Saturday, December 11, 2010


My main Mac (the desktop, the newest one) threw a hissy fit a week ago. I spent the week hovering over it like Dr. Frankenstein troubleshooting it and trying to coax it back into behaving.

As of now, my late 2005 Mac PowerPC G5 will:
  • Boot into OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger, which is two generations behind still and yes I'm aware that time moves forward, I just never bothered to upgrade)
  • Allow me stability and internet access as long as I'm in a User Account I just created the other day (Test User) that has NOTHING in it and a bare desktop
  • Launches and allows me to use: Firefox; Scrivener (writing software); anything that came bundled with the Mac
  • Allow me to work on my novel(s) and other writings, surf the web, read the paper/email, and play FarmVille
  • Burn the Almighty backup DVDs
It will not:
  • Let me get much past startup in my old User Account (crashes, freezes, spinning beachball, kernel panics, dimming and demanding a restart)
  • Launch MS Office 2004, Adobe Creative Suite 2, Painter IX, Cubase or anything else I have installed on the thing when I'm in the old User Account (shared library error)
  • Remove MS Office 2004 using its tool (shared library error)
  • Reinstall ANY software from the original disks (shared library error)
  • Run Disk Warrior to defrag it or find out why it is misbehaving (shared library error)
  • (I'm getting the feeling my Mac is selfish, because it apparently doesn't like to SHARE LIBRARIES)
And this is AFTER completely reorganizing my data, cleaning off the desktop, burning 10 DVD's worth of jobs, photos, music, and so on, deleting over 1,000 files, running every troubleshooting process known to man, AND doing the Archive & Install that Mac gurus everywhere swore would resolve the issue (it didn't—it made it worse) followed by doing the software updates to bring it back up to 10.4.11.

I called the local Apple repair guy. I'd run the Apple Hardware Diagnostic tool, and since the logic board passed and mass storage passed and the memory hawked up an error, we've determined it may be a faulty RAM chip that needs replaced.

Oh, great. My elderly computer has Alzheimer's.

Thankfully, RAM is cheap, it's on its way, and the logic board is OK (if that were bad, we'd be flotsam). If the hard drive were the issue, it's no biggie. I can buy (and easily install myself) a bigger one for about $100. I'm taking the Mac with me when I pick up the RAM and while I'm there (before I waste my money on RAM), I'm making it turn its head and cough for the nice repair guy. Just to be sure.

THEN I'll install the memory and do the whole wipe the hard drive and rebuild it from scratch process.

Or raid my retirement fund to buy a new Mac if the thing winds up terminal. And all the software upgrades because none of my stuff will work in Snow Leopard. Erk. Except Scrivener.


The most interesting thing is that Scrivener DOES work (in Test User, but not in Old User). And it's BEAUTIFUL. This is software for writers that goes beyond Word Processing. It is linked with NaNoWriMo and Winners (like ME!) get a 50% discount on it. Which I'll hold off on using until I'm sure I'll still be Mac-based in 2011 (most likely, don't think I can bring myself to do Windows, but at least it's cross-platform). But I'm playing with the 30-day trial right now and it's...

One user said she wanted to marry it. I understand totally. I keep running into features and saying "OMG! I was hoping it'd do that!" It imports and exports to Word format, PDF—I can't find anything wrong with it. (The only downside to it is that I can't run it on the G4 laptop [yet] because, sadly, the OS on that is even more out of date—still in Panther, 10.3.9—but it can be upgraded if I'm willing to spring for it. Before you ask, the Tiger disks that came with the desktop are machine-specific, otherwise the laptop would've been running Tiger already.)

Scrivener is so efficient, elegant, intuitive, and beautiful that when I first saw it, and after playing with it for hours, I would not have been surprised to find the price to be out of reach.

It's not.

Go see for yourself. Remember I'll be getting it for half that amount.

I know, right?

This is one of the rare instances in which "too good to be true" actually is just as good if not better.

Scrivener = Love. I've found my soul mate and it's not a cat or a horse. It's a piece of software. Who knew?

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At 7:43 PM, December 14, 2010, Blogger Sheepish Annie said...

I snagged Scrivener last year for half price and love it! Sadly, it is currently stuck on my crashed laptop...but someday I'll have it back. Some day...


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