Mac mini has arrived!

My Mac mini has arrived earlier than originally scheduled.  I was suspecting that the original schedule that Apple gave me was very conservative.  I was expecting an early arrival.

My 2008 MacBook Pro served me very well.  It will spend its rest of the life as a Power Point presentation machine.

So I wanted to set up my new Mac mini to jump start, but ....

Mac mini didn't wake from sleep

I left my desk and came back after about 30 minutes or so.  The monitor was blank, and the machine was apparently in the sleep mode.  I pressed the SHIFT key, and moved my mouse, but nothing happened.  "This guy just completely froze in just 30 minutes...."  It made me worry about its stability.  With no apparent choise, I pressed the power button for several second and forced shut down.  I started it again and looked at the power option.

Actually, there was no option for system sleep.  Only option was time out for powering-off the monitor.  The system may not have been in the sleep mode then.  I changed the setting to 1 minute and waited.  The monitor went blank and didn't wake up again with any key strokes or mouse movement.  However, if I pressed CAPS lock, the keyboard was alive.

Turned out, only monitor was in the sleep mode.  What I had to do to wake it again was manually selecting the input-source to HDMI (because I was connecting Mac mini to the monitor by HDMI.)

It looks to be a known issue since the release of OSX 10.10 Yosemite.


I am not the only person who are having the same problem.  The latest post to this thread was March 2015.  I am supposed to be able to wake the monitor by pressing a key or moving the mouse.  It clearly gives a false impression that the whole system was not functioning.  Apple has been ignoring this problem.  The software quality of Apple is no much better than Microsoft.

[Follow Up]  This problem has gone for unknown reason now.  If I remember correctly, I applied Mac OSX 10.10 Update once almost as soon as I made it online, which means the eternally-sleeping monitor problem was after the update.  I don't think I have applied any new updates since then.  So, this problem is gone for an unknown reason.  It is good that I no longer have to press the input-source button to wake my Mac mini.  But, it is a little bit creepy, too.

CMU license version of Symantec EndPoint Protection cannot be installed on OSX 10.10

I found a workaround for the eternal-sleep problem, manually re-selecting the input source.  But I had another problem.  I tried to install Symantec EndPoint Protection, which turned out to be outdated and cannot be installed on OSX 10.10.  Some people believe that OSX is so secure that no computer viruses and malwares can infect without having virus-scanning software installed.  It is false.  If a malware attacks your Mac, your Mac may be compromised.

But, having a virus-scanner installes won't protect your computer 100% either.  As other things in the world are, your computer security is probablistic.  You cannot make your computer 100% secure.  There always is a certain probability that your computer is broken into.  What you, as a user, can do is minimize the probability of the damage from attacks.  The first line of defense is, of course, the user.  You are not supposed to open a suspicious program downloaded from an untrustworthy web site.  Or, you must not open an attachment sent from someone you don't know.  Just doing so will substantially reduce the risk.  However, nowadays, some malware breaks into your computer through the web browser.  In particular, sometimes a well-known and supposedly-safe web site may be compromised and send a malware to your computer without even being noticed.  Most, not all, of such attacks can be prevented by, not installing Java and Flash runtime, and installing a script blocker.  Unfortunately, some system services that you may not even have heard of, can be a route for a malware to access your computer.  Enabling a firewall reduces the risks of such attacks.  But, if all of these precautions are penetrated, a virus-scanner is the last line of defense.  When a malicious program lands on your computer's hard drive, or when it starts an activity, the virus-scanner may detect and stop, or at least notify you about the attack, if it matches a pattern in the data base.  Therefore, a virus-scanner certainly reduces a probability of becoming a victim.

It comes with just a brief instruction, nothing else.

Carnegie Mellon University has a site-license of Symantec EndPoint Protection, and students and employees can install for free.  It is gray if I install it on a computer that has absolutely nothing to do with work, but I will use this for preparing classes, making assignments, and grading.  I am allowed to install one copy.  The problem is that CMU has a site license for older versions of Symantec EndPoint Protection, which does not support Mac OSX 10.10 yet.

I called the computer help desk, and the answer was I can do nothing until the university gets a new site-license contract with Symantec.  So, I need to either pay for the newest version myself, or use without the last line of defense.

My decision:  Doing everything except the development on Parallels Desktop.  I read E-Mails, browse web sites, writing documents, etc., on Windows Virtual Machine.  Windows VM is running Microsoft Security Essentials, which at least gives some level of protection.  I suppose it is more secure than unguarded Mac OSX.

Windows 7 on Parallels Desktop does not recognize USB 3.0 devices.

