MacBook Pro ODD Saga: Conclusion

Got a call on Thursday that the part was finally in to replace my failed optical drive.

They said that they would need to hold onto my laptop for a day or two, but what I wanted to do was to basically have it replaced while I waited for it. My basic position was that I knew that the work itself only took a few minutes to complete and that a lot of time is spent with some post-upgrade diagnostics. If they skipped the memtest, then they could just swap it out, turn it around and be done. At some point, my “place in the repair queue” would be up and I just wanted to drop my laptop off then and wait for the repair.

The plan was to show up at 9 this morning and they’d take care of things. I got there early (as I always do for everything) and they took my laptop at 8:45. I played around with an iPad for a while and by 9:05, I was back in my car headed to work with my repaired MacBook.

I have to say, they were really accommodating and really took care of me.

Definitely winning some loyalty points even I think it’s far too soon for a rarely-used DVD drive to fail.

Aug 30th, 2010 | Filed under IT

Magic: the Gathering — A Revived Hobby

For less than a year, I’ve been in a sort of Magic Renaissance.

While I’ve made a few allusions to it, here’s the story:

Years ago (circa 1999), I stopped playing Magic. There was no one reason why. I was busy with other stuff, didn’t have a lot of people to play with and didn’t have a lot of money to spend playing. It was just “one of those things” that get dropped when life gets in the way of life. It’s happened to most of us.

Less than a year ago, pretty much out of nowhere, I got the urge to play again (or at least to look into playing again). I poked at a couple of guys in my group at work and found two that used to play and breached the subject of getting back into it. We bought a box of Magic 2010 and split it 3 ways (12 packs each) and tried building basic decks. They weren’t the worse decks ever, but we were all definitely very rusty. After buying a bit more product, we started to regain our footing and ventured out of our small 3-person group.

These days, two of us regularly play in constructed and sealed events (including release and pre-release events). We haven’t gotten into drafting yet (still a bit intimidating), but I recently got an account on MTGO and I think that’s something I’m going to play around with after I get a bit more comfortable with the software. Speaking of MTGO, I played my first constructed game last night. I won with an Overrun alpha-strike, which while not terribly original, was very satisfying (especially after I accidentally mulliganed down to 6 and started the game witha worse hand than my original 7).

For anyone still visiting my blog, there will be M:tG posts scattered throughout my normal musings since this is something I’m going to be up to. I’ll try to keep it more “blogging” and less “facebook” – but you’ve been warned.

Aug 30th, 2010 | Filed under Magic: the Gathering

UFC 118!

I went to UFC 118 last night at the TD Garden — such a fun time!

I’m a fairly recent UFC convert, but I’ve been really enjoying the sport. I have some friends in town from Portland, OR that are big fans and have been to events in the past, so we ponied up the cash for tix and set in to watch some fights. We had good seats and a nice view of the action. A pair of cheap binoculars really helped when there was an unobstructed view to get a great shot of the action.

Not all of our picks won, but it was still worth it.

The Couture v Toney fight ended pretty much exactly as expected and was hilarious to watch. The Lauzon fight was great and the crowd was totally in his corner.

If UFC ever comes back to Boston or is having an event somewhere nearby, I’ll def by looking for tickets.

Aug 29th, 2010 | Filed under Random

Turning Poop Into Poopaid

On Sunday night, I managed to dig up an old 5 1/4″ USB drive enclosure that was sitting in the back of a drawer, remove a DVD drive from my spare centos box and hook up the now-enclosed drive via USB to my Macbook.

That allowed me to upgrade to Snow Leopard and install Parallels — which makes me feel a bit better about the whole deal since I’m not sitting on software that I can’t use/install.

I’ve been running Snow Leopard for a few days and I’ve been happy with the changes thus far.

The big usability change was migrating from VMWare Fusion to Parallels and I’ve been nothing but happy with it. There was a bit of a learning curve, but nothing that’s not easy to overcome.

At this point, I’m just waiting to hear from the Apple Store that my new optical drive has arrived and try to set up an appointment with them to get my laptop fixed while I wait instead of having to leave it with them for hours (or worse — overnight).

Aug 24th, 2010 | Filed under IT

Mac Problems — Good and Bad

I’ve been to the Apple Store far too many times in the past few days.

The first trip was yesterday. I went in because for the past couple of months, the batter/HD cover wouldn’t fit on my Macbook Pro. A few months back, I had to go in because a screw kept falling out. This was due to a bracket that the screw fit into being stripped. They replaced the bracket easily enough — it just required that they open up my laptop to replace it. Pretty easy stuff. I assumed that there was some connection between the two issues and presented this information to the tech.

After reseating some screws and after I mentioned that the battery still didn’t sit properly in the space, he took a look at the battery and noticed that it had bubbled out on the bottom. There was probably a capacitor that was getting ready to burst. I filled out some paperwork and got a replacement battery and left a happy customer.

