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My mac is haunted

In general, I’m quite happy with my Mac. It “just works” most of the time, and I don’t have the screw around with it to do what I would expect it to do. However, there are a small number of things that it doesn’t do right; they all small enough to be annoying but not show-stoppers:

  • I think the filters/speakers on the left/right of my keyboard is dirty/clogged. Just moving my hands over them causes the screen to dim. Brian tells me that lots of other people have been complaining about this since the 10.3.8 update — perhaps this one will get fixed soon.
  • I cannot play to Airport Extremes through my iTunes. I can see them listed in itunes in the bottom right, but when I try to play to them, nothing happens — music keeps coming out of my machine, not the airport extreme. This has happened to me in at least 2 different places.
  • My Codetek virtual desktop sometimes misbehaves. It sometimes flips off to another screen and then flips back. This usually happens when I’m flipping to another screen — e.g., I’ll flip flip flip (i.e., 3 three desktops away), but Codetek will go to the 4th desktop, and then flip back to the 3rd.
  • If I have a message half-composed in Mail, if I switch off to another application, I’ll frequently get a popdown window saying “The message cannot be saved.” However, if I switch back to the compose window and hit Apple-S, the message saves properly in the Drafts folder.
  • I have the full Acrobat reader installed, but if I pull up any PDF document in it, it will not print more than 1 page. More specifically, if I print the document from within Acrobat, Acrobat goes through the motions of printing all N pages (i.e., I see the dialogue of it and it lists that it’s printing N pages), but only one page comes out of my printer. I actually think that this is a problem with my print setup at home — my Mac automatically finds the CUPS print server on my Linux workstation (to which there is an HP laser jet attached). I’m guessing that there’s some kind of wonkyness there in the data that the Mac sends and CUPS is able to understand. As further proof of this, I have never been able to get documents to print in landscape mode from my Mac (I select landscape in the print setup dialogue, but they come out on the printer in Portrait).

Has anyone else seen these kinds of things? Any hints would be appreciated…


Here’s some more things (added after the original post) that my Mac does:

  • Emacs periodically freezes and I have to “Force quit” (this is the Carbon emacs that I download from Brian)
  • That same emacs, when used with “-nw” goes into a spinning loop of death and needs to be kill -9’ed from a different window
  • It never remembers wireless networks that don’t have WEP passwords (even though it asks me if it should remember them for the future)
  • MS Office will typically (but not always) launch behind all other windows, even if I’ve double clicked on (for example) Excel and sat there waiting for it (i.e., not changing the focus to anything else)


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Comments (4)


have you tried to do a full wipe and reinstall everything?


I’ve considered this, but really don’t want to invest the time to make it happen. I’ll probably just wait for 10.4 and do a full re-install then. :-)

God, that sounds so… Windows-like… But on the Adobe front, you might want to try deleting ~/Library/Preferences/com.adobe.Acrobat.plist (or whatever the file is). I’ve had bad things happen when .plist files get corrupted. Of course, they usually get corrupted because I’m stupid and fire up emacs to screw with things… But that’s another issue.

Everyone I know who uses a Mac reports some quirks with the Microsoft products they use - but all of the quirks are different.

Powerpoint shows a translucent outline of the object your moving, however when I click to place my object on the screen, powerpoint drops the object 1/8” off from where I put it. My brain has learned to compensate for this…so when I use a powerpoint without this problem, it takes me a couple of times to figure out why it keeps dropping it in the correct spot. (Other apps like Omnigraffle have no problem with me using my trackpad and placing things correctly)

When I am about to give a presentation - I have the powerpoint slide showing in Show mode. But when I connect a projector to my laptop, the screen flashes to my X11 window (it will even open X11 if X11 is not open). This may not be a Powerpoint thing…but it’s wierd.

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