(Note: Names have been concealed to protect the helpful from becoming inundated with support calls.)
This past Saturday, while setting up for our first presentation at Post|Production World at NAB, we were having trouble getting our MacBook Pro to recognize the projector. We put it asleep and woke it back up again, and got a kernel panic: that nasty darkened screen with the 8220;must reboot” message. From that point on, no Adobe CS3 application would run on our computer – including the installer/uninstaller, which meant we couldn’t replace the apps we needed in order to do our demos. Oddly enough, Apple’s Safari wouldn’t run either. Repairing permissions, safe reboots, and creating new users didn’t help. Fortunately, we were able to copy our files off to another computer (with special thanks to Jeff Foster of Lynda.com for the timely loan of a very large memory dongle) so that the show could go on. But if you’ve had a similar catastrophic crash involving a Mac and Adobe CS3 applications, you might want to read on to see how at least this particular problem was resolved.
When we got back home, we initiated an Adobe Acrobat Connect – aka “Breeze” – session, and let several Adobe employees take turns at remotely controlling our computer (some from home, after hours), trying to find the problem. The worst fear was that track 0 on our hard drive – where the Adobe installers place some vital information – was damaged, which might have required a complete reformatting as well as loss of legal installs. Instead, what was found was that a set of OS X components were missing or damaged, crippling both the Adobe CS3 apps (which use the internet to check for updates and the such) as well as some Apple apps (such as the aforementioned Safari, as well as Software Update and apparently some Apple installers).
All Adobe CS3 apps – as well as Apple Safari – now run fine on the laptop, with no reformatting or reinstallation required. However, it still won’t run Software Update. We’re taking this as a sign to finally break down and buy OS 10.5 (on disc) and install it, which should do a wholesale replacement of many system components.
There has been a lot of well-deserved grumbling about Adobe’s CS3 installer and registration system, and it would be easy to see this as another case study of its shortcomings. In reality, the main problem was the OS crash (and the balky projectors at NAB, which caused more than one presenter nightmares), although the Adobe individuals involved told me that the exercise did reveal some useful information about their reg system as well.
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