I am Legend!

Well at least I think I am!

Many sleepless nights ago (about 9 to be honest) we finally accepted that the home computer really had died, and that much as I love my children, I did not want them hogging my laptop 24/7, so we set out on a venture to the brave new world of computer buying.

We have not been in this position for quite some time.  Aldi used to sell computers that did exactly what they said on the tin, and came with a whopping 3 year guarantee including a very helpful helpline, and having bought lots of computers from them in the past, when I needed a new laptop, I just waited until Aldi were selling them, and then trundled down to the store at 7am to queue outside with the other anxious computer shoppers, and run in and grab one before they all sold out at 9.01am

Our home computer started dying so we started looking up Aldi for special offers.

Our home computer not feeling very well

Our home computer not feeling very well

There weren’t any…. and it kept dying… more and more often!

Eventually, we realised we would have to shop elsewhere. We went to Tesco’s. They weren’t selling PC’s. Curry’s and Dixon’s and Comet had all closed. We had no choice… we had to go to PC World!

To cut a long story short, (as it is a VERY long story) I could have written a wonderful post for Rarasaur’s prompt ‘True Cost’ on the true cost of computers, but one of the costs was me… I was far too exhausted!

Initially when we looked in PC World we found some computers for £399 and thought… oh, we (I mean of course Peter, I have no money!) could manage that, and when we spoke to the sales assistant he persuaded us to consider stretching to £500 & I thought I could probably stretch Peter to £500, so we were feeling quite excited.


The sales child (I can’t call him a salesman, he was younger than my daughter) suggested that we go to their Guildford store as they have a much greater range of computers and a very knowledgeable manager, so we headed home to collect the girls & then headed out to Guildford.  First of all we couldn’t find the place, probably because we were all very cold & tired, because it turned out to be right beside the first place we looked.

The sales people indeed were very knowledgeable, but also told us that the ‘True Cost‘ of buying a Windows 8 machine was going to be.

Firstly I wasn’t going to be able to use my Office 2007 (professional) disks with it as Windows 8 is not compatible with anything older than Office 2010 and they recommend getting Office 2013.  But… you can’t buy one multi use copy of Office 2013 & use it on 5 machines any more. (Unless you want to pay an annual fee….. to Microsoft for a version you can install on 5 machines) No you have to buy one copy for each machine, so when my eldest goes off to uni in October we will have to buy another copy for her.  Secondly the professional version of office was going to be another £200.  I already paid for a multi-use copy of this a few years ago, I resent being blocked from using one of my 5 uses on a new machine.

Then, because Windows 8 is so different and complicated to use, they recommend a combined 3 year insurance policy plus after care service which will set up your machine & transfer any programs etc from your old computer to your new one

Then, there’s the problem that despite the computer coming with 1TB of storage, that quickly will be insufficient for a family of 4, especially with my photographs, do we need to buy storage in ‘the cloud’ for £150

Total cost for a really basic PC & Monitor (with a £50 trade in for our old PC)  £950

At this point I want to go home.  Did I mention it was my birthday?  We had been in computer shops for most of the day.

Having recovered from the shock, Peter said, well if we’re going to pay that much… why not go for a Mac??

The salesboy’s eyes lit up as he excitedly replied ‘great choice sir’ and steered Peter over to the beautiful shiny iMac stand.  I looked at the £1099 basic price tag & my heart dropped.  Once the saleschild had added on all the essential items we needed, the total came to £1517 (including a whopping £50 cashback for our old PC)

If you are going to be paying at least £1000 for a home computer, the iMacs do make more sense since they have true lasting in them, but I’ve never owned a mac before, and although they look beautiful, I was scared.  Also I didn’t like the fact that the new iMacs don’t have CD/DVD drives in them, or SD/XD slots, hence meaning that I couldn’t add my newly purchased CD’s to my music collection, or let the girls watch a DVD on the computer… and how would I upload my photos?

Well. According to the salesinfant I could BUY hardware to be able to load CD’s/DVD’s/Photos to the computer… but it all just seems like a money-grabbing scam to me, Windows 8 and the new iMacs, both trying to restrict their customers to purely their own Microsoft/Apple products, and instinctively I resist.

I dragged Peter out of the shop with the help of the girls & we went home to a delicious dinner cooked by the girls for me, with birthday candles in my broccoli!

Later that evening Peter had been looking on his iPad & showed me some second hand iMacs for sale on Gumtree (like Craigslist) for about £500.  I looked at the specifications and found that they still had CD/DVD drives & thought, well I’d prefer to learn how to use a mac on a £500 one rather than a £1500 one!

We found one for sale very near us & so rang the guy & went to see it that very night.  At this point I was exhausted beyond comprehension, but the idea of an iMac for £500 kept me going.  None of us know much about macs, but when we saw it it looked in good enough condition, so I thought well hopefully it will be ok.  I tried a few apps on it, and the DVD/CD drive, and the internet & it all seemed to work well & quickly, so I was really hoping it would be ok

By the time we brought it home it was nearly midnight so we left it in the box & went to bed!

That was April the 3rd.

Since then I have been learning how to use my shiny new toy.  It had 500GB of memory, not massive, but plenty to start off with.  I recently bought a 1TB hard drive just for my photos, so they weren’t going to be a problem.  I found all the music on our old computer & that was only 120GB so I set about transferring that over to the iMac, and then we tried to log into our iTunes accounts to download our purchases..

Except we (I) couldn’t work out how to authorise the computer… finally I worked that one out, and Peter signed in to upload his purchases, and he got the message ‘there is insufficient space on your hard drive’ !!

