Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Alternate universe

After deciding that I wanted to be able to play The Sims on the laptop, I couldn't let it rest. I looked around to see if I could find a newer copy of the original game and the first expansion pack, Livin' Large," because that was all I really wanted to install. I found a couple on eBay, and I bid on one, figuring that I could pay up to $20, including postage, because that was what I would have to pay to get replacement disks from Aspyr. Someone ended up paying $20 for the games themselves, plus postage, and while that was only $4.00, it was over my limit (and over what was in my PayPal account, which was also a factor).

One of the other options that Aspyr gave was to install the game on a computer that had System 9 on it, then move it over to the OS X computer via firewire. I looked, and I didn't have a firewire cable. I could go buy one, but I wanted to try to do it without spending any money. So I installed the first two games on the desktop of the old iMac, which was till running System 9. I hooked up a ZIP drive to it, and started moving files over on 100MB ZIP disks. Which went fine until I ran across a file that was 113 MB.

So I stuffed it, and even then, it only got down to 95.8. And a ZIP disk, even after formatting, will only get down to 95.7 . . .

So I thought, okay, I could transfer them over the internet. But the reason I'm not using the iMac anymore, and the reason that Bob bought me the new eMac, was that the ethernet got fried by a lightning strike or power surge or something, so all I had available to me was dial up. But I strung together three phone lines using connectors, and strung a phone line from the computer to the kitchen where I could plug it into a phone jack, then realized I no longer had a dial-up provider since I have cable . . . Well, there's always AOL.

I installed AOL, configured it, started transferring the file. It was going to take so long that the FTP client couldn't even calculate it. From the transfer rate, it looked like it was going to take something like 24 hours, and I was hooked in to our primary phone line. Sigh.

The big file was a sound file, so I thought maybe I didn't need it anyway, and I tried to run the game from the files that I'd moved over (after downloading and installing an OS X update patch from Aspyr), and not only would it not run, it wouldn't even try. Clicking on the icon just brought up the dreaded "I have no idea how to open this file" dialog box.

The third option was to install System 9 on the iBook, but I'd been resisting that because I don't need it for anything else, and I didn't want to waste the space. I was a bit afraid of installing another operating system, and also, I was afraid that if I did, it would be irretrievably intertwined with the preferred operating system, and I wouldn't be able to delete it.

But that seemed to be the only option. And by this time, it's mid-afternoon on Sunday, and I've spent almost the entire day messing around with this. But on the other hand, I didn't want to give up.

Around that time, David came online, and asked me what I was up to, and I related the whole sorry story. He assured me that he runs both OS X and System 9 on his iBook, that he has no problems at all with it, and that it really doesn't take up that much space. Thus reassured, I dug out the original iBook disks, found the software, and installed it.

And then installed The Sims and Livin' Large. And then moved over all my houses and downloads and skins from the eMac. And started the game. And crashed. And deleted some stuff. And started the game. And crashed. Lather, rinse, repeat.


The problem was that I had all six expansion packs on the eMac, and a lot of the downloads would only work with those expansion packs, and would crash the game if you didn't have them all installed. So I caved and installed every one of them, re-imported the houses and skins and downloads, and now, although it takes about fifteen minutes to load the game, it works! I have almost all my stuff -- clicking on a house now sometimes still gives me "some items could not be loaded" messages, but for the most part, my little Sims world is a duplicate of the one on the other computer, except that I must have missed one of the skins, because a woman in one of the houses that used to be blonde is now a brunette.

I think it's an alternate universe.

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