Author Topic: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com  (Read 1113 times)

Steve

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A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« on: December 19, 2017, 02:56:51 AM »
For the past few months, my mid-2011 27" iMac has been having graphic issues. It would occasionally fill the screen with various patterns of small squares that blinked on and off. The only way to get rid of them would be to drag a window around, "erasing" them. After a few occurrences of this happening, I knew I needed to reboot to avoid a system lock up. This is similar to a graphics card issue I had fixed under warranty in 2012.

So when it began occurring more often, I knew certain death was only a matter of time. My plan was to wait until it croaked, and then replace it. But our daughter is home from college for Christmas, and I found the educational discount is $200. Hmmmm, wait, or preemptively buy a new iMac. Financially, I really didn't want to buy now, what with Christmas bills, a couple of car payments, etc. Then I looked at Gazelle and found I could sell it in running condition for $435. That sealed the deal! I had an older MacBook Air and 17" MacBook Pro laying around, and those added another $311 to the Gazelle deal! Now we're cooking! A total of $946 in "found" money!

The replacement is the best of Apple's "Good-Better-Best" standard offering 27" iMacs. The 27" Retina 5K iMac w/2T Fusion drive and 8 GB of RAM. I ordered two 16 GB sticks from OWC to bring the total to 40 GB of RAM. Here's what we bought on Thursday. https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/imac?product=MNED2LL/A&step=config#

I've spent large parts of the last several days carefully bringing things over from the old iMac. Well, actually, from the CCC backup on an external FireWire 800 drive, because I can directly plug it in and move files much faster. Where possible, I've been reinstalling as new, and only copying the preference files over. I really want to avoid bringing a bunch of orphaned files just because I don't know what they are, so I'm taking my time. As of this evening, the only things I have running on the old iMac are Twitter with seven accounts, and my Logitech 9000 webcam, which feeds my SkyCam on my weather web site. Works fine plugged into the old Mac, but nothing on the new one.

As far as WeatherCat and supporting files/software/hardware are concerned, I'm in pretty good shape. I initially couldn't get the SiLabs driver to stick, but finally solved that. I had to re-enter all of my server/FTP/and weather account passwords, and somewhere along the line I lost my UK Met Office WOW credentials, and their new login doesn't work. So I'll stop uploading there. And the above mentioned SkyCam. That's it! Everything else works great!

And the best part, is since this is a Fusion drive, it came loaded with Sierra and not High Sierra! Yippeee!

Steve - Avon, Ohio, USA


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xairbusdriver

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2017, 04:29:20 AM »
Nice!  ThU5:-)

Weatheraardvark

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2017, 05:26:25 AM »
i upgraded this summer to the mid 2017 21 inch.  I had them put in 32 G ram, 1tb Drive.  I did have to purchase the 2.0 to3.0 firewire  to hook up my drives.  I do use parallels with some of my software. I added Kapersky antivirus/malware.  I also use dashline for all the PW  I have, and crashplan for business to save all my data to a 2nd location.   Anyway, good luck.   
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Steve

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 06:05:06 PM »
@Weatheraardvark, that's one of the great things about the 27" iMac models; you can still access and add your own RAM. There are four slots, and two are occupied by 4GB cards. I'm adding two 16s, bringing the total to 40GB for about half what Apple wants to upgrade it to 32. And I can pick up the iMac at just about any store in stock instead of waiting for a custom build (which I've done before.)

My backup strategy is fairly robust: a 5T Airport for Time Machine, a 2T FireWire 800 for CCC backup, My Documents and some other files go to iCloud, 12GB of my most important stuff gets backed up to Dropbox, and most of everything else goes to SugarSync. I do not have my 19k songs backed up off-site, but I do use iTunes Match, so I could download them all onto another Mac if needed. What I don't have backed up off-site are all of my photographs. Many GB are on SmugMug, but I have 168GB Photos folder that is only backed up locally. I need to do something about that...

