Day three of MacBook Air ownership, day 0.01 of actually being able to use it. The effort to transfer is enormous – not just the email copying I wrote of in my last post.
First job is the “inevitable download” – bazillions of megabytes of patches and enhancements, not least Leopard 10.5.2. Second was software installation – Mac Office 2008, MarsEdit (to write this blog). Third was data file copying (all of my document folders). Fourth was “asset stripping” – getting rid of the things that just aren’t needed (Garageband, iMovie etc. Haven’t quite decided about iTunes so far – I might need it to sync my iPhone). Fifth and final was the great email conversion. Right there is a good 12 hours of effort.
But it was that last task that was a complete and utter bust, it turns out.
It had worked fine for all of about 60 minutes of use. Not even enough time to run down the battery (about 2 1/2 hours I think – forget all this 5 hour stuff).
I then got the Apple blue screen of death – a polite message in half a dozen languages saying that I’d need to press the power button to reboot. No problem I thought, I can do that. One crash in less than a day. Maybe I just had too much going on.
After the reboot, I tried to open Entourage. No can do said the unhappy programme. The database is kaboom. Or some technical equivalent. No problem it said, just rebuild it using this handy utility. 60 minutes later, the handy utility failed at step 4 of 5 of the rebuild. Reboot again. Rebuild again. Same failure, same place. Check the web. Dozens of instances of the same problem.
I imagine – and this is only me clutching at vague straws – that this is all to do with the size of my email inbox. I have 11,000 emails in my inbox. I don’t use folders. That’s what search is for. Why would I want to sort everything so that I could never find it again when search (especially in Windows Office 2008) works so well? Outlook handled the mail fine, why should Mac be any different? Sloppy code I assume.
I’ve now downloaded Thunderbird on the Mac (given I had to export from Outlook to Thunderbird to get to Entourage) and imported my email into that. Took about 20 minutes – far faster than the import into Entourage – and so far, doesn’t seem to have a problem with the mailbox size.
It’s a real shame. I thought Entourage, at least in the short time I’d been able to use it, was pretty good. I liked the “My Day” window a lot. Simple but effective.
So now I’m teaching another email programme what spam is, typing in my email account details again, setting up the preview pane the way I like it and learning some foibles.
There’s another problem since that crash and reboot. Opening any file in word or powerpoint or excel brings up an error telling me that the Office database is corrupt and that I need to rebuild it (tried that dummy, don’t you know that?). It doesn’t stop it working, it just tells me it’s bust and invites me to press “ok”. Can you imagine the conversation with a heart surgeon in this scenario? “I’m sorry sir, your heart is corrupt. You have 3 days to live. Press OK to continue”. Never mind cancel or reboot or “I can sort it”, just press ok to die in 3 days. I figured a quick reinstall of Mac Office would sort out the database corruption problem. No joy. Same error, same time, same place.
I killed everything I could find that had the Office label on it, using AppZapper and then reinstalled again from afresh. Still get the database error, still can’t rebuild it. I have no idea where this database is, how to delete it or how to resolve the problem. I’d even be prepared to use Entourage from scratch with a fresh and empty database if I could figure out how to get it to start.
The solution, at least I think it’s the solution, is to kill your “main identity”. Very Minority Report. Or is it 1984? I deleted the file – 3.5gb of it and restarted Entourage. A nice, shiny, empty, entirely blank email programme greeted me. What I thought I’d do now is copy just a few of my emails over, say the last 3 months. If I’m lucky, that will work and I’ll never see this problem again. Or at least not for a year or so.
Technology of the 21st Century? Microsoft have to be kidding. This is version 3 of Office for Mac I think. Normally it’s right by now. It obviously takes longer than it used to.
There are some famous last words about to be eaten sometime soon I fear. Linux might even start to look attractive at this rate.