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<our gentleman of sorrows>

We're back after a 24-hour blackout that began when we switched off our old Mac and started setting up our new dual-processor G4.

Here's a tip: Your DSL provider may lock your connection to your old machine to circumvent third-party malfeasance. Your DSL provider may not tell the sysadmins and tech support people that he has done this. If both conditions are true, you will have no Internet access, no matter how many times you re-enter your IP address, subnet mask, router address, and name server addresses; no matter how many times you delete your preferences and re-enter your data; and no matter how many phone calls you make. It took 24 hours to figure this out.

Here's a tip: Your partner may be a compulsive cleaner-upper. And she may be less technologically-oriented than you are. If both conditions are true, you will spend three hours looking for the external Jaz drive before she finally says, "you mean this thing?" Until she says those magic words, your beautiful new computer is a paperweight.

Here's a tip: You may have been buying most of your software online because you're way too hip to clutter your life with those silly CD-ROM packages that wreck the environment anyway. And you may have engaged in software backup practices that were less than perfect. For instance, you may have accidentally deleted about a thousand dollars worth of software installers, including those for tools like Conflict Catcher, Suitcase, and Quicknailer, along with fonts from T26, Emigre, and Adobe.
        Say Sayonara, baby.
        Sure, with ten hours' work, you may dig up some of those fonts again. As for the software, forget about it. Conflict Catcher must be installed via virtual disk image. You cannot copy the existing software from your old machine to your new machine. Conflict Catcher thinks you are trying to steal what you already own. It looks like we will be buying a lot of software we bought before. This could be a hot stock tip for you.

Here's a tip: Say you own the Adobe Web Collection. Say it contains one piece of software you'll never use or install, even though the entire collection is paid for. Say several months ago, you lent the box to an impoverished pal so he could use that one piece of software you own but will never use or install. (Perfectly kosher: Adobe got paid.) Say that your pal forgets to check that all the discs are in the box when he returns it to you.
        You're not the type to cry, "hang on there, chum. Let's open the box and make sure you've returned all the components." Nope, you're the take-it-on-faith, buy-your-pal-a-sandwich type. You only discover that your Photoshop and Illustrator installer discs are lost when you open the box containing nothing but the discontinued, entry-level ImageStyler program.
        You should have seen our face when we opened that box. It was like something out of Rocky and Bullwinkle. Hey, Rocky, watch me pull Photoshop out of my hat.

Here's a tip: Say you bought a VST Firewire Hard Drive—the cute kind that fits in your pocket—while you were purchasing your G4 and monitor. Say you run the VST installer CD following the instructions to the letter. If both conditions are true, you will get an error message informing you that the VST Firewire Drive has a disk error and must be repaired by a third-party utility. This error message will pop onto your screen every 60 seconds.
        What the error message should actually say is: "Absolutely nothing is wrong with the hard drive you've installed. Yes, when you run the included diagnostic program, you will get catastrophic failure reports. These are also meaningless. What you actually have to do is unplug the drive and plug it back in. Kind of like kicking an old TV set, or pushing an old jalopy to jump-start the engine. There is no reason for this kind of design stupidity, but, hey."

Once you figure out that all you have to do is unplug the drive for a moment and plug it back in, your worries will be over. Before you figure it out—when you still believe the error message has some basis in reality—you will install your copy of Norton Utilities on the new machine in order to "fix" the Firewire hard drive that is not, in fact, broken.
        Then you will learn (here's a tip) that your version of Norton Utilities is incompatible with OS9, the Operating System that comes with your new G4. (You will remember too late having heard about this compatibility issue a year ago.)

When you restart the Mac, it will crash in mid-boot. So you restart again with Extensions Off, and begin searching for all the Norton components you just installed. Norton installs many of these components and does not label them as such.
        Since your Conflict Catcher software is irretrievably lost, you cannot use Conflict Catcher to disable the Norton components. You will spend several hours clicking "Get Info" on each item in your extensions folder before you have finally located and removed the last Norton extension, and are able to reboot normally.
        At which point you will realize that the Apple Extensions Manager actually could have done the job for you, though not as gracefully or quickly as Conflict Catcher.

Upon rebooting, you will once again encounter the VST Firewire Hard Drive error message. You will install Tech Tool Pro, which you also own, but Tech Tool Pro will not be able to "fix" the Firewire drive because it cannot "see" it.
        You will install Tech Tool Deluxe, the software Apple included with its "extended care" package, which cannot fix the problem unless you reboot from the Tech Tool Deluxe disc. Which you cannot do because it is apparently incompatibile with the computer Apple just sold you.
        (This is Apple's only culpability in the catalog of errors, but it's not trivial. You pay a couple of hundred extra dollars for "extended care," and it basically means you get a disc that can't do the one thing it is supposed to do: boot the computer in the event of a hard drive problem.)

Only after all this nonsense will God whisper in your ear, "Try disconnecting the hard drive and plugging it back in."


So after all our kvetching, as we peer blearily at our giant new Cinema display, and contemplate another four to eight hours of software installation ... is it worth it?

Oh yeah, baby.

Now if you'll excuse us, we have some software to install....

The author and his opinions.
Copyright © 1995–2002 Jeffrey Zeldman Presents
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