Apple Sucks (Redux)

The (not quite in focus) little drive that could… in action (see its little blue light, indicating disk activity?)

Maybe Apple doesnʼt suck? Except in its Asian hardware…

Clearly, tech ace Aaron had it right. My iMacʼs optical drive is fried (great choice of substandard equipment there, Apple guys). I know because I have worked around the problem.

Although I was temporarily dwelling within a mile of an Apple store over the New Years weekend (more on that another time very soon), I decided not to carry the huge computer down Michigan Avenue from our temp residence amidst/against the crowds of post(?)-holiday shoppers thronging and clogging the Miracle Mile. Nor did I select to bring the iMac along on our four-hour drive to downtown Chicago (and then back home again) on the shot that batting my elderly eyelids at the Windy Cityʼs Apple Geniuses would get me a replacement drive for the pathetic original.

However, I did take Aaronʼs other advice and purchased an inexpensive add-on USB optical drive/DVD burner. Lacking any originality or willpower to find a better deal, I went straight for his suggestion — the Samsung drive available at amazon.com. The device arrived really quite quickly, not long after Christmas, and I got it operational by unboxing the slim little bit of blackness and plugging it into one of the three USB expanders dongling from the iMacʼs ports. Truly plug-and-play.

My single big concern with buying a new drive was adding something else to the tangle of wires extruding from the iMacʼs USB ports. (I had experienced some troubles keeping my back-up drives loading until they got their own dongle, the same one into which I plugged the two USBs for the Samsung optical — I might as well keep all “drives” together, I thought, productively, as it turned out).

The new drive is operating right now, uploading some newly acquired (Christmas-gift) music into iTunes. And I am merrily listening to the third of the Steig Larsson The Girl Who… books as (I attempt to pretend) I take my early morning “run.”

Except for a periodic issue not recognizing that a CD is a CD and instead offering a Finder window saying the disk is unreadable and do I want to format it now, the new drive works great (and I am currently giving it a workout, uploading all the CDs I had put on hold for the recent months of the built-in optical driveʼs death throes).

Best of all, the import speeds on the new drive beat the old one all hollow (and typing those words, I really wonder where the cliché “to beat something all hollow” originates). Even Audiobook CDs import in just a few minutes (for some reason those always seemed to take the longest, on The Lovely Oneʼs HP laptop and with the built-in optical drive on this iMac). Pretty cool seeing those 15.3x to 17.1x import speeds in iTunes.

Oops. The drive just pulled its “donʼt-recognize-this-disk” routine, and I stupidly hit the “Ignore” button instead of “Eject.” The disk isnʼt visible on the Desktop, and I canʼt get the drive to open its bay by pushing on the front, either. Now I think I have to restart the computer to get the disk out (or maybe… Iʼll just unplug the USB cord from the drive and see if that works — it did). However, itʼs a good sign I had better wrap this up and move on to other, probably more important activities.

©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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