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I thought the blog-o-sphere would be loaded today with buzz about Mac OS X Leopard and all the cool new features. So far, nuttin! Did it release? Was the FedEx overload responsible? What’s the deal?
My copy is still in the FedEx pipeline so I’m looking for a news fix. The best I could find was that Britney yelled “Eat it! Lick it! Snort it! F— it!” to a reported yesterday during a custody court break. Come on Apple, you can do better.
Ever since receiving my 24″ iMac about six months ago I’ve been experiencing system freezes requiring a complete shutdown and restart of the system. In several cases, as I’ve blogged about, this has corrupted my hard drive, in one case so bad that Disk Utility could not recover it. I had to buy a copy of Disk Warrior in order to recover.
Now Apple acknowledges the problem and promises to fix it.
Update: Apple apparently issued a fix for the aluminum iMac’s not the plastic one I own. I’ve tried to install the fixes they released but they refuse to install telling me that my system doesn’t need the fix. Which means that I continue to be stuck with a piece of crap iMac that freezes a couple of times a day. Thanks Apple – if I’d wanted a Windows machine I’d have bought one.
So, my wife is madly in love with her Video iPod and my eyesight is way too good, probably from lack of strain. You can see where this is going – I’m ordering a video iPod.
Since it has a name that starts with video I, naturally, think of movies. I love movies.
Anyway I run off to the iTunes store to check out the movie selection and instantly become appalled. And, trust me, I much prefer to slowly become appalled. What is the deal here? The movies on iTunes cost as much, or more, than the same movies on DVD. This makes no sense to me – consider the following:
- Movies from iTunes are DRM protected.
- I can’t loan iTunes movies to friends.
- I can’t sell an iTunes movie when I’m finished with it.
- I can’t donate one to my library.
- I can’t burn a copy of my iTunes movie to DVD.
- If I lose my iTunes movie I can’t download another copy.
And as a bonus for putting up with all these limitations, which incidentally don’t exist for DVD’s, I get to pay a premium.
Consider the following random selection between movies on iTunes and DVD’s purchased from Deep Discount DVD (which includes free shipping and no sales tax).
- Island in the Sky (Duke Wayne): iTunes – $9.99, Deep Discount: $9.52
- 10 Things I Hate About You: iTunes: $9.99, Deep Discount: $9.52
- Rocky: iTunes: $9.99, Deep Discount: $9.65
- Lost, Season 3: iTunes: $34.99 (missing bonus material), Deep Discount: $46.12
Ok, I think you see the pattern. Oh, and this is just a guess, but I suspect the DVD movies are slightly higher quality.
I hope you’re listening Fake Steve Jobs!
I thought I’d share a story of how one of my Mac’s got screwed up and how it was saved. This story has a happy ending (for me anyway). Are you listening Alice Sebold?
From time to time my Mac would get the spinning beach ball of death. If you have a Mac and don’t know what this is, count your blessings. Basically the Mac’s wait cursor, affectionately called a beach ball or spinning pizza, shows up and the entire desktop is unresponsive. I mean, you can’t even get the Force Quit dialog up! You Windows users don’t need to snicker – you have the same problem and it’s not even as pretty.
When this happens I never really know how long to wait before doing something scary like turning off the power. Well two weeks or so ago that’s exactly what I had to do. I had waited about 20 minutes for the Mac to clear up whatever the problem was and I came to believe that it just wasn’t going to happen. So I reached for the power switch and kneecapped that baby.
When I turned the power back on the machine booted and everything seemed fine. Awesome. I went on my merry computing way. A few days after this happened, with still no signs of ill effects, I tried to print an email I had received in Thunderbird. The application promptly crashed and I was given a dialog that let me report the problem to Apple. I reported it and restarted the application but every attempt to print was met with the same results. So I’m thinking, “Thunderbird, you piece of crap!“. But I won’t be foiled that easily. I copied the email in question to the clipboard and pasted it into Microsoft Word, clicked on the print button and was allowed to lodge another problem with Apple when Word crashed. WTF is going on here?
Next I pasted the email into my trusty copy of TextMate. As an aside – if you are using a Mac and you don’t have TextMate rush to the Macro Mates site and get a copy. TextMate is, quite simply, the best text editor I have ever used! Ok, end commercial – TextMate will surely print this sucker. No such luck – my pride and joy text editor crashed just like everything else I’d tried.
My next stop was to search the Internet to find people who had this problem and reported a fix. I found tons of print related problems but nothing that matched this modus operandi.
Finally I decided to run a verification on the drive using Disk Utility. Following is the report I received:
Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Checking HFS Plus volume.
Checking Extents Overflow file.
Checking Catalog file.
Invalid sibling link
The volume Macintosh HD needs to be repaired.
Error: The underlying task reported failure on exit
1 HFS volume checked
Volume needs repair
Ah ha! All I need to do is boot the system from my Tiger install disk and use Disk Utility to repair the hard drive. Viola! I did that and the repair tool reported this same error and advised me that it could not repair the problem. Oh my God – now what?
Well after spending more than a little time researching options I decided to back up my hard drive to a bootable external USB drive, boot from that drive and attempt to repair the problem using Disk Warrior.
For the backup I used the excellent SuperDuper! from Shirt Pocket Software. This took me about two and a half hours but luckily I had other things to do. When the backup finished I restarted my Mac and held down the Option key. When offered a selection of boot drives I chose the external USB containing the backup. I then ran Disk Warrior from this drive and had it rebuild the directory structure on my main hard drive.
After Disk Warrior finished analyzing my drive it reported a bunch of errors which meant nothing to me (not that I know what a sibling link is) and asked if I wanted to perform repairs. I figured I had nothing to lose. If the repair failed I’d have to reinstall OS X but at least I had a good backup to restore.
Well long story short – Disk Warrior completely repaired the drive. After the repair I ran a Disk Utility verification and got a clean bill of health. I then booted from the internal drive and was madly, and quite successfully, printing in no time.
Yea for Disk Warrior.
I am now looking for a new USB thumb drive on which I can install a bootable OS X with Disk Warrior so that I never have to be without this safety net.