MacIntosh: The Chimes of Death

The Chimes of Death. I had never heard this term until last night.

Don’t worry, the new Mac Book Pro is running fine. I wish I could say the same for my wife’s iBook.

Jonna asked me for some help last night installing the Cisco VPN client on her work machine, a G4 iBook. As she turned the machine on, the fan started running and we heard three tones – and then nothing.

We tried everything. Remove the battery, remove the plug, insert the AC without the battery, insert the AC with the battery, hard reboot, reset the PMU (with some Vulcan key stroke that would make the most hardcore Emacs user cringe) – you name it, we found it on Google and tried it.

This is where, for me, the Mac fell down in usability. There is NO message on the screen whatsoever in this scenario. No clue as to whats wrong – just the three tones and the light on the front blinking. I wonder if this is something they got from the old Altairs?

In any event, it looks like the machine is dead. I’m sure that she will have to have her IT department send or take it somewhere to get the problem resolved. Most of what I read mentioned either bad RAM or a bad logic board. The RAM is doubtful, as the machine has been running fine for months and no memory upgrades have been done.

Apple definitely needs to work on the customer experience when these types of problems occur. These machines are brilliant until you have a problem. Then it seems that there is nothing you can do, including diagnosing the problem. You get literally NO information, just three chimes and a dark screen.

I can tell you, when something like this happens and you Google around for some answers, you find some pretty pissed off Mac users out there.