I didn’t have anything going on today and decided that I wanted to upgrade to Snow Leopard and get a copy of Parallels. Easy enough – just a quick trip and that was done. Ran some other chores while in the area and headed home.

Here’s where the problems began — when I dropped in the Snow Leopard upgrade disk, it got spat back out shortly thereafter without the disk mounting. Then I remembered about a week and a half ago that I tried to watch a DVD on my laptop that the same thing happened. I had assumed that it was a problem with my DVD and was too busy to think about it anymore. This is when I knew my day just took a downturn.

I looked up a few articles and finally decided that, for the second time today, I had to head to the Apple Store and ultimately get a new DVD drive.

Drove back, walked over, got signed up and got seen immediately. After some quick diagnostics, the prognosis is exactly what i expected — I need a replacement. Unfortunately, they don’t have any and they’re going to have to order some and call me when they have it. Sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday, I should get a call and I’m going to try to arrange to have the drive replaced while I wait.

The tech that I was talking to was very forthcoming with a lot of the details and why things take so long. One tip is that after the replacement, they have a bunch of diagnostics that they run. The longest of these is a memory test. I’ve ran various memory tests and they do take forever. On a host with 4G of RAM, that will almost certainly take longer than the optical drive replacement. I just need to tell them to forgo the memtest and that’ll hopefully keep me from having to wait too long.

These are the aspects of having a laptop that I’m not a fan of.

Aug 22nd, 2010 | Filed under IT

I Almost Work For Google

On July 1st, Google and ITA Software signed on the dotted line and ITA agreed to be purchased by Google.

I’ve been working at ITA since October 2007 and it’s an amazingly fascinating job. No matter how insane you believe the airline industry is from the perspective of an airline traveler, it’s probably more than 10x that insane from the point of view of someone with a bit more insight into how things work. And that said, my window into the airline world is much smaller than many — so I’m sure it gets even crazier then more you learn.

Needless to say, the chance to work for Google (pending the usual regulatory approval that’s associated with these sorts of deals) is an exciting one. ITA has won countless awards for being a great place to work. Google is known to be a great place to work as well. In this regard, the companies are a really good fit. Add to that the push for innovation, creativity and producing the best products in their class, and you have even more synergies.

These are definitely interesting times.

Aug 9th, 2010 | Filed under Work

I Should Do This More Often

I haven’t posted since 2009. That’s kinda horrible.

I’ve been meaning to post an update for a while, but simply haven’t gotten around to it.

While I come up with a more content-rich update, know that I just uploaded 15 new images to my Underwater Gallery. We were able to get out to the Isle of Shoals this year, similar to last year. Definitely a great dive with some amazing animals!

I’ll update more later – promise!

Aug 8th, 2010 | Filed under Random

More Airport Goodness

I fly out to Portland tomorrow. I’m far from being “packed”, but I’m “very organized” right now since I did all laundry-related work earlier in the day and there’s nice piles of clothes ready for me to pack up.

I don’t depart tomorrow until 4:45, so I should be totally fine as long as I don’t sleep until 3.

Beyond “dealing with the weather”, it’s a very open trip.

Not looking forward to the flight, but I’m happy that it’s a non-stop flight from BOS to PDX. Could be a lot worse.

Dec 9th, 2009 | Filed under Random

Traveling With The iPhone

I have to say, traveling with an iPhone is pretty damn awesome. There’s very little that I couldn’t do with an iPhone that I do on my laptop. If I was so inclined, I could make this post with my iPhone, but I just happen to be on my laptop and it’s that much faster to type.

With the integration with my MacBook, all the Mail settings (I pull down from 3 different servers) and all of my contacts were imported without issue.

Battery life can definitely wind down with hours of app use, but I don’t think that anyone should expect otherwise. On the flip-side, the iPhone seems to charge rather quickly, so while it’s a PITA to have to stop and charge it, it luckily doesn’t end up being a problem.

At the end of this week, I’ll be in Portland and away from my laptop a lot more. We’ll see how that works out. Tomorrow I’ll be back in Boston, which I’m excited about.

Dec 6th, 2009 | Filed under Nerd, Travel

Let’s Vacation

No work for about 2 weeks. Nice.

Tomorrow I fly out to Wilmington, NC for a few days. I’ll be back in Boston for two days. Then I’m leaving for Portland, OR on the 10th, returning on the 18th.

It’ll be nice to get out of Boston for a bit. The real stress will be the airports. BOS-ILM needs to connect through Charlotte, which is a pain in the ass. I always have to cross the ENTIRE airport to get from my arriving to departing gates. At least BOS-PDX and back are non-stop flights. Can’t beat that.

I’ve been neglecting this blog for a bit. It also happens around this time each year. I also noticed that I have 113 spam messages to blow away. You’d think that getting a lot of spam would be some indication of popularity. That doesn’t seem to be the case. At least they’re being captured. Better than comments being filled with garbage Viagra ads.

Hopefully fun things happen and I’ll have more to chatter about.

Dec 3rd, 2009 | Filed under Travel