Computer Upgrades Cost Lives

© 2007 David Baker CC BY-ND 2.0

© 2007 David Baker CC BY-ND 2.0

Or at least they cost life. That is, they suck time from my life, because they seriously disrupt my life, and keep me from getting much of anything done, including writing blog posts. One of my Facebook friends even asked me how I was doing, I had disappeared for so long!

So, my dad was nice enough to loan me his MacBook Pro—which I am now using—while mine is getting fixed. That is, under repair.

This all happened to happen around the Yom Kippur weekend. And here’s how it went down.

Saturday night, I did a complete backup of my MBP’s hard drive. Fortunately, I keep backups anyhow, so it didn’t take as long as it would have from scratch. Unfortunately, I had never restored a MBP from one of these backups before, and so I didn’t know what to expect, or even exactly what to do. I spent the entire afternoon Sunday trying to restore my disk image onto my dad’s MBP. Couldn’t remember how to mount the backup’s image file, and I thought I couldn’t do it from the appropriate interface. Couldn’t remember why I backed up into an image file in the first place. Spent hours copying files out of the image file, then ended up not using the copies. Finally figured out what I should have been doing from the start, and set the restore process going.

Many hours later…

By the time the restore was done, it was well into Yom Kippur, and I was at morning services, and already feeling hungry (because I had been fasting) and dirty and grimy (because you don’t shave or shower on Yom Kippur). And by the time afternoon rolled around, I was developing a headache, because I had not had my coffee, and I was snapping at the kids, because I had not eaten. Fortunately, self-denial has a time limit. By the time we got home after dinner, we didn’t even have enough energy to fight for first dibs in the shower.

Fast forward to Tuesday, and I was still working on getting my computer working correctly. I upgraded to the latest Mac operating system, which they call “Snow Leopard,” probably because it camouflages itself and then springs at you when you least expect it. Every time the Internet went down, the new operating system did too, hard. I had rebooted it 3 times before I thought I had figured out which program was bringing down the computer. Ain’t technological progress wonderful?

The new version of iCal, Apple’s calendar application, also conveniently forgot all of my appointments and reminders. And when I tried to import them from the old iCal files, it told me it couldn’t. (No good reason, it just couldn’t figure it out.) I checked the files, and they looked fine.

So I installed Sunbird, which is Mozilla’s calendar application. Sunbird imported my calendar files just fine… kind of. But I had to manually adjust most of my reminders to fix some things it did wrong. I also discovered that Sunbird has some pretty advanced to-do features. What I didn’t know, however, is that Sunbird’s “task list” system is worse than useless, because it doesn’t work right. So I converted a whole bunch of my reminders to “tasks,” and then I converted them all back again.

In the meantime, I noticed that Sunbird was ringing alarms for my reminders about 3 and a half hours earlier than it should have been, which was very confusing. At first I thought maybe I had set some time-zone setting wrong. But nope. And Google was no help, either with that or with the task-list issue.

So this morning, I exported my calendars from Sunbird and imported them back into iCal. Fortunately, iCal was able to read the exported Sunbird files, even though it couldn’t understand it’s own previous files. And now I’m back with iCal, which doesn’t do everything I want, but at least my reminders pop up now, and at the right times.

And that brings you current, and explains why I haven’t posted all week, and why I’ve disappeared from civilization.

-TimK