This has been a banner day for computing.

So the webcast computer... it's a Mac Mini 1,1 (the first Intel model, I think) so it's a little pokey, but it mostly does the job... except that it's been crashing a lot lately. And of course it's the kind of crash where you have to press the power button, it doesn't have the decency to reboot on its own.

And, as I whined about previously, half the time when you reboot it, one or both of the external USB drives attached to it fail to mount unless you power cycle those as well.

So today's projects were: 1) just as a shot in the dark, put more RAM in it; and 2) do something about those drives.

I had braced myself for the nightmare that opening a Mac Mini was reported to be, and the people, they did not lie. Not having a fucking putty knife to open it, I just used a knife-knife, and only mangled the case a little bit. I have the world's most complete set of weirdo screwdriver tips, but of course Apple is always one step ahead, and puts some of the screws so deep that my bits didn't fit in the holes. But -- pro tip -- if you chew away most of the superfluous plastic around them with pliers, you can reach the screws.

Anyway, someone suggested that putting the drives on a powered USB hub, instead of directly attaching them to the Mac, might make them not lose their minds when the Mac reboots, so I tried that. Guess what? With that hub plugged into the Mac, the Mac won't boot at all. It just loops with USB errors. Sweet.

So Plan 2-b was "fuck USB", and I went and bought a couple of new drive enclosures that had Firewire on them: Nexstar 3, the only Firewire enclosures that Central had in stock.

So... when I plug these drives in to Firewire, the Mac doesn't realize they're drives at all. "Unknown device". Amazing. They work on USB, though. So I'm back to USB, and the same old "doesn't boot right" problem.

Then, it turns out that after about 30 minutes, one of these cases decides to just go away. The Mac complains about an unclean dismount, and I have to power cycle it to make it come back. This happens again. So apparently one of these enclosures is flaky, even though they're the same model and presumably the same batch. Awesome.

I go digging around in the box and find that I have another Nexstar case lying around, that looks the same but the board is "Rev 0" instead of "Rev 1.something". Just for laughs, I try that on Firewire -- and it works fine.

I don't actually have any questions for the Lazyweb here, just a bunch of generalized rage.

(Also I got a really bad paper cut under my fingernail opening the Nexstar box. Fuck you, Nexstar.)

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