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New Beginnings Follow a Sad Ending

Three weeks ago was a sad day. My Mac’s fans were grinding on something, so I opened it up to clean them out. I removed some recognizable dust bunnies! Then, I put it all back together.

Power…

Nothing.

I tried every troubleshooting tactic I knew and even researched one or two new ones I did not know. Nothing worked. My Mac would not turn on.

Powerlessness

This was the day after the iPhone 6 went on sale so Apple Stores were still packed. I visited the 4th Street Apple Store but the walk-in queue for a Genius was too long to accept me.

I headed down to the Bay Street store and managed to get an appointment with only an hour wait. I had a nice chat with Andrew, who agreed that I had covered my bases with troubleshooting.

He took my Mac to the back for a few more tests and his best conclusion was that my power button was dead. (Sounds logical.) The fix would require replacing the entire top case — including the keyboard — as the power button is integral. If successful, this would cost me $185, a worthy repair fee.

The worst case scenario was a dead logic board, a $600 expense, quoth Andrew, that I was probably not willing to endure. I required little further convincing not to pay so much for a repair, should this truth come to pass.

New MacBook Pro with Rainbow Logo

Gratitude

I am grateful to my friend Zelig who replaced his MacBook Pro before he went to Israel for the second half of the year, and to me for not having delivering his Mac back to the Wilderness Torah office after I cleaned it up. I used this old Mac — only a year or two older than mine — for the following few weeks.

I had a clone of my hard disk, only a few weeks old, that served my needs while Apple had my Mac. It was painfully slow at first as I was running OS X Mavericks on only 2 GB of memory, booting from a FireWire 800-connected hard disk. However, my productivity only suffered for five days before I left for Sukkot on the Farm.

I also heard from Apple early that following week with the news that actually my logic board was dead and, since I did not want to initiate a repair, my Mac would be available for pickup when I was ready to retrieve it.

After being happily disconnected from the Internet and most digital technology for five days, I returned from the festival and upgraded the memory in Zelig’s old Mac to 4 GB, which gave it a significant boost. A couple days later, I picked up my Mac from the Apple Store and the fun began.

New Life

Fusion DriveA year and a half ago, I replaced my optical drive with an OWC SSD and configured it with my hard disk into a Fusion Drive. Last week, I removed both from my Mac, recalling how easy Apple made this surgery for MacBooks built more than a few years ago.

I put the hard disk inside an OWC Express enclosure I’d bought just a couple days before my Mac died. The SSD I connected with my NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter, which has been very handy over the years. It enables me to connect any bare drive to a computer.

I connected each drive to one of the Mac’s two USB ports. Amazingly, my single-volume Fusion Drive mounted and I was able to access my data. However, I was mysteriously unable to boot from the unified drive as at startup the system was seeing it as two separate volumes.

The first thing I considered was that there was confusion across the two USB ports in use. Their connection inside a Mac is more integrated. I shut down and connected both drives to my USB hub, plugging that into a single Mac USB port.

I started the computer again and was able to select the single Fusion Drive as the startup disk. Incredible! I added the few files I’d saved in the interim and cloned to my backup drive.

Speedy, too. The presence of the SSD made the system so much more usable and I was able to be productive while I waited for my new Mac to arrive.

What’s that?!

New Mac

Refurb 2013 MacBook Pro 15 RetinaYes, not only did I pick up my old Mac at the Apple Store last Thursday, I also ordered a refurbished 2013 MacBook Pro with Retina Display. I didn’t race to the top of the line as I have in the past. Instead, I opted for a 2.3 GHz Core i7, 16 GB of memory, and 500 GB of storage.

I received it on Monday and have spent this week integrating it with my computing life. Like nearly six years ago when I bought my last Mac, I’m impressed at how fast and responsive it is.

I replaced my 1 TB backup and storage drive with a 2 TB drive and just upgraded to Yosemite. Next week, I’ll put my old SSD in an external enclosure of its own.

Transcend JetFlash 710 32GBI’m also replacing my 16 GB USB 2.0 LaCie WhizKey flash drive with a smaller, speedier 32 GB USB 3.0 flash drive. At Krishna Sadasivam’s recommendation, I’ve chosen a Transcend JetFlash drive. This will enable me to carry more OS X installers and utilities in my pocket to support my clients.

I’m grateful, too, to have invested in Apple 14 years ago. What began under $500 has grown to support several purchases of Apple gear and related accessories over the years.

Patience

Thanks for sticking with me! I took a month off of blogging for the holidays and I’m looking forward to writing for you again.

In the coming weeks, you can look forward to a review of 2Do, my new method of keeping track of reminders and things to do; tidbits from Yosemite, my Mac’s new heart; and a story about my client who’s a chef. You might also hear about my friend who is opening a new custom framing business and my general quest for more connections to new clients.

Thanks for reading! Leave your comments below and let me know how I can help.

Ben

Ben

Mac + Sustainability Coach at Sustainable Computing
Ben
Ben
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