Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gibbering Idiot Unable to Operate Word's Most Intuitive Machine

Well, you know, these things never go entirely smoothly. At least they never do at the Whitman house.

We bought the three-year extended warranty. Given our current track record, it just seemed like a wise thing to do. So in attempting to register the warranty and ensure that we were covered, I discovered that I needed something called an Apple ID. Okay, no big deal. So I went to the Apple support site and attempted to create an Apple ID. The first three times (all after re-typing name, address, phone, and some nineteen-digit alphanumeric monstrosity whose purpose I forget, etc.) were unsuccessful. Somebody had already claimed the Apple IDs I coveted. The fourth time I was able to create a unique Apple ID. Swell. I was then able to use my Apple ID to link to the correct page, and register my iMac. Except I couldn't make it happen. The serial number of the machine is on the back of the machine, as well as on the box. I checked them both, and they were both clearly labeled as "Serial Number." Same number. Cool. That's the number I entered when prompted to do so. I checked and double checked and triple checked. The error message told me that the serial number wasn't recognized. So ... sometime this evening I'll attempt to talk to a real human being and get my iMac registered. The entire process, up to this point, has only taken, oh, about an hour and fifteen minutes. And we still don't have an official extended warranty.

Then there is the mystery of attempting to set up email accounts that will, in theory, allow us each to have email addresses ending in There is a nice, handy, friendly wizard that walks us through the process. And we (as in three of us, who all attempted this) have invariably ended on the last screen with the message, "Unable to create email account." How informative. I have no idea what we're doing or not doing to end up with uncreatable accounts. We seem to have a special knack for these types of things.

We have an external hard drive (where virtually our entire digital lives are backed up) that seems to be recognized some times, but not others. Who knows why? Not me.

Then there is iTunes. All our music files reside on the external hard drive because I didn't want them hogging the (formerly limited) hard drive of our former PC. Now that we have a 500GB hard drive it's not a big deal, but since they're already on the external drive, I'd prefer to keep them there. Except iTunes doesn't recognize the fact that we have, between three of us, roughly 60GB of music files on the external hard drive. iTunes comes up, and is as pure and blank as a fresh snowfall. On the occasions when I can actually navigate to the external hard drive, the directories where I know, where I am absolutely positive, our music resides, show nothing in them. This is not good, and there is, of course, no way to go from the iPod to iTunes, which would help us resolve this little dilemma. It only works the other way.

I am a reasonably intelligent guy. I have three college degrees. And I hear all the marvellous tales of how intuitive iMacs are, how they virtually run themselves, and I end up feeling like a gibbering idiot.

I have yet to install Age of Empires III, but I'm hoping that the process will go smoothly. After a night like last night, all I really want to do is conquer the world. Maybe I'll get around to it this weekend.


Anonymous said...

Hey Andy,

.Mac is not worth the money. Stay away from it if you can. It's kind of a $80/year "apple tax" once they get you hooked.

Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to say whether Macs are really intuitive, since I've worked on them for over 15 years. Sorry the first taste was so bizarrely tedious.

I can't really tell you why the Apple ID and .Mac processes weren't working for you. (Although I agree with bd that the .Mac account generally isn't worth the money unless some of the syncing features are really important to you.)

As for iTunes... perhaps you've tried this already, but the way you hook iTunes up to an external library should be the following:

1. go to "Preferences" under the "iTunes" menu.
2. click on the option marked "Advanced"
3. the first option at the top of that screen should allow you to change the location of your iTunes music library to your external drive.

If that doesn't work for you, then it's possible that there's something about the way the drive has been formatted (if you've been using it with Windows) that is making it balk. I couldn't really tell you what that might be, though.

Apple doesn't let you copy from the iPod to iTunes (they claim to be worried about pirates. arrr...). But there are third-party apps that will let you do so, if it comes to that. I don't have a recommendation off the top of my head, but I could probably come up with one if you really needed it.

C's Mom said...

I have nothing functionally intelligent to send your way -- just my sympathy that stuff like this is do frickin' fracken' hard to pull together...Tim might be able to help you -- computers tend to obey in his presence. I think it's a force field thing.