Tag: mac

Replacing a MacBook Pro optical drive with a SSD: stripped screws a-plenty

Older model MacBook Pros typically came with a rotational hard disk and an optical  disk. Some models had a 6Gbps SATA controller for the HDD and a 3Gbps controller on the optical drive bay. It’s worth checking in the System Information tool if the controller for the optical bay is not slower than the HDD bay. If it is then you might want to consider swapping out your HDD for the SDD. If both bays are 6Gbps on both sides, then it’s ok to put an SDD in the optical bay and not limit it’s throughput.

My mid-2012 MBP has 6Gbps on both bays:


Optical bay:


I used an OWC drive doubler bracket to put my SSD into my optical bay. Here’s the patient open and ready to receive it’s new drive. Existing HDD at the top right, optical drive bay bottom right. The bag of tools comes with the OWC bracket:

 The OWC bracket is more pricey at $29 on Amazon, compared to the cheaper alternatives at < $10, but the difference in price seems to be you get everything you need in be box, including tools, replacement screws, and a manual. The manual is incredibly detailed and covers step by step with photos for each MBP model that the bracket fits. Find you model, follow the steps, done.

The replacement probably should take you less than an hour, but I ran into one of the soft black screws that wouldn’t budge and it stripped pretty much instantly. I tried the elastic band trick, I tried supergluing a screwdriver to the screw.., no good.

Drilling out a stripped screw is probably the last resort, unless you can reach it with a dremel and cut a slot into the top. This one was recessed, so did some reading around and a ‘Grabit’ seemed to be the way to go.

The screw in question for me was the larger one in step #8 in iFixit’s instructions here. The instructions even say:

Take care, as these screws are unusually easy to strip

Yep. I think that should actually say:

These screws are guaranteed to strip. Make sure you have tools at hand to remove them when stripped.

The Grabit Micro #1 and #2 did the job for me. The #1 seemed the one to use. Using the drill end, it took a while to drill a whole into the top of my stripped screw. Flipping the drill bit around to the extraction end, it didn’t catch like it was supposed to. At that point I thought my only option was to drill the screw out, so I swapped the next up size and started slowly drilling, but the drill bit end actually caught inside the hole. Since the drill and extractor ends both turn anticlockwise, it immediately started to remove the screw. Phew!

So hows the SSD? It’s awesome. Whereas before El Capitan seemed to take more than a minute (I hadn’t timed it, but roughly) to cold boot on my i7 2012 MacBook Pro, from a clean install on this SanDisk SSD, it boots to logon in around 6 to 7 seconds. Pretty damn incredible. It boots from cold it the same time it would take to come out of sleep from my HDD. And using OS X is incredibly damn fast and fluid. My 2012 MBP has a couple more years of life to go 🙂

Creating an OS X El Capitan install flash drive

Format the USB Flash Drive using Disk Utils:


The volume name in the next step is /Volumes/name-you-gave-the-volume-in-the-first-step.

Copy install files to the Flash Drive using createinstallmedia:


To boot from the flash drive, reboot your Mac holding down the Option key and the choose the icon for the flash drive.

Weblogic Portal 10.3.6 generic installer on Mac OS X – Insufficient Disk Space error

Trying to use the portal103_generic.jar installer on Mac OS X 10.11.1 gives this error even though you have plenty of free space:

A quick Google turns up this question and answer. Quick fix, run passing this option: -Dos.name=unix, so:

java -Dos.name=unix -jar portal103_generic.jar

Although others reported this avoided the issue, I then got this issue instead:

Exception in thread "chmodFile" java.lang.Error: Unix is not a supported OS platform.
 at java.lang.UNIXProcess$Platform.get(UNIXProcess.java:164)

Following additional suggestion here, using -Dspace.detection=false instead avoided the issue.

Microsoft offers to buy your old PC and Mac gear to encourage upgrades to Windows 10

Microsoft really want you to upgrade. Not content with ‘accidentally‘ forcing upgrades on some Windows 7 and 8 users that hadn’t upgraded yet, apparently they have an old equipment trade in program if you buy a new PC running Windows 10. You can get upto $200 for an old laptop, but for a MacBook you can get $300. Really? Microsoft values old Macs more than old PCs. You’d have to give me far more than $300 to trade in even an older MacBook. How about buy me a new MacBook Pro, throw in the Windows Sourface for free, and then when I’m convinced I really don’t like Windows then I still have a new MBP. That sounds like an awesome deal.

Reminder to self: MySql on Mac OS X is installed to /usr/local/mysql[version]

Apparently it’s been a while since I started up mysqld on my Mac for development (as I’ve been using MongoDB for a lot of my local dev). Anyway, apparently also I had already written a short article over a year ago to remind myself that the default location for the Mac install of MySQL is to /usr/local/.

Reminder to self again: remember to search your previous posts to remind yourself where MySQL is installed.

Windows 10 Activation Issues on Mac Parallels 9 and 10 for Bootcamp VMs

Parallels has a neat feature to allow you to create a VM from a bare metal install of Windows in the Bootcamp partition (rather than having it installed to a file representing a virtual disk on the host). This allows you to either natively boot straight from the Bootcamp partition, or boot in a VM running on a Mac OS X host.

For Windows 8.x, this worked fine even though Windows Activation saw the bare metal install and when running in the VM as two different installs. Previously one would activate as normal, and the other would require a call to the Microsoft number to get a new activation code. Once you had activated both, then you could boot either and both would be activated from one license.

On Windows 10 however, it looks like which ever you boot second, it sees the activation code already used on one of your Windows 10 devices, and then refuses to activate. This is discussed in this Parallels forum post here. So far it seems if you leave Windows 10 booted for ‘long enough’ eventually it will activate itself? I’m having this issue, so leaving my unactivated native boot up and running for a while to see whether it activates or not.

Mounting Linux ext partitions on OS X

I wanted to check some files on an SD Card formatted in ext that I had used on my Pi and wanted to check if I had left some files in the home dir before I reimaged it. OS X doesn’t support ext formatted drives by default, but you add support using OSXFuse.

  • Install Fuse for OS X
  • Install the ext plugin for Fuse
  • Find the partition you want to mount with: diskutil list
  • Make a mount point – not sure on Mac OS X where is the best place, but I added /mnt/sdcard
  • Mount with:

    sudo fuse-ext2 /dev/disk1s2 /mnt/sdcard

  • (replace with the /dev/ to your device)

I’m not sure if it’s best practice on the Mac to mount with sudo, but this worked for me for what I needed to do. Fuse mounts on ext are r/o by default, but there is experimental r/w support that can be enabled, check the docs.