So I am working feverishly Thursday last week to wrap up a MAD job before I leave for my New England park, and I notice my Mac Pro is acting a little weird. Something is wrong with the networking as none of the other computers on the network are showing up under my “shared” folder. This is certainly not a big deal, as I am really not using any networking features at the time other than my internet connection and FTP program to upload the final art to MAD. However I am a little anal about those kinds of things, so I quit all my programs and rebooted my Mac Pro. Rebooting is the first step in any troubleshooting strategy. The familiar Mac “chime” dings and the spinning gear starts spinning….
… then all I got was a blank blue screen.
THE DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!!!!!
Minutes went by. No movement, little or no hard drive activity. No response. Nothing. Deadline: 14 hours away.??á¬¨‚Ä† Hard reboot (held down the power button until it rebooted). Same results.
THE DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!!!
I thought that was a Windows only phenomenon, but apparently Macs also have a DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. However, in typical Apple fashion their DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH is not the harsh ultramarine blue of a PC but a well designed and pleasing pastel blue. Maybe they can make that part of their “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” commercials.
Mac: Hello I’m a Mac
PC (completely painted a dark blue): And I’m a PC
Mac: PC, what happened to you?
PC: I’m experiencing a General Kernel Fault, producing the DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH as you can see.
Mac: That’s too bad.
PC: I supposed now you’re going to say that Mac’s don’t ever have complete system failures like this, so no DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH.
Mac (now painted a light aqua blue): No, we also have a DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH, but ours is a pleasing, calming shade of periwinkle, which our designers spent hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars perfecting.
Panic time. Steve Jobs received a considerable amount of verbal abuse while I tried to formulate a battle plan. After my hard drive meltdown several Octobers ago I learned my lesson and have a bulletproof backup system on a secondary hard drive. My files were in there somewhere. I just needed to get them out, onto my laptop and hook my Cintiq up to it… then my Mac Pro suddenly came to life. It took roughly 10 minutes of the DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH from my last reboot attempt, but the OS X desktop finally labored to life. I blinked at it for a few minutes and then opened PhotoShop, my file and started working on it gingerly… like a hiker who had been confidently crossing a frozen lake until his foot went through some thin ice, and then spends the rest of his trek tiptoeing along to the music for cracking ice, thinking at any second he will plunge into the deep as the far bank never seems to get any closer. Perhaps my Mac Pro, sensing it was seconds away from a beating with a hammer, resurfaced out of self preservation.
Not daring to reboot again, I copied over the files I had not yet colored to my laptop and then finished the job. My Mac tried to trick me into rebooting after it had automatically downloaded some software updates but I was too crafty for it. Nice try, Steve. I finished the job by the deadline and then rebooted the computer.
Same results. THE DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH lasted for about 12 minutes this time. Eventually everything was working. However the ice is still cracking around me, so the Mac Pro will have to go into the shop to figure out what the problem is. I supposed since it eventually worked, it can’t really be called the DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. Maybe we can go with THE DREADED BLUE SCREEN OF HEART PALPITATIONS.
They say there are three subjects you cannot discuss on a message board forum without it becoming a flame war: Religion, Politics and Mac vs. PC. I get a real kick out of the personal way some people take their computing platforms. Apple knows it and feeds the flames with their ad campaigns, which basically say “If you use a Mac, you are smart and cool. If you use a PC, you are a boring, nerdy moron.” I really hate those commercials.
I’ve used both. They are both computer systems using software that are designed and manufactured to sell to consumers to make money. Neither platforms are perfect. Both experience issues and problems. As Apple gets bigger and bigger, it is starting to lose the one thing it did have over Microsoft… it’s coffeeshop chic. Apple has been the cool, Grenwich Village cafe to Microsoft’s Starbucks for a long time, but as Apple keeps adding “stores” it’s also becoming a Starbucks, and starting to suffer from the same problems. Leopard has been more problematic for Apple than their previous versions of OS X, and I have had as many issues with my Mac as I ever had with my PC. Granted, I never used Vista, which I’ve heard has some serious issues, but the point is that software is software and nothing “just works” no matter what. It’s the need to be compatible with everything that’s been the Achille’s Heel for Windows, and the more software being written for the Mac makes for more problematic third party problems. I can almost guarantee there will be a Mac-only virus attack in the next few years that will erase the “virus proof” reputation Macs have enjoyed. My PC’s anti-virus programs were the root of many problems as they are intrusive, resource hogging monstrosities.
As my Mac Pro gets hauled off to the Apple Store this week for repair, I will still say that overall I do like the Mac better than the PC for what I need to do and accomplish. Just please do not feed me the arrogant, “Mac is sooooo superior to the PC” rhetoric. It’s not true to any appreciable extent past personal preferences and personal needs. My empty studio desktop can attest to that.
752 My cover art for the next issue of MAD, exclusive sneak peek from @entertainmentweekly website
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