Next problem was that Windows 7 virtual machine on Parallels did not recognize USB 3.0 drives if I enabled USB 3.0 support.  It recognizes the drives as a USB 2.0 if I disabled USB 3.0 support in the Parallels configuration.  But, one of the things that I really was looking forward to was to say good bye to USB 2.0.  Parallels seems to be detaching the drive from Mac OSX side, but the virtual machine side was not recognizing it.  I did install the USB 3.0 driver for Windows 7 which Parallels told to install.  I physically unplugged and plugged the drive back in, and did everything I could imagine, but Windows 7 VM stubbornly stayed silent.

It could be due to the combination of Parallels and 2014 Mac mini, Windows 7 USB 3.0 driver, or OSX 10.10.  If it is due to Windows 7 driver, if I install Windows 8.1, which has a different USB 3.0 driver, may be able to recognize my USB 3.0 drives.  I created a new virtual machine and installed Windows 8.1.  In fact, to my surprise, Parallels gave an option to skip infamous Metro UI before the installation.  One of the reasons why I installed Windows 7 first was because I was worried that Parallels might not maintain tight OSX-Windows integration due to Metro.  But, in fact, Parallels does maintain tight integration even with Windows 8.1.

Installation was quick, and Windows 8.1 VM started.  I selected to plug my USB 3.0 drive to the VM, and the drives appeared in the Windows side!  There was a hope, for several minutes until the drive disappeared and my mouse started behaving erratically.  My mouse cursor completely froze for one second or so and could move again for the next one second, and repeated it.  Something happened to USB.  The problem continued even after shutting down the VM.  With no other solution I could think of, I restarted Mac OSX.

I haven't connected joystick and throttle lever.  I hope my Mac recognizes it with no problem.

It looked like the hope was gone.  I thought I had to continue using my USB 3.0 drive at slow speed.  But, as my last try, I applied Windows Update and tried again.  Then, my USB 3.0 drives appeared again!  So, one of the updates somehow solved the issue.  Now I can happily take advantage of the speed of USB 3.0.

I also tried the same with the Windows 7 VM, but this one didn't work.  So, it is possible that your Windows 7 virtual machine on Parallels Desktop may not recognize USB 3.0 devices unless you disable USB 3.0 support in the Parallels.  But, Windows 8.1 looks ok.

XCode installation taking infinity

I had to choose XCode 6.  I am reluctant to upgrade a developing environment because a newer version may drop support for older-version operating system.  One of the very bad point of XCode is the XCode version you can use is limited by the OS version.  I don't know if the XCode program is so badly written that there are millions of OS-dependencies.  Or, it may simply the way Apple bullies the developers.

Until now, I was always downloading a .DMG file from developer.apple.com and installing manually, but this time I did it from the AppStore.  I clicked the "Install" button and waited for about an hour, but the installation was taking like infinity.  I wondered if I should stop AppStore and download .DMG file.  But, I didn't want to break some settings by stopping the installation in the middle. 

It took several minutes until I found that I could go to "Purchases" tab to see the progress bar.  Actually the download was not moving.  I paused it and restarted it, then the installation was done in 15 minutes or so.

The rest went smoothly

It took almost full two days to set up my Mac mini.  But, one reason is I am not very familiar with OSX, especially the newest OSX 10.10 Yosemite.  Also I have set up Parallels on my wife's MacBook Pro before, but it was my first time to set up Parallels for myself for software development.  In fact, I am writing this document on Microsoft Expression Web running on Parallels.

At the beginning, I felt my Mac mini was not as fast as I was hoping.  But, it feels faster now.  Probably SpotLight caching was taking time until it looked through entire contents of the hard drive.  Also Time Machine back up was copying 20 to 30GB of files every hour because I was installing new program after new program.  Also some of the frequently-used files must now be moved to the SSD part of the fusion drive, which should also improve the reaction time.

I tried to build Polygon Crest on my new Mac mini.  It went (as expected) much faster than my 2008 MacBook Pro.  The conversion of Ubuntu VM on my VirtualBox to Parallels went smooth, although Parallels initially complained that it could not detect the OS type.  When the conversion is done, it identified it as Ubuntu Linux automatically without an input from myself.  So, now I can build my programs for Mac OSX, Linux, and Windows all on this Mac mini.  It is amazing!

Cooliing fan for external drives.  I can feel the difference by touching my drives.  Actually it doesn't get hot at all.

I have connected a USB 3.0 drive for Time Machine back up.  Also my working files are stored in the external drive.  In case I need to send my Mac mini back to Apple for service, I can still continue working on my files by plugging my external drive to another computer.  The external hard drives are cooled by a cooling fan that I took out from a PC case that was thrown away.  I saw somewhere statistics telling that the cooling does not really change the life of hard drives.  But, I think it is if the hard drives are used in a very-well air-conditioned environment.  My room temperature may go up in summer or even in winter because the central heating of my apartment brings the room temperature up to near 80F.  I believe my cooling fan definitely will increase the lives of my hard drives.

OK.  Now I have a new working environment.  I need to move long-overdue YSFLIGTH, Scenery Editor, and Polygon Crest forward.

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