Stack Overflow (Ask Different) to the rescue

This is another one of those notes to me-from-the-future, but perhaps it will help someone else, too.

I was trying to install Apple’s Security Update 2019-005 on my old MacBookPro, which is running High Sierra (and can’t go to anything newer). When I tried to install the update, the machine never shut down properly; the display went black except for an arrow cursor, and it would stay that way indefinitely. Strangely enough, I could SSH into the machine while it was in that state and even shut it down – but when it rebooted, it would come up in normal mode without having installed the update.

I tried many things to fix the problem:

  • Turned off Spotlight (sudo mdutil -a -i off) because mds and mdworker processes were using a lot of CPU
  • Booted into recovery mode and ran Disk Utility in case there were any problems (there weren’t)
  • Booted into recovery mode and reinstalled the OS
  • Manually reinstalled Safari 13.0.1

but no matter what I did, the machine still hung when I tried to reboot it.

Eventually, after much searching, I found this Ask Different post and tried the commands it suggested:

sudo rm -rf /var/folders/zz/zy*
sudo shutdown -r now

and it worked – the machine rebooted into the installer, and a few minutes later, the system was up and running at the proper level (build 17G8037).

Thanks, Damian Krawczyk!

Two Apple Stores, Much Waiting!

Two months ago, I was sure of my plans for today: get my second shingles vaccination at Pharmaca in downtown Los Gatos. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but it beat the alternative.

But last week, Apple announced its fall line, including the Apple Watch Series 5 with an always-on display (finally!). I ordered one for pickup this afternoon at the Apple Store in downtown Los Gatos, a two-minute stroll from Pharmaca. Everything was falling into place.

Of course, Apple also announced the new line of iPhones, with cameras that really appealed to me. And last year, I’d bought my iPhone XS Max on the iPhone Upgrade Plan, so upgrading was a no-brainer.

Except that I’d moved my phone from T-Mobile to Google Fi, and upgrading required being a customer of one of the Big 4 carriers. I checked with T-Mobile to see what it would cost to return to them, and the answer was “too much” (the call wasn’t a total loss, though, because we were able to add free Netflix to Diane’s account).

But I had found a second way to upgrade – Apple was offering a decent trade-in for my old phone, so I could buy the new phone outright and use the trade-in to pay off the balance on the Upgrade Plan.

By the time I figured all of this out, the delivery window had slipped into mid-October. Life is like that.

But today, Apple sent me yet another email to encourage me to upgrade. For some reason, I opened it instead of deleting it, and then I clicked the “Find a Store” link and specified the phone I wanted (256GB iPhone 11 Pro in Space Gray, SIM-free).

Much to my surprise, the Apple Park store had phones available for pickup today!

Instead of getting a shingles shot, I spent the afternoon in lines at not one, but two Apple Stores. Picking up the watch in Los Gatos took about 45 minutes; picking up the phone in Cupertino at Apple Park took about 90 minutes.

And when I came home with my trophies, Diane told me that Pharmaca had just called to remind us to get vaccinated.

Maybe tomorrow.