• Tech

    Things you MUST DO before upgrading/updating to Mac OS Big Sur (11.x)

    Ever since the beta versions of Mac OS Big Sur was introduced, there were a few dozen complaints of the installer not functioning properly at a catastrophic level. The problem happens particularly often with recent Macbook Pro models (Intel & M1), where the installer is stuck in a loop or bricks the computer completely. There is no way to cancel the install once the installer restarts your Mac, and no way to restart from your internal drive because the installer erases the Boot partition and replaces it with an Update partition.

    You can check out Mr. McIntosh’s blog for some details on the kinds of installation failures.

    If we take the statistic of “how many people report crimes” or “how many people get duped by spam”, we can estimate that the angry posts on the Apple Discussion Forum is only about 1.6% of actual Macs being affected. That means, if 10 people complain, there must be 625 affected machines out there. So far, I’ve seen about two dozen users (developers, mind you) so that’s 1500 Macs affected. Not a HUGE number but significant – especially if they are developers, beta-testers, pro-users, and early adopters.

    Anyways, long story short, here are things you MUST DO BEFORE upgrading to or updating Mac OS Big Sur. If the installation fails and your internal drive gets screwed or bricked, this will save you.

    • BACKUP – complete cloning of the internal drive is recommended
    • Enable at least one Admin user on the local drive
    • Enable booting from an External Drive – do this through Recovery Mode
    • Install Big Sur on an External Boot Drive as a production drive, if possible
    • Migrate Users to the External production drive
    • Make sure you have at least 35GB of available space on your internal drive

    Yes, yes, that means you have that same data in 3 different places. But you’ll thank me later.

  • Tech

    No sound from Macbook Pro built-in speakers except for Siri

    and… How to unstick software audio using Audio MIDI Setup

    This has been a recurring problem with Macbook and Macbook Pros ever since Apple added the digital audio output to these portable Macs. The D/A converter is software controlled and occasionally will not bring audio back to the built-in speakers after a) headphones are unplugged from the computer, or b) an app takes over audio output and does not relinquish control after quitting.

  • Confusion

    If you got a SPAM text from me, it wasn’t me.

    If you’ve received a SPAM text message from me today, it wasn’t me. Somebody is spoofing my e-mail address and has found a security hole in a device in Italy. That Italian device is sending out messages via a SMTP server in Singapore to the text messaging servers at AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the United States.

    Currently 50% of those messages are failing and are being bounced back to me instead of the machine in Italy! This is because the SMTP server in Singapore does not know that mail for celiamania.com should not originate from fastwebnet.it.

    I’ve sent a quick e-mail to the admins at fastwebnet.it, but I don’t know if they have the ability to block the offending machine without taking down a whole bunch of other customers.

    In the meantime, just ignore the SPAM message. Thanks.

  • Tech

    How to replace PHP on OS X Server 5.x with PHP via Homebrew

    The version of  PHP on OS X Server 5.x is v.5.3.x. As of this writing, the current distro of PHP on Homebrew is v.7.4.12. You will lose the ability to control PHP loading from the GUI.

    To prep, you should have prepared a phpinfo.php file on your website in an orphan directory so you can check all the modules that load with PHP. It is simply a text file with the name phpinfo.php and the content is:


    Don’t worry if PHP is currently running.

    Install PHP via Homebrew:

    brew install php