Geek Alert
November 9, 2007


So, I thought I had the computer straightened out. Was waiting for Super Duper to be upgraded for Leopard, and was gonna run a bootable backup, delete the hard drive and then get everything all settled again.

Thunderbird started acting goofy again. Checked the permissions ... they'd reset. Grr. That's what I get for running a "repair permissions" utility. So, I reset the permissions, Thunderbird worked again. For about four hours.

I decide to get out my new USB Snowball mic from Blue and see how it works. I'm not gonna get into podcasting, but I have been thinking of performing one of my short stories and putting it out there. Hmm, it's a plug and play mic. Plug it in ... suddenly flurry of "this extension and that one aren't properly installed." The sound drivers are, apparently, fried.

Frustrated and ticked off, I said, screw it. I'll just back up everything I can on the new 500 gb backup drive. Plug it in.

Flurry of similar messages. No firewire capability either.

So, now I am truly in computer hell. I have the older laptop hooked up to the new one via firewire. Starting the old one in "firewire target mode" works fine since that really bypasses the screwed up OS.

But I only have the one firewire port on this old machine. So that means I'm hooking up to the nifty backup harddrive by USB 2.0. Shit. Slower than hell.

So, I now have 2 17" laptops on my drawing table, wires everywhere, the backup hard drive. Oh, and the extra power cord for the old laptop? That has to be plugged in exactly right or it won't register. It is actually taped down in one spot to help keep it from jiggling around too much.

It took about 6 hours to back up the Applications directory. It has taken over 15 hours so far to backup the Users directory and I still have about an hour to go on that folder. I still have the Library and the System Folder to go.

And, ultimately, this is what I get for loading some "haxies" on my machine. This is not a typical Mac kind of upgrade problem. However, I had APE loaded on my machine ... and then had promptly forgotten about it. APE "hacks" into the core systems of the computer ... and there was a new version out. I didn't know. Didn't pay attention. (Bad computer user, BAD!) Apparently, this old version of APE causes the upgrade to Leopard to misfire, which has caused the bulk of my problems.


So, once everything looks to be upgraded, I'm going to wipe the drive and then do a "clean install" of Leopard. Then slowly move all the pieces back over. At least by then I'll be able to move the second laptop back into the "server room" and get the printer hooked back up.

What a mess. And all for two reasons:
1) I did not keep all my software updated
2) I did not have a good, solid, bootable backup

Bad, bad computer user. The sad thing is, I know better. And I'm lucky. I kept my old laptop to use as a server, so I had something of a backup plan going. And I do know how to pull files off of an apparently "dead" computer without wiping down the hard drive and starting over again. I'm lucky. I'm sure there are plenty of Mac users out there who are pulling their hair out trying to figure out what to do. I know there are, I've been to the discussion boards at Apple.

And here's the deal about that. Most of us Apple users have become too complacent. Apple upgrades work. Apple hardware rarely fails. We're used to small company software and shareware because so many of the "big boys" haven't wanted to develop for the Mac. And we're used to these "hobbyists" being at least as professional as the second tier software makers for PeeCees. We're used to automatic updates.

The Mac market is getting larger now. More machines means more hardware failures ... that's a fact of our manufacturing and capitalist life. Apple delayed the Leopard release some this year, but apparently not quite long enough. (And hey, it's still a damn sight better than that Vista crap.) Apple has warned us for years to be careful hacking around in the system ... that things could change that would make the machine behave erratically. And, as the Mac market continues to grow, we're going to get more viruses as well ... and spyware ... we've been incredibly lucky so far.

We've got to stop being so darn complacent and remember that if we really want to continue relying on these machines ... we need to be more vigilant and protect our data actively.


Another 53 minutes is the latest estimate on that Users directory. At least I'm getting caught up on my reading.

Posted by Red Monkey at November 9, 2007 10:45 AM | Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

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