Browsing "Communications & Electronics"
Mar 4, 2013 -

Another Windy Day

Caroline and her husband left well into the evening last night. I couldn’t imagine driving off like that in the dark, but they were heading home and figured that the supposedly crazy Austin Sunday night traffic would have died down by the time they arrived. Caroline was nice enough to send me a message when she got in letting me know they were safe and sound. Thanks!

It was another gorgeous day on the beach, albeit very windy. I am growing rather tired of this wind. 🙁 I’m crazy busy with projects, including wanting to get my ebook out before I leave the beach, so it’s kind of good that my social life is petering out a little. I did go out for a walk before dinner and met a nice gal only 10 years older than me. Unfortunately, she and her husband are pulling out tomorrow. 🙁

There’s really nothing to report, but Croft just sent me a message on Facebook wondering if my computer had crapped out or, as he put it, if the polish had fallen off the Apple! My computer is running great. So anyway, here’s a proof of life for him. 🙂 Oh, and I wish I had succeeded in taking pictures of the pelicans dive bombing the fish. Too funny. Who needs a TV?

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Communications & Electronics, Computer, Countries, Nice Folks, Social, Texas, Travel, USA    4 Comments
Mar 1, 2013 -

Installing a New Hard Drive On an Early 2009 17″ MacBook Pro

The hard drive on my early 2009 17″ MacBook Pro has been giving me hints for months that it was going to fail. The cost of a replacement drive and the fact that the swap is a DIY job meant that it just wasn’t worth waiting for the drive to crap out. Doing the swap now would mean doing so on my own terms when I was ready for it and well prepared.

First, I had to find a new drive. I did some (a lot) of research and found a WD Blue 500 GB Mobile Hard Drive that was well reviewed, suitable for a MacBook Pro, and available cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else, including Newegg.

The physical job of swapping the drive was very easy. I used a YouTube video to show me how to do it. Since I watched this before buying the drive, I knew to add a T6 Torx screwdriver to my order.

What troubled me was how, exactly, to get my new hard drive up and running. All my research was telling me that the new hard drive would magically boot up and I would be able to restore my system from my last Time Machine backup. That didn’t sit right with me and I dug deeper.

As it turns out, that above info is fine for folks who have newer Macs with internet recovery, as well as access to an open wifi signal or hard wired internet. This was not my case with an early 2009 Macbook Pro. What I had to do was create a recovery disk on one of my external hard drives.

I partitioned my 2TB drive and used the recovery assistant app to create a recovery disk on the partition, which took just a few minutes. That combined with a fresh Time Machine backup meant that I was ready to do the surgery.

One of the mounting bar screws was so tight that I stripped it and had to remove it with needle nose pliers. Otherwise, swapping the hard drives was just as easy as the video claimed.

The new hard drive installed, I turned on the computer, holding down the Option key after the chime. This allowed me to choose a drive for booting, and I selected my new recovery disk.

The recovery disk allowed Disk Utility to open. This made it possible to select the new drive and format it it correctly. I was then able to mount it.

The final step was to to restore my system by choosing my last Time Machine backup and having it restored on my newly formatted hard drive. This took about two hours.

And that’s it! I restarted the computer once the restoration was done and it’s almost like I never did the surgery. I am finding the new hard drive to be a lot louder, but this is something I was warned about in the reviews, so I’ll learn to put up with it.

I also gained 180GB of hard drive space since I went from a 320GB drive to a 500GB drive. Combine that with my external drives and I have 4TB of hard drive space available to me. I won’t be running out of space anytime soon!

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Communications & Electronics, Computer, Technical    6 Comments
Feb 27, 2013 -

Thinking About Saskatchewan

It’s hard to believe that I will be back in Canada in about 10 weeks. I don’t really want to think about that, but the fact is that I’m heading for rural territory with no idea of what services, if any, will be available to me. As things stand, I have no internet options whatsoever besides public wifi for Canada since I broke my ties with Telus. I’ve conceded that the only decent Canada-wide plan that would work for me is that offered by Bell with its Turbo Hub, so that’s what I’m looking at getting. I did email SaskTel to see what my hard wired options are and got a stock reply that had nothing to do with my question, as expected. I’d rather stick with a nationwide provider and mobile internet anyway.

When I bought my property, there was zero cell service in the village and for miles around. Now, I’m seeing coverage up to the limits of the community. This gives me hope that a booster would work. I contacted a company that puts together booster systems for folks in rural municipalities to see what they have to offer for my situation and at what cost. At this point, I’m looking at $300 for the Turbo Hub, plus about $70 a month for 10GB (remember I got FIVE GB for that price from Telus), so even if I end up forking out an extra $500 for a booster, I’m still well ahead of what it would cost to get a hard wired connection, if one is even possible.

I want to avoid landing without having a solid plan for getting online even if it takes a week or two to execute that plan. The loose ideaat this point is to get to my property and take a few days to meet the neighbours and establish a good enough relationship to determine if a summer there will be feasible. Who knows, the neighbours could end up being great and offer to sell me power, hard wired internet, water, and access to a toilet for dumping with a macerator, or they could all be horrible people who decide to run me out of town. I just won’t know till I get there.

It is encouraging to see that cell phone coverage map expand exponentially. I’m still seeing a big dead spot around my old homestead in the Gatineau Hills, but that’s no surprise. Saskatchewan is the second to last frontier in Canada (much more so than even Yukon, the NWT, or Nunavut, and just ahead of Quebec outside of the Montreal-QC City corridor)), so I’m gratified to see them moving ahead quickly, with their coverage map jumping in leaps and bounds.

I’m not looking forward to going back to Canada, but I’m slowly taking my head out of the sand about the notion of it. 🙂

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Canada, Cell Phone, Communications & Electronics, Countries, Internet, Saskatchewan, Technical, Travel    3 Comments