By Fergus MacOldie
JUST ENDED a mini-excursion to visit some old haunts in the south of the island of Crete, the southernmost tip of Europe. There, in the remote mountain village of Zaros, in the foothills of Zeus' birthplace, Mount Idi, lives my old friend Hebe and her veteran 1999 G3 iMac, complete with pink highlights (the Mac, that is). I was summoned to discover why Skype wouldn't run, but I found more than I bargained for. The venerable iMac had been bought in 2000 for the enormous sum of one million drachmae (over 2,500 euros by present reckoning) but it has been hardly a bad investment. With its 10 GB drive, 266MHz processor and 512MB of memory, this old girl has been soldiering on without attention for ten years.
But crunch time approaches, as I soon discovered. Over the years well-meaning friends have supplied software and other updates on DVD, including an OS update to Panther. I found the root folder littered with redundant folders and files, including a number of data files that had somehow found their way there, so I spent a couple of hours on housekeeping. Hebe produced an ancient-looking external hard drive that someone had given her, but it turned out to be a godssend–80GB of pristine storage. I was able to offload some old stuff and, even, set up a backup schedule to copy the contents of the miniscule internal disc to the capacious drive. So far so good.
I also showed Hebe how to import photographs into iPhoto but stopped short of importing everything because we were down to a free disk space of only 1.7 GB, just about enough to keep things ticking over. However, after I left, a newly enthusiastic Hebe uploaded the 650 photographs from her camera and soon got an ominous "disk full" message. No wonder that, later in the evening, her well-viewed Sound of Music DVD wouldn't run. Clunk, clunk, the hills were no longer alive with music.
I've advised her to take the camera to the local photo store and have the memory copied to CD, then to delete all these photographs from the iMac. But what to do mediumterm? Unfortunately, the sad fact is that the iMac has reached the end of its computing days and needs replacing.
After all this, though, Skype (the latest version) still will not run. The icon bounces a couple of times and then goes back to rest in the dock. There's no obvious explanation for this. But Skype seems to be the least of the Mac's problems at the moment. She's about ready for the Dun Computin' rest home for Macs. Zeus has given up on her.