What a mediocre day this was. I don’t say that to complain – I have no one but myself to blame, after all –

AUGH I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE – there’s a faint oscillating hum in my computer, and it’s driving me nuts. A drive must be improperly seated. I took them out the other day and replaced them, because when I’d set the computer up I had used a sled marked Drive Bay 4 in the second drive, and vice versa. This had absolutely no effect whatsoever on anything; it’s just markings on a piece of metal. But it bugged me nevertheless. I knew it wasn’t right. Isn’t that pathetic? If you understand, bless you. I knew I would change them out when I did something in the guts, and when I replaced the video card last Saturday I moved the sleds to their proper positions. This meant unscrewing the drives and reattaching them, taking care first to rub my feet on the carpet for five minutes before touching the computer.

Well, no, but when I got the video card from Skinny McLatte at the computer store, he told me to be careful putting the card in, and noted that my cotton sweater might build up a charge. Especially if I had carpet. I'm not quick to pick up condescention, but this fellow oozed it. Yes, that's me, Mr. N00b; here I am replacing a video card, which I've managed to extract from the machine all by myself instead of lugging it all to the shop and saying IT BROKE YOU FIX, and you're going to treat me like someone who pets the cat for five minutes before he touches the motherboard. Criminey. My experience with Apple Store employees is 99% positive, but this guy chapped my arse straight away. The good ones listen to what you say and detect actual small nodules of useful information; the few arrogant dique-wads can't be bothered to hear your diagnosis, because you cannot possibly know what's going wrong.

Anyway. now I have to power everything down, remove the drives, tighten the screws,  and reseat them. I’ll be back in a bit.

Back. Wow: it worked. That’s amazing. It was a trick I learned from the Apple Discussion boards, which are a tremendous source of information and affirmation; whatever is happening to you has happened to someone else. Sometimes I read random posts just to see what could happen, especially if they’re titled HELP or DESPARATE PLEASE HELP, because no one reads those. Most threads look like this:

Help! ITunes does not recognize library

I hope someone can help me because I think my music got corrupted. I opened iTunes today and all my songs are in Spanish. What can I do? I have an iMac with a hard drive and the internet.

Re: Help

Hi, welcome to the Apple Discussion Boards. Please accept this lei made entirely of white roses. There’s a problem with Rev B iMacs resetting all iTunes MP3s to Spanish versions, except for AAC-encoded songs which turn Portuguese. See this discussion also. Many people are reporting this problem, and perhaps it will be addressed in the next system update. In the meantime, have you updated everything, repaired your permissions, emptied the cache, trashed the pref file, stood on one foot and shouted KWEEPA FTANG FTANG while wiggling your fingers? Fat lot of good it did, didn’t it.

Re: Spanish??

Well I had the same prob, hoped the 10.5.1 update would fix it but it doesn’t, and iTunes only seems to fix the problem with iPhone’s unexpected activation of the hidden “Tourette’s Syndrome” function (Seriously what were they thinking? Maybe Steve just wanted to automate the process of cussing out employees, but man that thing got enabled when I was talking to my mom) so maybe it’s a language issue? Anyone tried to remove all the language packs and see if that changes the songs back to English?

Re: language

I use a program called Nuekenraip to remove critical library files whose purpose I don’t understand. It’s freeware. Remember, back up your files first and take a picture of the computer in case something goes wrong. You might want to make a plaster cast of it too.

Re: Nuekenraip

Thnx; I’ll give it a try. But why hasn’t Apple fixed this?!?!? At least seven people have been complaining about this in three threads over the last two months and NOTHING.


Okay it turns out it was a Quartz Composer Che Guevara screensaver I downloaded. At least that explains why the hard drive spun down every day between 1 and 3. Siesta! Once I changed this and disabled Spotlight and set the stacks to Fan instead of Grid everything worked and all my music is back.

(this question has been answered)

On the other hand, I have solved nearly every problem I’ve had by reading the discussion boards. When my fancy and/or schmancy new camcorder’s input into iMovie dropped out the left audio channel, it was the discussion boards that told me iMovie 8 couldn’t swallow the 5.1 surround sound, and gave specific instructions about fixing the problem inside QuickTime. It’s hard to read the boards without coming away with two conclusions: some people are really dim, and some people are frighteningly smart.

But you knew that.

Anyway. The mediocritude of the day was due to this cold; it’s not at the snuffling / sneezing stage, and probably won’t be. It’s just there. I felt like human grot, whatever that means. Did the buzzwork just fine, but everything seems encrusted with midwinter mubblefubbles. It doesn’t help that I’ve given up on the Movabletype project. I’m not the geekiest codemonkey in the world, not by a looong shot, but I do know how some stuff works, and this isn’t working. But I do want comments and trackbacks and RSS and archives and tags and all the rest, so I’m sending up a flare:

Lileks – at – mac dot com. I’m not asking for help in designing the site; I’ve done that. I just need assistance translating some very basic ideas into code that works. I’d be happy to put a “coded by” credit at the bottom of every page, too.

Otherwise? Well, even a mediocre day in America has its merits. It’s just been long and grey, that’s all.

Should be a new Smartflix column up by noon Central; give it a look. I’ll remind you again on Monday. The Diner returns next week. And now it’s off to buzz.mn – see you there, and have a fine weekend.

Gah! Forgot Bleat Radio Theater again. Well, can’t do that. Let me think  . . . okay, here’s a two-parter, concluding next week. Excellent stuff in the Omega-Man vein. Enjoy.



 See you at buzz.mn!