Upgrading to Mountain Lion >Updated< and purring along …

In STT on September 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm

The fifth time’s a charm? Pretty much! With the side rant about calendars … UPDATED!!!

So this is the fifth time I’ve upgraded a Mac on OS X. I’ve gone from Tiger to Leopard to Snow Leopard to Lion to Mountain Lion. Not all on the same Mac mind you, although one of my older work MacBook Pros (which I will also refer to as MBP(s)), has gone from Leopard to Mountain Lion (which I will also refer to as ML), so anyway … that machine and its siblings in my keep, will have had four different versions of OS X and three upgrades.  

[UPDATE: writing these updates about two weeks after the Mountain Lion 10.8.1 update came out and essentially whatever magic was in that update, worked for me!  My MacBook Pro is running better then ever].

I turned Mac about six years ago on a white MacBook running Tiger and I was astounded and amazed my first upgrade oh-so-many-years ago going from Tiger to Leopard. And I continue to be astounded by the crazy notion that you can install a major OS upgrade, not lose anything in the process, not have to type in a crazy long key code, only have one re-boot, and be done within an hour. It’s part of turned me into an Apple fanboy.

This time around, I’ve upgraded 3 machines to Mountain Lion (as of this post) since ML came at the out end of July. Two have been 4-year-old MacBook Pros and the latest is a year old MBP. All these upgrades went smoothly. Two went from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, the other went from Lion to Mountain Lion, specs listed below in order of upgrades :

  • Snow Leopard to Mountain LionMacBook Pro 15″ Early 2008 / 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo / 4 GB RAM / NVIDIA GeForce 8600M 512 MB ( upgraded the afternoon SL was released, I’m a fanboy!)
  • Lion to Mountain LionMacBook Pro 15″ Early 2008 / 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo / 4 GB RAM / NVIDIA GeForce 8600M 512 MB
  • Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion - MacBook Pro 15″ Early 2011 / 2.2 GHz Quad-Core i7 / 8 GB RAM / AMD Radeon 6750M 1 GB (my current work machine)

The two older MBPs, seem to be working just fine, no discernible issues at all, zippy as ever, nothing crashes, all good. Other then a bum SuperDrive on one, I think these old guys will last forever. My only issue has been on the newest MacBook Pro, my main machine of course …. But, thus far I believe this stems more from the accumulated gunk in my account than ML per se. My OS X account has been transferred between two diffenent MacBook Pros and has gone through at least two OS X upgrades accumulating log files, caches, preferences, left-over bits from deleted apps, etc., etc. So I decided to use CC Cleaner to wipe out years worth of these accumulated log files and caches after the upgrade … and may have gone too far … and maybe should’ve done that before the upgrade eh? ;-)  

[UPDATE: Yes, using CC Cleaner and cleaning a bit too well was a mistake, but luckily having a Google account and signing in to Chrome to restore things helped as did, as it always does, Time Machine(!).  I was able to restore a number of preferences and misecallany by copying over from my Time Machine backups, fixed many things and was reminded that maybe being too clean isn’t really such a good thing  ;-)]

On my 2011 MBP I find my boot-ups and shut-downs to be uncharacteristically slow, but once it gets booted, this machine works very smoothly and I’ve had no problems at all. I’m maybe going to experiment with creating a new admin account for myself and see if that makes a difference … Need to look into this though because OS X of permissions issues transferring documents and files from one account to another, but thinkin’ about it … I’ll post if I do. And anecdotally, it seems to charge its battery much faster now.

[UPDATE:  I did indeed create a new admin user account and was in the process of slowly moving files over to it.  I was finding that initially I had slow boot and that apps and the mouse cursor would freeze and disappear for a second or two, both noticeable and frustrating, but I wasn’t having that issue as much in my new admin account.  Then I went on vacation for a week and let my MacBook rest and when I came back, booted up, first thing it did was install the 10.8.1 OS X update and voilà! My MacBook was running better then ever ;-)  … I will note that one of my suspicions of the freezing behavior I was plagued with was due to Outlook or Exchange, but I could never seem to pin it down.  Apple’s  notes for 10.8.1 update state that it will “Improve compatibility when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server in Mail.” Well it seem to do that and just make everything else run smooth as silk too.]

