Mac Switchback, Act IV — woes continue 7

My Mac problems are getting worse. Somehow, my user account got screwed up. My log-in items have, for the most part, disappeared. My desktop and other user files have moved to a different directory, so they aren’t showing up. I can see the folder where they are stored, but I guess I’ll have to move them all back to the active home folder. Applications act as through this is the first time I’ve launched them. Basically, all the customized settings I’ve done since getting the machine, like system preferences, have been reset. It’s pretty maddening.

I continue to be amazed that this OS everyone claims is rock solid seems anything but.

I guess I’ll try one more time to reconfigure everything, in the hope the user account doesn’t disappear again. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to take a deep breath and reinstall Tiger.

UPDATE: OK, the good news is that dragging all the files from my “real” user folders into the user folder that mysteriously became active appears to have restored my desktop and customizations.

I’m still stuck with the following annoyance. A departmental IT person set up the user account on my machine when I first got it, so they could install our site-licensed version of Microsoft Office. For whatever reason, they labeled the main user account “WhartonWharton.” I changed the name to “Kevin Werbach,” but there appears to be no way in the Accounts system preference pane to change the “short name”, whatever that is. So, my home folder is still confusingly called “WhartonWharton”, for example. I changed it last time in the sidebar, but I now think that’s what screwed me up.

I wonder if, short of reinstalling the OS, there’s any way to change the user name I see in the sidebar. Yes another case where I’m finding OS X more restritive and fragile than Windows XP.

Here’s my current list of other unanswered questions and problems. I guess at some point I’ll hire a consultant or go to the Apple store see if someone can resolve them.

* Once or twice a day, iTunes suddently launches for no apparent reason. I tried upgrading from iTunes 4.8 to 4.9, but it does the same thing. I’ve posted this problem on two Mac help forums, and so far no one has suggested any good explanation.

* Someone in the comments mentioned using Activity Monitor to see how much CPU capacity different processes were taking up. But when I double click that application, it does the window zoom graphic, and then nothing happens. Is there some trick to opening it?

* I tried out a utility called CopyPaste, for multiple clipboards. I didn’t find it that useful, so I deleted it. But it left contextual menu items which I can’t delete. After searching help forums, I tried reinstalling the application and turning off contextual menus in its preferences, but that didn’t work.

* I’ve been unable, after several tries, to successfully print over IP to an HP 9000n laser printer in my office. Needless to say, the Windows laptop had no trouble printing to it over the Internet.

* Classic apps don’t work. When I go to the System Preferences, it says I don’t have a System 9.1 system folder. Do I need to buy OS 9 and install it separately in order to run classic applications?

* Two-finger scrolling is now erratic in Word. I love the fact that you can scroll by dragging two fingers across the Trackpad. But now, in Word, that sometimes makes the text on the screen disappear rather than scrolling properly.

I know I sound like a broken record, but given my personal experience wiht Macs for a decade, and the experiences of many of my friends, I continue to be shocked by the poor experience I’m having with OS X. I’m gradually appreciating the ways it’s nicer than Windows; if I didn’t have the constant restarts and eratic behavior, I’d feel much better.