So there I sat Friday morning, an hour away from an online meeting, surrounded by 5 robust computers, unable to do anything I needed, ready to tear my hair out. Some of the problems I brought on myself, some were beyond my control.
My first mistake was trying to do a shortcut installation of a CD full of fonts the night before. On my MacBook Pro, I was gradually, painstakingly installing them in Fontbook one at a time. But on my desktop Mac I tried to take a shortcut and copy a ton of folders directly into the Font folder. The fonts seemed to work fine in Fireworks and Dreamweaver, but when I tried to open Word, I got a popup window telling me about a corrupt font. I clicked “Ok” (the only option) and up popped another one. When I realized this was going to happen for each of the thousands of fonts I had copied, I forced Word to quit. “Crap, gotta deal with that soon,” I thought, and used a different word processor.
The next morning, an hour before my meeting, I went to open the Powerpoint presentation I’d need to reference in the meeting. The same thing happened — I wasn’t going to be opening the presentation on my iMac. Unfortunately, I don’t have Office on my laptop Mac, so I was going to have to turn to one of the PCs. I booted up the nearest one, and turned back to my iMac to see if I could solve the font problem. After several minutes I realized the PC wasn’t booting. It was trying — over, and over, and over. The reset button was stuck, and it was booting over and over, never quite making it. No time to mess with that — I moved onto the next PC. It booted fine, but the wireless keyboard batteries were apparently dead. I ran downstairs to scrounge for batteries. Couldn’t find any. Did I think to grab a wired keyboard from a different PC and plug it in? No I did not. OK, one computer left, and it’s the old PC laptop.
When I said earlier I was surrounded by 5 robust computers, I lied. I was surrounded by 4 robust computers and one rather slow machine. It’s a decent PC — a newish X41 Tablet — but it’s only got 256k RAM, so it’s dead slow. I knew it would be 15 minutes or so before the thing booted, updated, and finally downloaded the 11MB file, so I decided to tackle the font problem. I decided to simply delete all the fonts in folders. Bad idea. Suddenly the IM conversation I was having with Susan turned to gibberish. My keyboard was responding to my typing, but not with the correct letters. My email and stickies no longer displayed correctly. I had broken my Mac.
I watched my PC laptop struggle to get the file open. I tried to launch YM on it, but it was too busy struggling with Powerpoint to respond.
So there I sat, with all this technology around me, unable to do a damn thing.
Just my luck: the meeting got moved out an hour.
I was able to fix the font thing. To do so I accessed the Library via the Macintosh HD (as opposed to from my home). The font folder there contains the default set (or the right set, at any rate). I copied them, and pasted them into Home > Library and I was good to go. It was that simple. I loved my Mac again.
The meeting went fine, although there was no speakerphone on the other end, so my “call in” was a cell phone sitting on the table — I had to ping them via IM if I wanted to talk.
We had a good laugh about having bad technology karma for the morning, but man was it frustrating. I’m still not back 100%. My Windows installation on my main Mac is hosed, and I don’t know yet if it’s a Parallels issue, a Windows CD issue, or a CD Drive issue. But I’m up and running again anyway. But I’m really ready for technology to get another order of magnitude simpler and more reliable.