I have completed a number of updates in my computing environment this weekend. Not without some frustration and annoyance. Tempered by a great finding.
The last thing I do on Friday afternoon is to check for OS X updates and App Store updates and Windows updates while I am connected to high speed internet at UW. (For OmniFocus users: I have a ‘High Speed Internet’ context…). Then I sync my iPhone and sync my iPad. Then I close iTunes, as a hedge against unknowingly downloading large sized podcasts over the weekend, exhausting our sadly lacking bandwidth at home.
Since replacement of my SuperDrive that had died, Software Update prompts me to apply SuperDrive Firmware Update 3.0. But because I was up to date with OS X, the firmware update fails…this issue and the workaround is documented by Apple and involves using an empty hard disk to do a clean install of OS X pre-10.6.5 so that the firmware update will run. That this article is dated January 7, 2011 and they don’t just fix the updater, who knows? But with one of my weekend tasks being replacement of the 320 Gb hard drive in my MacBook Pro with a new 500 Gb disk, the time seemed right.
I attached the new drive via my nifty Granite Digital Emergency Drive Copy Standard Kit. I mounted my “OS X Installation DVD” (which travels in my briefcase in the form of a bootable 16 Gb micro-SD card). And so began the ~1 hour process of installing OSX 10.6.0. Most of the time is waiting for the USB 2.0 bottleneck, so it was a great opportunity to read the NY Times on my iPad.
However, one of the iPad App updates on Friday was to NY Times for iPad 2.1.0. And alas the updated app didn’t work. Judging from the several hundred one star ratings it has received this weekend at the iTunes store, I was not alone. Lots of angry people! (I’m pretty sure that updates shouldn’t be released on the Friday before a long weekend.) But buried in the many complaints, the fix became evident: uninstall the app, then reinstall the app, then deal with the dreadfully slow authentication engine for my NY Times account and it works. However I needed to use iTunes for that and my computer was busy with the nuisance operating system install. I read the new issue of the Economist instead.
Sure enough the Firmware Update ran just fine. But what is Apple thinking? How much time has been wasted, either of users or with visits to the Genius Bar?
Now it was time to clone my 320 Gb disk to the new 500 Gb disk. First I got the NY Times working again. Then shutdown all programs and let it fly. Just 6 hours later the drive was ready. I am lucky to have the “late 2008 MacBook Pro unibody” which makes changing the hard drive a piece of cake, especially since I have a Torx T6 screwdriver to shift the mounting studs. Thanks to ifixit.com for cataloging the necessary tools.
But more so, thanks to ifixit.com for asserting that my computer could take 6 GB of memory. Apple says 4 GB. I began to explore and eventually discovered this blog item on the OWC web: Secret Firmware Lets Late ’08 MacBooks Use 8 GB. I am keeping my Phillips #00 handy…I should have memory in hand by Thursday.