All posts by Martyn

New Mac (running Yosemite)? DON’T enable FileVault during set-up..

.. otherwise you’ll end up having to boot into recovery mode, delete Core Storage volumes, format the SSD, re-install OS X, restore everything from Time Machine backup (see my article on clearing away Core Storage volumes – originally written in 2011).

There appears to be a bug:

that affects anybody enabling FileVault during the initial set-up of OS X whether it be an upgrade from OS X Mavericks, a brand new machine, or a re-install of OS X.

Enabling FileVault during the set-up process can seemingly lead to the disk never finishing the initial encryption phase.  It’ll be stuck in “paused” mode forever more.  Some have said that leaving the machine online for 24 hours will fix it.  Some have attempted PRAM, SMC and disk repairs.

But there is really only one way to get things moving along: nuking the current OS X Yosemite installation, re-install OS X again, but DON’T enable FileVault during the initial set-up screens.  Instead wait to get to the desktop, open System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> FileVault and enable it there.

BFI Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell screening selling like hotcakes!

Clearly there are a lot of BFI members snapping up tickets to April’s Q&A and screening of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

It seems that much of the centre seats at NFI1 have gone – there are a couple of rows right at the back, but otherwise you can pretty much forget about it.  The right hand section is also very full, but the closer you get to the sides of the theatre the better.  The left hand section is much better.  I managed to secure an aisle seat in the second row – from the looks of things that’s a pretty decent seat all things considered.

So when the tickets go on general sale this Tuesday at 11:30am – you’ve got be quick.

But bloody hell – what a fiasco this turned out to be.

As my account was still producing 500 Internal Server Errors galore, I gave up and created a new account using a different email address.  That worked.  I then signed up and paid for an annual membership to the BFI.  I could then buy tickets for the Q&A.  £55 in total.

Of course sods law dictates that during the week of the screening I’ll be doing on-call.. (although hopefully I could easily swap – the last time when I was working at MPC and being on call, it was difficult to do so.  I had attended a talk at Bloomsbury Theatre where Neil Gaiman was interviewing Susanna Clarke.  A rare and previous event (that, IIRC, was sponsored by The Guardian).  All went well until the building’s fire alarm went off and we all had to leave the building.  It was taking a while and I was getting more nervous about getting an alert, so I left.  And I’m still kicking myself to this day.)

Sky Loyalty

While I am generally happy with my Sky service, I must question Sky’s loyalty towards its existing customer base.  As a new customer you receive all manner of discounts and enticements, but once they have you – you’re merely a number.

When I received this email telling me that the manufacturer’s warranty is about to expire and that I need to spend more money insuring the equipment, it got me thinking.

sky_loyalty

Why isn’t Sky renting these boxes and including full repair coverage if they go wrong?  You’re committed to a contract with Sky – usually longer than 12 months (more like 18).

If the kit dies within that time, and the box falls outside of the manufacturer ‘s warranty (the manufacturer usually being Sky themselves – don’t forget they bought Amstrad), unless you pony up money on repairing the box or buying a brand new one at full cost, you’ll still committed to paying your subscription fee.  You just won’t get to watch TV.

With Virgin Media, while their Tivo was a big pile of steaming poop (it was slow, and the on demand service didn’t work for a good proportion of my contract (but to be fair to Virgin, they did refund me for all the trouble)), Virgin will fix any problems with the box providing you remain a customer.

So why doesn’t cover repairs and replacements?  How about upping all subscriptions by about £5/month for the length of the contract to cover any possible problems that may require an engineer to come out and replace kit?  Why does it have to go through a third party at a cost that I think is silly (£7.72/month)?

And while we’re talking about customer loyalty, I am very disappointed in Sky not allowing NOW TV subscribers tickets to their recent Game of Thrones exhibition.  Only contracted Sky customers were able to claim.

Sky had better up their game if it wants to retain its customer base.

Sky are (quite rightly – and kudos to them) using Sky Atlantic as it’s main leverage (not available outside of Sky contracts or NOW TV) – but there could always be the day in which HBO (who provide much of the programming) decide to team up with another UK cable or satellite company (BT or Virgin, for example).

When the Wind Blows?

After a fair number of years spent in the world of OS X, I’m going to return to the World of Windows.  The main reason for this that because the hardware is now exceptionally cheap (using HP kit), I can buy something to take with me on my forthcoming travels in the US (with a brief stint in Canada) that falls well below the personal allowance limit on the travel insurance.

I had considered a Chromebook – but until Google sort out pagination issues between exported Word documents, it’s no good to me.

HP Stream is HP’s answer to the Chromebook, but it runs Windows 8.1.  It only comes with 32Gb storage, 2Gb RAM and there are no indications that it’ll run Windows 10 when it’s released.

So I settled on a low-end HP Pavilion with 8Gb RAM, 1Tb HD and 15″ screen.  It’s about £50 more than a “decent” Chromebook and it’ll give me all flexibility I need.  The HP Stream seems to much of a false economy to me.

Plus the machine will help me test new versions of SquirrelSave, plus I’ll get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when it’s released.

I’ve become too OS X-centric and getting my mitts on a Windows machine isn’t a bad thing.  My job requires me to be on top of current technology and trends.  And let’s face it – Windows (and PC hardware) isn’t likely to die any time soon.

(Note: not ditching OS X completely – my Mac will still be my primary machine)