I haven’t posted anything here in days, but I have a reason. Sit back, my friends, and let me spin you a tale of  sadness and woe that resulted in the hunt for the mystical leopard…

My dear sweet mother recently gave me an iMac G5, with a gorgeous 21″ screen. Maybe it’s only 20″, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it is a much larger screen than the small laptop I currently use for all my “work.” I was extremely excited at the possibility of finally being able to actually see the photos I took, and then very disappointed to discover that the G5 simply won’t run Lightroom, which requires a minimum of 2GB of RAM, and the iMac is currently equipped with only 1.5GB. Likewise Photoshop would be severely hindered, but that doesn’t matter since I don’t actually own Photoshop and don’t have $1,000 to purchase it. However, I still thought it would make a great computer for the kids to use for internet browsing, homework, posting their own photos to their blog, etc., so I burned everything on the iMac I wanted to keep onto a thumbnail drive, and inserted the OS install discs for a fresh, clean, and presumably fast and stable computer. Bear in mind as you read the rest of this that I have never used a Mac before. Ever.

The install was fairly easy, especially compared to my Windows OS install experiences. It didn’t take very long, there was no hunting for various program install discs or driver discs, and when it was over, I had a nice, clean desktop all ready to go. That was the last I saw of my happiness for about three days. For starters, I suddenly couldn’t connect wirelessly to the internet. After much research online using  my Windows laptop, I discovered that my version of Mac OS X was 10.3.6. OK, so what? Well, 10.3.6, while attempting to connect wirelessly, asked for a password to my network, which I provided, but was continually informed was incorrect, because it was trying to connect with the WEP protocol, and my network uses the more secure WAP2 protocol. What to do? Well, I first tried converting my wireless network into one using WEP. The result? None of my computers would connect wirelessly. That’s right. None of them. After hours spent moving computers and routers and modems around the house to connect them with ethernet cables, I was finally able to get my laptops to connect to the internet, after resetting the router to use the WAP2 protocol. Back on the ‘net, I figured out that the Mac had been at version 10.5 before the reinstall, so I figured that I would just have to update and upgrade the Mac’s OS.

My research told me that I couldn’t upgrade from 10.3 to 10.5, so I found the updates to go to 10.3.9 from 10.3.6, hoping to then upgrade to 10.4, then to the highly sought after 10.5. 10.3.9 was a total nightmare. The only thing that Safari would connect to on the ‘net was the Apple store. Seriously? Yes, it’s true. I couldn’t even Google Google without Safari shutting down. More research with a Windows laptop (which worked perfectly, by the way) showed that there was apparently some kind of problem with Safari and Java. I tried all manner of workarounds, from updating Java, to disabling it in Safari’s preferences, to using another browser like Firefox and even *gasp* Internet Explorer. None of the Safari workarounds made any difference, Firefox refused to display web pages and kept popping up windows telling me I needed to update Firefox right now, and Internet explorer simply showed one blank page after another. And I still couldn’t connect to my network wirelessly.

Another fresh install of the Mac’s OS and another round of updates with the foolish hope that I had done something wrong the first time around yielded the exact same results. I was now discovering that the fanciful notion I had previously had that Apple computers were far superior to Windows computers in terms of performance, security, and reliability were simple foolishness on my part. I visited one Apple forum after another seeking knowledge on my mysterious Mac, and came to discover that Apple products (at least their computers) present their owners with all the same problems that Windows computers do, but they look way cooler.

Eventually I learned enough to figure out that the 10.3 OS had been fairly buggy all along, and many of the updates, up to and including 10.3.9, rarely fixed the OS’s glitches, but always introduced new ones, and Apple never actually provided fixes for all these problems. I take that back. The solution was to upgrade the OS (for a fee, of course) to OS 10.4, codenamed TIGER. My version, 10.3.6, was only PANTHER. Everybody knows that tigers are way more awesome than panthers. But wait. Those wonderfully informative Apple forums were full of discussions about all of the pitfalls of TIGER. Great. Now what was I gonna do? The solution, apparently, was to upgrade to OS X version 10.5, codenamed LEOPARD. Most people seemed quite pleased with the stability and usability of LEOPARD, and its ensuing updates. Finally, I had my answer. Not only would LEOPARD allow me to connect wirelessly with my Airport Extreme, it would also allow me to run some software I wanted to try out specifically on the Mac, such as GIMP and Paint Tool SAI. Sweet! I knew (after viewing the Apple store over and over while trying to view any other web page), that the absolute latest version of OS X was MOUNTAIN LION, which comes after LION, which comes after SNOW LEOPARD, which comes after LEOPARD, which is what I am after. An upgrade to MOUNTAIN LION from LION can be purchased for only $20, so of course I thought, “How expensive could the outdated LEOPARD possibly be?” Obviously even I, with my anorexic bank account, would be able to soon procure a LEOPARD of my very own, and life would again be good.

Nope. An install DVD of LEOPARD costs anywhere from $150 to $250 online, well out of my price range, and can’t even be purchased as an upgrade from the Apple store. You can buy TIGER for about $60. Why is LEOPARD so expensive? Apparently, it’s the OS that Apple got right. Even though it’s two generations old, ancient in the tech world, it’s still wildly popular. So for now, I have an iMAC, the very first Apple product I’ve ever owned, sitting on my desk with its big, huge, beautiful screen turned off. It’s hardwired to my network, but its connection to the internet is slower and laggier than my very first Windows ’95 dial-up connections…meaning it’s worthless. It won’t run any of the software I want to use, even though it has the hardware to do so, simply because of its “user friendly” OS that actually gets more useless if I update it. Sigh.

My mother might give me her latest iMac, and I hope she does, because I’ve researched it and found that it will run everything I want it to, from Lightroom to Pixelmator to Painter 12, all without a glitch. It also has a gorgeous huge screen, tons of drive space, and is running LION, which is also a pretty good OS, even for Apple. If she does give it to me (I would really appreciate it, Mom!!), I have already decided that I will not change a thing. No reinstall, no formatting, nothing. I don’t care if I have to log in as “Gramma” every day, it will be worth it to finally have a computer that not only functions well, but one where I can actually see what I’m working on. However, my hunt for the elusive LEOPARD would not be over. It may take me awhile to save the money, but eventually I will hunt the LEOPARD down and install it on the G5. It’s not about making the machine usable anymore; it’s about victory, about beating the odds, about overcoming adversity.

Well, really it’s just about showing that iMac who’s boss, but so far I’m losing.


~ by kbfotografix on November 25, 2012.

One Response to “EEERRRG! AAARRGG!!”

  1. That was way complicated and confusing. But hey, cute pic of puppy dawg to make up for it 😉

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