WARNING: The following is a very long winded account of very little happening this past weekend. If you want to read a far more concise version, check out MK’s LJ entry, otherwise, read on…
As much as I am into video games, I also consider myself a pretty diehard Mac person. I first started using a Macintosh in my high school’s graphic design class over ten years now (I still have fond memories of Photoshop 2 and Pagemaker) and have been following the platform, both the highs and the lows, ever since. At one point I even had a job fixing old Macs, and hence I’ve become the guy in my circle of friends who gives advice and can even help with upgrades and problems. If I can’t personally fix it, I can at least figure out what’s wrong and suggest a solution.
Basically, I’m a really big fan of the Mac and think it’s one of the best thins on earth (though I personally cannot stand a majority of its user-base… more on this later). So with that in mind, I was really looking forward to this past weekend. The plan was to drive into Brooklyn after work on Friday so MK and I could pick up an iMac DV that Jimmy, a coworker, was passing along to me. Then I would spend the rest of the weekend reformatting the computer and adding OS X (Panther), plus get MK’s PowerBook G4 updated to 10.3.7, effectively making the whole weekend one huge Mac-geek-love-fest.
I know I sound like a total Apple zombie when I say this (and trust me, I fucking hate the lot of them), but I have a real emotional attachment to the iMac DV (graphite Special Edition model) since it was the very first computer I ever purchased. Plus I still think it’s one of the finest machines Apple has ever produced (and one of the most beautiful looking machines, period). I had to part with mine last year due to a precarious financial status (more so than usual), and even with 512mb of ram, the 400mhz G3 processor just wasn’t cutting it for a primary machine. I ended up selling it to some eccentric photographer for a measly $350 (okay, maybe that’s a pretty fair sum, but the guy was loaded and could have paid more, even if he only wanted any old Mac for his autistic son to “beat the hell out of”). Even though I knew I was getting a newer, faster machine (an eMac), my coworker Steve did say “Dude, one day you’ll miss it and will pay double the price for it back!” And he was right about the missing part.
Anyway, I was originally going to take the no longer wanted iMac for myself, and viewed it as fate playing itself out. But I honestly don’t need another Mac in my tiny apartment, no matter how cute it is. So I decided to give it to MK because her mom keeps using her PowerBook, which might be the cause of a number of mysterious problems plaguing it. Plus MK’s totally worth it.
First off, the trip into Brooklyn was a real horror show. I may rag on Manhattan a lot, but I’ll give it this: everything is wonderfully organized. The roads in Brooklyn are a fucking nightmare. Making things worse was Mapquest; many people in the past have said that it’s woefully inaccurate and flat-out sucks, but I’ve never had a problem with it. Friday night was the first time it failed me, and it did so big time. I can’t blame Jimmy for not knowing the roads, cuz like most people who enjoy living in Brooklyn, he doesn’t drive and therefore is confronted with the bullshit numbering, the piss poor positioning of all the streets. The worst was when we were on 4th Avenue and knew we had to get on 3rd, but simply couldn’t and kept getting lost in a sea of endless side streets. I swear, it was worse than all the times I’ve been stuck in Queens where 30th Street, 30th Avenue, and 30th Boulevard all meets combined. But eventually, we made our destination and got the goods. MK & I then got the fuck out of Brooklyn, and NYC, as fast as we could and, once on the Jersey side of things, I had hot dogs for dinner at Callahan’s.
The night I began my work: since MK’s house only has dial up, I made sure to bring with me all the updates I might possibly need. And considering that the machine had never once been updated, I really needed them. On the Classic end, I brought the OS 9.1, 9.2.1, and 9.2.2 updaters, plus the 10.3.7 updater (MK already had a copy of the Panther installation discs I made for her), as well as assorted programs like multiples flavors of Photoshop and Office for both environments. In addition to the OS having never being upgraded, the hardware was also untouched, meaning there was only the original 128 mb or ram available, which only lengthened the install time (the process of wiping out the hard drive, which I did by zeroing all data, alone took close to three hours). I did manage to get 9.2.2 installed before getting distracted by TV and other stuff.
The next day I got the Classic programs up and running and then went onto Panther, plus I also started work on the PowerBook. Even MK noted how happy I was, running from one Mac in one room to another. But as soon as I booted from the Panther disc and choose the language to start installation, the Mac went totally nuts, to a degree I had never seen. So… and I know this is pretty stupid coming from a self-confessed Mac tech-know-it-all, but I killed the juice by pulling the plug (hey, I’ve done it a million times, and so have you). I plugged it back in, rebooted, and the Mac started up again… but the screen was totally dead. I had never seen this before and was totally taken aback. I restarted again (by pulling the plug), and again, no picture. This is where I started to panic.
To be a computer geek and to not know what happened, and to be possibly responsible for the death of a computer, is total shame. But for that machine to not only be the spiritual reincarnation of the first machine you ever truly love made it mortifying. Add in how the computer was supposed to be for your girlfriend, one which you forced to drive out into Brooklyn despite saying many times beforehand that “driving in Brooklyn sucks” was pure torture.
