Tough trip for tech

I just got back from a trip to New York (NYC and Binghamton/Syracuse). Overall, I had a great time, but I can’t say the same for much of the technology I took with me. My cellphone came through without problems, but my camera and laptop both suffered.

The camera (a Sony DSC-TX5) got turned on my pocket, where I’d started to carry it after I noticed the stitching on the belt strap on the pouch I normally kept it in had come almost completely undone. When this happened, it appears that the touchscreen got recalibrated. I can’t get it back into working order, because, with the touchscreen as far out of calibration as it is, I can’t operate the menus to invoke the touchscreen calibration routine. If there’s a way to do it through the USB connection, Sony won’t admit it, so I’m left with sending it in for service (or buying a replacement). The current more-or-less equivalent camera (the DSC-TX9, I think), has more megapixels, which is likely a point against it in my book. Some years ago, I read a very good article that made the point that most point-and-shoot cameras don’t have lenses that are good enough to make more than 7-8 megapixels worthwhile. My camera has 10 megapixels, and the newer model has 14, IIRC.

The laptop is a different story. It worked through most of the trip without problem, but Friday morning, the screen was totally dead. I tried a number of things, and it appeared that everything was working except the display. Luckily, I have a smartphone with internet access, and a quick search for “MacBook Pro screen dead” revealed that this is a known problem caused by defective video chips that were supplied to Apple. Because of that, Apple decided that repairs of this problem would be free of charge, even if your laptop was no longer covered by warranty, as long as it occurred within 4 years of purchase. I’m probably out of luck – I’m about 3-4 weeks past 4 years. Maybe they’ll be lenient.

As it is, I’m just glad that Apple put the ability to boot into “target disk” mode into the OS – I’m currently moving the contents of my hard drive over to an external USB drive prior to taking the laptop in for evaluation/repair. I’ve read that Apple, like numerous other repair centers, has been known to reformat a hard drive even when it’s not necessary, just because it makes it easier for them. Since the MacBook has been my primary system for a few years now, I’m not willing to let them do that without getting a current backup (my last one is a bit out of date). It took me a while to find a local store that had the correct FireWire cable (even my local Apple Store didn’t), but the process seems to be going smoothly enough.

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