Dealing with the Curse

My Power Mac is dead and will stay that way. It would cost about $1,000 to get a new logic board installed, which is at the high end of what I could hope to sell the whole system for in perfect working condition today, never mind when I want to replace it in a month or two, when the new line of Mac Pros comes out. So I eventually picked it up from the hard-to-reach (on the phone) repair shop, and it’s sitting in my storage locker as a very heavy and attractive source of spare parts for Marc’s own tower should anything (other than the logic board) fail on him.

I found a way to limp along without it, though. I have temporarily repurposed the Mac Mini I had been using as a voice mail system in my comm closet. By adding a 500 GiB external hard drive (which I scored for $80 at Target, hurrah), partitioning that drive to boot Intel Macs, and installing Leopard on it, I was able to boot into the migration assistant, and pull over the environment from my Power Mac’s SATA boot drive. There was some hassle with software that I wasn’t able to deactivate on the old machine before it died (not knowing said death was imminent), so I had to contact support at Adobe and Mark/Space to get my registrations moved over, and jump through a few other hoops, but now I have access to my important media libraries and other such things while I wait for Apple’s exciting announcements next year.

The Mini actually does a surprisingly good job of filling in for the PowerMac and driving my Cinema Display, although it is way short on memory by comparison having just 1 GiB shared with an on-board video controller; the tower had 5 GiB and a screaming video card. I won’t be doing any video encoding projects for a while, and if I get sick of virtual memory paging lag, I may spend $30 and some effort prying open the case to double the RAM. But I can definitely get by for a few months and save the $1,000 repair cost towards buying a new screaming machine when the Nehalem Xeon models debut.

The TiVo is back to full capability, with a Seagate-mechanism 750 GiB eSATA external drive from WeaKnees working just great. I expect it to last much longer than the officially-supported Western Digital drive did, and even though this enclosure has fans (which is a good thing for longevity), you can’t hear them. The drive mechanism itself is more audible, but it’s not an unpleasant sound. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the very bright blue LEDs on the front of the enclosure, but a couple of pieces of electrical tape calmed them right down. I may find a more aesthetically sophisticated solution someday, but from normal viewing distance this looks fine for now. And the TiVo Series 3 did warn me it was uncertified, but was quite happy to go ahead and use it anyway, as expected.

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