Also on my 2011 MBP I run Windows XP & Windows 7 in Parallels 6 which does not work with Mountain Lion, I’ll need to upgrade to Parallels 7, so that’s that. And I have a Boot Camp partition on this machine running Windows 7. I had created this partition in Snow Leopard and now under Mountain Lion it work just fine. I’ve had no problems on my Window Boot Camp side of this Mac, a bit of kumbayah luv between Apple and Microsoft … so far … ;-)

[UPDATE: Did indeed upgrade to Parallels 7, and again upgrade happened without a hitch, was able to activate both my WinXP and Win7 virtual machines, no problem with the addition of now having my Boot Camp Windows 7 install also accessible via Parallels 7.  I’ve gone through 3-4 upgrades of Parallels and am always impressed how smooth they go and how they keep making the virtual OS experience work better and better.]

So far I like Mountain Lion. It seems a nice refinement to Lion, as Snow Leopard was to Leopard. I knew enough about Lion to know what to tweak in Mountain Lion: the silly upside down scrolling; adding the Save As menu; finding my Library folder. And I’m excited by the new dictation features and the iCloud integration as I use my personal iPad for so many presentations now at work. So in all, another successful upgrade, but I may be shopping for an analog paper calendar in the meantime.

Calendering… Which I knew would an issue, but I upgraded anyway :-)

I use Exchange in Outlook 2011 for my work calendar. And I’ve been using an Outlook 2011 On-My-Computer calendar for my personal calendar. Thus I can look at one calendar in Outlook 2011 and see both my personal as well as work appointments and it syncs nicely with my iPhone too. In Snow Leopard my Outlook 2011 personal calendar synced with iCal and then with my iPhone via iTunes, sounds convoluted, but it works! Or rather worked …. In Mountain Lion, iCal is now Calendar (to match iOS) and that syncing ain’t going so well. So <sigh> … I may have to switch my personal calendar to iCloud, wait for some luv, or at least détente, between Apple and Microsoft to make Calendar and iCloud work with Exchange and Outlook 2011.

Now how did Palm get calendaring and syncing so right over a decade ago(!) while Microsoft with their Exchange and Apple with iCloud can’t seem to work out quite that same efficiency? I never had serious calender or syncing issues in Mac or Windows on my Palms! It’s 2012 for goodness sake! Okay, so maybe not exactly Mountain Lion’s fault as an OS, but certainly enough blame to go around here for both Apple and Microsoft. I guess I could try getting Google calendar to sync with Exchange and iCloud and my iPhone and my MacBook … Is it too much to ask, really!? ;-)

[UPDATE:  Switched my personal calendars to iCloud, kept work with Exchange/Outlook (don’t really have a choice on that <LOL>), I turned off Outlook’s sync with Calendar on the MacBook and I don’t sync my iPhone or iPad with MacBook at all anymore (other than for a backup). I depend on syncing through the clouds of iCloud and Exchange and I’m a happy happy camper.  Apple’s Calendar app syncs with Exhcnage, so I can see my work and life calendars in once place in my MacBook in Calendar or on my iPhone or iPad on the Calendar app.  On the mobile devices I just needed to activate an Exchange account and that calendar will then appear in my Calendar app.  It’s simple and elegant and works!]

The original post was created using Blogsy and iOS 5.1 Dictation on my iPad :-)

Getting the wheels all the way in to the Rubbermaid Triple Trolley Model FG4401

In Fav Things on September 8, 2012 at 9:16 pm

So I bought this flat-bed “trolley” cart as an impulse buy at Home Depot the other day thinking it would come in handy for off-loading the car after an outing at BJ’s or Costco, not to mention other moving projects I haven’t yet thought of or was faced with.  At $70 it looked to be a good buy and easy to put together … and there was only 1 left!!!

