Lovely New Operating System. Shame about the software …

There are times when you just want to despair.

Take a for instance. Last week, hit with a slight glitch on my iMac, I had a brilliant thought. Rather than messing about with a slow system, surely it was time for me to update the operating system.

Now, I used to work in computing. I’m not a fool, oh no. Not me. The first thing that any sensible person will do, when offered an upgrade to the OS of his computer, is pick up the machine, detach it from any network, and run for the hills. Because we all know what a new upgrade is. It’s a small bomb that will go off almost immediately without warning.

The look that says, ‘You mug. I woudn’t have done that.’

It’s not surprising. It’s the same with cars. The best time to buy a car? When that model is just about to be (or already has been) superseded by the successor. It will have had all the glitches and technical faults ironed out. All those irritating little quirks that made the ride a little unpleasant, the minor annoyances like the computer that failed (as mine did on a saloon – the irritating little fault there was the one that cut out the engine, brakes, and everything else useful when accelerating. It did it once while overtaking an articulated lorry, while another was heading straight at me from the opposite direction. Oddly enough I have never forgotten that experience).

The equivalent on a computer is … well, read on, dear reader, read on.

I started to upload the new OS on Wednesday last week. I had a week to do a lot of work. My family went away to leave me in peace just for that reason. So, half-way through my allocated time, I sat down to load this software.

It didn’t. I tried four times to load the ruddy software, and each time it failed. Twice it went through the process of loading all the way to telling me it was about to restart the computer to bring Mountain Lion to me. The Lion was, apparently, asleep. It never materialised.

However, this could well have been due to the miserable speed of broadband in my village, so I decided to set it to run again, but this time to leave it to load overnight. I patted the iMac on the head and wandered off.

And next morning, O, frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! et cetera, and I had a wonderful new computer. Well, it felt like it.

First of all, none of my old operations worked. Now, I’m not stupid, and I knew that things were a little different. After all, I was jumping two OSs to get to Mountain Lion – for the techies, leaping from 10.6 to 10.8 – and there were tweaks.

Such as, instead of two fingers swiping to go backwards in Safari, now it’s one finger. Not a big deal, but confusing as hell when you don’t realise. Why isn’t there a little “Read this first!” Document? It would make it easier for old farts like me.

Or the other one, whereby now I have lots of “desktops”? Why? Actually, I rather like them already, but it would be nice to know what they were, why they had been designed, and how I should navigate between them. I now learn it’s by swiping two fingers over the keyboard – but it would have saved quite a lot of panic if someone had told me that. For one thing, when I thought I was swiping between two pages on Safari, and suddenly found I was in a new desktop with everything disappeared on me, I almost had a heart attack.

Still, all is well. I have the superb new OS, and I am delighted with it.

The only problem is, that they also forgot to mention that the old “PowerPC” was gone.

Now, I do not have the faintest idea what the hell this was. But I do know it’s not there now. Why? Because some redundant old rubbish software now comes up with a delightful apology, telling me that “PowerPC” isn’t there anymore so this software won’t work. And it doesn’t. Boy, doesn’t it fail beautifully.

Nothing major, of course. But for me, as a writer, there is a bit of a thing with little packages. Like, for example, Word. It is, believe it or not, rather BLOODY irritating when the software I’ve used for the last eleven years disappears.

Which is why this little piece is being typed up on Nisus Pro. It’s so far rather nice, with some pleasant tweaks, but the main thing I really like is the fact that it’s full page and working brilliantly on my screen so I can type from a good distance away, and the fact that it’s compatible with Word. And Scrivener.

The new Wordprocessor. Nisus Pro. Ideal for authors, I think!

So the iMac is functioning perfectly. Sadly, of course, things don’t go wrong one at a time. So my little G4 Powerbook now won’t work with wifi, won’t link to the web, won’t work with Word (because I reset the thing and now the original disks won’t let me open Word – I don’t have the original codes to fire them up).

It will, fortunately, work as a glorified typewriter for simple text entry. I can take it to work when I start helping students at the end of next month, and type up books in my spare time, which is a relief.

My wife is back home now. She had a lovely time away.

The first morning back, she tried to turn on her PC.

It wouldn’t work.

8 Responses to “Lovely New Operating System. Shame about the software …”
  1. Shelley Ashford says:

    Oh yes. I almost want to run for the hills when my partner says he wants to upgrade – he likes playing with computers and upgrading hardware and/or software by pieces. Except that if he gets the Hard Drive he has had his eye on for months, he needs the memory to match and the upgrade to the Video Card is absolutely necessary.
    That generally means an upgrade to me too (I get his handmedowns). Every time – tell me what you want to keep – my answer – everything. Invariably it is 6 months down the track that I discover that I can’t access a genealogy file or it has taken off all the links to photos (this has been redone so many times now – you’d think I’d learn to say no).
    I also work in an IT department (I don’t do IT) and know the dramas that occur with the “best thing since sliced bread”.
    I’ll leave off grizzling and leave you with this gem.

    “To err is human. To completely screw it up takes a computer”.


    • I’m so glad it’s not just me! Mind you, although Apple is more costly, the fact that you have a whole box without the chance of playing with boards etc does make them infinitely easier to work with. And if you buy one, your husband’s cast-offs will not invade your space so much!


  2. You have set out beautifully the reasons why I have NOT upgraded to Mountain Lion. I will do that within the context of my next computer.

    That brain-dead car: it wasn’t a Renault Laguna, was it, about 15 years ago? They were adept at trying to kill you. I had one of them, and so had Mrs J, both potentially lethal. I came to wonder whether the fault only existed in the right-hand drive model.


    • Mine was a really good SRi Cavalier. Lovely car apart from its inherent desire to commit hair kiri and take me with it. New computer, all fixed, but not before I had to change my trousers and pants!


  3. stormkhan says:

    I admit, I always “Try before you buy” any O/S. And I ask techie mates about the proposed “upgrade”. Then I ask non-techies their experience. Then I completely remove my hard drive, pop in a small spare I have , fire it up then play with the new system for a few days. Then I transfer copies of a couple of old files to the new and see what happens. Then and only then do I let the new O/S touch my old files.
    This said, I still use XP and I’m only considering getting Win7! Me? Suspicious? Darn right!


    • Hmm. I’m normally happy to let things lie for a year or so. Have to admit, though, generally Apple upgrades are genuinely useful. I was astonished recently when my laptop started to fail, and I had to reset it to the original OS. It was hard to use because it seems so outdated. Now, with multi-swipes on the mouse and the ability to work in more than one desktop, it’s vastly improved. But I’ll never be a trail-blazer for new OS or software. I cannot afford to see work evaporate due to badly thought out or tested systems!


  4. Debbie says:

    What a perfectly awful, yet decidedly amusing post for those of us not going thru it!! Hope you adjust and recover….


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