27th December 2007

A New Year’s Gift for Your Favorite Coders

Cash for CodersOften we take for granted the faceless (and sometimes nameless) programmers who provide us with all the wonderful tools, utilities, and scripts that we find freely available on the internet. Take for example the tools used on this very blog that you’re reading. Anyone who uses WordPress, and takes advantage of even a fraction of the free Themes and Plugins, knows what I’m talking about. But while they are free for us to use, someone put in some long hours to produce the code that enables us to have our own little happy home on the ‘net.

So this year I decided to save a bit of my Christmas budget and spend it on on donations to the coders whose tools I use most, to help them start off the New Year with a smile. I’d also like to spotlight one whose name is all over my Plugins list!

Anyone who uses WordPress plugins is probably familier with Lester “GaMerZ” Chan, a student in Singapore who, amongst his many talents, produces some of the coolest and most useful plugins, such as WP-Print, WP-Polls, WP-PostRatings, WP-Stats, WP-Sticky, and a number of other great WordPress Plugins.

Take stock of all the plugins, tools, and code snippets you use – have you remembered to send the person responsible for them a thank you, and maybe a small token of appreciation? Very few coders get rich from their freelance projects, but the small trickle of donations keeps them motivated to continue to support them, and to write new freebies for us too.

So to all you generous coders out there – my best wishes for a prosperous New Year, and if I come across your site and goodies, and use them, rest assured I’ll send you a few dollars.

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posted in General Ramblings | 2 Comments

17th December 2007

Leopard Upgrade Failure – A Happy Ending!

If you read my prior post detailing my frustrating experience trying to upgrade my PowerBook to Apple’s most current version of OX X 10.5 (Leopard), you may be interested in knowing that there is now a happy ending to my saga.

And the GOOD news is that it turns out that there was NOTHING WRONG with the Leopard Install DVD as I’d originally thought (and really, who wouldn’t think so when that’s what the error message generated told me?). If you don’t feel like reading the entire previous post, here’s the brief recap:

Bought the retail version of Leopard at my local Apple store. Spent a couple of weeks researching any problems I might encounter as detailed by others, removed any possible conflicting applications, backed up my entire hard drive, and then started the upgrade. Passed the integrity check, but halfway through the install of the new OS it barfed. Gave me a message indicating that my “source media is damaged”. Got a replacement from Apple. Same problem. Got another replacement from Apple. Same problem.

Hmmmm……what are the chances that I’d get THREE damaged install DVDs? Not likely. So I finally did what I SHOULD have done in the beginning (after the first error)……assuming the DVDs are fine (which they in fact are), then MAYBE the problem is with my PowerBook.

I eliminated the DVD SuperDrive as the problem, since it had no trouble reinstalling the original OS and upgrading it back up to Tiger before I tried again with the replacement Apple sent me. The drive had been wiped clean, so no possible software conflicts. That left only hardware upgrades, of which I’d made only one since I bought the thing. I upgraded the RAM about a year or so ago.

My PowerBook came with 1GB of RAM, but since I do a lot of graphics-intensive design work, even when traveling (which is the only time I use my PowerBook), I decided to bump that up to 2GB, and bought new memory from Crucial.com (it was roughly half the price for the same RAM as Apple sold).

Luckily, I still had the original memory (I’d intended to sell it on eBay, but never got around to it). So I put back in the original memory sticks and VOILA! Leopard installed JUST FINE! AND after rebooting I re-installed the new (Crucial) memory which also worked JUST FINE! There is nothing at all wrong with the Crucial memory, it seems Leopard just didn’t like anything that was non-original.

Now why didn’t the original error message just tell me clearly that it didn’t like my replacement RAM?? Something like “hey we’re detecting that something is different about this computer and we don’t like it” instead of “your source media is damaged”?? It certainly would have saved me TONS of time and hair (yes I tore quite a bit of it out over this), not to mention the HOURS I spent on the phone with Apple, and the two replacement DVDs they sent me.

I want to give HUGE KUDOS to the great folks at Apple Care – they were very kind, helpful, professional, and patient, and with very few questions and NOT A HINT of skepticism they sent me TWO replacement DVDs. I did call them back and told them how I finally resolved the problem just in case it helps them to help someone else.

So if you haven’t yet installed (or upgraded to) Leopard, be sure to consider any hardware upgrades you may have made – you might not have the same problem I did, but if you do, check out your upgraded components first.

In another couple of weeks I’ll post my review of Leopard – so far I like what I see, and have had no other problems, but I need more time to dig in and really give it a thorough testing.

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posted in General Ramblings | 4 Comments