I assumed that I had blown out the video board of something, which MK though was okay since it could be replaced, which is true but only after a possibly costly repair bill, and the whole point of a free computer is not spend any dough on it. One of the main reasons why I like going out to Jersey is to get away from it all, i.e. not waste on message boards, but it was an emergency, so I reluctantly went online for possible answers. And now onto the part where I bash Apple users…
… Like I said, I love the Mac and all, but I simply cannot stand most Apple users. They get a lot of hate from PC, and it totally justified. Most of them really are uptight, self-absorbed, arty-farty, trendoid techno snobs who’s life is totally dominated by the pursuit of spreading the Apple gospel by explaining how stupid “Windoze” or “Pee-Cee” users are and actually have the gall to call them drones and the such, even though they all acts like total corporate tools themselves by buying everything fucking thing that Apple produces. Hey, I like the iPod too, but I’m on the fence about getting one. Why? Cause of the price? Well sorta, but I just don’t want to end up like that guy on the subway who want’s the whole world how cool he is by acting like an oblivious smarmy asshole (cause that’s what Apple calls “being different!”). But I digress….
I went on several message boards for help: two Apple specific ones, Yay Hooray since it has tons of artist and designers, who are the types who mostly use Macs, and of course, the GAF. Not surprisingly, the Mac boards didn’t produce shit (well at least at first). The usual responses, no matter what the problem, generally goes like, “Gee, I never heard of that problem before, I think your Mac is broken, too bad, hey just get a new one, they’re totally awesome, Macs rule, I <3 Apple!” which of course is extremely unhelpful (and totally fucking annoying, especially in a moment of crisis). Meanwhile on the GAF, one poster pretty much put summed how I felt best with one simple comment: “Enjoy your iLife.”
But then someone asked if the firmware was updated and I only then realized it more than likely wasn’t! Apparently, with no firmware in place, the Panther disc will totally screw up the Mac’s video out. So I had the reason, but still no workable solution. I then became extremely depressed and even started asking around for resources to convert the iMac into a fish tank, but then GAF member fart (yes, his name was fart, this is the internet, remember?) passed along a fix. As detailed here, I used the video mirroring function of the iMac (most don’t realize that there’s a VGA out hidden on the bottom-back) to see the computer via MK’s really old and crusty PC monitor, and was then able to apply the firmware which I downloaded via the PowerBook to get it back to normal. Once that was done, OS X installation was a total breeze! Again, fart, I thank thee! And thanks to the GAF, MK had a new computer and my manhood was restored.
As for the rest of that Saturday night, Robin stopped by later than night and we all had diner food. Plus he passed along a neat poster that came with the import version of Last Bronx plus the Phantasy Star 2 hint book that originally came packed with the game. For a small little 6 meg RPG, its crazy-ass long, so one really needs it. I have the game, but I got it from eBay sans hint book, so now I can actually play the game! And after dinner we all watched Revenge of the Nerds on DVD. MK discovered first hand how much the film upsets me. Not because I don’t like the movie or anything, it’s just that the jocks and what they do to the nerds, really upsets me. I’m not joking when I say that the events portrayed, and my genuine fear of being in the nerd’s position, factored heavily into my decision to attend art school.
The next day, MK and I took her brother’s TV table downstairs from his bedroom to be the new computer desk and it was so filthy that I had to scrub it down hard to get it looking somewhat respectable. The thing is, the house where MK grew up and currently resides in is rather dirty. Actually it’s pretty filthy, and much of it has to do with her mom who’s a total pack rat. MK has always been frustrated with the piles of useless junk all over the place (which are plentiful and very high), but given the mind-boggling degree, she’s had to basically live with it. Well I’m a compulsive neat freak and told her that I would kill myself if I had to deal with such conditions and offered to clean the house if given the chance. So she took me up on it to help clean just one room, and that’s what we did. In a short amount of time, almost tens years of junk went in one garbage bag, and MK finally felt the cathartic sensation that comes with getting rid of useless shit. At one point, MK even noted, as I was just chucking things in the bag, and with a tinge of excitement in her voice “Wow, you’re cold-blooded!”. Well to be clean, you sorta have to be. And I was positively elated to find out that last night, after I had left and MK’s mom had come back home, that she was so shocked by the new found cleanliness that it compelled her to continue on with the cleaning with her daughter!
Also, I got to meet MK’s dad for the first time yesterday, and I was pretty nervous for that (for obvious reasons), but everything went well. All in all, a very productive weekend….
… Okay, that’s not really true since we didn’t get a chance to work on our comics. Oh well, next weekend I guess. And two last Mac related things: here’s a “lost” video from the Mac’s public unveiling in 1984 and another Steve Jobs video, this one featuring him showing off NeXTSTEP, which is the precursor to OS X.