Posts tagged ‘Mac’

Computer Tips

Having a really rough couple of weeks. Long freak out short, I am in the process of breaking in a new computer. The catalyst for this new purchase was not joy. It was not a budgeted, planned upgrade. It was a horrible surprise. It was, in that way that only technology can be, completely unexpected, stunning, and mysterious. My work life existed. And then it didn’t.

In an effort to shift my energy away from fervently wishing I could go back in time to when I wasn’t sitting in a corner mumbling stupid-stupid-stupid while self-flagellating with monitor connectors and USB dongles, I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts to help others.

Here are my top 10 tips for having a computer:

  1. Do backups.
  2. Do more backups.
  3. Back up your backups.
  4. Back up everything, not just files but the entire system.
  5. Apple has an app for doing this automatically. When you first attempt to set it up and realize it requires other equipment to activate, go buy the equipment that very moment. Do not think, “Oof. I’ll figure that out later” and then wait 4 years to realize you never figured it out.
  6. When a help-line person suggests that you could erase your hard drive to fix problems, think long and hard before saying, “Okay.” And then think again.
  7. The vague idea that you are pretty sure you had your applications backed up is not proof of any kind that you have your applications backed up.
  8. When you run regular backups of all of your home folder, it does include any of your applications. You dumbass.
  9. It’s probably a good idea to store the licenses for your applications in a different place from inside a folder within the applications themselves.
  10. Run backups before a help desk person suddenly hands you off to their supervisor.

In short, my friends, stop whatever you are doing right now and consider what you might lose if your computer disappeared from your desk.

Do backups. They’re a life saver.

February 8, 2022 at 10:14 am 1 comment

Mac > PC

Desk_macI am (finally!) the proud owner of my very own Mac. I could tell a crazy story:  The brain-frying, hunch-backing research; the frustration of computereeze; the joy of smart and patient translating friends (thank-you Nancy, Robin, and Steve!); the highs and lows; the anticipation and disappointments; the ebay bidding; the problems, the fixes; the fear and relief; that final trip out to buy another mfdvi monitor adapter. I could tell the story of how this Mac ended up here. But the beginning of this story is better.

My fascination with Apple’s Mac started in the late 80s, when companies were making the transition to desktop computers.

I worked with a woman named Lynne. She was a colleague, a friend, a humorous human, and an all-around good egg.  She was given the opportunity (in corporate parlance, was empowered) to decide whether or not the company’s design team would get PCs or Macs. She did the research. She involved the team. With conscientious attention to detail, all due diligence, and an open, honest, for-the-best-of-all approach, decided that, for current and future needs, the Mac was the better fit.

There lived in this village a Much-Higher-Up who had a penchant for PCs and a predilection for getting his own way. He was her boss’ boss’ boss. She didn’t stand a chance. She was bullied. She was lied about. She was pressured. She was expected to cave.

She stood her ground.

It was traumatic and dramatic stuff back then. She was my friend. It was unfair, and it was disillusioning. I felt really bad for her.  But, most of all, I admired her chutzpah. I guess it showed because I was pulled aside and oh-so sincerely, oh-my-how seriously warned not to associate with her. All of the things that were wrong with that conversation couldn’t fit in a blog post, but Lynne and I laughed about it many times.

Things were never quite the same for her after that. Eventually, she got tired of fighting the lies and sick of playing the games and she got another job elsewhere. We kept in touch for a year or two, but then we lost touch. I got a call from her Mom one day, about 8 years later. Lynne had passed away. Suddenly. Tragically. She was 30 years old.

In that quirky, strange way of the brain, I realize that my fondness for the Mac is entwined forever with my fondness for Lynne. So, of course, the telling of a tale of frustration in getting a computer set up seems inconsequential. And having a heated debate over which is better — Mac or PC — is foolish.

‘Cause Macs are better. It’s what they use in heaven.

September 25, 2013 at 11:01 pm 1 comment


About three weeks ago, I was sitting on an airplane with my work laptop. Never used the computer on a plane before; have always been more of a book person when flying. But, it was going to be a long flight, and I wanted some variety. So, I turned on the work-Mac, slipped in my ear phones, and sat back to enjoy some music.

But then the music stopped, and the screen went blank as the computer turned itself off. I turned it back on and got one of those international no symbols, with the circle and the slash?

Now, those of you who know me know I am a bit technology-challenged. You likely will not be surprised by the following confession.

I thought this meant I could not use the computer on the airplane. Not as in “you don’t have permission” but as in “we’re too far from earth or some setting is searching for something and can’t find it up here in the clouds.”

Those of you who are not technology-challenged know exactly what horror that symbol announced. But, for the sake of those like me, I’ll explain. The circle stands for “O crap!” and the slash is representative of the sound “pfft.”

My hard drive was gone.

I lost a lot of stuff. Including:

  • About a thousand or so family photos, slides, and movies that I spent about 6 months gathering and digitizing last year. Had been meaning to get those onto a DVD . . . and the road to hell is now paved with my baby pictures.
  • Every setting, add-on, preference, bookmarked web page, etc.
  • A few work files. (Computer gods be praised, I had done a backup not too long ago.)
  • All of my itunes, about 180 purchases and about 10 hours of uploaded (or is it downloaded?) CDs.

I thought my tunes would still be accessible because I had itunes (with the same login) on my home pc.

O crap!

I thought, well, they’ll be on my work backup server.

And pfft!

I figured, well, these were purchased electronically, and the company will replace them. Uh . . . not according to their Help page.

The Official Policy is, basically, “Tough beans you should have done a backup you moron.”

To my credit, I have done itunes backups previously, when leaving a job or changing computers. But . . . it’s been a while.

Well, after trying the click-here-ho-ho-try-this-ha!-how-bout-here?-omg-snicker-she’s-still-trying!-heh-heh snipe hunt for over an hour, I figured that was it. But decided it couldn’t hurt to send a note to someone.

I snagged the next Contact-Us email address I found (which was completely unrelated to my question) and sent a plea. I got one of those immediate emails that say things like “We got your question! And we’ll get back to you,” which younger, less cynical types might feel pleased or even hopeful about.

But I am in my mid(ahem)-forties. It’s been quite a long time since Hope swung it’s little hobo stick over a shoulder, flipped me off, and strolled out the door.


Get this.

I heard back from Apple the very next day. Got a very friendly, very helpful note from a customer service rep (who seemed to be a real person) that demonstrated empathy for the problem, provided easy-to-understand instructions, and granted me a one-time deal of replacing all of the music purchases I had lost. FOR FREE. Couple of clicks and it was all downloading.

I am still a bit astounded.

In this day and age when overworked-ness or over-lawyered-ness or budget cuts or just plain bad manners have amped up the Useless Jagoff Meter in nearly every aspect of so-called service, there is a company—that already has my money—that helped me? Even though their Policy says otherwise? And they did it for free, without secretly adding an automatic deduction from my checking account somewhere deep in the fine print? And they were nice about it?

This my friends is what I call the international symbol for yes:

April 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm 7 comments

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