iBook G4 Kernel Panic attacks

After just under a year of solid performance, my iBook G4 crapped its pants today. Every single time I use it at work I get all kinds of questions about it and really enjoy telling people how reliable and easy to use it has been (in contrast to the Dell shit everybody at work has on their desks) so it felt extra frustrating since I wasn’t expecting it.

Then, just as I’m about to get started on a paper I have to have done today, I get this nasty multi-lingual message telling me I need to restart the computer. “Ok” I figure, “even a Mac is bound to crash eventually.” It had been a solid 10 months of pretty constant use without so much as a hiccup, so I figured I was due. Easy restart, right? No such luck. The damned thing would not return to stability. After every restart, it just returned to that stupid multi-lingual message.

Fortunately I had the Dell laptop from work home with me (I know, the irony, it’s thick) and I got on the web to figure out what to do. Apparently one potential fix was to reset my “PRAM” or whatever it’s called by holding “option-command-p-r” while the machine boots up. It seems to have done the trick. But now I’m nervous. I’m still within the 1-year hardware warranty… do any of you know enough about this kind of thing to make an educated guess as to whether it’s an OS type of problem that can be cleaned up by resetting/fixing settings (like I seem to have done this time) or is it a sign of impending hardware failure?

Another theory I saw on the web was that bad RAM can lead to these kernel panics but I haven’t added any aftermarket hardware to this thing so I doubt that’s it.

I’ll sure appreciate any help.

(to add even more delicious irony, I was just about to buy a new iMac for my wife and daughter to use since the old Dell desktop we have is getting long in the tooth)

Just fwiw, my brand new out of the box iMac had a non-functioning camera that i had to repair using the PRAM reset trick.

If it worries you take it into a nearby Apple store before the warranty runs out. The value of their call center is perhaps questionable.

Lies. You all hate Midnight Son.

But seriously, go hit up the local “genius bar” and let one of the store dweebs check it out, if you have an Apple Store nearby.

Or find something akin to MemTest for the Mac.

Well damnit. Turns out that PRAM fix was a temporary one, just long enough to give time to get a bunch of work done on a machine that once again will not stay up. Looks like I get to drive to an Apple Store tomorrow.

edit

this is odd. Even though I bought it at the local Apple Store, it is impossible to actually call in and schedule an appointment for service - you have to do it through their web portal, which tells me all appointments are full today. And there’s no way to schedule for tomorrow or later.

Apple’s phone-in tech support is great today, however. Only 5 minutes of waiting and this guy I’m on the line with is pretty good - he even sounds American.

Buy a Mac, LOL! You won’t have any of these kinds of problems.

(Oh, wait…)

Very funny. Bastard.

Looks like I’m not alone with this problem: some blogger I don’t know

edit

Well, after spending over 2 hours on the phone with Apple Support, we eliminated every OS and setting potential problem as the culprit and it’s pretty clear it’s some kind of hardware failure. Which is still under warranty, so at least I don’t have to pay for it, but the fact that I won’t have my laptop for however long it takes them to fix it really really sucks.

At least I have my music and photo libraries backed up to an external USB drive. I’m hoping Safe Mode (which is the only way I can keep the iBook up for more than 10 seconds) will recognize the drive so I can back up my documents that I need, both for work as well as my graduate courses I am taking.