EPAutos Needs a New Mac!

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All –

I am typing these words  – and transmitting them to you – via an increasingly gimpy eight-year-old iMac desktop that I think is not long for this world. I get the “spinning ball” thing more and more often. It seizes up and the only way I can get it to work again is by defibrillating it (that is, by unplugging it and then plugging it back in).

I think the time has come for a new Mac. sick mac

Toward the purchase of which will go all reader contributions for the month of January. Hopefully, it’ll be enough. You guys have come through many times in the past when times were desperate. And I’m optimistic you’ll do so again come January.

I’d also like to take this moment to ask for your help in another way. As many of you already know, I am currently doing everything here. The writing and editing and formatting, as well as the technical “site maintenance” – to the extent I am able (which isn’t much). I am also trying to market and promote the site – so we get more advertisers, so that I can ease off asking you guys to chip in. But – frankly – it’s too much for one dude to do, let alone do well.

So, I am putting out the call:

EPautos could really use tech support as well as help with marketing and promotion. Tor (a regular here) has already tossed his hat in the ring (huge thanks to him!) and others have helped as they are able, including Mith (another regular) who helped me to make the EPautos stickers a reality.

The “big one” is help with securing advertising. And it could be a paid gig. EPautos has the traffic. I just don’t have sufficient time (or expertise) to effectively gin up advertisers. If anyone out there might be interesting it giving this a shot, please drop me a line (EPeters952@yahoo.com) and let’s talk!

Meanwhile, back to the computer slush fund:

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer to avoid PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079clover2

PS: EPautos stickers are free to those who sign up for a $5 or more monthly recurring donation to support EPautos, or for a one-time donation of $10 or more. (Please be sure to tell us you want a sticker – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)













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    • Memory install on your iMac
      SSD install on your iMac


      Anyone that is mechanically inclined as you are should be able to do this. YouTube is your friend.

      Get with the program. Your iMac is still top dollar. Instead of buying something new that is crippled, update what you have. Like I said earlier your system is entirely capable of running Apple’s latest OS which is Yosemite.

      David Ward
      Computer Systems Engineer
      Memphis, Tennessee.

      • Hi David,

        I am definitely willing to try adding memory. My worry is that there is another (more serious) problem. The thing worked perfectly until about three months ago. But it has been deteriorating since then. Not just online performance. It has trouble doing more than one thing at a time. It frequently takes much longer to do tasks that it used to do almost immediately (like open/close a simple text document). It “hangs” up often – and will not “let go” – unless I pull the power cord and re-start.

        Can those problems be attributed to memory?

        • Hi Eric, et al,

          I sent an email with a bunch of links for doing troubleshooting on Mac OS X and upgrading hardware. I thought I’d also add a post so many users might benefit…as an aside, my first Apple product was purchased in February 1980, an Apple ][+….I was married to an Apple employee and have used Apple products extensively. I agree with others who have said that Apple is turning into the old Microsoft…but….they still produce excellent hardware and have produced excellent software. But I am drifting.

          As somebody else said, the most likely thing you have going on is a lack of memory. 1GByte is inadequate for a system running modern software and browsers. Programmers are trained differently than when I was in the profession….their development is so far away from the iron that optimization is not even a consideration. With a 64 bit address space, programmers have virtually unlimited memory (virtual). Your machine can easily and cheaply be upgraded to 4GBytes of memory for under $60. I’d bet a quart of Amsoil that will solve 95% of your problems. But, if it does not, you can use one of these two links to investigate further.

          This one relates to Mac Beachballs…

          Note: if you only get beachballs in browsers, that is a clue.

          And routine maintenance….


          I hope this helps…

          As an aside, I am about to build a triple boot machine that runs Windows 7, Mac OS X (probably Mavericks) and some variant of Linux. If anybody is interested, I can post results sometime later.

