Downgrading From OS X Mavericks to Mountain Lion

Apple.com/osx

Apple released OS X Mavericks in October 2013, the tenth major release of “The world’s most advanced operating system”. Hours after the release, I quickly upgraded the OS on my primary system, a late-2012 27″ iMac.

OS X 10.9 introduced several new features but, as expected, it also introduced several major bugs and removed features without good reason. After being frustrated with Mavericks, as many have, I decided to downgrade to 10.8.5 (OS X Mountain Lion).

A brief and condensed list of bugs and issues I found in OS X Mavericks:

  • There are a few incompatible applications that users were accustomed to using in Mountain Lion which no longer functioned, or caused some instability. RoaringApps.com is a trustworthy crowdsourced website for checking OS compatibility.
  • You lose control of scrolling with a Magic Trackpad, at random times through the day. A full system restart is required. Many users reported this on the Apple Support forum, and it’s still not resolved.
  • I love the new Multi-monitor features advertised in Mavericks and this was one of the reasons I upgraded so quickly. My main workstation is composed of 3 displays so it’s extremely important Apple handles this with care. Once again, they failed.
  • Shared network drives, screen sharing with other Macs on your network, AirDrop? Forget it. Not going to work if you’re using Mountain Lion on any of your other networked Macs. Theoretically it will … but implementation was subpar and obviously rushed.

I left Mountain Lion installed on a small 150GB partition before upgrading to Mavericks. The idea was that I could launch Mountain Lion at any time, just in case I didn’t find the new OS to work for my needs. Unfortunately, that caused more trouble than it was worth. With only 6GB left on the Mountain Lion partition, it quickly filled up and I needed more space. I tried deleting the Mavericks partition and allocating the free space to Mountain Lion, but it’s not that easy. (even while running Disk Utility from an external drive). Long story short, I ended up formatting the entire SSD (including the Mountain Lion recovery partition, yikes!)

Of course I kept a backup of all my data, thanks to Apple’s Time Machine (Which I no longer recommend using, by the way). This was not the concern. The next real challenge was finding, and installing, Mountain Lion. Why does Apple make this so complicated? And why do these bugs even exist? Short answer – OS X developers at Apple don’t support or think in the mind of the minority; most users would never notice the bugs and complications in Mavericks that we geeks (ahem, power users) do.

A persistent banner ad seen in the Mac App Store. Apple is encouraging all users to upgrade to Mavericks as soon as possible.

A persistent banner ad seen in the Mac App Store. Apple is encouraging all users to upgrade to Mavericks as soon as possible.

Rushing to download and install Mavericks back in October, I copied the installer onto the same SD card that Mountain Lion was on, replacing and deleting 10.8 forever. Installing via SD card was out of the question.  :-(

No problem, I can just download Mountain Lion from the App Store like I did last year? Wrong again – it’s not longer available in the Mac App Store and shows an error when attempting to download. At this point, I’m quite frustrated.

After a vast amount of searching, I found a clean copy of Mountain Lion on a popular torrent website. 1.5 hours and 4.5 gigabytes later, I inspected the installer package to notice it was completely mangled so I don’t recommend trying this. I ended up purchasing an Apple Mac Developer account, solely for the purpose of downloading an old OS. Apple provides many past versions of OS X and iOS to developers who want to test their app for previous generation products. Continue reading

Blackberry PlayBook Review

The Blackberry PlayBook went on sale in Canada for $300 off. I decided it was time to try out a tablet that wasn’t from the company who makes the leading tablet, Apple.

In the past, I had the iPad 2 so my standards are already quite high for a tablet. The Blackberry Playbook, although I had some problems at the beginning, is quite impressive.

Just because a tablet or even computer has better specifications then another doesn’t mean it is better or more useful. Many tablets exist with much betters specs then the BlackBerry PlayBook. I don’t want to base this review on a comparison of the Playbook and the iPad 2 but just for your information, here is how the Playbook specs compare.

iPad 2 BlackBerry PlayBook
Screen 9.7″ LED 1024 x 768 7″ LCD 1024 x 600
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB
Camera – Front VGA 30fps 5MP
Camera – Back 720p 30 fps 1080p
Weight 1.33lbs 0.9lbs
Battery 25-watt-hour 5300mAh
Price (CAD) Wifi 16GB $519, Wifi 32GB $619, Wifi 64GB $719,3G 16GB $649, 3G 32GB $749, 3G 64GB $849 16GB $199 ($499), 32GB $299 ($599), 64GB $399 ($699)
Processor Apple A5 1Ghz dual core ARM Cortex A9 1GHz dual core
Memory 512mb (unconfirmed by Apple) 1GB
Current support for Adobe Flash No Yes
Apps Too many Not enough

The BlackBerry PlayBook is positioned as a consumer device that offers the features necessary to appeal to RIM’s enterprise/business customers.

First boot setup

It took me about 2 hours to setup the PlayBook as an update I did bricked the device. This is quite unusual and doesn’t happen with many people. I think I’ll save this for another blog post.

Note: after I fixed up the software update, everything began running smoothly. Don’t let this stop you from purchasing a PlayBook.
Continue reading

Time For New Hardware? My Apple Predictions for June 15th 2011

I wanted to quickly give my thoughts and predictions on Apple and what I think might be released or announced tomorrow, June 15th 2011.

Firstly, Apple’s MacBook Air. There is a lot of talk about this and I think it is about time for an upgrade. Here is what I’d like to see in the 3rd generation MacBook Air:

– Higher resolution display
– larger SSD (512gb +)
– backlit keyboard
– upgraded processor (i3, i5)
– option to upgrade to 6GB or 8GB of RAM
– one or two Thunderbolt ports.

I don’t think all of this is a reasonable guess but it is all possible. You never know what to expect with Apple.

One thing to note about the MacBook Air that makes me think they will update before OS X Lion is, in all of Apple’s demo videos of OS X Lion they use not just any MacBook but the MacBook Air. I think the MacBook Air is one of Apple’s favourite computers and the way the future of Macintosh computing might be.

 

It is said to be exactly one year since the last time the Mac Mini was updated. My thoughts for the Mac Mini are quite similar. More RAM, Thunderbolt, better processor (i3 or i5) etc.

I can’t wait to see what Apple announces. I think tomorrow will be an Apple lover’s lucky day.


An Update for you!

Many people have asked me, wondering why I don’t blog anymore, and when I am going to live stream. Here is the explanation and answers.

Ever since the end of summer 2010, I have been very busy offline with school, work, and family.

My plan is to get a schedule back up for my live broadcasts and shows. The current schedule is on http://live.techzany.com.

For blogging on the other hand. My plan is to either write a post once a week or if that isn’t possible that week then I’ll have someone else post on techzany.com. As you may have seen recently, there have been some content on the blog not written by me.  Thank you Sonicorp, Techiegeek, Techit, our game reviewers and many others for contributing.

My apologies to everyone who has been confused and waiting for me to get back online.

As of today, updates and schedules should be back on track.  Remember, I will be updating the broadcast / show schedule on http://live.techzany.com very soon.

Thank you to all my viewers, readers, listeners, network sponsors and contributors.

Tech on!