Search
101Squadron.com
The Web
Archives
Post Categories
Buy my book!
Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for August 2014

Seriously, Apple (Store)?

I just got off the phone with David, a genius – well, an Apple genius. Let me backtrack….

I hadn’t heard about my expected two to three-day repair by Friday so I called the Apple Store, twice. The tinker geniuses were too busy to call me back so I made do with a receptionist genius. He checked my file to see why my repair was taking so long.

He told me that the store was waiting for delivery of a replacement video card. Apparently, that had died. He assured me that my comatose iMac would need both a new logic board ($708 after tax, remember) and a new video card (cost unknown).

I’d been biding my time, taking advantage of my kids’ absences to use their computers to do work and stay in touch with the world. A replacement used iMac, according to my research, would have cost $700, give or take $100. (In my research, I discovered that you can find the best deals on Kijiji.) I would have much rather kept my repaired iMac than risk buying another. But if the cost was rising to $800 or more, I would bite the bullet and pull the plug on my old machine.

As I was looking for replacements on Kijiji Saturday morning, a near clone of my machine popped up. The only difference was that mine had a better video card. I quickly decided I could live with that downgrade for the $400 it would cost me.

I owned it by 1:00 p.m. The case is a little dinged but it’s otherwise perfectly good. It was good enough to let me surf to that Kijiji page and find one of these on sale for $700. Wow! Faster, bigger, better.

I could not pass that up. I bought it this morning. I can always sell the one I bought Saturday at a profit so my net would be a faster machine with a much bigger monitor at an outlay (after reselling the first one) somewhat less than $700.

Yeah, so I just got off the phone with the genius David. It turns out that the problem with my original iMac was the power supply. They discovered that the replacement power supply they tried was faulty. My Mac is up and running but they want to test the hard drive because they think it might fail. If the hard drive is fine, I can have my old machine back for the $160 cost to repair.

Right now, I am out $160+$400+$700=$1,260. But if I succeed in my self-appointed mission, I will earn back $800+$700=$1,500 by selling my old iMac and the first used one I bought at market prices. That $240 difference will either be profit or pay for a new hard drive and a new backup hard drive (my current one is only 1 TB which is not enough to archive a 1-TB drive through Time Machine).

And I’ll have upgraded to a monster.

Computery badness

It’s the logic board that’s shot, not the power supply. I’m not sure why Apple doesn’t call it a motherboard like the rest of the world – uh, scratch that. I do.

It’ll cost $708 after taxes to repair. That’s still less expensive than buying a comparable used iMac off eBay, but a lot more than a $160 power supply.

Child Three is in Ontario somewhere or possibly LaSalle. Regardless, I can use his Windows 7 computer and his superchunky gaming keyboard while he’s gone. It practically sounds like a typewriter.

Upon opening Chrome on the boy’s computer, I was besieged by ads and in-page dialogue pop-ups. He had adware/malware infecting his system and this was not an easy problem to solve.

Some of it was branded as from the YTubeAdsRemover extension but when I opened Chrome’s extensions page, I got a message that it was “Installed by enterprise policy” and there was no way to disable it there.

It also doesn’t show up in Windows’ “Uninstall or change a program” panel (snappy name, that). What does show up there are some suspicious programs. I deleted those but it didn’t solve the problem.

A Google search leads to a number of dubious choices, especially when this insidious adware is planting false links.

After a couple of false starts, I found one thing that did work – maybe two.

