Monday, December 17, 2007

The joys of upgrading, aka, sometimes thing go bad

Today I posted this on BMAC's Q&A listserv regarding my experience upgrading to Leopard, 10.5.

This saga needs a title like, "The trials and tribulations of your everyday user..."

The first thing I did was brilliant - I did not upgrade until I finished my tax course at Bentley College. I kept all my notes and wrote my paper using Word 2007 (Bentley standard) running in VMWare Fusion. I finished the course on Tuesday and on Thursday started upgrading.

The upgrade worked great and I immediately ran the software update and got the system to 10.5.1. I then tried to install bootcamp. Bootcamp could not make a partition. The error message said to backup the hard drive, reformat it and restore.

OK, except I don't have a spare hard drive for the backup. I had been using a 120GB drive for backups and it has my only pre-Leopard backup. I currently have a 160 GB drive in my MacBook and I've used almost 120GB. I've been planning to use Time machine so off I go to Micro Center and buy a new 500GB external drive for approximately $180.

I go home and start to work. First I take an old firewire 20GB drive and reformat and install Leopard so it will be a bootable OS in case of emergency. Second, I partition the 500GB drive so I have one 20GB partition and the rest as a second partition. I take the 20GB partition and also make is a bootable OS - you know, in case of emergency. I test each drive to make sure I can boot from each drive, i.e., change the startup disk and restart. Everything is working great. Then I use one of my favorite apps - Super Duper. I copied my internal Leopard drive to the external 500GB drive, reformat the internal drive and restore.

After the restore nothing works. I get a gray Apple startup screen with a gray spinner...and that's it. It doesn't see the external drives. It's as blind as a bat.

Why? Because I didn't follow the damn directions like I should have. Earlier in the week I knew that Super Duper was not yet Leopard compatible and when it came time to do a copy and restore I forgot and used Super Duper. Now let's be clear - I love Super Duper and this was my fault, Super Duper was innocent.

Hmmm, what to do? Off I go and call Jon Duke...again. We had already chatted about the 500GB drive purchase. We chat and come up with one or two strategies. I didn't tell Jon about using an incompatible version of Super Duper because I hadn't yet realized my boo-boo. I attempt to use Diskwarrior to save the day. Oh wait, I have version 3.0 and you need 4.0 for Intel based Macs. Ok, I'll go online and upgrade. Oops, you can't upgrade online. You can only receive an upgrade via US mail. Fine. I go online and purchase a new full version. I didn't want to go borrow a copy because it’s Sunday and it's snowing and I remember what Thursday's commute from hell was like.

So now I have Diskwarrior almost installed on my G3. First I make a backup of Diskwarrior 3.0 to CD and delete it from the G3. Now I unzip Diskwarrior 4.0. Oh wait. Per the instructions you need to be logged in as an administrator to run it. OK. I go into administrator mode and of course I don't see Diskwarrior any more because it's on another user's desktop. OK, breathe Gary. I struggle and resolve that. Then I startup the Macbook in target disk mode and at least that works. I run Diskwarrior and it almost works. Asking Diskwarrior to attack a 160GB drive from a G3 with a max'd out ram of approximately 640MB is just too much. It tries but comes to a screaming halt. OK, it didn't scream but that's because all the resources were max'd out and the G3 was busy spinning a beachball.

What? I know the Pats game is on. I'll be there in a minute or two. Just as soon as I....Hmmm, what should I do next? OK, let's go with Archive and Install. I visited the Apple store on Saturday and that's what they suggested. It was also strategy number 2 that Jon and I worked out. I run Archive and Install and the Mac likes me again. But I'm not so sure about the archive. As a matter of fact it seems to want to hurt me. I look around and try to compare the new system and what's in the previous system folder. It’s not making sense. Of course I forgot that I was logged in as administrator versus my normal login and so things are going to look different. But I didn't realize that. Instead I attempt to move things around. Another bad idea. Luckily I soon realize that I'm merely going to shoot myself in the foot a few more times if I continue moving stuff around. OK, Gary, try to relax. Have a beer. You better make that at least two.

I decide to fail back to my old pre-Leopard backup. I reformat the internal hard drive...again. I open the sparseimage (Thank you Super Duper) and drag it to the newly reformatted drive. I run Diskwarrior to check things out and clean up any problems. I then upgrade to Leopard for the nth time (I've lost count). Leopard seems happy.

