Just keep cobbling

Aerial AnimationI rebuilt my Mac Pro software completely and it appears to have resolved the idle hanging problem.  It is alway an annoying amount of work getting everything up and running again.  It’s nice to have everything fresh and clean and worth it to finally have a stable desktop.  The most frustrating part of this kind of solution is that nothing is learned.  How?  Why?  No answers, but at least an end to the frustration!

UPDATE!  – Nothing is resolved!  it just took over 48 hours for the problem to return. 😤

Silver lining was my brief use of screensavers and discovering John Coats work to bring the beautiful Aerial flyovers from the Apple TV to all macs.  Looks amazing on 3 screens!

Sometimes I feel like the cobbler with no shoes

High Sierra InstallI upgraded my Mac Pro to High Sierra.  For the most part it was seamless.  The installer automatically migrated the HFS+ file system to AFPS and everything appeared to be working great.  As it turns out. . . I have a new intermittent problem that causes the computer to become unresponsive while idle.

It presents primarily as a failure to wake from sleep (backlit black screens instead).  Display sleep is actually all that is required to present and of course it is not every time.  It is often enough for me to return to the 90s habit of shutting down my computer after I finish using it lest I cause irreparable harm to my mounted file systems.  Here are some things i have discovered while trying to resolve.  Sometimes i can access the computer remotely, other times not, never graphically.  Sometimes the system hangs as soon as it goes idle, sometimes it continues to operate.  Sometimes it restarts from “sudo reboot” from an ssh session, other times it just hangs completely when i try.  The console logs are useless.  Nothing at all before the reboot.  When unresponsive, there is nothing to do but hold the power button.

The difficulty i am having at discovering the core of the issue combined with the fact that my remote backup has gotten stale is driving me crazy.  There seems to be people complaining about this on every Apple forum there is.  I am not alone:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8085995
https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/300199/mac-pro-on-high-sierra-doesnt-wake-up
https://www.reddit.com/r/MacOS/comments/73094p/mac_pro_2013_high_sierra_wont_wake…
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/high-sierra-causing-blank-screen-macpro.2073218/

AOL Instant Messenger Shutting Down!

AOL’s Long running messaging service will end on December 15th. Though it’s true that i rarely use it these days and that I actually lost my original account years ago… I have fond memories of this communications protocol.  I continue to communicate with people though AIM. Apple had strong links to it at the launch of iChatAV. #nostalgia  Well, AOL broke the news with a tweet.  ironic?

AIM sunset tweet: All Good things come to an end. On Dec 15, we'll bid farewell to AIM. Thank you to all our users!

iOS 11! installed!

looking good with exciting new Control Center and loads of other features. my favorite is 5x sleep to disable touch ID (instantly and temporarily). I am looking forward to the new Augmented Reality features built into ARkit. I cannot wait to see what developers do with it.

There are a few sticky wickets (i.e. Apple changed the bluetooth and wifi toggle functionality in Control Center). For example, if you “turn off” wifi it actually just disassociates you from your current network leaving your wifi radio on and functioning. i don’t mind because i wanted exactly this feature. if you actually want to turn off a radio, you need to go to your Settings app or turn on Airplane mode.

Apple maps is stepping up their game with indoor maps of malls, airports and others allowing navigation without GPS or even a view of the sky. Easy trick to share your complex wifi password with other apple devices and of course native animated GIF support!

Continue reading “iOS 11! installed!”

Monitoring power usage is sometimes my only insight.

I have been working on a number of Raspberry Pi projects in various stages of working. To distract from more difficult projects (not to mention nostalgia and fun) I have been building  an Adafruit PiGrrl portable classic game emulator.  At several points with this project or other without a lot of feedback from the device I’m working with, I’ve relied on milliamp readings from the Mico USB Cable/Voltage Display.  This tiny bit of information is incredibly helpful in determining what my Pi is up too. Idle? Booting? Overwhelmed?  In the land of the blind the one eye’d man is king.  At the very least it reduced the total time waisted waiting on crashed or other broken attempts.

Micro USB amp meter

And then there were four!

Drobo 5c StatusI have been experiencing an excess of failures with my own equipment this week.  Mostly aged drives who’s working lifespan is winding down.  Often the preverbal cobbler with no shoes, I rarely have time to maintain my own equipment. My usual quick fix is to throw more drives at the problem. Although that would certainly get me running again, it was more of a stop gap then a real solution.  I have a number of aged drives and i wanted a solution not just for today, but something to make a difference moving forward.  Enter the Drobo 5c.  I have been a fan of Drobo for years.  I have an 8 bay that holds my media library in it’s warm RAID-6 embrace.  I had been eyeing the Drobo 5d for years waiting for the price to sink or my need to raise.  Turns out the 5c is incredibly priced with only minor disadvantages over the 5d.  One reason i love Drobo and the reason it was perfect for this project is the Drobo’s ability to expand in the future while operating at diminished capacity.  I bought this enclosure with only 2 drives.  Started up with mearly one 4TB drive and another 3TB.  This got me started with about 2.7TB of usable space.  Then i got to the task of offloading data from my healthy external drives. As each drive emptied into the Drobo’s volume, it was then fed into the Drobo enclosure to continue to expand the capacity.  Now i have over 8TB of usable storage with both failover protection (a single drive can fail and I loose nothing) and expandability.  It’s one big volume makes organizing and tidying a snap.  That last bay will get a 4TB eventually and it’s doubtful the most recent 3TB i installed will be working this time next year.

Continue reading “And then there were four!”