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Death of an Era….

The era of Trinity, my beautiful Powerbook G4. She took me into the land of video and videoblogging, helped me embrace the wonder of Mac OS X, and dutifully accepted hundreds of thousands of words for novels, short stories, tech manuals, and Videoblogging for Dummies.

On Thursday, she had what can only be described as a technological cardiac arrest. Her hard drive kept spinning and spinning, without effect. After numerous reboots that resulted in a horrible, high-pitched screeching whistle sound, I finally shut her down. That night, my husband was able to resurrect her, and Friday morning I ran Disk Repair, then immediately ran a backup.

It was timely. Yesterday, more cascading failures and the disk repair is unable to repair the damage. At 10:00 PM, the hard drive started screaming again during Disk Repair, and I shut her down. I think I have lost her for good this time. I had planned to retire her in favor of a MacBook this Spring, but it is heartbreaking nonetheless. I hardly had time to say goodbye.

R.I.P. Trinity

2003-2007

iSync stops recognizing my cell phone

It’s like the fun with iSync just never ends.

I have a Nokia 6682 cell phone with service from Cingular. This thing, despite being my third unit due to defects in the previous two, is terrific. It does it all. Video, photos, Symbian apps– and it syncs with my Mac like a dream!

Or, it used to. By now, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that I have had more than a fair share of problems with iSync on my Mac lately. First, I had to re-install Mac OSX because .Mac wouldn’t recognize my login (this after six months of it quietly not syncing, without ever telling me it had failed. Bitch.) Then, iSync magically stopped working one day.

Well, I was at a meeting on Thursday night, and I decided to Sync my cell phone to my Mac. After all, I had time to kill, and my phone was within arm’s reach. At this point, iSync has only two things to put in sync with each other– my computer and my phone. No PDAs, no .Mac, no second computers…. The iPod isn’t handled with iSync anymore, even. What could go wrong?

Uh, yeah. So, the Mac spins its little wheels for a while and finally iSync pops up a message that says it can’t find my phone, and maybe my phone is turned off or not within range?

*groan*

I could connect to the phone using Bluetooth without a problem, and could send files back and forth, so I knew it wasn’t strictly a Bluetooth hangup.

I found it in the Apple knowledge base this time, which makes this one of the first times I’ve have a Mac problem that was quickly solved by official Apple documentation. When your iSync suddenly stops being able to find your cell phone and powering the phone off and on again doesn’t resolve it, your phone’s iSync profile is hosed, and you need to remove it and re-install it.

Which is exactly what I did. Instructions for the technologically clueless follow, but if you set your Mac up to reach your cell phone in the first place, you’ll be able to get it.
Continue reading iSync stops recognizing my cell phone

Mac OS X: iSync stopped working fix

OK, here is a followup to this post, about the Mac sync failing because it couldn’t login. Two weeks later, my .mac account expired, but I also couldn’t get iSync to sync my cell phone and my Mac.

After reinstalling Mac OS X, my installation of Missing Sync stopped working, and rather than re-install it, I thought long and hard about whether or not I really needed that PDA after all. Since I never carried it anymore, and I only used it for one program, I went hunting for a replacement. Alas, nothing can truly take the place of that excellent work of simple elegance, but I eventually found another piece of software that would do the job on my non-Palm cell phone.

Every time I ran iSync, however, it wouldn’t sync the Palm, and it gave me an error message. So, since I’d decided I could do without it, I removed the PDA from iSync.

And that’s when iSync stopped working.

I’d click to launch it, and it would bounce up and down in the start bar, but then… nothing. It would stop bouncing and the little arrow would never appear to let me know it was an open app. If I switched to it, the menu bar showed the iSync and File menus, but if I clicked, I couldn’t get them to drop down.

So, it’s off to Google, and then the Apple Support boards for help.

Now, if you’ve come here from Google, you need to know that the Apple Support discussion forums are one of the very best sources for unofficial information on how to fix stuff that goes wrong with your Mac. They are also not indexed by Google– you pretty much have to search them using the Apple site. This is also where I found the fix for the earlier problem with my .Mac login.
So it was that I cruised over there and found  this post which helped immensely (ok, be fair– it completely solved the problem). So, here it is: Continue reading Mac OS X: iSync stopped working fix

Mac OS X Fix: iTunes can’t connect (-9813) AND .Mac can’t connect errors

This is a tech note for people who are also having this same frustrating problem.

For the last six months or so, I’ve been unable to shop at the iTunes Music Store. I could connect and browse and even listen to clips, but I could not purchase anything, and I could not subscribe to free podcasts.

