On Friday, January 13, 2012 at 13:00 (yes, really!) I closed the cover of my MacBook Pro. This was when I had seen the computer alive for the last time.
When I re-opened the flap nothing happened. Going through all the measures one can take in cases like this did not help. It remained dead.
The friendly Apple-authorized service point gave me the grim diagnosis after several days: the motherboard was corroded due to a previous water damage for which it had been at the same place some 3 years earlier. A glass of water had flooded the system when it was a few weeks old. Seems that at that time some impending corrosion damage was overlooked. There was no warranty on that repair of 2008. And AppleCare had expired last fall.
I had taken out the hard disk and put it into a USB-enclosure — my rescue disk. Additionally I had a complete carbon copy of the hard disk on another external drive and a separate time machine disk. These copies had Snow Leopard (OS 10.6) as the OS
But the other computer I had available was a 2005 PowerBook with Leopard (OS 10.5, the latest OS available for the PowerBook) which was not able to run some of the software from my dead Intel based machine.
Backups are valuable when you have a replacement machine with the same or a later operating system. An older one is not so helpful as I had to learn.
An interesting challenge was to get the address book and the calendar back. Due to the Android phone that I am using I have been using Spanning Sync to bridge between iCal and Mac Address Book and my Google Account. As soon as I had fired up the old machine Spanning Sync told me that I will have to use a newer version. After installation I had to find out they it would not run on the PowerBook, only on Intel machines. Firefox and many other applications wanted to be updated but could not as I had to realize after several trials and errors.
While doing this, Plaxo sync, which I have been using to sync iCal and Address Book between different machines and Operating systems, started with its own activity…
I want to spare you the details of the numerous other incompatibilities and botched installations. I got the address book to work albeit without most of the people’s pictures. I know about iCloud but this has only been available on Lion (OS 10.7) and iOS 5.
But I could resume working almost normally for two weeks until I decided to buy a new MacBook Pro with Lion (OS 10.7) and 8GB RAM.
I used the option to “inherit” all my files and settings from the Macintosh HD I had rescued from the dead machine. It worked like charm. But when I booted into my newly created account all the sync services started running immediately before I realized it. Maybe I should have started the machine without a network connection.
I have my calendar and my address book back now. But the address book now lost all my groups(!). Going back to the old machine I realize that also in that copy of my address book all my groups have been deleted by the magic of background syncs.
I will have to revert to a former version of the database without network connection but to do so I might have to boot in Snow Leopard using my rescued disk since the format of the Lion address book is now different from the one under Snow Leopard.
I don’t want to say that these are insurmountable tasks but all these exercises cost me several weeks of struggle. And I still have to go to the old Powerbook and find out what changes I made there to documents and libraries (like iPhoto) that did not yet make it to my new machine since I choose to inherit from the rescued disk. I hope that in a few weeks I will be back at a stable and sustainable state of affairs. This was also one reason that this blog had fallen somewhat silent for close to a month.
In Sun Microsystems for the last ten years we had been strongly advocating the Ultra-Light Client (called Sun Ray). With today’s easily obtainable cloud services and the excellent network bandwidth that most of us enjoy replacing of a defective desk top device would be as easy as replacing a fluorescent bulb.
All the data would be with a trusted cloud provider, no local settings, data, programs. A completely stateless client.
Well–history took a different turn. Mostly due to the lack of good bandwidth and the lack of cloud services. But these weeks I would really have enjoyed having all my apps, documents, media, and settings in the cloud.
Will we eventually move to a model with stateless clients and get rid of local storage, local software and operating systems on the desktop? What do you think?
- Adventures in Intel Mac Land, Part 1, John Hatchett, Recycled Computing (lowendmac.com)
- Tiger or Leopard for PowerPC Macs? Does It Matter Anymore?, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum (lowendmac.com)
- Mac Basics: How to Set up Time Machine (pcworld.com)
- clouds are the next step. (kisstheplanet.wordpress.com)