We don’t have that much music I thought.  I checked.  The system memory was indeed full; 499 out of 500GB in use!  What was using up all the space??

I eventually found out how to see what’s using up the space on my computer, and yes, it was completely full!  I had a look online and someone suggested downloading CleanGenius.app, which had a go at my files, but no matter what i asked it to check, it could only find 200GB of files (more like what I expected to be on my computer)

Finally I went on the Apple Support Communities & asked a question:

I’m a complete newbie, I bought a second hand iMac (21′, late 2009) with 4GB of ram & 500GB storage.  I have tried to delete files, and downloaded ‘Clean genius’ and deleted lots of files i thought, as it tells me i now have 300GB of free space, however when i click on ‘about this mac’ ‘storage’ it shows as full.  I have music of 120GB and photos of 10GB & apps of 20GB.  In addition the display says I have 90GB of Movies & 243GB of ‘Other’
I can’t find any Movies or ‘Other’  I have emptied the trash can & repaired the disc permissions and restarted several times, but i don’t know how or where to find these videos & ‘Other’ files
Please help!

Before I got a reply I got impatient & eventually worked it out for myself!

This is what I did:

I installed OmniDiscSweeper which showed some of the files on the computer & then I ran it via the command file using the SuperUserDo (sudo) command which you can find here: http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/how_to_recover_missing_hard_drive_space/  **Use with EXTREME caution**

Being the kind of gal that can’t wait 5 mins for an answer to a problem & who always throws caution to the wind, I ran the sudo command (with very little caution) & got a really strange error message…… OCCCrashCatcher: Not enabling crash catching since we’re connected to a tty (and thus presumably in gdb) so i looked that up… and didn’t really get anywhere (does anyone know what that error message means?

Anyway, when I ran OmniDiscSweeper again it found all 499GB of files on my computer including the ones the previous owner had deleted but not completely erased & I deleted them & I now have over 250GB free space & 2 new questions!

How do I fix my Trash Can so everything doesn’t end up saved somewhere strange & what on earth does this mean??

OCCCrashCatcher: Not enabling crash catching since we’re connected to a tty (and thus presumably in gdb)”

Anyway, I am very happy because I am officially superclever as I understand what I just did & my computer memory looks like this;

Lots of free memory :)

Lots of free memory 🙂

And… I know what type of computer I have!

It's a Snow Leopard

It’s a Snow Leopard

Apologies everyone for my absence from the world (virtual and real!) for the last 10 days or so. Getting a Mac is a bit of a shock to the system!! Just to prove I’ve arrived, this post is from my brand new iMac with LOTS of memory space in it 🙂

During my absence I was popping over to David’s Blog to see how he has been doing, and the great news is that he’s been allowed home 🙂  Please keep visiting him too to check how he’s doing!

About Barbara

Born in Dublin, living in London with Peter, my two daughters, Wilson our Spaniel & Woordow our Malshih (Shih Tzu-Maltese cross)
This entry was posted in Birthdays, Computing, Getting old, iMac, Teenagers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to I am Legend!

  1. Great to hear about David. Hope you enjoy your new computer. My new work computer has Windows 8 – it did indeed take a while to figure out how to use it. At first I couldn’t figure out how to open a program without going into the C drive and finding the .exe file – way past that now but agree – why do they have to keep changing things up. At home we use Open Office which is free software similar to Microsoft office. I find it totally adequate for home.


    • Barbara says:

      Open Office makes a lot of sense for the future definitely. Slowly finding my way round this mac… They are beautiful machines, but to use them well you have to know more about programming than in windows. At lease I know a little, although I have deleted an operating system once (not funny!)


  2. Al says:

    I think I just crashed from reading this.


  3. Garret Smyth says:

    I’m reading and writing this on a Chromebook that I must say I find fantastic. It doesn’t do heavy stuff, but is very good on writing, web surfing & meeting , boots in seconds, has long battery life and only cost £229. It is really best if you have a Google account, though.


    • Barbara says:

      I have google everything…. i prefer it as a storage system as it is open source, but both Microsoft and Apple are slowly trying to block open source. On my iPhone 3 i was able to upload my contacts from google. On my new iPhone 4 I cant 😦


  4. John says:

    I’ve been using Open Office for a few years now its really good. If you want a free Photoshop alternative try Gimp. Weird name and it takes a little time to get used to. Good luck with the Mac, lovely machines.


    • Barbara says:

      I tried Gimp on this laptop (back on the laptop this morning as everyone wants a go on the super Mac) but it took up far too much space. This computer needs a good tidy up too!
      I did find it hard to use, but if i watch a few online videos i’m sure i will learn 🙂


  5. Barbara says:

    Macs are great although we have just been on the runaround with new software updates and problems. It doesn’t matter what you use – there are problems….. but the macs are worth the problems.!


  6. Grannymar says:

    You are indeed a legend. The above is all gobbledygook to me. It is a good job my daughter and son in law are geeks! Nice Snow Leopard.


    • Barbara says:

      I thought I had lost it (the ability to be clever) My brain has been on standby for such a long time, and although teaching was exhausting and made me think around corners, I wasn’t doing any programming or testing the grey matter. Buying the Mac really tested me again (especially the bit I did after the above until 4am) but i found out how to do it, & did it 🙂 & my computer still works! (The first time I tried something like this I deleted the operating system!)


  7. rummuser says:

    Nice story and I thoroughly enjoyed the ending with you joining us Mac fiends. Congratulations. You will not regret it.


  8. Ha ha I love the term ‘Sales Child’, I totally know what you mean! : ) It is tough buying computers AND we got a Mac in the end for the same reason.


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