24 April 2008

Wireless internet browsing killed Sibelius

I don't think I'm IT savvy all the time, but most of the time I know how to negotiate, on the slippery surface of my Apple laptop, a curved path to redemption when ensnared in any system or application trouble.

Based on my experience, once you start improving something or an upgrade process on your computer, you have to be prepared for much more than improvements and upgrades.

My old PowerBook Titanium has been with me since summer 2002 and throughout the course of PhD study. My doctoral thesis was completed on this laptop. With strong camaraderie and my wholehearted appreciation, particularly after it recovered from the champagne incident, I keep working on it, in tandem with the new MacBook Pro, using it when giving lectures.

(Sadly, I have no alternative but to submit myself to the omnipresent PowerPoint. Nowadays those who don't use it when giving presentations seem to be powerless and, even worse, pointless.)

Two weeks ago, I bought a new battery and added a piece of 512M SDRAM for the old laptop, because I wanted to instal Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, a birthday gift from May, one of my best friends and a channel manager in MSN Taiwan. There came a string of unexpected hard work.

Firstly, there must have been a manufacturing defect in the battery because it couldn't be charged to its full capacity only two weeks later after purchase. Then, after taking it back to the seller for inspection, I found, mysteriously, something went wrong on the new MacBook Pro: The MacOS X MIDI system failed so much so that Sibelius could play any score properly. Well, why did this happen at this particular moment? Why didn't the system conk out three weeks ago? Why wouldn't it go kaput next month?

There seemed to be a program-incompatiblity issue, I guess, triggered by the enigmatic power of the battery. Therefore, while waiting for the battery seller's report, I started a long journey
erase the hard drive
instal one application
run Sibelius to see how it works with the MIDI system
instal a second application
run Sibelius to see how it works with the MIDI system
instal a third application
run Sibelius to see how it works with the MIDI system (I have no idea how many applications there are installed on the MacBook Pro)
... till the dawn
Finally, I found the bane...

It's the software update of AirPort, Apple Computer's implementation of the 802.11a/b/g/n wireless protocols. With the updated software, when accessing the Internet through the wireless network, the two-way signal transmission between the router and the laptop would interfere with the operation of the built-in MIDI device.

Surely, there are no regrets in life. If I had known the cause, I could just have shut down the wireless device when running Sibelius rather than conducted the stupid series of instal-uninstal-instal-uninstallation, which have taken me a couple of days.

1 comment:

cacv12000 said...

This sounds like every day of my life as an IT guy! You sound like a real pro now.