Opinion: What not to do with your Mac

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Commentary by Ward Degler

Here’s a little tech talk for Mac users. PC folks, you can skip this column and go directly to Dick Wolfsie’s words of wonder and whimsy. Or you can stick around and congratulate yourselves for not having a Mac.

For Mac users: Beware the High Sierra operating system. There is nothing wrong with this latest, greatest OS as long as your Mac has a solid state hard drive. With solid state, High Sierra is lightning-fast and the best thing to come along since floppy drives. With the standard hard drive, however – the kind that whirls and spins – the new operating system is a one-way ticket to disaster.

The reason is High Sierra does its job in micro seconds, action that overwhelms a spinning drive because it can’t move fast enough to process the data the operating system is feeding it.

I learned this the hard, expensive way. My Mac had gotten sluggish, and I figured it was a good time to have the old hard drive wiped clean and start fresh. And while we’re at it, upgrade the operating system. After all, I’d gone through previous upgrades with laudable results. What could possibly go wrong?

What went wrong was within days my computer wouldn’t boot up. It would try, but after grinding away and getting nowhere for an hour or more, I figured something was amiss.

The kindly man at the repair shop asked me if I read the fine print before loading High Sierra on my Mac. Of course not. Why would I do that? Nobody reads fine print. It’s just there to please the government, isn’t it? You know, warnings that misuse may cause drowsiness, headaches and loss of appetite.

So, my Mac is now at the repair shop where all the stuff on my hard drive is being removed, a lower level operating system reinstalled, and all my stuff put back on the drive. Lesson learned.

Please understand. I’m not a computer guru. I create a little artwork, write this weekly column and, most importantly, play Words with Friends with my wife every evening after the 11 p.m. news.

My favorite computer activity for years has been playing Mahjong on an ancient PC that has Windows 3.1 as its operating system. It has never failed. And as far as I know, it came with no fine print.

So, from now on I will stick with the old tried and true on my Mac and keep High Sierra as an object of awe and wonder for the next time I visit Yosemite National Park.

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