After struggling through many of the solutions posted that worked for other people, and after a clean install of MAMP, I was finally able to solve the problem on the iMac, and I figure this will work on the MacBook as well. I'm copying and pasting here, because it's multiple steps and you need to be modestly confident in your Terminal chops.
One note: In the last step, I had to use sudo in front of: cp /Applications/MAMP/my.cnf /etc/my.cnf in order to bypass a permissions issue when I tried copying the my.cnf file back to the etc directory.
However, all these steps lead to a solution and thanks to tstermitz...
Beginning quote from another forum post:
Answers to some of the questions...
Mysqld won't start
Preferences won't open
(0) Close down Apache and Mysql
(1) You may have dangling httpd or mysqld process:
ps aux | grep mysqld
ps aux | grep httpd
(2) my.cnf resides in /etc , a directory that is normally hidden from users. You can access it via a terminal window, Terminal (in /Applications/Utilities) or iTerm, or other. (I can edit this file in the terminal, but I'm an old Unix guy). It's easy to copy my.cnf to somewhere convenient to edit, such as my MAMP directory, edit it, save it, then copy back in terminal:
cp /etc/my.cnf /Applications/MAMP/my.cnf
cp /Applications/MAMP/my.cnf /etc/my.cnf
(3) You may have to delete old plist files, which will be recreated by MAMP.
Now, you should be able to restart MAMP, hit the Mamp Preferences button....
(4) Ooops, maybe you haven't changed mysql port to 3306, so change it in MAMP Preferences
Go back to (0).
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 12:52 am