Computer stuff. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. I run two old computers and they take some care to keep going. My MacPro Tower is from 2008 and my MacBook Air is from 2011. Being that, as I write this, it’s a month away from the year turning over to 2020 those computers are ancient by computer standards. But they’re what I’ve got and so I keep them going. They’re both still up and running so that’s a good thing.

The MacBook Air has a problem. It has a flaw that has been reported in a lot of Apple’s laptops from about 2010 to 2017. A bad video cable. That’s the cable that connects the computer screen to the rest of the computer. Sometimes when I turn the computer on the picture is all distorted. I then have to put my hands on the top left and bottom right corners of the screen and flex the screen slightly. That makes the video cable work again.

Since the computer is old it isn’t under warranty or Apple Care anymore. So I’ll have to fix it myself. I even bought a new video cable and have it ready to go except the repair isn’t an easy one. According to the internet it’s rated as one of the harder repairs. A lot of things have to be taken apart and even the screen bevel has to be pried off. I’ve been putting off the repair for fear that I might break the machine.

In telling this story to a friend he said he might have a slightly newer laptop for me. He gave me a 2012 MacBook Pro. I brought that one home and gave it a go. First I had to use Apple Migration Assistant to transfer over all the settings, apps, and files from my MacBook Air. I had no male to male USB cable so I tried to do the migration over my home network. I know that can be slow but I didn’t have a lot of stuff to transfer and I was willing to leave the machines on all night.

I started up the Migration Assistant and let it go. A couple hours later the progress bar barely budged. I knew something was wrong. I ordered the cable which would arrive in a couple of days and shut down the file transfer. When I went to restart the MacBook Pro it wouldn’t start. After fiddling with it for a while I found out it had a bad API partition. Whatever that is. My only recourse was to reinstall the system. So I did. The reinstall went smoothly.

When Saturday came and so did my cable I tried Apple Migration Assistant again. It worked perfectly and my new 2012 computer was ready for action. Almost. You see I use my laptop mostly for writing. Not only did my writing program, Scrivener, not work with the new Catalina operating system but neither did Illustrator CS6 which I write my comic strip in. I’ll have to pay $30 to upgrade Scrivener (which I still haven’t quite done yet) but Illustrator is another matter.

I’ve been using my old version of Illustrator for years now. I don’t have the money fo a monthly subscription and the old one suits me just fine. Plus my old 2008 tower won’t even run the latest version of Illustrator. But I have been doing some teaching at a college recently and that means I have an Adobe ID that’s allowed to access their suite of programs. It also means that I can install Adobe programs on my new/old 2012 laptop that is running the latest Mac OS. After a few installation tries I got the apps installed.

The weird thing about the 2012 MacBook Pro is that it seems slower than my 2011 MacBook Air. On paper the Pro has the advantage in all the stats. Except one. The Air has a solid state SSD hard drive and the Pro has a regular optical drive. That solid state HD makes the Air seem faster because it accesses the HD faster. Now I want to replace the HD on the Pro. More money so maybe in the future. The MacBook Pro isn’t quite ready to replace my MacBook Air just yet. But soon.

With my 2008 Tower I wanted to replace the main hard drive with a newer and larger one. It has a 3TB hard drive in it and it has over 2TB worth of stuff on it. It’s starting to get full and that slows things down. I bought an 8 TB external drive and cracked it out of its case when I got it. For some reason bare internal drives are more expensive than the same drive in an external case.

I put the drive into one of the bays in the tower and reformatted it for a Mac. After that I installed the OS and started up Apple Migration Assistant. This time I had over 2 TB of info to transfer so it was going to take a while. I started it on Saturday nigh at about 4PM and figured it would take it overnight to finish. I underestimated. It took until 4PM on Sunday to finish copying.

After it finished installing I went to boot the computer up from the new drive. It wouldn’t boot. It defaulted back to the old drive even if I chose the new one specifically. I had to pull all the drives from their bays and only leave the new one in there. It finally booted up.

After upgrading it took another couple of hours to get things going. The Migration Assistant transferred everything over so that my new HD and OS looked just like my old one but for some reason it still didn’t copy every single setting over. I don’t know why but I had to start a bunch of things up and sign in with passwords. Not everything but just some things. Then everything crashed and I couldn’t get the computer started.

Don’t ask me why it crashed. I have no idea why. All I know is that it took me a half an hour to get it started again. I tried everything I knew from safe booting to running disc utility. It took multiple attempts but finally restarted. I got everything up and running again. There are still a few quirks that I’m working out but the new hard drive and system are solid. Let’s see how long they stay that way.