iMac Drive Upgrade

The old drive covered in 12 years worth of dust.

I belong to a cult. In my cult we have different levels achieved at great expense. The leadership is authoritarian and opaque. We use technology to mediate our experiences. The headquarters is in California.

The cult is called Apple and I’m in deep and have been for a long time. Since 2010, most of the thousands of posts on this blog have their origins on the dusty drive you see above.

I always think of the way Umberto Eco described the Apple cult and its main competitor,

Indeed, the Macintosh is counterreformist and has been influenced by the “ratio studiorum” of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach – if not the Kingdom of Heaven – the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: a long way from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.

Over the last year I’ve set out on a project to demystify Apple’s closed system by popping open its sleek minimalist objects to peer inside, to fix and prolong the life of a motley set of Apple junk I’ve come into possession of. I repaired an iPod and a iPad. Last week I revived my 2010 iMac.

In order to upgrade that iMac with a new solid state drive, I had to find an identification number. The i.d. number I needed was printed on the bottom of the “foot” that holds the heavy screen in a microscopic type printed gray on a gray background. Apple has a fetishistic design aesthetic that I’ve come to see as getting in the way of the functioning of the machine. The USB ports, for instance are placed in an awkward to access rear portion of the screen so as not to interfere with the sleek look of the damned thing.

To peak under the foot of the iMac I had to lean it back and use my iPhone camera to magnify the type. As I leaned the heavy iMac I inadvertently tipped over a small statue of the Egyptian god Anubis that had been banished to the windowsill of the walk in closet above my computer. Anubis fell and struck my iPhone, shattering the screen. So I had to add a new iPhone screen to my computer parts order (!).

In a technological realm designed for easy repair, which is not the capitalist world we live in, you’ be able to easily access all the interior parts of your computer. Such is not the case, of course, with an iMac. It’s not the worst repair project I’ve ever tackled but I wouldn’t call it easy either. You have to carefully lift the heavy screen out of the case and detach a bunch of delicate cables in order to access the old drive.

Once you put the iMac back together you have to install new system software. I’ll spare you the details but just say that Apple makes it difficult to install legacy software on old machines. In order to do it I needed another old machine and some arcane commands in the terminal application to get the iMac working again.

The end result is a remarkably fast and new seeming computer. The old drive in my circa 2010 iMac could not keep up with system and program demands and became so slow as to be unusable. The new solid state drive I installed makes for a new computer good enough for most of the tasks I use it for. You can do this same upgrade with old mac laptops.

Still, the arduous process of ugrading this machine made me want to deprogram myself from the Apple cult and join up with the Linux folks and some more user-configurable machine.

If you want to try this iMac upgrade for yourself here’s how to do it.

Weekend Linkages: Umarells and Oki Dogs

A friend left a bag of ratchet straps and one of the cats has been sitting in it for a week

I think being an Umarell is in my future (thank you to John Zapf for this mind blowing Wikipedia article)

A 2-way wrist radio

At SXSW, A Pathetic Tech Future Struggles to Be Born

“We’ll see you all at Oki-Dogs”: The story of L.A.’s legendary punk hangout (with hot dogs)

Down on Alvarado Street by the Pioneer Chicken Stand

Is it Cake?

Could of read, watched something good or just taken a walk but no, had to waste a precious hour of my life on the new Netflix show Is it Cake? which turns the pandemic trend of similacrum cake art into yet another competitive, “reality” TV show.

Is it Cake? is hyperactive, annoying and unfunny while constantly reminding you that it’s hyperactive, annoying and unfunny. It could just be the show at the end of history that portends the imminent eclipse of civilization. Watch just one episode and you’re ready to return to the pre-dawn of human consciousness, foraging tubers with your bare hands, unaware of your own mortality.

And yet you’ll be tempted to skip to the last two episodes which will plunge you into the extremes of post-modern skepticism. In the penultimate show, you’ll find out that the final bake-off involves making a cake that is a simulation of cake, which leads the contestants in the show to question if everything is, in fact, made of cake, that we’re living in a vast cake simulation.

In the the last episode the losing contestants, angry at missing out on the $10,000 prize and driven mad with their epistemological cake crisis, set out to slice the meta-obnoxious host in half with a Katana sword to see if he is, in fact, cake. They then stumble out of the studio, armed with more swords, machetes and knives, to slice open everything and everyone in sight to test their thesis that reality itself is make of cake. We the viewers, caught up in the cake or not cake question smash up our smart TVs to find out if they are made of cake only to discover that they are not cake and the cycle ends.

But then, too distracted to read a book, we open our laptops to this very blog post which concludes with the revelation that someone paid, via Cameo, the famous for being famous (rappers? unususual hair dudes?) Island Boy twins to read a passage from Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle.

And the cycle begins again.