So … I hate to admit it, but after only two and a half years of use and up-to-the-minute upgrades with little in maintenance or up-keep, my iMac (one of the first flat-screen models off the line) had begun to freeze up with semi-regularity, and some applications had become unstable. Sigh. I think it was the two major OS “upgrades” instead of clean installs, first to Jaguar, then to Panther, that allowed little problems to slip in.
I’ve been working for a while to get everything in order for a buckup, format, and clean install of Panther (Mac OS X 10.3), and last night I did it. Actually, last night I spent around 8 hours fighting with trying to get my entire iTunes library backed up (which would have taken 10 minutes or so, had I an iPod) to DVDs and CDs. I eventually worked out that the problem was related to 2 corrupt MP3 files, but I’ll be sending a detailed email to Apple to explain what could have been done better, the errors I got, and as much information as I can about what went wrong. I “coastered” 6 DVD-R and 3 CD-R discs before I got all (ok, probably all) of my music backed up. Sigh.
I started copying music around 5PM. I started the clean install around 1AM. I went to bed at 3AM, after I’d started it downloading all the updates. Sadly the ISP up here disconnected me not long after that, so I’m still downloading updates now.
But I’m up and running, everything looks to be okay. I’m restoring data as I need it… I don’t just want to drop everything back in place, in case some of it was part of the problem. So, as I need something restored, I restore it. We’ll see how this goes, how much I don’t restore. And if the problems come back.
I’m pretty certain that part of the problem is that I am not simply a casual computer user. Not that I’m the sort of geek who gets in and re-writes the OS or runs terminal commands all the time, or who is constantly looking to add new cards and memory and whatever to upgrade an onld computer. No. I … I use applications that require intense amounts of system resources, and I use several of them at once. And if I’m not using resource-hungry apps like Photoshop, Quicken, Excel, Garageband, and various applications for copying DVDs, I’m running all the other apps at once: Safari (with a dozen tabs open), Mail, iChat, MSNIM, iTunes, iCal, etc… and realistically it’s some combination of the more intense and less intense, probably seven or eight at a time.
And I bought the top-of-the-line model of the flat-screen iMac on the day it debuted, but … well … I just need more computer, I think.
And I could probably do the same stuff I’m doing now on the top-of-the-line dual-G5 and still max out the system resources accidentally all the time.
I keep looking forward to the day when computers are so ridiculously fast that I’m the only person left in the world who wants more processing power, more memory, more resources, because then the industry will just stop and I’ll be left frustrated forever.
I’ve been dreaming for the last few nights … I’ve been developing in my mind a new computer model from Apple that is modular. The base unit would be a configurable (low through mid-high range) system that could stand alone, but would be partnered with additional purchasable modules that could be connected or disconnected from the base unit easily. The modules could represent, theoretically, any sort of components you wanted to upgrade, from memory to hard drives to processors. But what I want is for it to be processors. So that I’m working along, my computer isn’t going fast enough, I just order/buy another processor module, click it onto my base station (without shutting down) and I instantly have additional processing power. And I keep clicking modules onto my base station for years to come, keeping up with my needs.
See… there’s been some speculation recently by … knowledgable minds … that Apple may work with IBM to put together Mac OS X -compatible machines that run on Cell processors. This would not have to be to the exclusion of the “G5”-type processors (which are based on the Power4, and potentially soon to be based on the Power5 processors from IBM), but could power entry-level and mid-level machines… that could be modularly upgraded to high-end machines and beyond, since Cell processors work together effeciently in parallel, and can be combined … effectively in very high numbers.
And now I’m babbling.
I just want my computer to work faster.
Which it seems to be.
We’ll see if it continues.
And perhaps I shall post about something more “personal” in the near future. Or not. We’ll see.