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!
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.
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.
I couldn’t make Dr. Prius see the OBDLink CX (to be fair, I couldn’t find any evidence that Dr. Prius supports it), so I tried the free version of Car Scanner instead. It worked perfectly, and if I’m interpreting its results correctly, the hybrid battery in the Prius is in good shape (all 14 cells have nearly the same voltage and very low internal resistance (0.03 ohms)).
I was so impressed by Car Scanner that I splurged $6.99 for the pro version. 😄
We stayed out of stores and malls today, but I took advantage of early Black Friday pricing all week.
On Wednesday, I bought a pair of 2nd Generation AirPods Pro at Best Buy to replace my old ones (I even got a $45 trade-in for the old ones!) and the Samsung T7 I mentioned yesterday; I gave them both a workout today.
I’d also ordered a few things from Amazon which arrived today (affliate links follow). The first two will be useful for travel:
I hope never to need this one:
Thanks to Mac Power Users‘s Gift Guide episode for suggesting those three items.
I also picked up a OBDLink CX OBD2 adapter to use with A Better Route Planner in the EV-6; I’m also hoping to use it to find out the state of the hybrid battery in our Prius, but the first app I tried (Dr. Prius) doesn’t work with this adapter, so I’ll keep trying.
And I bought a bunch of software, too (no affiliate links):
- TurboTax 2023 (from Costco; it’s cheaper there than any of the stores featured in the email that TurboTax sent me today)
- Secure Shellfish (terminal emulation for iPhone and iPad)
- SuperDuper (disk duplication for Mac; I upgraded to the Apple Silicon-native version)
I also upgraded one of my Macs to Sonoma (after making a full backup of the computer onto the new T7 using the new version of SuperDuper, of course), and so far, it’s been completely uneventful. Hooray!