I did get copies of them in my email.

I am including two of the most valuable responses I got here for ‘completeness’ sake, largely because this is serving as part of my record of what has been going on.

David Allen posted “Re: iMac Heartbreak: Fear & Worry For My Family” in “iMac Heartbreak: Fear & Worry For My Family” on Oct 2, 2009 8:35:58 PM.
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Your judgmental tone is typical of a society that thinks itself the center of the known Universe. But there are plenty of other people out here and we do not have the opportunities or the resources that you lot take for granted. Show some human kindness and respect.

If you go back and read the lady’s posts she had them plugged into a surge protector. Nothing happened to the other computers, just the Mac. So on second thought she states the power surge and the Mac’s issues may just be coincidental. More importantly Apple has repaired the iMac, now a number of times and it is still not fit for use after major part replacements; a display, a power supply and two logic boards. It is time to replace the iMac, because the repairs have not helped.

Let me make a little comparison for your Statesonian arrogance. A base 20″ iMac costs MN$18,99.00 (US$1,397.70) here in Mexico. Here in Monterrey the average worker works 48 hours in a 6 day work week and takes home an average of MN$1,100.00 (US$80.92). It takes a long time to save up for a Mac which costs us more than it costs you. And when we get them we try to hang on to them. I have three Macs; a Summer 2000 iMac DV+ (G3), an Early ’06 iMac Core Duo and an Early ’09 Mac mini. So of three, only one is new. And I saved a while to buy the new one, even though I am much better off than the average worker. I am sure that the “extra” computers in this lady’s home are also legacy Macs, that she has replaced with more capable machines as she could.

It is time you lot stopped the judgement of 3rd world folk’s lives and the disrespect. You cannot know our situation, nor can you begin to compare it to your own.

Dah•veed

The second poster made a valuable contribution that I found important in the discussion, but whose comment went missing.

need2know posted “Re: iMac Heartbreak: Fear & Worry For My Family” in “iMac Heartbreak: Fear & Worry For My Family” on Oct 3, 2009 12:49:19 AM.
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David – I couldn’t agree with you more.  I am appalled at some of the comments made here.  I am in the fortunate position of being a second wage earner in our household and my income is not essential.  However, I am a consultant working from home and my computer is vital to the work I do.   The loss of my computer for a prolonged period of time would mean I would be unable to fulfill contracts and could reflect badly on my business.  I also have a backup laptop but it is old and slow.

People (or at least those I know) that buy a Mac do so because they perceive it as a reliable workhorse.  In my experience however, this is not the case.   What the original poster has gone through with Apple would break anyone’s spirit whether they required their machine for their living or not.

So – Mac Acolytes – if you have nothing positive to contribute don’t post.

David posted again

Diosa del Sol, I would suggest that you Call Apple again and ask to have your case elevated to Customer Relations.

When you can speak to a Customer Relations agent (CRA) explain the situation as you see it politely but firmly that Apple has tried to repair the machine and has now replaced numerous major parts to the Mac without rectifying the problem. Ask the CRA to replace the iMac under the terms of the warranty and Apple’s own internal repair directives. If this iMac has had a new power supply, a new display, and two logic boards, then it is not fit for purpose and it is time Apple stepped up to the plate on these issues for you. Also, the CRA will have access to the entire repair history of this iMac registered in their warranty data base with its serial number and will know if your issues are an exaggeration, so always speak the truth.

Pay no heed to these cranky United Statesonians. Many of them are often unaware that the rest of us out here even exist because the whole Universe revolves around them and their issues!

Dah•veed

Since all of this has started, I just want to say that the support I’ve gotten from real people who are trying to help me find a SOLUTION, that it makes the few haters who’ve been nasty merely that much noise in this situation.

On Monday, I cashed out a little money from SL and put a few dollars in my SkypeOut account, grabbed my documentation and called up Apple Customer Care, not tech support this time. (I love Skype, I do. Almost five years of using it, and it’s just a rock solid killer app for me.)

I spoke with a lovely sounding K and explained what was going on. I asked for my computer to be replaced, and she was understanding, and put me on hold while she called around to find the right person for me to talk to.

She came back on the line a couple times to let me know she was trying to find the right person to pass me on to. Eventually, I spoke to CL, an Apple Product Specialist.

I explained the situation to date to him, and he began investigating the repair trail from his end. By the end of our conversation, he gave me his number and email, and he told me would see what he could do.

