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The first thing I'd try is to run the scanner with the Nikon software. When you power on the scanner it goes through a variety of checks, and finally you should have a silent scanner with a solid green light at the front. Start the Nikon software and wait until it finds the scanner, if it doesn't you have a hardware problem with the scanner.
If it goes well to this point insert a card or plastic mounted slide and hit Preview. The scanner should then create and image you see on screen. Next step would be to make a scan. If the slide you're trying to scan isn't card or plastic mounted you'll need the Nikon made carrier.
You've not said what the message is but I suspect that the software is too old to be used on the macbook if it is running OS X 10.7 (Lion) or if you are running snow leopard, it may be a non-intel version of the software. It may be asking you to instal rosetta which would be on your snow leopard instal disk.
If the Nikon website does not have updated software you could try vuescan which according to this page http://www.hamrick.com/vuescan/nikon_coolscan_iv_ed.html does work with the film scanner and you can download a demo version which you can trial before you buy. Hope this helps.
I may have a solution for the unrecognized film holder/clunking problem. The fix is not for the faint of heart, but you can do it yourself and save a bunch of money. The problem lies in the two rails inside the scanner that the film carrier rides on. After unplugging you scanner, remove the 8 screws from the rear of the unit and slide the cover rearward about 3/4" and then lift it straight off. Inside you will see two shiny machined rods running from front to back. The problem is those two rods have dried up lubricant on them and the film carrier drags a bit during film carrier insertion and/or scans. The easiest way I found to clean the rods is to remove the front cover (look for screws inside on each side), and then carefully slide those rods out (but NOT all the way) and wipe off what is exposed and then apply a little silicone lubricant to the rods (be very careful to not get any down into the lens area). Then slide the rods back in and repeat for the portion that is exposed in the rear. Carefully re-assemble everything and you should be all set. This fix worked for me on an 8000ED that I purchased used on eBay. Hope this helps someone. Brian