Parallel programmer errors

Disclaimer - I am noob, never succeeded in doing anything with Arduino before, but I am trying again.

I have two Arduino Serial units, and a tube of ATMEGA8. Old stuff, I bought last time I tried using Arduino years ago.

Having connected the board and powered it on, I got the "sync" errors when I tried uploading sketches to it. The port and cable are good. I tried rebooting to my Vista partition and it doesn't work there either. So I guessed I might need to install the bootloader, can't remember if I got that far last time. Built a parallel port programmer according to the diagram on arduino.cc and tested it.

When I first tried burning the bootloader, I got an error that there was no "dapa" profile, and a long list of possible alternatives. I did some web search on adding dapa, and pasted this into avrdude.conf

programmer id = "dapa"; desc = "Direct ATMEL parallell access"; type = par; reset = 16; sck = 1; mosi = 2; miso = 11; ;

And I see that "par" is present with the other listed types near the top of the file. I saved it, but now when I try burning the bootloader I get this error:

avrdude: parallel port access not available in this configuration avrdude: error at /Users/admin/Documents/Arduino/Arduino.app/Contents/Resources/Java/hardware/tools/avr/etc/avrdude.conf:809: programmer type not specified

I don't understand it. I checked the Arduino.app preferences file and it's fine. I don't see mention of dapa anywhere else. Just like me to quickly hit some weird impasse and get derailed...

Any ideas? I will look into building a better programmer, but my bench is covered with other circuits I need to finish and I'd really rather not start building anything more just yet. Thanks!

I should mention that my main environment is MacOS 10.6.2, with Arduino 1.0. Also I guessed that I might have better luck with an older version of Arduino.app, in case parallel was deprecated now. Grabbed some older versions and experienced the same problem