Saturday, April 5, 2014

Anthony vs. Mountain Lion

My poor Mac is dying.

I bought it in early 2008, which puts it at about 200 years old in computer years.

As I was cleaning out and organizing my files to be transferred over, I found a document from last year titled "Anthony vs Mountain Lion." I totally forgot I made it. It's the recorded history of my epic quest to update my almost-obsolete computing machine.

In July 2012, the Mountain Lion operating system was released. It took me 8 months to get it installed on my computer. 8 months. Sometimes I wonder why I don't get more things done - but this has to be why. Two-thirds of a year to check off one task.

Once it was finished, I was in such disbelief at the ridiculousness of the process that I had to write it down.

This is that story.

I don't think I've ever shared it with anyone. I'll warn you that it's long, and quite tedious. But perhaps you can relate to your own technological experience that made you lose a few hairs and break down in tears. Haven't we all had one of these?

How to Install Mountain Lion, in 42 easy steps

  1. Excitedly check Apple site every day for release of Apple’s newest OS X: Mountain Lion. 
  2. On the day it’s released, try to download it. 
  3. Find out that you can’t download it because you have such an old, ancient version of OS X.
  4. Drive all the way to Apple Store to buy any newer version; they are no longer available. Everything has gone digital.
  5. After exploring different options, call friend Robert who used to work at Apple. Robert has the files you need and agrees to give them to you.
  6. On Thanksgiving, as you are driving to Phoenix, Robert is driving the opposite direction to Tucson. As you talk to him on the phone, you probably pass each other on the freeway. Wait for another opportunity to exchange files. 
  7. The next day, on Black Friday, go to mall and buy 16G USB drive on sale that you will use to load files. 
  8. Leave mall to go meet Robert at his house, but then realize you need your things from your brother’s apartment. Return to mall to get brother’s key, go to brother’s apartment, pack up stuff, return to mall again and repark (on Black Friday) and sprint in to return key, sprint back to car, then finally get on freeway to Robert’s house.
  9. 5 minutes from destination, get call from Robert that he is leaving his house. It would take too long anyway. He is going to a cocktail bar 30 minutes away and invites you to join. Decide what the heck and keep driving to the bar.
  10. Meet Robert and give him the flash drive. Meet his friends. Take a picture with his friends and post to Instagram and Facebook.
  11. Get into Facebook chat with Robert’s friends from Spain after they comment on posted picture.
  12. Imagine going to Spain because that would be a pretty cool way to spend New Year’s.
  13. Two days later as you leave town, get flash drive with Mountain Lion files back from Robert. Decorate Christmas tree with his mom and family.
  14. Try to ignore the growing thought about going to Spain because it’s crazy.
  15. Before installing Mountain Lion back at home, decide that you need to back up your computer first. Try to save money and don’t buy a new hard drive, but use the hard drives you already have or ask friends if they know of any cheaper options. Even though a new hard drive only costs $80-$120, allow this to effectively stall your efforts and wish for something cheap or free to magically fall into your lap.
  16.  Officially distracted from your original goal, which has not been achieved because you don’t want to spend $100, buy a more-than $1,000 plane ticket to Spain. Fail to see the irony in this.
  17. Enjoy your trip to Spain. Wonder how you ever could have doubted that it was a good idea to go.
  18. After returning to reality, wait a few more months trying to avoid spending money on a hard drive, because you are recovering from your travel expenses.
  19. Sit down one day and actually look-up how much memory you have in hard drives. Write those numbers down. Then look up and write down how much memory you need. Comparing the two numbers side by side, understand clearly that you don’t have enough and just need to buy a new hard drive.
  20. Research for 2 days – find a great deal, spending half what you expected in order to get twice as much as you wanted. Tell yourself that the wait was worth it. Keep telling yourself that.
  21. Set up external hard drive. Back up all your files, which takes about 6 hours.
  22. Try to download Snow Leopard. Message says you need to burn it to a DVD.
  23. Get a DVD, only to realize the file is too big. You need what’s called a Dual Layer DVD.
  24. Go to store and buy pack of Dual Layer DVDs.
  25. Try to burn onto Layer DVD. Message says laser can’t read it.
  26. Look up message text and read that the laser can’t write to the disc because of dust. Site says get a compressed air can to blow out dust.
  27. Buy a can of compressed air. Blow the smithereens out of the DVD drive.
  28. Try to burn Dual Layer DVD again. Give up hope on it after third try.
  29. Try out on brother’s computer. Drive to mom’s house and use her computer. Try step-dad’s computer. Realize your flash drive is formatted to a Mac and so those won’t work. Ask around for a newer Mac. Call friends and family. Run into all dead ends. Wonder why you have it so rough.
  30. Go to University to use their Mac lab. Get asked for current university username and password. Text 4 friends desperately asking them if you can use their username and password. Get turned down, because who would give out their personal password. Leave university exasperated.
  31. Through online research, tech support calls, and arguments with friends, learn about something called a “bootable drive” which means you can run the software from your flash drive. Try not to think about the Dual Layer DVDs and can of compressed air that you never actually needed.
  32. Use the interwebs to find 2 different websites on how to install Snow Leopard with a bootable drive. Follow 20-step detailed procedure on each site.  Hit roadblock after roadblock. Keep trying. Cry into keyboard. Actually make some headway. Wait 10-20 minutes for each successful step to load. Consider abandoning technology and society to live in a monastery. Decide that the food probably isn’t that good and keep going.
  33. Finally, for all that is great and holy, watch Snow Leopard start to install. Disbelieve it. Wait 40 minutes while it loads, frequently jumping up clicking heels together in giddiness.
  34. Become super excited that you now have Snow Leopard successful installed – effectively bringing you up to date to 2009. Acknowledge how ridiculous this is. Remain excited nonetheless.
  35. Try to install Mountain Lion. Finally.
  36. Read message that says you first need to install all of Snow Leopard’s updates. Breathe deeply.
  37. Install updates, which takes about an hour. While waiting, watch Justin Timberlake host SNL on Hulu.
  38. THEN try to install Mountain Lion.
  39. Holy mother of Napoleon, it’s actually installing. This takes about 45 minutes.
  40. As the computer turns back on, fix your hair and tidy up your desk as if you are about to Skype with the prime minister of Micronesia. As you get transported to 2012, wonder if there will be flying cars there.
  41. Play around with Mountain Lion and savor the fact that you actually, finally have it installed. You have reached the Promised Land. Which is really not that exciting, but dammit you worked hard to get here.
  42. Reflect on how long and ridiculous the journey was to get Mountain Lion installed. Write a humorous blog post about it.