Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Tale of Two Computers

After much anticipation, I finally received my new MacBook on Thursday afternoon! I used it to write my Scientiae post that evening, and set it up to get the data from my old laptop while I slept on Thursday night. That's when things started to get frustrating.

The newest MacBooks lack a firewire port, which is one of the fastest ways to transfer data from one device to another. Without a firewire port, I had to resort to other data transfer methods such as wireless or ethernet cable. On Thursday night I set up my computers to transfer wirelessly using the MigrationAssistant utility. It said it would take about 7.5 hours. When I woke up the next morning about 9 hours later, it said "less than one minute remaining" for the transfer... but it continued to say "less than one minute" for the next half an hour. I called AppleCare. They told me sometimes the final "minute" took a long time, especially when transfering between OS 10.4 and 10.5 so I should leave it for another hour or so. I didn't have another hour (I had about 15 minutes) before I had to leave for school, so I left both computers at home tied up in the transfer with the hope that it would finish while I was gone.

When I got home on Friday afternoon, it still said "less than one minute" so I called AppleCare again. They suggested I cancel it and try again with ethernet. This time I couldn't even get MigrationAssistant to set up properly so the AppleCare woman told me I should visit an Apple repair place because it might be a hardware problem. I immediately scheduled an appointment for 8 pm at the Apple store's Genius Bar.

I explained my problem to the guys at the Apple store, and they talked me through the options. We set up the transfer with MigrationAssistant using ethernet, which seemed to work this time. It said the transfer would take about an hour and 20 minutes. I got my flirt on with the Genius Bar guys since they'd have to let me stay past store closing. Until the store closed, I wandered around oogling at all the sleek products and people watching. One 'customer' looked like she was doing her online LL Bean Christmas shopping.

Once the store closed, the computers said they had about 25 minutes remaining. I sat at the Genius Bar chatting with the employees while they cleaned up. Then it got to that final, frustrating step of "less than one minute remaining" and it just stayed there. I just wanted to go home, get my costume on, and go to a Halloween party! At one point there were five guys all standing around watching and willing the transfer to finish. One of them kindly brought me a coke and a snickers, and I even got a free Apple water bottle. After 30 minutes of "one minute remaining", we decided I should leave both of the computers, go home, and come back on Saturday. GAH! I didn't get home until 11 pm and didn't go to that Halloween party after all.

I called on Saturday and found out that the transfer still didn't finish. I already had another Genius Bar appointment, so I went back on Saturday afternoon. This time we didn't use MigrationAssistant at all. They used an external drive to transfer everything, and had to use the terminal to get around permissions on a lot of my data. This is probably what screwed up the transfer with MigrationAssistant. I had about 2 hours to kill while my data moved this time, so I did quite a bit of window shopping at expensive nearby stores. It was fun, but I was planning to work on my NSF essays on Saturday! Good news: not a hardware problem. Bad news: both of my computers had been tied up in attempted data transfers for almost 48 hours! Lesson learned: If your first transfer fails, go immediately to the external hard drive (USB capable) method without MigrationAssistant. Be prepared to enter password multiple times or override permissions using the terminal.

I finally left the Apple store around 4 pm on Saturday with both computers and all of my data transferred. So what did I do on Sunday? I left my new computer at home with Jon (who promptly created his own user to play computer games) and took my old computer to school so I could work on my NSF essays without the distraction of setting up all the little preferences for my new computer. Still gotta do that. But now, I've really gotta go to sleep!

1 comment:

Fia said...

Uch. Such things are actually the reason I do use MacOS X. Horrible. I usually only use the migration assistant for preferences of apps, because I have a portable harddisc with all my data on me which I update every day with time machine. That is (IMHO) much easier. I wish for you that from now on, you will enjoy your new MB, - I will check on your site for updates :-) (and let you know once I did my purchase)