Help me lazyweb!

Update: See my next post for what I think is a solution.

(I’ve noticed a bunch of people using the term “lazyweb” to mean throwing your question out to a web based audience who might know the answer off the top of their heads either instead of or as well as attempting to research the answer yourself. Works for me.)

I bought two new external drives – one to use as a TimeMachine drive for our laptops, and one to act as a Linux backup disk. I’ve had terrible luck with external USB drives – I’d say fewer than 50% have actually worked right for what I want them for, which is sitting idle 20 hours a day and then doing a nightly backup using rsync. And it’s always the fault of the enclosure, not the drive – ripping the drive out and using the drive as an internal drive and/or putting a new drive in the enclosure has proven that beyond a doubt. So this time I bought Seagate “FreeAgent”s – I figured if Seagate made the drive and the enclosure, there could be no doubt whose fault it was if it didn’t work.
Continue reading “Help me lazyweb!”

Leopard is making me see spots

Yesterday, I took my laptop into the kitchen and set it down exactly where I have been setting it down every morning since Vicki’s surgery. It said it couldn’t get a signal. So I took it out to the dining room. It still said it couldn’t get a signal. I put it down on top of Vicki’s iBook which was saying it had 4 bars of signal, and it still couldn’t get a signal. I took it out to the living room, where it got a signal but MacStumbler was saying the strength was -50 or worse. Software Update says there was an update, so I installed that. When it was done, it said it needed to reboot.

I tried shutting down important apps before rebooting, and many of them went to whirling pizzas instead of shutting down. I tried rebooting it, and as usual since I “upgraded” to Leopard, it froze up while shutting down – it gets to the point where most of the applications have shut down, but then then whirling pizza of death is the only thing happening, although the background is happily changing on schedule. So I forced a reboot, and as usual since I “upgraded” to Leopard, that failed the first time as well – I got some warning about having to rebuild some caches(?) and then when I clicked ok it froze again. So I forced another boot and that worked.

Wifi still wasn’t working right – I can get a signal in some parts of the kitchen, but not in my usual spot. And it doesn’t seem to want to unmount things – the Adobe Updater put something in the list of mounted drives, and after it was finished updating it wouldn’t leave the list. I also attached my new TimeMachine drive and after it was finished backing up overnight I was unable to unmount it. Then it started spewing popups every few seconds telling me it lost contact with my NFS mounted music collection, even though it was playing music from that collection just fine. I quit iTunes and attempted to unmount the drive, but it wouldn’t unmount either. I pulled the TimeMachine drive cable, and it gave me the stern warning about removing devices without unmounting them first.

So another attempted reboot, another failure to shut down and a forced shut down, and lo and behold it actually came up after the forced shutdown with no extra shenanigins. But by that time I was out of time so I left for work without trying to discover if I could unmount mounted drives this time or if my network connection actually works where it used to.

You know, the only reason I wanted Leopard was for TimeMachine, although the eye candy (or as Vicki says, “iCandy”) is cool, and if I’m not imagining things, I think the OS is a little less memory hungry than Tiger. But this network and drive flakyness is making me wish I’d waited for a point release.