piano lesson, piano lesson by Face Time, piano lesson by Skype

Computer crashes and recovery!

There’s nothing like a Big Mac blitz of pulsating pixels in checkered, multi-colored patterns, building to an eye-catching display of blinking lights that forewarns of a computer shutdown.

A lyrical Schumann tableau, Face time streamed from Australia, becomes muted by a choir of cackling parakeets whose primal sense of impending doom is on full screen mode while a remote piano student is about to “freeze” in fossilized form!

This untimely event, if repeated, can mushroom into a crisis of seismic proportion instigating a rescue and recovery mission to the Genius Bar at Apple HQ in Berkeley. (A no-brainer in the world of Apple support!)


As I shuttled a mega bulky iMac 21 within a large, hard-shelled piece of luggage, I harbored a shred of hope that what appeared to be a dire situation could be salvaged, sparing me a 3K pricey replacement! (And given that rents were dramatically rising in the priciest part of the country, old Macs had to survive a planned obsolescence as did acoustic pianos upended by multi-option digital keyboards.) A “newer” model was always on the horizon as the next rung up in the ladder of technology.

Inevitably, and to my dismay, an Apple designated Genius 1 threw up her hands in pure frustration as error messages abounded amidst her keyboard travels and mouse maneuvers. She could only relay “bad news” before investing ample effort.

Genius 2, overhearing tense banter between us, that increased in decibels, descended like a super hero with cape-less confidence, in Wonder Woman form, prodding Mac to come to terms with its defects and viruses–to open its inner software sanctums to blue-print invasions of Quick time, Skype, and all video driven applications. It was becoming crystal clear with each mouse tap, that a raging covert civil war in progress, was being masked by a parade of pixels, resistant to intervention or regime change.

At just 30 minutes before closing time, internal computerized forces of evil were in their virus entrenched bunkers and the Genius bar would need more time to investigate and devise a battle plan. At the peak of a shattering standstill, Genius 2’s announcement that iMac must stay overnight for further testing was mandatory. But there went my next morning’s lesson to Portugal!!

Downtrodden, I dragged the empty red-shelled luggage back home, greeted by a gaping hole in the area beside the pianos that iMac filled. Thinking hard and fast on my feet, I plotted my next move. I could mount an iPhone by the Steinway grand and thereby keep the cell battery going with a nearby plug in to the energy source. The screen would be a bit small compared to my 21″ iMac, but the likelihood of a crash was remote.

It was a full 12 hours before I received an update from Genius 3. He was guardedly optimistic though his news bore the setback of a repair delay.
But at least there was certainty that the video card was the culprit, along with an encumbrance of aged parts needing replacement. It would be a week before iMac stood a chance of coming home!

Glancing at a dusty corner of my shrinking living room in the face of a disappointing delay, I observed my Dell PC wallowing in a vegetative state, unplugged, and without viral defenses. She’d been orphaned in a web of entangled wires while Mac had enjoyed center stage in a world-wide web of piano lessons. There was no greater power, or challenge to it!

Nonetheless, I hitched an old C615 Logitech cam to the Dell monitor, that had aged out with a Mac upgrade, and happily partnered it with a compatible Yeti mic.

Finally, a smooth Skype PC download eased a temporary transition during iMac’s absence. All that remained was a need for an external speaker that required an Amazon next day delivery! (Expedited)

When all was said and done, this misadventure, culminating in a rescue of lesson continuity, had upstaged my intended blog about taking liberties, but not exceeding certain boundaries. So without skipping a beat, I’m tacking on a tutorial about practicing and analyzing Tchaikovsky’s Waltz no. 8 from the composer’s Op. 39 Children’s Pieces. This particular collection is a wonderful bonding of the technical and musical aspects of progressive piano study. Above all, the compositions are gorgeously memorable, overshadowing setbacks associated with modern-day technology.

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