Time Machine and a new motherboard

It looks like its backup week here at rebelog headquarters…

Apparently TimeMachine uses the MAC (MAC as in “Media Access Control” not Mac as in “Macintosh”) address of your ethernet port to identify its backups. If you change your motherboard (like I just did with my MBP) then your MAC address changes and Time Machine will no longer associate your backup with your machine (because as far as TM is concerned it’s a new machine).

You can browse the backup, but if you wish to continue backing up, TM will tell you it cannot find the volume. Opening the TM preferences and pointing at the backup drive will fix that, but TM will create a new backup set from scratch.


Mea Culpa… again.

I’ve been using Super Duper! for, like, ever (and therein lies the root of my problem.)

I’ve been using SD! to backup my laptop to an external LaCie drive every night. I’ve been doing this since said laptop was an Aluminum G4. I’ve been doing this since the default partition scheme was “Apple Partition Map”. I’ve been doing this since before I got my MacBook Pro…

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

I took my MBP in for repair yesterday (finally got fed up with the thermal shutdown problem it’s always had). No problem I thought – the warm and fuzzy feeling that having a recent SD! backup gives you in full effect. I’ll just boot the new Mac Mini (Core 2 Duo) I bought for the living room off my backup and keep working until the MBP is back.

Uh, no.

Of course the Mac Mini wouldn’t boot from the backup drive (remember that old partition scheme?) OK, time to clone it to another drive… 3 hrs later and 96% of the way through the clone the destination drive dies. OK, try again, different drive, 2 1/2 hours later, the clone is complete (Yay!) but the clone is un-bootable (Boo!).

So, I re-installed Leopard on the destination drive and started to migrate from the backup… Estimated time to completion? ~5 hrs (at which point I gave up).

In case your are keeping track, that equates to an entire day wasted.

2 hrs later while shopping at the mall (and just around the corner from the Apple Store) my cell phone rings. It’s the Apple Store technician, my MBP is ready (Hooray for Pro Care!)

Lesson learned? Always. Test. Your. Backups. Warm and fuzzy feelings don’t actually mean your are safe. Trust, but verify.


After installing Leopard on my MBP I noticed that Mail wouldn’t allow me to do “Entire Message” searches. The “Entire Message” button was greyed out.

I tried rebuilding all of my mailboxes in Mail and forcing an index by calling:

    mdimport ~/Library/Mail

Neither helped.

It turns out the MBP’s boot drive had somehow been added to the Spotlight Privacy list…


Open CPU surgery

I don’t talk much about my dark early days in technology, but lets just say that I know my way around a soldering iron and I remember a time when the only reason you needed heatsink compound was on a TO-3 style power transistor (and it was white and came pre-slathered over a piece of mica).

So anyway, hardware innards and I have a pretty good relationship. However, having established that, I’m still pretty intimidated with cracking open my MacBook Pro. I mean what right minded individual would relish the idea of spending a stressfull hour trying to remember where all the screws go (and whether you’ve reconnected all of those fiddly microscopic connectors, and the urine coloured celephane tape, my god the horror).

Still, this whole “I’m too hot, shutting down now!” thing was driving me batty. I’ve been hobbling along using Fan Control and turning off one CPU on tasks I knew would take it to the brink, but I finally had enough.

Since the MacBook is my primary computer, I can’t afford send it away to Apple for a week when I can re-goop the cpu myself in an hour. So I pulled out the handy tube of Arctic Silver 5, grabbed a bottle of 99% Isopropyl alcohol, Q-tips, and my jewelers screwdrivers and went to work.

With the help of some decent instructions the dis- and re-assembly wasn’t too hard. And the difference has been pronounced. Just watching Fan Control is quite exciting. The CPU gets hot, the fans rev up, the cpu cools down.

I’m pleased. It’s a nice change from the CPU gets hot, the fans rev up, the CPU gets hotter, the book shuts down.

Web Performance Cache I Hates You!

Apache in OS X Server has a feature1 called the web performance cache which is the bane of my existence. It has limited use (mostly for large volume static sites) but it is enabled by default for every new site you create, and enabling it for just one site can effect the behavior of every site on the box.

Invariably someone creates a new site on one of our servers and fails to disable the perf cache. Bad things ensue. I get grumpy.

Server Admin makes it difficult to discover which of the 100 or so sites on our primary web servers have the the perf cache enabled (click-click, options, close, click-click, options, close… sigh). Thankfully there is another way. Fire up the terminal and type:

cat /etc/webperfcache/webperfcache.conf

This command will list the contents of the webperfcache.conf file. Any sites listed will have the perf cache enabled. Turn it off, I beg you.

1 This “feature” has cost me more time than a zillion years worth of performance benefit.