Trying to Avoid Making the Same Mistakes with a Different OS
February 4, 2007 3:57 PM   Subscribe

[YetAnotherMacQuestionFilter]Seemingly random crashes with my only-five-months-old MacBook trigger trautmatic flashbacks of my time as a Windows user. Your Mac savvy- or referrals to a skilled therapist- are appreciated.

More often than I'd like, even if there are no other aps open, the computer is plugged in and charging, and I'm not doing anything egregiously stupid, key stuff refuses to open- instead of a happy multi-bounce off the dashboard, the aps make only a sad, anemic, single bounce that yields nothing. "Console" shows nothing but crash reports along these lines:
Feb 4 15:01:58 my-computer crashdump[403]: crash report written to: /Users/my/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/Eudora.crash.log
Feb 4 15:03:12 my-computer crashdump[406]: Microsoft Word crashed
Feb 4 15:03:12 my-computer crashdump[406]: crash report written to: /Users/my/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/Microsoft Word.crash.log

Restarting makes the problem go away- until the next time, but there doesn't seem to be a link to whether or not the computer is just waking up, or if I've been working on it for a while. Having been scarred by an abusive relationship with the Dell Corporation I am terrified that this is a harbinger of things to come. I'd be grateful for any help or insight as to causes, prevention, and/or who I can blame, and apologize if this question has made the rounds before. I promise that I have tried all possible permutations of the probelm to search the archives and avoid redundancy. Then again, my search skills are rather anemic themselves.
posted by foxy_hedgehog to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
well, what does /Users/my/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/Eudora.crash.log contain?
posted by sergeant sandwich at 4:11 PM on February 4, 2007

I would try not using Eudora for a while and see if things continue as Word for Mac has never given me any issues whereas Eudora has...

(otherwise, do you have any additional RAM or other mods installed?)
posted by dance at 4:22 PM on February 4, 2007

Am I understanding correctly in that this happens to any program you try to start? Could it possibly be only rosetta programs (since I don't think there are UB versions of word or eudora, though I don't have either so I could be wrong)? I don't know why this would happen, since I don't use rosetta much, but it would help with the searching.
posted by advil at 4:22 PM on February 4, 2007

the most important question of all:
1. why didn't you pay for applecare and why aren't you calling them?

then the rest:
2. what do you have plugged in to your mac?
3. do you force restart the computer often?
4. do you have cheap, crappy ram?
5. if yes, did you put it in yourself, perhaps not well enough?
6. have you tried not using eudora for a week?

also, what is crashing? finder? are you getting GSOD? or just everything craps out after eudora and word make their messes?

go back in your logs and find when this started. then try to think of what you might have installed right before that, especially 3rd party deep system level hacking thing, like some eudora to ical sync (i have no idea if something like that exists, just a guess)
posted by Señor Pantalones at 5:11 PM on February 4, 2007

only do these things if you don't really care what broke, and would rather have a working computer:

repair disk permissions.

still broken? make a new user, see if the same thing happens with said user. if it does, the problem is in ~/Library/Application Support or ~/Library/Preferences. Decide if you want to reconfigure everything or find out whats actually broken.

still broken? check the driver versions for your usb stuff. maybe reinstall them. my m-audio delta 66 tends to make my computer stop waking from sleep after a few days. reinstalling the driver fixes it for a few weeks. (yes, i've emailed them to let them know this. still no fix, hey!)

honestly, i'd be very, very surprised if things are still broken at this point.

ditto on applecare. dubyateeeff, mang? you'll drop a few grand on a laptop, but not a few extra hundred for seemingly unconditional software support and hardware replacements? eat ramen for a while, call them, and see if they'll sell it to you now. it really is worth it.
posted by onedarkride at 6:03 PM on February 4, 2007

Do you, perchance, have APE installed? Certain Application Enhancer modules are notorious for causing unexpected/unexplained crashes with certain apps. Word being one of them. To fix it, add all your Microsoft programs and Eudora to APE's master exclude list.
posted by pmbuko at 6:11 PM on February 4, 2007

Never fear, your Mac should be more stable than that. One way or another this is fixable.

The advice above is all good. I would ask if you've installed any funky software on your system at all, i.e. anything other than an application that you just drag-to-the-Applications-folder-to-install. Any weird hacks or system preference panels or anything like that. If so, remove them and see what happens.
posted by alms at 6:18 PM on February 4, 2007

Since the two programs mentioned only come in PPC variants at the moment (Eudora and MS Word), I'd say that foxy_hedgehog is having Rosetta issues.

I've had similar problems, and usually it just means you have to restart the Rosetta environment. Restarting the machine obviously does this, but you can do it from Activity Monitor by finding the "translated" process and clicking the "Quit Process" button (shaped like a stop sign).

This thread says it contains a mini-app to do the dirty work, but I've never tried it personally.

Anyway, once you kill the translated process, the next PPC app you run will restart it.

The real solution to this is to get Intel variants, but at the moment the only way to do this for the aforementioned programs is to replace them with a different set of applications.
posted by tomierna at 7:25 PM on February 4, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all these thoughts and suggestions.

I'm so sys-ignorant I didn't realize that the really useful info was in the "Library" since i was too busy being excited that I'd figured out what "Console" meant and, after opening it, being able to pretend a) that I knew what I was talking about and b) that it was 1983 and I was programming code in my garage in Cupertino.

Now, post-restart, there are no library logs of the Eudora/Word crashes; just a few logs of a few random ap crashes that I apparently didn't even notice, and a "panic" log of an "unresolved kernel trap" from earlier last month. I've refrained from pasting any of 'em here for fear of exhausting your patience before I try some of these suggestions. But I assure you- no at-home RAM installations, no funny stuff- I'm too unsophisticated for that. This is a computer issued to me by the university I work at- thus no AppleCare, only a tech support team that's about as useful as chatting about cricket with the IT folks at Dell.

Will try, and then we'll the meantime, thanks to you all again for your expertise and help!
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 9:33 PM on February 4, 2007

I've had the single-bounce thing when Rosetta apps were already using lots of memory via another user account that was logged in; are you sure there was nothing else open?
posted by malevolent at 11:38 PM on February 4, 2007

1. If Console opens with a single big pane, note the fat left border with the nubbin in the middle. That's actually a pane-splitting handle. Drag it right: it discloses all your various logs. You probably want to disclose ~/Library/Logs/Crashreporter and /Library/Logs/Crashreporter

The other thing that comes to mind is sub-standard RAM. Did you install aftermarket RAM in this baby?
posted by adamrice at 7:44 AM on February 5, 2007

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