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PoneyMac

Mouse issues

When I started exploring Final Cut Express on the Mac, I got quickly blocked by the mouse driving me totally crazy. With the Mac mouse coming with the machine, it was somewhat working, but the pointer moved very slowly. I had to move the mouse, lift it, move it again, lift it, five or six times, to bring the pointer where I wanted. This quickly became a real pain. The trackpad is working a bit better, but just a bit.

I tried with my PC Razer mouse in the hope I would get better results. The mouse worked, as opposed to the noname pointing device I tried on my Hackintosh last year, but the pointer was moving desperately slowly. I tried to tweak the pointer speed (there are buttons for that on my Razer mouse), but that made things worse! The pointer was moving slowly if I moved the mouse a bit, then jumping at a somewhat random place on the screen! It was almost impossible for me to use that!

Razer Synapse making my synapses mad

In an attempt to solve this, I tried installing the driver from Razer, Synapse 2.0. There is a Mac version. Installation went well, but after system restarted, I got an error message popping up about RzUpdater that crashed. I had to choice to Ignore, Report or Relaunch. Tired of unstable software, I didn’t hesitate to try the Report option. That sent a (probably useless) report to Apple, the dialog box dismissed, but it almost instantly reappared. I tried to dismiss with Ignore, with Relaunch, to no avail.

The message was always on top, covering other windows. I had to move it away at the bottom of the screen. It was always hanging, impossible to get rid of completely.

Then started a more than 45 minute Google search giving almost nothing except frustration. I got referred to an uninstaller program, found it using Spotlight, ran it, but it said to be incompatible with my version of Mac OS X. After a few searches and attempts, I found out that RzUpdater and RzEngine wouldn’t start on my version of Mac OS X, and moreover, uninstaller wouldn’t start as well! So I was stuck with no solution.

I then searched about cleaning up the startup applications and found this. This gave me something that allowed to “repair” my system. The /Library/StartupItems and /System/Library/StartupItems folders were empty, which is perfectly normal, /Library/LaunchDaemons folder didn’t contain any Razer-related stuff. But /Library/LauchAgents contained two Razer-related files, one about RzUpdater, one about RzEngine. Resisting the temptation of removing these files without any precaution, I made a backup copy, then I proceeded with the removal.

I don’t know if and how this can be done from the Finder. I was tired of the GUI and opened a Terminal to do the surgery from the Bash shell I know about and like far better than a GUI not working well with the keyboard. A plain old rm didn’t do the trick: permission denied. But sudo rm worked; I had to provide the login password of the account I was logged on. The damned RzUpdater message came back after I dismissed it for the maybe 50th time, but one reboot later, it was gone for good.

SmoothMouse not so smooth

After this miserable failure with Razer Synapse (almost bloated the Mac forever and drove me nut!), I tried more searches and found a free solution. My new hope: SmoothMouse! Happy to find something promising, I tried to download and install this. Unfortunately, that didn’t start at all: the tool was incompatible with Mac OS X 10.5, works only with 10.6.8 or above.

I could try with SteerMouse, ControllerMate or USB Overdrive, but all of these three cost 20$ to 30$ US. Without the Mac App Store (only in 10.6, again!), I would have to stick my credit card yet another place and be charged an undetermined amount of money since I am unlucky and live in Canada, not in US. I am more and more frustrated by all these artificial complications. Mouse support should be built into the OS, not require a third party tool that needs to be purchased separately. Moreover, I feel that no matter which one I’ll pick, I’ll get a road block later on and will have to switch. If I was sure that one of the three tools would solve my mouse problem once and for all, and no matter what future mouse I stick into the USB port of this apparently dommed MacBook Pro, I would be glad to pay 20$ to a person that would have saved me!

An unexpected improvement

Feeling more and more likely to end up giving this machine back to my brother’s girlfriend, I decided to isolate my connections to personal profiles (Google, Facebook, Apple ID) in a dedicated account, rather than continuing to log in with her account.  The process of creating a new account was easy and worked flawlessly. I then logged in with my new account and found out that the mouse was working a bit better. While not perfect, it is usable, so this is less of an issue than before. Moreover, the creation of the new account allowed me to start fresh with a cleaner, less cluterred dock.

However, I am finding more and more programs that cannot install on obsolete, not supported anymore, Mac OS X 10.5. This is starting to be a road block, near a show stopper. This may end up my adventure prematurely, unless I switch gear and come back to my early Hackintosh-based installation!