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This Site Will be Down Jan 19 for an Hour or Two for Server Upgrade (UPDATE: Upgrade done)

This site will be down from about 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Pacific Time for a server upgrade.

Actual downtime may be much shorter, but that is my schedule if unexpected glitches occur.

There are/were two reasons for the update:

  • To double the size of the server SSD to 1TB
  • To double the CPU cores from 2 to 4.

The prior machine (2012 MacBook Pro 16GB / 512GB dual-core Intel i7!) had been running 24 X 7 for almost 4 years in the server room with zero problems (nearly 5.5 years total), but it was low on disk space, so I swapped it out for a better machine (2012 MacBook Pro 16GB / 1TB / 4-core Intel i7). Apple MacBook Pro machines from 2012 make highly reliable servers. I ran one earlier model for nearly a decade 24 X 7 with zero problems.

The SSD that has run all these years 24 X 7 without a hitch is the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G, which can be installed in the internal drive bay (two with the OWC Drive Doubler by removing the optical drive). And with 16GB OWC memory in prior MBP and its replacement.

OWC sells used Macs including the 2012 MacBook Pro and the superb quality of the 2012 MacBook Pro model is presumably why they still sell for good money 5+ years later. I recommend sticking with macOS El Capitan on these machines, but they can run “we were smokin' it when we coded it” macOS High Sierra.

OWC also has used MacMini in many different configurations. We still use one that is from 2009 or so.

It’s amazing what an ordinary laptop can do—my site has a custom backend in java that I wrote myself over the past years, and ultimately all it does is serve up static cached pages that my server-side code generates. So server speed after a short startup period is strictly limited by bandwidth, with little CPU usage. The min limitation is the crummy 16GB memory limit of the MacBook Pro.

Update 12:43 PM: Murphy’s Law applied: my router fried its firmware for no apparent reason and I had to reconfigure a spare router. I am now testing the new server and router. Site may bounce up and down a bit.

Update 13:46: boy am I glad I brought that spare router. Everything is running again and the update is complete.

Update 19:10: I’m not seeing any issues, everything looks good.

Don H writes:

You mentioned the reliability of Apple laptops. I used a 1Ghz TiBook for years and at one point achieved a 575-day uptime. This period included two trips to China and all sorts of use and travel in between. It was running OSX 10.3.9 and I held off upgrading to 10.4 due to the usual early version bugs, and before I knew it 10.5 came out so I completely skipped over one entire OS upgrade cycle before eventually rebooting to install 10.5.3. (This was also when we had to pay for new OS versions, so I saved $129.) THAT was a reliable machine. (I still have it sitting on a charger to preserve what’s left of the battery.)

MPG: How well the 2016 MacBook Pro and 2017 MacBook Pro models hold up remains to be seen. But since the design of the 2016/2017 MacBook Pro sucks and is a joke for pros right down to basics like keyboard and memory and lack of a real on/off button, I have no intention of finding out. Probably they are reliable but the touchbar is a feature I would pay to remove and no way in heck an I spending my money on that dreck, and I am sick and tired of a 32GB memory limit.

My travel laptop at this point (non-Sprinter-van travel such as airline and backup computer) is the trusty 2015 MacBook Pro (for a year now), which succeeded the 2013 MacBook Pro (zero issues for 3+ years).

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Ideal for any Mac with Thunderbolt 3

Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports
Gigabit Ethernet
5K and 4K display support plus Mini Display Port
Analog sound in/out and Optical sound out

Works on any Mac with Thunderbolt 3
USB-C Travel Dock

Fast charging with up to 100W!

HDMI, SD card reader,
USB-C port, 2 USB Type-A ports
Built-in cable self-stores neatly.
See also OWC 14-port Thunderbolt 3 Dock"

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