I used Parallels on the old iMac, but haven't tried launching it yet on the new one. Not sure if everything will come across as it is a new drive, and I can't reinstall Win XP Pro any more. I only use it for a home license of a CAD application and a Windows only camera capture application. I've never used any anti-virus on it as other than Window's phone home stuff, it never goes online. That's worked so far for about a decade.
Steve - Avon, Ohio, USA


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Blicj11

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 06:32:16 PM »
Interesting report Steve. Thanks for sharing. It is such a hassle to change hardware but the blazing new speed and crisp displays are very nice outcomes. Congratulations.
Blick


elagache

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Congratulations Steve! (Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com)
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2017, 11:00:21 PM »
Congratulations Steve!  ThU5:-)

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

Weatheraardvark

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2017, 12:59:55 AM »
So with the 27 inch, one can replace the memory cards?   on the 21 they are soldered to the mother board.  maybe the next one.  Ideally, I should have saved 20 years ago for their $10K machine.   Anyway, enjoy.   Yeah I traded the old one in and got a 900US for it.   
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https://www.desmoinesweather.org

Blicj11

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2017, 04:28:31 PM »
Ideally, I should have saved 20 years ago for their $10K machine.

Reminds me of a good Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Blick


Steve

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2017, 04:40:44 PM »
So with the 27 inch, one can replace the memory cards?

Yep, at least for now, and only on the 27". I don't expect that to be true on the next iteration, though, as the new iMac Pro 27" does *not* have user access to RAM.
Steve - Avon, Ohio, USA


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Blicj11

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2017, 04:43:08 PM »
Well, dang it, that's no good!
Blick


dfw_pilot

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New Computer
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2017, 12:26:58 AM »
What I don't have backed up off-site are all of my photographs. Many GB are on SmugMug, but I have 168GB Photos folder that is only backed up locally. I need to do something about that...

Congrats, Steve! Great looking machine and I hope it serves you well for many more great years. I was inspired to design my site based off of what you had accomplished up in Avon.

Something to consider for your photos - I'm at ~ 500 gig of photos and consider them the one thing I can't lose. WeatherCat data is great, but photos are truly priceless. For that, I use Transmit to sync a the originals from Lightroom with Amazon's S3. Now, S3 can get pricey because it acts like a live web server, with the ability to quickly re-download any file. For backup, that isn't necessary. You can make a simple preference (script) in S3 to transfer the files over to Amazon Glacier. This is because direct uploading to Glacier isn't possible. Doing so means you'll have a ~ four-hour lead time to re-download, but it costs pennies in storage costs. Off-site, bullet proof, easy, and cheap. I think I pay around $2/mo for the Glacier storage and that's great piece of mind.

Further, because you use CCC, you can automate your photos, or any files and folders, to be backed up over the web to another computer (like to an external drive connected to a daughter's computer away at college). The beauty here is that offsite backup is now free. If your upload speeds are slow or you are data capped, just send your daughter (or anyone you trust) the external drive already almost completely up-to-date and the incremental changes will be small.

All the best,

dfw
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Steve

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 10:43:04 PM »
Update: Funny thing about getting a faster computer; everything else suddenly seems slow!

Replaced a USB 2.0 hub with a USB 3.0 hub. Went from 480 Mb/s to 5 Gb/s transfer speeds
Replaced USB 2.0 camera card reader with Thunderbolt 3 reader. Went from 480 Mb/s to 40 Gb/sec
Replaced a Firewire 400 1T drive, a Firewire 800 1T drive, and a Firewire 800 2T drive with a 12T Thunderbolt 3 Drobo DAS. Went from Zzzzz to "Done already?"

Meanwhile, over the past year, Time Warner Cable has become Spectrum, and our internet speed has gone from 30Mb/s down, 3 Mb/s up to 100-120 Mb/s down, 10 Mb/s up.

As might be expected, I'm a happy clam! :)
Steve - Avon, Ohio, USA


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xairbusdriver

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 11:58:19 PM »
Quote
As might be expected, I'm a happy clam!
Albeit with a few less clams in your wallet...  [lol]

And don't forget; "Speed kills!" Better secure those new things on your desk!! [headbang]

elagache

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Enjoy it! (Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com)
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2018, 12:13:14 AM »
Dear Steve, X-Air, and WeatherCat speed freaks,

Update: Funny thing about getting a faster computer; everything else suddenly seems slow!

Enjoy it!  [bounce]

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

Blicj11

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Re: A new Mac for Avon-Weather.com
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2018, 07:25:45 AM »
Interesting upgrades Steve. Thanks for sharing. I do wish I lived where Internet speeds were significantly greater than dialup modem. They have been promising us fiber optic here for years but I am still on the very far end of a long copper run from the bottom of the mountain.
Blick