Apple makes fine computers that are durable and reliable. As for some of their accessories, however, that’s another story (see photo of the frayed end of the charger cord to the MacBook Pro laptop computer my company has me use).
This is a tale of how the sausage gets made.
I arrived at my Ithaca hotel late last Thursday afternoon in advance of covering Mattituck/Southold in the girls lacrosse state final four at nearby SUNY/Cortland. I plugged in the laptop, did some work, then answered a phone call and read The New York Times for a while. When I returned to the laptop, around 8 p.m. or so, I noticed it had turned off or died! After examining it more closely, I realized the problem was the frayed charger cord. It wasn’t providing juice to the computer.
(Ironically, my company has acquired a new laptop for me that I was supposed to pick up at the office on Thursday. I couldn’t, though, because I had to make the six-hour drive here for the tournament).
With the state semifinal Friday morning at 9 a.m., I had to move to find a new charger. So Thursday night I immediately headed for a nearby Target store where a couple of nice young men looked at my laptop and looked at my charger. Before long, they told me they didn’t have the charger for this laptop, which is on the old side (in computer years).
“Best Buy is your best bet,” I was told.
The problem was, the nearby Best Buy was closed for the night by then.
That left me looking at Plan B: See if there are any reporters or anyone else in the press box who had a charger compatible with my laptop that I could borrow for a while. I wasn’t optimistic, just because the laptop is a little outdated. No luck on that front.
All the while, by the way, I’m texting Suffolk Times editor Joe Werkmeister play-by-play details of my laptop saga so he knows what’s going on. “Is there a typewriter somewhere?” he inquired.
My response: Lol.
So, onto Plan C. Mattituck won the state Class D semifinal, 9-5 over Palmyra-Macedon. I shot photos on the field. I shot game-action photos with a company camera and used my iPhone for some pregame and postgame shots, figuring they may have to be used since I can’t do anything with the photos in the company camera since I don’t have an operating laptop.
Joe came up with a good idea. Once the game ended, he would post a short story on our website, with photos I sent him from my iPhone along with game details and statistics.
As for me, my next step was to go shopping. After the postgame interviews, I headed for Best Buy with my laptop and ineffective charger, praying that it had what I’m looking for. Again, I spoke to a friendly salesman, who checked out what they had. My hopes were initially raised when he said they probably had it — and then my heart sank when he said they didn’t.
I was resigned to my fate. I would have to transcribe my recorded interviews BY HAND, then perhaps write out the story BY HAND, and then finally type the story into my iPhone! The thought of trying to type out a 700-word story on the phone’s tiny keyboard was an awfully depressing one. I had done that once before because of a computer problem and, well, it was awful.
Well, I thought to myself, if I do this I’m going to need a larger notebook. I only had my small reporter’s notebook with me. So, I headed to Target, which is in the same Ithaca Mall as Best Buy, to buy a larger notebook.
On the way to my car, I walked back through the mall, wondering how long it’s going to take me to do all of this and not wanting to think about having to go through all of this again Saturday. By pure chance, I just happened to glance to my right. What do I see but a small store selling, among other things, cellphones, cellphone chargers and, believe it or not, computer chargers. I’m still skeptical. Sure they sell computer chargers, but will they have one as old as the one I’m looking for? I doubt it.
One of the salesmen asked if he could help me and I told him my tale of woe. “I’m looking for a charger like this,” I said, showing it to him.
“They’re hard to find,” he said.
Tell me about it.
Then, examining it further, he said, “I think we have that.”
My spirit was lifted with hope. He walked into a back room, returned with a charger absolutely identical to mine, plugged it in. My computer came back to life, and so did I. Seventy dollars later, my outlook on the weekend changed dramatically.
Exaggerating just a tad, I told him he saved my life. He had heard that before, he said.
I returned to my hotel room, one happy reporter. I downloaded my photos, transcribed my interviews, wrote my story and felt blessed.
That’s how the sausage is made, folks. At least on this June day.
Photo caption: The culprit: the frayed charger cord to my MacBook Pro laptop. (Credit: Bob Liepa)