Technofailure continues

This week's technology failures haven't been as bad as last week's, but they've continued to be annoying.

For example, the other day at work my building lost power for a few minutes.

And starting last night, each time I check email, one or another of my accounts goes into an endless loop. It gets stuck on "Fetching new mail." If I click the Stop button, it says "STOPPING" and then sits there not stopping. Quitting doesn't work--it waits to finish the stopping-checking-mail, but it can't, so it never finishes quitting. I can force-quit--but then when I relaunch, the whole thing happens all over again. And restarting doesn't change things.

Last night, that was happening with a secondary account, which was a minor annoyance but not awful. This morning, it's happening with my main account. Sigh.

(I know, I know, I ought to be using IMAP for email. Some day I'll get that set up.)

Oh, and my screen has started flickering occasionally.

Customer-service aside: All this is happening on my regular laptop, so the good news is that the Apple Store in Palo Alto did fix the fan. The bad news is that it took them two days to even look at it, even though I have ProCare, which is supposed to jump it to the top of the list. (The reason I have ProCare is that last summer, when the fan originally died, I needed it fixed in a hurry.) The reason that it took them two days (I discovered later) is that the guy who did the initial paperwork was out of ProCare stickers, so he just wrote "ProCare" on the paper, and nobody noticed it. Because I had given him my ProCare number twice, and it was attached to my electronic account already, it didn't occur to me to start every conversation with "I've got ProCare, can you expedite this?" But it turns out that's what I should've done.

Anyway, the other good news is that when I finally did mention to the right person that I had ProCare, they got a replacement fan from another Apple Store nearby and had the machine fixed later that day, instead of the 3-5 days I was originally quoted.

So I guess the moral is that if you're in a hurry to get your Mac repaired, it's well worth the extra cost of ProCare, but it's also worth saying "I've got ProCare" at the start of every conversation with Apple employees that you have about your repair.

Blah blah blah, Jed experiences unfortunate customer service, what else is new?

The other big technofailure this week was that my blog suddenly stopped working. Everything was working fine one morning; then there was a period of an hour or so when editing and posting became extremely slow and started giving me server errors; then Movable Type decided that I had to finish installing the new upgrade to my blog software.

The problem, of course, being that I hadn't actually started installing a new upgrade. MT did this to me before, a couple months ago--it suddenly became convinced that an upgrade was in progress, and any attempt to go to any administrative page brought up a "Click the Upgrade button to continue" page. Last time, after discussions with the amazingly prompt MT support people, I ended up clicking the button, figuring it couldn't do any harm--and it wiped out my sidebar template. All a huge pain, and cost me a lot of time.

So this time, I asked support if there was anything I could do to avoid the upgrade process for the nonexistent upgrade. And they told me how to use the SchemaVersion and PluginSchemaVersion configuration directives.

I ended up putting the following lines at the end of my mt-config file:

SchemaVersion 4.0067
PluginSchemaVersion community=1.6
PluginSchemaVersion commercial=1.3
PluginSchemaVersion WidgetManager=1.1
PluginSchemaVersion LinkRoller/

And that made the upgrade screen go away. I'll have to change those next time I really do want to upgrade, but that's a small price to pay.

Anyway, we'll see what piece of technology can fail in a new and entertaining way this week.

I did come up with a theory about my laptop: perhaps it's sulking because I've been so enthusiastic about old tech lately (what with the zeppelin and the Computer History Museum and such).

Okay, guess I better go see whether I can fix my email.

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