Apparently all my user accounts didn't come over. I set up each user account. Now here's a question - do you remember the short name you gave to each account? You're gonna need it. Luckily I remember and each account is matched up with its home folder. Oh wait. I did this under my normal login name. My normal login name should be a standard account but it's now an administrator account. So now I need to log in and change account settings. OK, that's done.

However, my data is now a few weeks old. I go to the 500GB external drive that has a copy of the original (first) Leopard upgrade that also has my current data. I search through my home folder and take a stab at what's missing and drag in from the external hard drive. What do you mean invalid privileges? Don't you know who I am?! I own you! Breathe Gary. Maybe another beer is in order. Let's see, do a “get info” on each folder and add the appropriate user to the Permissions. Damn, forgot to apply to enclosed items.

OK, let's take a look and if we got everything. Looks alright, but since I'm not sure where everything is stored I really don't know what I've got. Time to jump into the deep end of the pool. I'm going to activate Time Machine and save what I have. The cost? The data on the 500GB drive is the only current backup I have of my data and I'm going to blow it away. I still have the old backup on another drive but it is a few weeks old. Here we go, bye-bye data. I work through the complicated Time Machine settings (read humor) - that's one button to assign the drive and another to turn on Time Machine.

Time to stop. It's now 11:30 PM Sunday. The journey began Thursday night.

The outcome so far:

1. The Mac is basically happy again.

2. Time Machine is working.

3. Email works but I can't delete things. Some kind of IMAP voodoo.

4. iWeb - most of it came back except of the last page that I posted. The page exists on the web but it isn't in iWeb. I'll figure it out.

5. Parallels and VMware Fusion are toast. I'll attempt to uninstall Parallels and re-install Fusion.

6. I now get a bunch of dialog boxes when I restart saying I have a bunch of system extensions improperly installed. Apparently I'm suppose to upgrade the offending product or reinstall it. Unfortunately it doesn't tell me the name of the offfending app. I'll figure it out...somehow.

And by the way, I haven't yet tried to implement bootcamp for the second time. Hostages sound like a good idea.

But before I do that, where's Jon Duke's number....

I hope you enjoyed the saga.

Gary Harding

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How can you be wrong if you do everything right?

You do the right thing and what happens? Well, if you're running for president you're still found to be wrong.

Last year the Boston Globe reported that illegal immigrants were working at Mitt Romney's house in Belmont, MA. The company Romney hired to provide landscaping services had hired illegal immigrants. As reported in today's Boston Globe, Romney discussed the situation with the owner of the landscaping company, "After this same issue arose last year, I gave the company a second chance with very specific conditions," Romney said in the statement. "They were instructed to make sure people working for the company were of legal status. We personally met with the company in order to inform them about the importance of this matter. The owner of the company guaranteed us, in very certain terms, that the company would be in total compliance with the law going forward.

"The company's failure to comply with the law is disappointing and inexcusable, and I believe it is important I take this action," Romney said.

Romney's account differs from that of landscape company owner Ricardo Saenz, who said that Romney didn't press the issue of whether his workers were in the country illegally".

I must admit I find Ricardo Saenz's statement hard to believe.

Were Romney's actions wrong? For example, should he or a member of his campaign staff asked for and examined the documents of the workers? NO! Imagine the headlines, "As in the days of Nazi Germany, Romney asks workers for papers". It is the responsibility of the employer to execute the I-9 form and examine the documents. Should Romney have asked to see the I-9 forms? NO! The I-9 contains personal information, namely, a social security number and that is confidential information belonging to the employer.

Got to for the rules regarding the I-9.

Should Romney have terminated the landscaping service immediately back in December 2006? NO! Again, imagine the uproar about how he should have given the firm a second chance to take the appropriate corrective action.

The Globe article states that one of the illegal immigrants told the employer that he was illegal. The worker then later provided the employer with forged documents. As per the I-9 rules, it is not the responsibility of the employer to verify the authenticity of the documents.

So what should have been done?

First, everything was done correctly, unless the employees provided documents that obviously appeared to be fakes. At that point the employees must be suspended until proper documentation can be provided. The employer is at fault if the employer knew that the documents were fake and continued to employ the illegal immigrants.

Second, nothing else should have been done in the past and terminating the landscaper today is the proper action.

The political pundits may have a field day with this. And Romney will suffer for doing everything right.