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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 6:12 pm 
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Am I missing the logic, here?

Another voice-over person, after reading in a forum that I use a Mac mini and external Glyph drives, emailed asking my advice. He said his Mac mini was running very slow, and he was considering buying and configuring a Glyph SSD to be his startup volume. Hoping to help him pin down why the computer was so slow, I asked if he had plenty of HD free space and RAM. He said he had 400GB of available drive space (he didn't mention RAM) and complained of slow application launch times and having to wait for the spinning beach ball too often while editing audio.

I told him I always record my audio to an external drive; never the boot drive, which is something I've done since it was recommended by the makers of Pro Tools, because (at least at one time) recording and editing to/from the boot drive could get (momentarily) interrupted if/when the computer needed to execute any system-related tasks. I said I never have issues with slow response and never see the spinning beach ball unless there's a genuine problem. I then confirmed that he could, indeed, buy and configure an external SSD to boot from but, if the problems he's having are not with read/write speeds but with memory and/or processing, then his problems would probably still exist.

His apparent decision, after all this discussion? "I'm thinking I just need to buy a new computer."

So glad I could help. I think his mind was already made up.

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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 6:53 pm 
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I've come across this before with someone who was having troubles with their printer, and in the end they just bought a new printer. I thought even though there was a solution, the person was too confounded and just wanted to clear the table with one sweep.

Computers are devilishly complex. Some people enjoy complexity and others loathe it. And for some of those their lack of understanding makes them feel stupid, which no one wants to feel. So changing hardware is a quick solution for some.

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Some time ago I bought a new laser printer and yesterday I wanted to check for firmware updates for it, just for something to do but my Mac couldn't do it.
So I fired up the Acer with Win 7 and spent some time getting the latest updates from anyone who was anybody, until I was able to download the firmware update tool from Brother, which it did.
It is handy having two different OS's. There is a lot of functionality in a Windows machine.
That is how I spent this lazy Sunday morning.


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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 8:24 pm 
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Many people only benefit from thinking processes once they get it out verbally or textually.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 4:05 am 
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Thanks, Roam and BD. Two thought processes I hadn't considered. ;-)

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:35 am 
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I generally find that people don't want to think about anything anymore, they just want easy. If it can't be solved by waving a wand over the system then it can't be done and they'll just open their checkbook to make it go away.

Someone who upgraded their system to 10.13 was complaining about how slow it was running compared to when I originally gave it to her. When pointed out that she took it upon herself to upgrade to an OS that we don't officially support (we use lots of legacy software that doesn't run on it), she reiterated that it was slow and we should buy her a new system. Note that we haven't bought any new Macs in 5 years, we've just upgraded them with RAM and faster HDs and I'm hoping to one day somehow get them to realize that SSDs are a worthwhile investment in terms of staff productivity (picture that thought flying over the heads of everyone in management), so the idea that we're going to break that trend for someone who went out of her way to screw things up is silly. At this point we're more likely to take back her Mac and give her a PC with equivalent software, since management has slowly come to the realization we can get stronger hardware (even systems with more than 2 cores, gasp) for less than what Apple charges.

I suppose this is why there's so many refurbished older systems going for very little cash. It just frustrates me that they can't stop talking to Alexa/Siri/Google and learn how to break the cycle.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:39 am 
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If it helps, my brother will do this kind of thing. Even more so, I think.

He'll say he's going to do A and why, and I'll respond 'cool, sounds reasonable' then bring up all the reasons not to do A and to do B. Then briefly commit to B, then continue to litigate for both sides and sometimes just decide to do nothing. It's a thinking out loud thing that is harmless as long as I don't jump on his first choice.

So I guess my brother is the exception to MB's rule that most don't want to think anymore!
You're probably right in that this person had his mind made up, or mostly made up. Particularly if he felt he could be in over his head when trying to understand what's the source of the slow down.

I hadn't thought about VO actors using computers at home, so thanks for the insight. We saw 'I know that Voice' as soon as it was stream-able and really enjoyed it. Take care of your instrument!

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 4:49 pm 
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Thanks, Rich! Yes, the internet has really changed the voice-over "industry." Whereas we used to have to go to an agent's office to audition (if asked to) and then (if we get the gig) to a conventional studio to record, now most voice actors work from home. But this means we still have to deliver professional studio-quality audio. So, in addition to having to create (or buy) an acoustically acceptable recording space (which can get expensive and/or extremely frustrating), we also have to know how to capture good-quality audio and edit it properly. I'm 65 and have been recording (on magnetic tape) and editing (using razor blades) since age 9. And, because I'm a geek, I made the transition to digital audio very easily. Newcomers? That's a whole other story. ;-)

MB: your comment on SSDs as they relate to speed made me curious: was I at least partially correct when I told this guy that a SSD would only improve read/write times and not make much difference if his issues were with memory and/or processing? He simply said his computer was slow and didn't expand on that.

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 1:09 pm 
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Keep in mind SSDs greatly speed up virtual memory operations. Even if you've got gobs and gobs and gobs of RAM macOS/OS X will still use virtual memory. I generally upgrade RAM first and then switch to either a fast HD or an SSD (hopefully now that SSD prices are falling again the latter will occur more often).

