The Installer of Great Peril (11/5/01)

See, folks? Sometimes it pays to be slow. The long-awaited iTunes 2 officially hit the 'net on Friday night, and as expected, a swarm of Mac users abuzz with enthusiasm descended upon Apple's servers like locusts upon a "Grains Of Many Lands" buffet and snapped that puppy up posthaste. Most of the "early adopters" went merrily on their way, grooving to iTunes 2's funky new features such as its new crossfader and its way-overdue equalizer. However, a few of those poor souls got smacked upside the head with a hefty dose of bad karma; it appears that the installer for the Mac OS X version of iTunes 2.0 was a wee bit naughty, because, as faithful viewer Tuner Equalizer points out, some unfortunate would-be groovers spent the rest of the night battling the painful burning sensation brought on by unexpected data loss. Eeek!

This ain't no rumor, kiddies; Apple has even posted an official alert page describing the "issue." Apparently on a "limited number of systems running Mac OS X with multiple volumes (drives or partitions) mounted," running the iTunes 2.0 for Mac OS X installer "can result in loss of user data." That's basically a nice way of describing what happens when up to several gigabytes of stored stuff suddenly vanishes in a puff of virtual smoke. Mac OS 9 users, you can relax; this was purely a X thing. And those of you who installed iTunes 2.0 on your Mac OS X systems without seeing all your data get stomped into a sticky paste, you can relax, too, because fortune has smiled upon you-- though you should probably trash that cursed installer ASAP. iTunes 2.0 itself is just dandy; it's just the original installer that's chock full of potential evil.

If you're among the unlucky minority that did get shafted, data-wise, stop banging your head in the car door for a second and listen up: data loss comes in two flavors, and it's possible that you've narrowly avoided the one-way ticket to Painsville known as "irretrievable data loss." Indeed, your data may just be mostly dead, and Apple notes that at least some people who have been bitten by this bug "have reported successful restoration of files using file recovery applications." Basically, Apple's advice is to avoid "any operations that would write data on the affected partition" and then fire up a copy of Norton Utilities or TechTool Pro. (Note, however, the complete and utter absence of any sort of offer on Apple's part to buy you one of these fine utilities. You're on your own, wallet-wise.)

Slowpokes like us, who generally like to wait a few days before installing anything new just in case something nasty lurks beneath the surface, can now download a less destructive iTunes 2.0.1 installer at our leisure. Lest you think we're rubbing it in, trust us-- we feel your pain. See, we might be affected by this "issue" in a slightly less direct sense, because faithful viewer e_coli brings up an interesting point: there's at least a slight possibility that this iTunes 2.0 installer bug might hold up shipments of the iPod, which just happens to include iTunes 2 on its teensy little hard drive. That's mere speculation at this point, but we notice that the Apple Store is now quoting an iPod delivery time of "3-4 weeks." Of course, we don't know what they were quoting before, so that means nothing, but hey, let's all panic nonetheless.

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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 11/5/01 episode:

November 5, 2001: iTunes 2 is here-- and its installer nuked a whole wagonload of data before Apple fixed the bug. Meanwhile, sources claim that Motorola has produced G5s running at 2.4 GHz, and Apple launches an ill-conceived plan to sell more copies of QuickTime Pro by restricting access to its high-resolution movie and game trailers...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3374: Clock Speed IS Everything (11/5/01)   Hey, great news! While Intel is dorking around with its Pentium 4 at a measly 2 GHz, Motorola (whom everyone knows is the Clock Speed King, baby!) has reportedly just bested that score by a full twenty percent: according to The Register, good ol' Moto has successfully produced PowerPC G5 chips at a stunning 2.4 GHz...

  • 3375: Just Fomenting Rebellion (11/5/01)   You've seen it a zillion times, to the point where clicking a box that says "Later" is purely a reflex action now; that annoying little box that nags you each day to upgrade to QuickTime Pro. And if you're wondering why you should fork over $29.99 just to tack the word "Pro" onto the end of everyone's favorite media architecture, Apple is only too happy to list the benefits: play movies at full-screen size, edit movies instead of just watching them, automate the editing process with AppleScript, etc...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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