Of course, being in Barbados throws a spanner in the works. (Ha! Don’t I know it buddy, don’t I know it!)

At any rate, that was Monday. This is Friday.

I have not heard from CL since our conversation on Monday afternoon. Not so much as a peep. I have called the number he gave me, got his voicemail and left messages on two occasions since then. But I have had no word. He did explain that their system makes it difficult for them to call outside of the US, but I did give him my email address (my MobileMe account email address!) so he could message me. Or something. 🙁

Last weekend, Finola Prescott, wrote a post making some extremely valuable comments on the life of a freelancer here in the Caribbean.

I know this story with change of a few nouns could be told by many of us in the Caribbean at some point in our freelance careers; we have great talents, often see well beyond what’s going on in the region in our area’s development – be it providing design services to crafters, e-commerce to businesses, professional photography and graphics to effectively brand, creative ‘upcycle’ concepts that simultaneously solve garbage issues and the need for costly importation of raw materials, whatever our special foresight and talent is, we all too often suffer for lack of the resources to effectively get our work done.

Beyond that, even when we’ve gotten the basic tools we need to work, the hard reality is that damage to just one key tool can set us into a spiral that is like our own personal tsunami – washing away jobs, clients, income in a shockingly short time.

I’m using this to call for solutions, not just to the ‘sungodess’ immediate needs, but to the needs of our region’s talented micro-entrepreneurs: we need networks, we need organizations that cater to us truly – not that consider small business and smaller all the same thing.

She also offered me the suggestion of posting my need for a working computer to Business helping Business, a great resource available to a global audience.

I shortened my post, and Finola tagged Sean Davis one of the co-owners of the site in a tweet. Sean promised to send out my request in their next update. In fact, he did it on Monday and it was a featured need.

I am willing to trade the value of a backup laptop in exchange for web site work. Alas, no takers yet. One good friend did say he would do it, but he’s waiting on funds and of course I’m waiting to hear one way or another.

Another friend said if I could get four people to give me $200 a piece, he’d help me get a Macbook. Still mulling that one over.

Yesterday morning, my friends at F1 Connect informed me that:

1) The screen was on it’s way to Trinidad and expected to arrive today.

2) They also ordered a replacement video card, and that’s on back order.

So basically: no telling when the video card will be available to be ordered, and then be waited upon for a week to be delivered, then installed and tested again, and then what?

** Another deep sigh **

I am no closer to a solution, but no farther from one either.

I am struggling with all the emotions that go along with these kinds of setbacks, and I am re-evaluating. After all, this is October, and my long time readers may remember October and April are my ‘goal review’ months.

I am thinking over a lot of stuff right now. Trying to think of new ways to generate income, as well as fighting my old, slow, aching, poor poor iBook into doing what little it can do for me.

It is an exercise in patience. All of it. From the breakdown of the machine, the wait, the downtime, the fallout, the aching frustration… all of it. It is an exercise in patience.

For me, patience is a rigidly enforced thing and not something that comes naturally. So I am using this as an opportunity to exercise whatever skill I have acquired at it against the overwhelming weight of this situation.

As usual, I thank those of you who have reached out to me with support and good vibes.

Thanks for the prayers, retweets, the real suggestions, and the offers of help and thanks to those of you in Barbados who have read this blog and gone out of their way to help and offer aid and succor. We appreciate it all… both of us.

SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE ———————–

I created a page at fundable.com at the urging of a few friends to help raise the money for a back up laptop. I am undecided that it will work but because it was a worthwhile suggestion I am following up on it.

One person wrote a comment that I chose not to publish, because it was just pretty virulent. Apparently, the mere fact I created the donation page offended him, because I was too spoilt on Macs to buy a cheap PC.

I wrote him back explaining why I didn’t publish his comments, and attempting to explain why a $400PC is not the solution and instead I would consider it largely useless and a misdirection of efforts.

Yet, he was committed to his own narrow (shaped-by-one-blog-post mind you) view of my life and experiences. And me doh know he from Adam, oui?

He pointed out that there are people in the world worse off than me and that I am trying to guilt people into helping me.

Ok!

1) Help or don’t help, friends and interested persons. No one is under an obligation to help me. I only put up the donation page for those who want to help in terms of putting towards a replacement, and suggested to me over and over and over during this week that I should do it. I plan to raise most of that money myself, either through my SL earnings or through blog set ups, customisations, full blown web site development. I posted to Business Helping Business (if you read above) willing to trade an entire web site for the value of a back up machine (A USEFUL BACKUP MACHINE!), so it’s not like I am trying to get something for nothing here. Yet, I’m not so proud I can’t admit to needing some help to achieve my short term goals. I may be proud, but there are times when pride goeth before even nastier falls, so I must expose my need and not care one way or the other what anyone else thinks about it.

