My current laptop is getting pretty old, close to eight years. That by itself does not bother me since I use it mainly for writing, email, and the internet and do not really need any of the fancy doodads that manufacturers keep adding on. But it has started to show disturbing signs of being about to kick the bucket, such as the screen suddenly going dark and then getting the ominous ‘black screen of death’ message in about eight different languages saying that some mysterious problem had occurred and that I needed to hit a key to reboot. While it has been rebooting, I have been told that this is a sign of an impending hard disk crash and that one of these days, it will never come back to life.
For me, the computer is my main link with the outside world, much more so than my phone, so I decided to buy another MacBook Air to replace the one I have before it packed up, so that I would not be left high any dry. Given the pandemic restrictions, the local Apple store was closed and so I bought it online from the company. I placed the order on August 16 and I kept checking the UPS tracking number they sent me but nothing happened to my order for eleven days until August 27 when I got a message saying that my order had finally been processed and that my credit card had been charged. What surprised me was that my computer was being shipped from China!
That Apple makes a lot of its equipment in China is not a surprise but I assumed that the products were shipped in bulk to the US and other distribution centers around the world and then individual orders were sent out from there. The idea that individual computers were being sent to buyers around the globe from China seemed weird to me. Surely that cannot be cost effective?
Intrigued, I started following its journey. After two days, the computer arrived in Hong Kong on August 29 and hung around there for another two days, no doubt to do some sightseeing and enjoy that city state’s famous street food and also maybe take part in the demonstrations. Then I got an update on September 1 that said the computer had arrived in Anchorage, Alaska and been cleared by customs. After that it started moving rapidly. A couple of hours later, it had left the Anchorage facility and the next day it arrived in Louisville, KY. Then it quickly went to Oakland, CA, then to Sunnyvale, CA before arriving at my home on the morning of Thursday, September 3.
The fact that it got here in just two days after clearing customs in Anchorage, and that it was in the custody of UPS all the way, suggests to me that it actually had been individually shipped from China. But the fact that it took 18 days to arrive made me glad that I did not wait until the old computer completely died before I ordered the new one. Going that long without a computer and the internet would have been difficult for me.
While my new computer seems to be working well, transitioning to a new one always involves a tedious period of transferring files and and talking to customer service representatives. I spent almost the entire day yesterday first talking with a senior engineer at Apple because the customer rep I first spoke to could not handle my biggest issue, which was that all my mail folders were missing. Then I had to talk to people at other companies about transferring my anti-virus software accounts and my cloud backup accounts. I finally got the major items fixed but that was why my blogging was light yesterday.
A word of warning to anyone thinking of buying a new Mac. It comes with the latest Catalina operating system and that is incompatible with my Microsoft Office 2011 suite of applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and also with my older versions of Acrobat Professional, Photoshop, etc. I was not in the mood to shell out more money to buy the latest versions of those products but fortunately Apple’s proprietary software Pages, Numbers, and Keynote that come bundled free with the machine can convert Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents into their formats and, if necessary, convert them back into the Office formats. Similarly, the Preview and Photos applications on the Mac can also do some of the more commonly used Acrobat and Photoshop functions. So as far as I can tell, all my old files are still usable, which is a relief.
I am sure that there will be more glitches that I will discover later and need to fix but right now, I am back in business.