Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sometimes it's harder than it needs to be

Sometimes I just hate computers. Given what I do for a living, this is not a good frame of mind for me.

What inspires such feelings is the inexplicable, the incomprehensible, the random failure. That, and the supercilious tone adopted by some who are designated to dispense wisdom (or at least help) to we, the Great Unwashed.

Oh dear. A tad prickly today I'm afraid.

My MacBook Air has suffered problems with the new automated backup function that arrived with 10.5 of the Max OSX operating system (Leopard). Backing up was not such a problem - although with the dearth of connectors on the laptop the ability to back up files wirelessly was to have been a great feature.

And so it was, although updates to drivers, the Time Capsule device's firmware and the backup software were required to solve initial (teething?) problems. Even with all of the above, the actual backup activity seemed to impact the running of the laptop disproportionately.

But, 'twas not the backup that was the main problem. 'Twas the restoring. And, a backup solution that cannot restore... Well, let's just say that there are better ways to waste disk space.

When the software has been changed and nothing improved it is time to look at the hardware. A replacement Time Capsule was provided by Apple (the previous one having developed some quirks such as forgetting it had a disk internally - making backup that much harder - and providing the other MacBook in the house difficulties when it tried to connect to the wireless network). No joy. The new one could, at least, remember it had a disk. But the MacBook Air was no better at restoring files.

By this time I had been to the Apple Store multiple times and had checked out the demo systems. They did not seem to share the problem I had.

The purchase of a small disk to connect to the USB port took the wireless variable out of the equation(apologies, at work I am having far more algebra in my diet than is good for any one person). Still no joy. Backing up was faster - restoring presented the same problems.

At least I now had a self-contained set of hardware which I could take to the Apple Store - and a reproducible set of steps to demonstrate the problem.

The solution? Reinstall all the software on my MacBook Air - then everything would be well.

I managed to avoid saying that I could get that level of aggravation (and support) from the Microsoft world - and at far less cost. The teeth marks on my tongue will subside soon I'm sure.

So anyway. Re-install everything I did. The old backups having been obliterated (sorry, I've been thinking of the Aeneid recently and that construction just happened) I began again.

Seemingly no joy - until about 1:00AM Sunday morning when restore began to work as advertised. Why? Unknown.

And the MacBook Pro has begun to act up. Problems with its wireless connection. And no discernible reason.

I hate computers!

This weekend, all of the above notwithstanding, was enjoyable. I have returned to the concept of micro-vacation and, thus, this was a 3-day weekend.

A particularly lovely invention.

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