2) I am not adverse to using a PC–as I have stated previously and since my reporting on this situation began–merely to spending my money on buying one, or encouraging anyone else to do so. This is because even now, I am still a Mac Evangelist, and this will not change. I certainly will not encourage anyone to buy a PC that may be cheap, but in terms of horsepower is insufficient to power my apps. Doesn’t that strike you as a waste of $400USD? In addition to this, I would need to spend a fair amount of time figuring out how to get my basic tools, Photoshop and Fireworks, a tool similar to BBedit (the only code editor I have used since 1997) for PC (BBEdit is superior source code editing for Macintosh only) and my other little tagged on apps that speed up my work processes. Sounds like an easy job, but if you’ve ever done it, you know that is a piece of pressure. That’s a lot of time and effort right now, but one I’d be willing to make and invest in if I had a PC strong enough to do what I need it to do. I do not. I do not have the funds right now to buy even an inadequate PC.

3) A Mac is not a toy. My Mac isn’t at any rate. I don’t actually use my computer to do ‘fun’ stuff. I work all the time. Even Second Life is a job for me, because in SL I own a business and a sim, and the money I earn in SL contributes to my income. Ask anyone serious about their SL income what it takes to make it. Second Life is not a game, it’s a collaborative environment with some pretty core social networking built in, just three dimensional and using game engines for rendering. I have done what no one else in Second Life has done, created a sim devoted to ethnic diversity in the Second Life fashion industry. There has never been anything like what I have done in my Second Life, and I am proud of it. I am helping to represent a community of people in Second Life that get little or no representation. I am also the only Caribbean sim-owner actually resident in the Caribbean (at least to my knowledge). It’s a lot of work and responsibility and I take it seriously, even if other people just don’t get it. I am committed to ethnic diversity and representation across the Metaverse. So even the one activity I engage in some would consider a ‘game’ is not and should not be seen as a ‘game’, and even then is a second job for me. I don’t play games on my Mac, I work.

4) I do know that they’re people in the world worse off than me. I am not trying to equate my life with someone who is more disadvantaged than I am. Yet, I am in my situation and it’s up to me to find a solution to my issues, and I cannot sit here and do nothing. I cannot pretend that my circumstances are not dire enough for me personally that it’s not worth the effort to find a solution. The fact that I am a Black single mother living in the Caribbean DIRECTLY bears on this situation. I am vulnerable in a world that consistently undervalues myself, my sisters and the contribution we are making to our societies. I escaped an abusive relationship with my son’s father, and have been vulnerable to the shifts and tumbling going on in the world, in a way I wasn’t before I had my son. In this respect, I am absolutely a woman at risk, and I am doing everything I can to minimise that risk to my child. I am not willing to negate my presence among  mass of women who are struggling to survive in a world harsh with indifference. So I may not be scrabbling on the ‘mang’ for food, but do not belittle my experience and my very real fears because a white middle class American perspective (one often mired in arrogance and self-importance) doesn’t extend to include people like me. Help or don’t help, but don’t tell me my efforts are invalid because I am not on the street YET!

5. This is a personal blog, and I am writing personally about something that is changing the dynamic of my life and my sustainability. If you (the commenters who are being unsympathetic and then acting on their insensitivity and giving it voice) are not in a position to help or offer any useful advice, then thank you for your comments, but please restrain yourself. The world needs no more unkindness in it and I certainly do not deserve it.

6. This is NOT about a new Mac, it’s about a SOLUTION. I am considering any potential solution–to which end I’ve been following up with every one who has made a valuable suggestion, including putting in a donation button–to this situation, because I’m really tired of being at the mercy of Apple’s repair process and Customer Service that has so far utterly failed me… because I am a single Black Caribbean woman. If I was a white American woman, I’m pretty sure this story would not be going the way it has been. So yeah, maybe according to your yardstick, I am a spoilt brat (according to my Virulent Commenter). Maybe not so spoilt as the privileged White American classes though, hmmm?

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thegoddessroom

The Vault

sungoddess

mermaid, dayo's mama, water priestess, writer, web developer, omo yemoja, dos aguas, obsessive reader, sci-fi fan, trini-bajan, combermerian, second life, music, music, music!