I get it home and start to put it together via the non-verbal Lego-like instructions, and everything seems pretty easy, but it seemed weird to me that the wheels (casters on stems) didn’t push all the way in and the tops of the casters weren’t flush with the bottom base of the cart.  The wheel casters were pushed in as hard as I could and seemed secure, but didn’t seem right.

I used it twice like this and it worked fine, but after the second load I looked more closely at the instructions and sure enough it seemed to indicate the wheels should be pushed in all the way, no stem from the caster showing (and photos online confirmed this).  And I could tell by the molding on the bottom that the rear wheels were suppose to lock in place if pushed all the way in.  So I tried pushing and pushing to no avail.  Tried to pound down on the wheels with a rubber mallet and with nail set and a hammer pounding on the caster base … and in all only worked up a nice sweat.

So I decided to cool off mentally and physically use the handy interwebs and see if anyone else had a similar issue and a trick to make this work.  I tried You Tube, Google, the Rubbermaid site, and out of desperation, Bing!, but all to no avail.  Eventually I went back to Home Depot site and sure enough, there was one review complaining of the same problem and how he used a 1×1 piece of wood angled on the caster base and a hammer to pound those stubborn wheels in place.  So back I headed to the basement to try and find something similar to use on my casters and when I happened upon my can of WD-40 … “why not?”

Sure enough, one squirt of WD-40 in each wheel’s hole, used my thumb to hold caster in place after an initial push down, a few knocks with my rubber mallet and they all slid in perfectly flush. Be aware that the two rear wheels lock in place, so line up before you start hammering.  I posted my WD-40 solution to the Home Depot site too hoping it helps someone too.  I love this kind of serendipity.

Kudos to the always handy WD-4o ;-)

Find Rubbermaid Triple Trolley Model FG4401 at Home Depot ($69.97 – Sept. 2012)

If I can’t have children, I think I’ll adopt.

In Cancer Sucks on April 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

This post’s title was my daughter thinking aloud to my wife in the car a while back. Given the possibility that the chemo and radiation may in fact prevent her from having children one day, that’s a good plan to have. It’s a sucky plan to have to make when you’re eleven though. And it’s a sign my daughter is much more aware of her situation then she let’s on to us, as it’s a topic we never openly discussed with her. Kids are pretty smart and they pick up on a lot, cliché yes, but this is an example of why these clichés exist.

Haven’t written here for quite a while, partly because no news is good news, partly because I don’t want to think about cancer if I don’t have to. But it sneaks up on you anyway and today I feel like I have to get it all out.

It is the first of our two-year cycle of a every 3-month MRI & CT scan my daughter will get to make sure this cancer that has a high re-occurrence rate doesn’t reoccur … It’s a reality that is rather unwelcome after being in a “let’s get back to normal” bubble the past couple of months. Her hair is growing back although still short like a marine recruit, but soft as down. She is relishing being a student and doing very well in school. I suspect she likes school work partly because it makes her feel normal again too and it is something she can worry about but, still have some control over. She has energy and humor and she likes being with us and us with her, she and we are pretty happy just being.

But being back in the hospital again, even with the nice nurses and lab techs and anesthesiologist, reminds you how badly you don’t really want to be there. The waiting waiting waitng doesn’t help either just more time to think and even endless rounds of Angry Birds doesn’t really help.

And when the nice recovery room nurse says “we hope we don’t have to see you again,” it’s hard for me to reply for fear of choking myself up, because we will see them again. Every three months for the next two years. And then every six months and then annually …

On a lighter note, another thing I was reminded being back at the hospital today is that Au Bon Pain’s coffee and cinnamon buns look better than they are. That turkey club sandwich is still quite good, the coffee and cinnamon buns are just OK. I’m writing this to remind myself and save myself a few dollars and useless calories in the process.

Again, I wish I never had to know about the pros and cons of the food choices at the hospital. But it’s one of those weird and quirky things I now know because I have a kid with cancer and have spent a lot of time there.


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