Mac Firmware Upgrade Scare

I just got really scared. I noticed that Apple had release a new firmware update for the Mac Pro that said it fixed a bunch of stuff. I followed the directions to install it and all seemed to be going well. I got the progress meter that I saw the last time I updated the firmware, then it restarted, with the (really loud) system “bong”. It initialized one of my monitors with a gray screen and then… nothing. It didn’t go any further. I let it stay like that for a good 10 minutes, not wanting to interrupt anything in progress, but still nothing. Nervousness set in.

Then I remembered something I saw earlier about a firmware restoration CD from Apple. Fortunately I also have an iBook, because in order to create a CD from the download, you have to have a Mac. I made the CD, then followed the directions to use it. Only problem was that it didn’t work. I turned the box off. Then held down the power button until the light flashed rapidly, but the S.O.S. blinkenlichten that were promised in the directions never blinked. Which meant the CD tray never opened, which meant I couldn’t put the restoration CD in to do anything with it. Panic set in.

Then I happened to notice that when it was trying to boot, it did initialize my iPod. I thought maybe, for some strange reason, it doesn’t like/want the iPod plugged in on the reboot. I unplugged the iPod, shutdown the Pro and powered it up again and this time… it worked. After logging in, the firmware updater let me know that my firmware was now the latest version and that all was well. I don’t know why it balked with the iPod plugged in, but I’ll try to remember that next time.

And just now, as I was writing this, I went back and looked at the directions again. And what did I see?

Some USB and FireWire devices may prevent firmware updates from installing correctly. If you are having trouble installing an update try disconnecting non-essential devices and use only an Apple branded keyboard, mouse and monitor.

I guess it really does pay to read the directions all the way to the end before starting something like this. I could have saved myself some serious worrying…

I’m sure I’ll be able to laugh about this at some point, but not yet. If it hadn’t come back up, I would have had to drive half-way to the other side of Atlanta to the nearest Apple store, which would not have made me happy.

One Week After The New Mac’s Arrival

I’ve had my shiny, new Mac Pro for just over one week now and all I can say is “Whoa,” in a very Joey Lawrence sort of way. This thing is the fastest machine I’ve ever owned, and the closest to top-of-the-line I’ve ever been. Granted, I paid a premium for it, but it sho’ is nice.

Eclipse, which on my 1.4GHz AMD box took 45 to 80 seconds to startup, starts in 10 seconds. Yes, that’s 10 seconds. From clicking on the icon to ready-to-accept-user-input, in 10 seconds. And with 2GB of RAM, I can run iTunes, Eclipse, SQuirrelL SQL, SmartCVS, Adium, NeoOffice, TextMate, iTerm, JBoss, two instances of Firefox and Parallels Desktop (running WindowsXP), all at the same time, all without breaking a sweat. It’s a very sweet machine. Oh yeah, the other day I had Serenity playing on one monitor while I was working on the other.

When I decided to get this computer, there was only one Windows app that I was really going to miss, and that was SQLYog. I do most of my SQL work in SQuirreL, but SQLYog has this neat utility to compare the structure of two databases and generate DDL to alter one to look like the other. It’s very handy, and I was going to miss it. Then I noticed that the CodeWeavers folks have made CrossOver available for the Mac. I tried it, got SQLYog running and went ahead and bought a license. I’ve used CrossOver on Linux, and it’s a nice product. My only complaint is that it wants to open dialogs centered across both my monitors, so they end up being split across both monitors, but that’s a small problem, really. I’m just happy I can still run SQLYog.

Anyway, I’m very happy with my machine. I don’t miss Windows at all.