AMITIAE - Wednesday 23 October 2013

Cassandra: Installing OS X 10.9, Mavericks, and Some Navel-Gazing While I Waited

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

It has been a busy 24 hours in Apple Land.

I watched the Apple event held at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts when several products - hardware and software - were announced. Before bed, I put online my initial notes on what we had seen. Then, after breakfast, I had a more detailed look at some of the products, particularly with regard to pricing and availability here.

After clearing some of the many updates that were available for the iOS devices, I turned my attention to the Mac and its update to OS X 10.9, Mavericks. For certain reasons, I downloaded the complete install and that took quite a time, but first there was some preparation.

I have been fortunate with updates to OS X ever since version 10.2, Jaguar but you can make your own luck in part by good preparation. This began with a final backup to Time Machine. I do this almost every day, but with an OS update, this was not the time to be lazy.

That done, I restarted the computer in the Rescue partition, by using the Command + R keys at startup. From the menu, I selected Disk Utility and ran a repair of the disk, following that with a Permissions Repair.


I restarted and the App Store was already open, so I clicked on the Mavericks panel and then the Download button. There was a warning that Mavericks was already installed, so I opted for the full download of 5.29 GB.

The ISP must have been having a semi-off day as the download was a little slower than I had hoped: 500 MB took about 10 minutes, so I could expect the whole thing to take something like 2 hours. I let it get on with what it was doing.

In the meantime, I switched to the iPad to compare those new Macs. I had put off updating and one thing that bothered me concerned storage, so I looked at the specifications. First I had to pass the iPad opening screen. Like the iPhone, I was asked to authorise the Keychain. I used the "other device" option again. I had configured the iPhone with the Mac; with the iPad, I was asked to confirm on the iPhone. These devices, and Mavericks, make it clear that Apple intends that iCloud is to be a major part of its forward strategy.

On the Apple site I looked at the specifications of the MacBook Pro computers. As I had suspected, these new machines only have flash storage as standard; but not all are configurable. That would mean I have to make decisions before any purchase. Memory, for example, cannot be added later. I had already compared pricing, but now it was time to look more closely at the prices and options.

I started with the middle range 13" MacBook Pro which I ad earlier put near the top of my list. The processor can be upgraded from the standard 2.4 GHz, i5 -

  • 2.6 GHz i5 - 3,280 baht
  • 2.8 GHz i7 - 9,840 baht

Memory can be upgraded from the standard 8 GB -

  • 16 GB - 6,560 baht

AppleCare (worth thinking about with the limited repairability these days) was 8,500 baht.

The sticking point here is the 256 GB flash storage - heavens these will fly - which cannot be upgraded. That moves my decision up a notch to the 59,900 baht model with the 2.6 GHz i5 processor and standard 512 GB of flash storage. This can be upgraded to 2.8 GHz i7 for 6,560 baht. As with the other 13" device (above) 16 GB RAM - this is so tempting - is 6,560 baht. The flash upgrade to 1 TB of PCIe flash storage is 16,400 baht. AppleCare is again 8,500 baht.

I am so used to a 15" MacBook Pro that this has to be high on my list, although my old 12" PowerBook was fine (until it was stolen). The top of the range model at 86,900 baht was always going to be out of my range, so I just examined pricing for the 2.0 GHz model (66,900 baht) which comes with 256 GB of flash storage and 8 GB RAM.

There are several options, but these are going to put this machine out of my reach. The processor can be upgraded from the standard 2.0 GHz Quad-core i7 to

  • 2.3 GHz Quad-core i7 - 3,440 baht
  • 2.6 GHz Quad-core i7 - 9,840 baht

RAM can be upgraded from the basic 8 GB to 16 GB for 6,560 baht, while there are two options for storage:

  • 512 GB - 10,000 baht
  • 1 TB - 26,240 baht

AppleCare is 12,500 baht for this model.


A check of the Mac showed 1.83 GB had been downloaded so far, with 45 minutes gone. I watched while it ticked round to 2 GB (50 minutes). While the download was continuing, I looked at the Mac App Store and saw that for the first time updates for iWork were available for me.

As I had bought these before the Mac App Store existed, updates had never appeared in the past. They had to be downloaded from the Apple downloads pages. If I had ever deleted them - for example in a total reinstall - it would be difficult (at best) to retrieve them. I had spent considerable time with Apple personnel a few months ago discussing this via email. I am sure others were similarly affected and will also be pleased.

Along with the Apple updates listed, some 3rd party apps installed on the Mac were also shown as available (Analog and iTemplates).

Launchpad (I hate some of the Apple names) told me that 5 GB of Mavericks had been downloaded just after 2 hours had passed. The 0.29 GB left took 8 minutes more. And then we had the install processes.

I did read the License agreement, noting particularly,

The location data and queries collected by Apple are collected in a form that does not personally identify you and may be used by Apple and its partners, licensees and third party developers to provide and improve location-based products and services. By using any location-based services provided by or through the Apple Software, you agree and consent to Apple's and its partners', licensees' and third party developers' transmission, collection, maintenance, processing and use of your location data and queries to provide and improve such products and services. You may withdraw this consent at any time by going to the Location Services setting in the Apple Software and either turning off the global Location Services setting or turning off the individual location setting of each location-aware application on your computer.



Near the end of the Agreement, as well as the export restrictions, there were notices about MPEG-4, H264/AVC, and AMR (Adaptive Multi-rate) and others which Apple licence.

I clicked, "Agree," of course.

Because I was working in a User account with lesser privileges, I had to enter the Admin account and password details. After some processing, the computer restarted. In another 30 seconds, the Install OS X panel appeared with an optimistic 44 minutes. Never trust Apple time: it denotes an alternative universe in which "Less than a minute" can extend to a quarter of an hour.


After the update, only 4 applications were shown as available for download in the Mac App Store, with all those Apple Pro apps missing. I made a check and found a Digital RAW update, which was not what I was hoping for. Eventually a bar and the App Store icon in the Dock showed me that another 6 updates were available, but no specifics were shown.

With nothing happening, I quit App Store. On the restart, the updates icon still showed a figure 6. In the main panel the apps still had "Update" shown rather than a price: that was encouraging.

I clicked on the update icon at the top of the App Store pane and there they all were: Pages, Aperture, Numbers, iPhoto, iMovie and Keynote. I clicked on "Update All" signed in with my password and went to make some tea.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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