I’ve also been unable to sync my computer to my .mac account, or change my .Mac settings in system preferences. I could access the .Mac settings, but I got an error message that .Mac couldn’t connect, login failed, when I tried to click the Sync tab in the preferences. When I tried to access the iDisk preferences, I received an error message to check my network connection. When I tried to access my iDisk from the Finder, however, I had no problem.

While it gave me no end of frustration when I try to use these services, I use them so rarely, I tend to forget that I have the problem until I actually need to buy music or access my address book from the road. The .Mac issue was unusual, because my Mac doesn’t give me a warning when I run iSync and can’t actually sync to .Mac, that I didn’t notice until November when I was in a foreign country without my cell phone or address book, and I discovered that my .Mac address book was five months out of date (I discovered this, of course, because the first person I wanted to mail a postcard to was my sister, who recently moved, and the online address book had her old address. Note to others: when you travel, always send postcards to someone who moves a lot.).

I had already tried the Apple support email, which gave me a series of troubleshooting tasks which weren’t very well documented and which, more to the point, did not actually solve the problem. Two weeks later, they sent me a follow-up survey to see how satisfied I was with the support experience, without actually responding to my follow-up responses.

*sigh* Here are just some of the things I did to try to fix the .Mac problem:

  • Ran Keychain First Aid.
  • Deleted all my .Mac keychains
  • Tried to find and restore the X509Anchors keychains, which all the online forums told me were corrupted. Mind you, Keychain First Aid did not report this corruption.
  • Ran the Mac OS X 10.4 installation CD and ran Network Diagnostics and Disk First Aid.

At that point, the network diagnostics showed that Appletalk wasn’t talking, but until then, everything reported as being just fine. Could it be that Apple is using this protocol for .Mac and the iTunes Music Store? This is about the point where I realized the two issues were probably related and were probably beyond my abilities to diagnose and fix.

I went back to the Apple support discussion boards. These boards can be a wealth of information, because the users actually provide suggestions, rather than blaming your network connection, or saying “yes, a lot of users are having that problem. Can you answer some questions for us?” the way Apple support seems to be doing lately. That’s not a knock at Apple support– I think the Apple userbase has just waaaay outstripped their ability to handle all incoming problems, and frankly, when there isn’t a solution at hand, you’re tied.

In the iTunes Music Store forums, I found a post that suggested that either restoring the X509Anchors keychains from another Mac was useful, or you could use a program to extract it from your installation disk, or you could just reinstall Mac OS X and run Software Update until your Mac is back to normal, selecting the “Backup User Files” in the Installation Options so you don’t lose everything. I don’t have another Mac to restore from, and the Keychain First Aid no longer reported a problem with my anchors, so I wasn’t sure that was really the issue.

I suspect that most people who have trouble using the iTunes Music Store don’t have a problem accessing .Mac because they don’t subscribe to .Mac. However, I cannot be certain that the two problems are actually related. I can be certain, however, that the same solution fixed them both. Nonetheless, I feel fairly confident in making this statement:

The solution to not being able to buy from the iTunes Music Store (error -9813) and not being able to access .Mac (“.Mac login failed”) is to reinstall Mac OS X 10.4 while preserving your user files.

The following is a step-by-step procedure if you don’t know how to reinstall your Mac OS X software. These instructions are for fixing the .Mac and iTunes Music Store problems in Mac OS X 10.4.8. You can find out what your software version is by clicking the Apple menu and selecting “About This Mac.” The version number will be displayed in very small type, probably in grey, so get out your bifocals to read it.

Note/Disclaimer: I am not an Apple employee, agent, or representative. This procedure is only what worked for me. It may or may not work for you. You might lose your data if you do it incorrectly. You might lose your data if you do it correctly, too. If you do this, you do so at your own risk.

I haven’t had any of the other iTunes Music Store problems, so I don’t think you should try this fix if the error message you get when you try to use iTunes Music Store is anything other than -9813.

Did this work? Leave me a comment to let me know if this procedure helped you or not, and if you had both the iTunes Music Store (-9813) problem, and the .Mac problem, or some other problem.

Update 1/14/07: Again, I cannot confirm any connection, but I do note that: .Mac syncs. I can shop on the iTunes Music Store. And Appletalk is talking all the time, as evidenced by my Activity Monitor program.
Continue reading Mac OS X Fix: iTunes can’t connect (-9813) AND .Mac can’t connect errors

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