The first thing I did was download and run Junkware Removal Tool, which a few reputable sources recommended. It did this:

~~~ Services
Successfully stopped: [Service] backupstack
Successfully deleted: [Service] backupstack

~~~ Registry Values
Successfully repaired: [Registry Value] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\\AppInit_DLLs

~~~ Registry Keys
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID\{18B9B16E-716F-43DF-A6AD-512C7D2EB983}
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID\{19975B78-1907-4DD6-A437-4C48120F46A4}
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID\{562B9317-C08A-444A-9482-62080DD851AE}
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID\addonsframework.dll
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID\buttonsite.dll
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID\scripthost.dll
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{3C471948-F874-49F5-B338-4F214A2EE0B1}
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Interface\{31E3BC75-2A09-4CFF-9C92-8D0ED8D1DC0F}
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\TypeLib\{E2343056-CC08-46AC-B898-BFC7ACF4E755}
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\conduit
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software \installedbrowserextensions
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\App Paths\mypc backup
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Uninstall\optimizer pro_is1
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes \Toolbar.CT3309762
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{1c3e43b0-c3b0-468d-a56b-13748674893a}
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{52db1893-8a90-4192-aede-08e00b8f8473}

~~~ Folders
Successfully deleted: [Folder] "C:\ProgramData\conduit"
Successfully deleted: [Folder] "C:\ProgramData\wincert"
Successfully deleted: [Folder] "\searchprotect"
Successfully deleted: [Folder] "C:\Program Files (x86)\conduit"
Successfully deleted: [Folder] "C:\Program Files (x86)\magnipic"
Successfully deleted: [Folder] "C:\Program Files (x86)\movies toolbar"
Successfully deleted: [Folder] "C:\Program Files (x86)\mypc backup"
Successfully deleted: [Folder] "C:\Program Files (x86)\optimizer pro"
Successfully deleted: [Folder] "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\ Programs\optimizer pro v3.2"

I’m sure that rid the computer of all sorts of crap, but it didn’t solve the YTubeAdsRemover problem.

This Malware Tips page, however suspicious it seems, did. Thank you, Stelian Pilici.

I stopped at Step 4. Step 5 is downloading more software to make sure there’s nothing else left and that was a step I wasn’t willing to take. I figured if the problem had not been fixed, I’d know. So far, so good.

My superpower

I appear to manifest power failures. I told Child 1 that I feel like a mutant X-Man. She said I would be the crappiest X-Man of them all.

It started yesterday when I was at the dentist. Not at the dentist, though – the power failure happened at home. When I got home, I discovered the damage, and damage it was. My iMac, my beloved Bender, would not boot.

I couldn’t get the chime to even sound. I would unplug the thing and plug it in again to reset the SMC, but the best I could manage from that was a whir that died after a second. I’m not sure if it was the hard disc or a fan. Does the 27″ iMac even have a fan in it? Regardless, this was obviously a hardware issue and not something I could fix myself.

I learned you can’t call an Apple Store directly to make an appointment so I hung up the phone and went to Apple’s Web site to make an appointment with the store I jut hung up on. This was around 3:00 and I snagged an appointment for 4:30 – not too bad.

At the Apple Store, the genius (I can’t type or say that without sounding sarcastic even if I’m not) plugged in and tried to start the iMac. He got the startup chime, but nothing else. On his second try, the chime eluded him as it had me.

The genius (snicker) laid out the options for me. The best-case scenario is a blown power supply that would cost $130 to replace. The middling-case scenario is a blown logic board, which would cost me about $600. We all know what the worst case would be, but I do have everything backed up on a Time Machine archive as far as I know.

I’m oddly optimistic. It’s like I’m paying $130 for a forced staycation. All my clients are understanding and none need anything right now.

So, as part of my forced time off, I decided to catch a movie tonight with Child 1, the only family member who was both home and willing to go see “Snowpiercer”, an apocalyptic SF tale that’s a cross between “The Road Warrior” and “Murder on the Orient Express”.

The first two-thirds of the movie captivated me despite some wooden acting on the part of the lead, whom I didn’t recognize but whom Child 1 informs me is Captain America. Everything else worked.

I can’t say I’m disappointed with the final third of the film because the theatre and the mall it is in suffered a – yes – power failure. We sat in the dark for 15 minutes before the theatre staff decided that there wouldn’t be time to show the rest of the late show. They gave each of us a free admission and an offer to come see the rest of the movie at another time.

All I need now is a mutant name. I’m thinking of the Brown-Out Aura.

Every click…
...contributes to world domination.