In case anyone else has this same problem, I thought I would post my solution here. There seems to be a lack of real problem/solution pairs for Mac OS X out there.
After upgrading to OS X 10.2.8, I noticed that I couldn’t seem to drag RSS news feeds in NetNewsWire into folders to group them. I first thought it was a bug in NetNewsWire so I decided to upgrade to the newer version. While navigating my way to the upgrade in Safari, I noticed that I couldn’t copy and paste URL’s either. On top of that, dragging messages in Mail was goofy, too. It was a system-wide problem! I thought it must be the dumb 10.2.8 update. Since the first version of the update had been pulled for bugs, it seemed likely. However, I tried reinstalling 10.2 from scratch and the problem didn’t go away. Hmm. In the Console, I noticed messages like this:
Oct 5 12:05:35 delilah crashdump: Crash report written to: /Users/me/
as well as…
Oct 5 13:04:44 delilah crashdump: Crash report written to: /Library/
There were more lines about bad xml in a preferences file (Info.plist) and it was reverting to the 10.1 method of reading it and all that. I’d seen those errors before and they didn’t seem to matter. It turns out they were important this time. Upon further investigation, I found out that ‘pbs’, the process that was crashing, is the pasteboard server and is responsible for handling copy/paste actions as well as some drag and drop. Aha! I still don’t know exactly what lsregister is, but it was fixed by this solution as well.
This took me way too long to figure out, but it was some bad XML somewhere that was causing it to crash. I’m not sure why it was even messing with the file that was ‘bad’, but deleting the file mentioned in the error logs fixed it. Note that I also repaired my disk using DiskWarrior and it had some relatively serious problems. Those problems were probably responsible for the goofy behavior in the first place.
I’m happy to report that my powerbook is working well once again… And if I hadn’t reinstalled the OS, it would be back to normal now. As it is, I have to reinstall a few things that stopped working afterwards. Most things still work though, so it’s not too bad.
I hope this information helps someone else at some point.