Moderate Productivity

The new Mac mini is humming along as a media server and a place to join Zoom meetings. I haven’t spent any timesetting up its command-line environment yet, which may be just as well.

I caught up on officially finishing a few Toastmasters projects and submitting them in the system which means I’ve successfully completed Level 1 of Dynamic Leadership.

I finally got Home Assistant properly connected to the instrumentation on our solar power system, so I can see power use, battery status, and power generation at a glance. It should be more interesting when the sun is shining.

We also took a few walks; not all the trees change here, but the ginkgos certainly do!

And we booked our timeshare in Maui for this week next year!

The future is now!

I made a few more attempts to revive the old Mac mini without success; trying to update beyond Yosemite seems to be futile. So I punted and bought a new Mac mini at Best Buy; unfortunately, the only configuration in stock there (or at the Apple Store) was rather small: 8GB memory with a 512GB SSD, which wouldn’t hold my entire Plex library, so I added an external 1TB SSD.

I spent most of the afternoon and evening installing software; now I’m copying my movies and music from the Time Machine backup to the external SSD. It will take all night; I’m not going to watch!

A series of unpleasant surprises

I planned to make some updates to my home automation setup today. I was adding a new program to read data from our solar energy system and I wanted to test it in a dummy environment, so I set it up to send data to the Mac mini under the TV instead of the production system and did a quick test before rushing off to our trainer; it seemed to be working fine.

When we got home, I resumed my testing…but the program said it couldn’t connect. I thought it was having problems talking to the energy system, but eventually I looked closely at the message and found that it was complaining about the Mac mini.

I was able to log into the mini, but it was incredibly slow. I finally went and looked at its screen and saw all sorts of messages about programs wanting to upgrade to the latest version, which was odd, since I’d updated them all a couple of weeks ago.

Finally, the penny dropped. The mini couldn’t see its internal SSD and had rebooted itself from its backup drive, which hadn’t been updated for a couple of years – hence the requests for upgrading.

I tried a few magic spells to try to get the internal drive back up with no success, so I plugged in an external SSD and rebooted into Recovery Mode. I tried Disk Utility there and still couldn’t see the internal disk.

I was able to boot to Network Recovery Mode, which let me install the version of Mac OS X that came with the computer: Yosemite (Mac OS 10.12, I think). On the external SSD, of course.

I hoped to download the most current version of Mac OS that would boot on the mini (Monterey, 12.7.1), but Yosemite is so old that it doesn’t support current Internet security standards, so I couldn’t download the new version using the old version.

I see a new computer in my future.

Sunday Entertainments

We saw City Lights‘s production of Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot; Or Holmes for the Holidays” this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a whodunit set in a real Connecticut castle owned by William Gillette, a real actor known for his performances as Sherlock Holmes. Murder and hilarity ensue; it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. It’s playing at City Lights until December 17.

We also finished listening to The Big Dig podcast from WGBH in Boston; Jeff convinced us to try it while he was here last week, and it was fascinating. If you’re interested in large projects, infrastructure, corruption, or Boston, it’s worth a listen.