Sunday, April 24, 2005

Why I Love Macs

Have you ever wondered, "What would happen if I
accidentally deleted my operating system kernel?" Well, I
can not tell you from experience that it's not that bad with
a Mac! I was trying to figure out why an installed program
(XSB-Prolog) wasn't working. It looked like a reinstall was
needed, so I was deleting the old version. Somehow it was
storing some files at the root level (/), so I typed
"rm xsb*". Of course, I got a "permission denied" error, so
issued the superuser version "sudo rm xsb *" Oh, wait. Did
I really put the space between 'b' and '*'? Uh, yeah.
Kernel, gone. Indexing data structures, gone. Luckily, the
kernel was in memory, so I quickly typed "unison all".
**Thank God*** that command worked and I watched with a kind
of perverted glee as I watched all my work from the last 3
days (bad bad bad to wait so long to unison...) be saved
on my remote (cmu) computer. Phew! Now what about all
those files in the generic "download" folder that aren't in
my unison tree? Could I still save those? (Dozens of cds
copied from the library that didn't get organized... bad bad
bad to wait so long to organize...) I brought the computer
to school (being careful to tell the power manager "sleep
never!"). I typed a few keystrokes and, ... keyboard gone.
Mouse gone. No interaction whatsoever. Oh, well. I can
just check out all those cds again. What about all those
pictures of my dad I collected from Nancy for his 80th bday?
I guess I can get her to send those again. (Why weren't
those backed up?) Hoping for nothing more than a day's
worth of agony reinstalling all my software and
reconfiguring everything, I put in the Mac restore dvd.
After 15 minutes, to my surprise and wonder, my old system
files were simply copied to an "Old System" directory. Not
erased. NOT ERASED???. What kind of uberOS is this?
Somehow it figured out that the old version (of which the
kernel was missing) was newer than the one I was trying to
install, so it simply copied the old system stuff to "Old
System" and restored EVERYTHING!!! I had to get some
programs from the old /usr/local and reinstall some System
Preferences stuff (like uControl) but that's it!!! It took
about 2 hours. (Update: the new iLife also died)
Anyway, I'm actually writing code now, instead of installing
software. Thanks Mac!

On the lighter side, my friend Chloe saw a book on my
shelf... Her comment:
"A Guide to Latex... (confused) Why?" :)

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