Most of the time when I hear computers are "slow" it means one of two things:
1) Not enough RAM or slow storage drive (e.g. virtual memory) or both
2) Their internet connection is slow

I have to resist rolling my eyes when I encounter 2 but it happens. High level executives complaining about how slow their systems are, demand faster systems, build a lightning fast demon machine for them, swap it out, and... the system is just as slow as the last one. Sometimes its even on websites they personally run that are slow because their hosting provider lacks bandwidth or the exec failed to prioritize their data (shared vs. dedicated hosting, traffic prioritization, etc.). These days I tend to have the pull to investigate the claims versus run out and spend money hoping to fix the problem.


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 3:36 pm 
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MB probably said it best about SSDs, all I know is that everything feels zippier with an SSD :)

I think all modern OSs hit the HD (or SSD) a lot more than we as users understand.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:37 am 
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"Okay," he ventured curiously yet hesitantly. "How difficult would it be for someone not accustomed to replacing computer components to swap my Mac mini's OEM HD with a SSD?" ;-)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:42 am 
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The exact steps may vary depending on which Mini you have, these are the steps for my Mini:
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac+Mini+M ... ement/3113

These are the steps for a 2014:
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac+Mini+L ... ment/32815

They have guides for most Mini models. I also bought their Mini removal tool when I replaced my Mini's HD 5+ years ago. Time flies...


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:53 am 
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I did a 2011 mini, it is a PITA.

Enough that I wonder if a bootable external FW drive would have been a better choice. OWC has the tool kits needed for such things.

Actually, it wasn't that big of a deal, just a tight space and a bunch of little screws, some tiny jumpers, I think I broke the IR cables connector or something when I did it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:40 pm 
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The lift connectors are probably the most confusing ones. Apple has really gone gung-ho into using them. Essentially they look like the wires plug into a connector which then slides onto the board, meaning they look like you pull on the wires to remove the connector, like it was a A/C wall socket and an A/C plug. But you don't pull on them. Instead you lift it up and out of the socket on the board. So instead of pulling down on a connector, you lift the wires toward you, up and away from the board. They're all over the place in Apple systems now. I know most of them by sight now, but I'd still follow the ifixit guide step by step when taking a system I'm unfamiliar with apart. And buy every tool required.

I don't know how I'd disassemble a Mini without a magnetic screwdriver though. Those screws always want to kamikaze into the worst possible spots.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:04 am 
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azrich wrote:
Actually, it wasn't that big of a deal, just a tight space and a bunch of little screws, some tiny jumpers, I think I broke the IR cables connector or something when I did it.

I can confirm this. Also the wireless antenna and something else relatively minor.

In my opinion it's easy after you've done it about twice. There are something like seven or eight screws you have to take out. For me the hardest part is getting the drive mounting screws to line up with an invisible bracket deep inside the computer when you're putting in the new drive. The mounting screws need to settle in to this bracket to hold one side of the drive in place while you attach two screws to the top of drive. Everything needs to be perfectly lined up to fit back together, and it's at this stage that I usually spend a minute or two cursing Apple. Still, overall, I'd rate it about 3.5 on the difficulty scale, where 1 is "pull the lever to remove the drive from the live-plug case" and 10 is "a solid block of glue and metal with the drive in the middle."

Everything in Apple products is small. Good eyes help a lot.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:44 am 
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Anonymous wrote:
azrich wrote:
Actually, it wasn't that big of a deal, just a tight space and a bunch of little screws, some tiny jumpers, I think I broke the IR cables connector or something when I did it.

I can confirm this. Also the wireless antenna and something else relatively minor.

In my opinion it's easy after you've done it about twice. There are something like seven or eight screws you have to take out. For me the hardest part is getting the drive mounting screws to line up with an invisible bracket deep inside the computer when you're putting in the new drive. The mounting screws need to settle in to this bracket to hold one side of the drive in place while you attach two screws to the top of drive. Everything needs to be perfectly lined up to fit back together, and it's at this stage that I usually spend a minute or two cursing Apple. Still, overall, I'd rate it about 3.5 on the difficulty scale, where 1 is "pull the lever to remove the drive from the live-plug case" and 10 is "a solid block of glue and metal with the drive in the middle."

Everything in Apple products is small. Good eyes help a lot.

- Anonymous


D'oh. Sorry about that. Didn't realize I mutilated it that much. You're right about good eyes, started reading glasses for reading 6 years ago so...

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:04 am 
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It was no problem. I hooked an extra external wireless antenna to it and just ran the cord through a hole I drilled in the bottom. Overall the computer has been working fine, including wireless, but I never got the IR fixed. It has recently developed a bad habit of losing video sync to its monitor, but I'm pretty sure that's the monitor's fault.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:04 pm 
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My primary care doctor sent me to an optometrist this year. He confirmed that my eyes are fine, I just need reading glasses for stuff close up. Good thing I picked up some a couple years ago.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:08 pm 
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Dollar stores here have reading glasses, that's what I use.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:30 pm 
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I went for the 25 pack at Costco. Just kidding... they sell them 3 in a pack. I really need the weakest they sell but they're always sold out so I picked up the weakest I could get on two different occasions. The first was way stronger than I need and the second was slightly stronger than I need, but look, well, feminine. I usually use one from the first set and put them further down my nose and hold whatever I'm looking at just the right distance. The other problem is the glasses from the second set have mostly vanished, I found one last week but the other two are MIA. Meanwhile I know exactly where the first ones are. I used the second set enough to distribute them into the nether reaches of furniture and the set I don't like to use remained at my desks at home and work. :bonk:


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