Image of Windows blue screen errorLongtime Windows users were always terrified of the “Blue Screen of Death”. It meant that the operating system failed to load and everything was lost. If you are lucky, or paranoid enough, to have a boot disk you might be able to get your computer up and running with your data intact. If you were unlucky, you had to reinstall the operating system and all of your programs. But there was no way to restore your data.

eIn the IOS world, there was the panic of whether or not the new update would “Brick” your phone. There were three lessons I learned from these digital disasters:

1. Backup

2. Backup

3. Backup

I have an external hard drive with a program that continuously backs up my data. I also have a home network that backs up my wife’s computer and my computer on a regularly scheduled basis.

Medium blank iPhone screen

Face of the zombie phone

I recently discovered a new problem with my iPhone. It’s called a Black Screen. That’s not very descriptive, so I’ve dubbed it “The Zombie Phone” because it’s half alive. Only those of us with the secret wizardry of Voiceover know that the phone is working perfectly, except that the screen no longer displays anything. It’s totally black.

I did some research on this phenomenon and found that there could be a half-dozen reasons why it happens. Often, the display chip has lost its connection. If that’s the problem, it’s simply a matter of reconnecting the chip and all is well. If your phone got wet, some components could have shorted out and that’s why the display no longer works. A final problem (so I thought) could be a cracked motherboard after the phone had been dropped one too many times.

Whatever the problem, I couldn’t fix it myself. I’m not particularly handy with tools. Even when I had better eyesight, I always dropped those tiny screws when trying to install a new motherboard, hard drive or audio card. There was no way that I was going to deal with those microscopic screws that hold an iPhone case together.

I called Apple support first thing in the morning. The first technician I talked to didn’t have a clue about the problem. The second guy had heard of “Zombie Phone”, but he just repeated all the things that I had already learned on Google. “You should make an appointment at one of our store locations and have a technician look at it,” he suggested.

Off to the Apple Store.

Of all the days to seek help, I picked the day after the Apple iPhone 5 battery re-call. It was a long waiting period, even for those of us who had appointments. There were a whole lot of grumpy people in the store. Oh, right, the store had run out of batteries hours ago.

Finally my turn came to get help at what Apple modestly designates as the Genius Bar. I explained that I knew the phone was working because I have low vision and had turned on the accessibility functions. My helper fiddled with the phone a bit and then did a soft reset and lo and behold, the Apple logo showed up. As the last stages of the process finishes, he points at something at the top of the screen and says, “See, can you see where it says there’s a problem with the display?” I saw no reason to point out for the third time that I’m legally blind.

Of course, the screen had returned to its pitch black state. Even he could recognize the phone is still in zombie mode because the phone says loudly, “messages, double tap to open.” He goes away to confer with, I hope, more knowledgeable colleagues. He returns and says the best thing to do is a factory reset. “You do have a recent backup on your computer at home, don’t you?” He sends me home to restore my phone from my backup. He cautions, however, that sometimes the problem may come back because there may be some problem with one of the apps.

I go home, restored the phone, but it’s not easy to kill a Zombie.

The Zombie Phone Saga continues…

Image of the face of a zombie

Zombie or is it more politically correct To say Undead?

Zombie or is it more politically correct To say Undead?