This past week, the most unfortunate thing happened… Lani’s MacBook Air broke down.

Actually, it turns out it wasn’t her MacBook Air, it was more specifically the brand new SSD “upgrade” that I had put in her Air a few weeks before we left for Taiwan.  (Other World Computing will be hearing from me shortly after we get back… but I digress…)

Unfortunately, and for reasons past my understanding, there are actually no Apple Stores in Taiwan.  My hunch is that it has to do with some sort of Taiwan vs. China thing — China has 8 stores, yet the GDP per capita in Taiwan is over 4x that of China’s, which is odd considering Apple’s notoriously high prices for it’s products.  I tend to wonder if there’s something else going on, especially considering that the products, themselves, are made in China… but I digress… again…

Anyway, in order to have repairs done in an Apple product in Taiwan, you can go to any number of Authorized Apple Service shops.  The closest one to us was a little store called (no joke) Lemon Computer.  It is located on Jiànguó Road, which is known colloquially here as Computer Road.  But I prefer to call it… “Nerdvana”.

In California, it is all about Fry’s Electronics.  It is the place where I can get my weekly (or sometimes daily) hit of geekdom.

And if it’s after 9pm or before 9am, then there is always online.

But I tell you… all the Fry’s locations in California combined, plus, have nothing on Jiànguó Road.

We are talking a whole mile of computer stores… back-to-back.

Anyway, as inconvenient as it was to have to do computer repairs out here, I was pleasantly surprised with one thing.  The total cost it took for them to do everything, including diagnosing the problem, replacing the faulty SSD with the original one (which fortunately we had brought with us to Taiwan), reinstalling the latest copy of Mountain Lion, and then running final diagnostics on everything: 850 NT, or roughly $29 USD.

Imagine that, compared to something like Geek Squad in the US, where (I believe) that an initial consultation for computer hardware repair starts at $90.

Anyway, I’m happy to announce that Lani is back up and running with her MacBook Air now, so that I now have full, unimpeded access to my own 15 or so Apple devices here. =P

It’s Cold… in Kaohsiung

Similar to how when we had left San Diego, it has gotten cold in Kaohsiung.

Like, unseasonably cold.

For those that know me know that I rarely wear a jacket, let alone pants.  Well, this past week I had to wear both.

And for Jennica, well we had to bundle her up as if we were in Tahoe:

Anyway, after I received the following email from my mother, I finally realized why.

Hell has frozen over… again.

LOL.  Again.

It’s Cold in San Diego…

… unseasonably cold.  Typically, you can count on SD being right around mid-to-upper 70′s pretty much all year-round.

However, the past few nights it has gotten down to the low 40s.  Yikes, as much as I fought it, I actually had to bring out my long pants.

Now, before all of you left wing vs. right wing folks start arguing about global warming vs. climate change, carbon footprint and carbon dating vs. the carbon cycle, I wanted to let you all know that I did my own research into the situation, and I suddenly realized why it was so cold:


Hell has frozen over.


Last night, Lani’s mom threw all of us off-guard by asking me, “Mike, can you get me an iPad”?  Keep in mind that this is a lady who would be the complete opposite to the “early adopter”.  Now, in all fairness she really has come quite a long way — especially after Lani’s dad had passed — in learning technology, figuring out how to email, and even do some basic banking and bill pay online.

However, it’s a regular, weekly occurrence when we hear her yelling out, “Look at this website… so many discounts!  I’m going to click on all of them.  Wait… they’re asking for my email address… and cell phone number… and my social security number… That’s okay to give them, right?”

Anyway, her explanation on why she wanted / needed the iPad seemed plausible enough.  Basically, she didn’t want to keep bothering us while we’re in Taiwan to check her email.  But at the same time, she thought getting herself a laptop might be too large / overkill.

Sounds good.

Interestingly (and not so surprisingly), I had an extra iPad “lying around” (something that Lani will never let me forget), so I took some time to reset everything to factory defaults, clear out my data, and get her set up with her email account.

As soon as I gave it to her, the first question she asked… “How can I play mah jong on this thing!?”

Immediately we realized why she truly wanted to have an iPad.  Apparently a few of her friends have gotten iPads recently, and they’ve been playing this MMOG version of Mah Jong.

Anyway, as soon as we downloaded it, she started playing… um… during (or rather, instead of) dinner.