          Meanwhile keep up the good fight…..
          P.S. – I’m about to do a satirical graphic for an all cop band called Guns n’ Doughnuts……heh, heh

        • Those kind of symptoms can be attributed to a lack of physical memory. What happens is that when you have too little memory for what you’re doing, the system resorts to using the hard drive as virtual memory. (This is an oversimplification, but is the basic idea.) The hard drive is many, many times slower than transistorized memory so everything slows to a crawl.

          1GB is really not enough for today’s bloated software, especially if you’re running multiple programs simultaneously. You may well see a major improvement merely from installing more memory.

          • Thanks, Jason –

            I am certainly willing to try; I’d much prefer to not have to spend literally every cent this site has generated in income for an entire month (month-plus, if things don’t improve this month) on a computer if I can fix this with a $50 memory chip. My worry is that I don’t run multiple programs simultaneously; I’m not doing anything now that I wasn’t doing six months ago, but the computer was working fine six months ago….

            • Gonna help you out. This weekend I’m going to send you the 120GB SSD I took out of my main computer via USPS with insurance, of course. SSD beats the crap out of anything mechanical i.e., your old tired worn out exhausted hard drive. You get the memory and install this and you will wonder where the hell have I been???? BTW, use that tired laptop you have to access the web and watch the YouTube videos while you do the work replacing the memory and the hard drive.

              Also, I am sending a flash drive that installs Mountain Lion. I’d appreciate you sending it back once you are finished with the upgrade.

              So there you go, a donation of at least 50 bucks for the SSD and what ever the shipping will be in addition to my monthly donation. Hare Krishna!

              David Ward
              Memphis, Tennessee

              • BTW maybe some happy go lucky chap will donate the memory so you don’t have to shell out your reserves. I wish I could but I’m doing my part.

                Thanks for all you do,

                David Ward
                Memphis, Tennessee.

                • I’m not really happy go lucky, but I will throw another chunk to Eric. What the hell happened this month?

                  Where’s that SafeRide bastard? I’m gonna give him a talkin to.

                  • Morning, Ancap –

                    Thank you! (And Safe Ride, too.)

                    I think there is some issue with the sign up process here. The site gets pummeled with hundreds of fake (spam/bot) “subscribers” every day but it’s been weeks since a real person actually got through. Up to about three weeks ago, we had new people – real people – signing up as subscribers all the time.

                    I wish I knew more about Word Press (I’m learning by doing – and as quickly as I can). So far I haven’t even been able to find the control panel or whatever it is that governs the sign-in/new subscriber process. I’d really like to be able to hire WP support – someone like Dom, to do what he did.

                    But that’s a no-go until site revenue recovers/stabilizes….

                    • I had a talk with a few of my fellow engineers, after which I decided to send you the drive with Mountain Lion already installed. I am currently in the midst of cloning my ML 39.4 GB install even as I type. Delete what you want to as I installed iLife so I could use Garageband. Hey! I’m a musician not a doctor! 😛

                      One thing I do suggest is for you to go to Best Buy or order from the web a 2.5 inch drive enclosure. I bought one to do this cloning process. It set me back a few bucks but I can use it for other things. I found one enclosure on eBay for an amazing $9.00! Astounding! The reason I suggest this is so you can get any data on your old drive off or just to use your old drive as data storage.

                      Hang in there Buddy, help is a comin!

                      David Ward
                      Memphis, Tennessee

                    • As an aside, I am not a subscriber. I have set up a monthly donation but I do not have an account on this site. So it isn’t me flooding the site with account attempts! LOL!

                      David Ward
                      Memphis, Tennessee

                    • Clone complete. I am typing this on the SSD install of ML. As with all work, I test it before I ship it to a customer. 😀

                      Looks like we are cooking with real fat and bacon!

                      David Ward
                      Memphis, Tennessee

                    • Eric,

                      I created a user called EPeters. The password will be in the carton with the SSD. 🙂

                      David Ward
                      Memphis, Tennessee

                    • Hi David,

                      I am going to e-mail privately, but wanted to say thanks publicly for your help! Wish I could return the favor by fixing your car or something…!

                    • Eric,

                      I dropped the package off with the USPS. The tracking number is 13132340000057375035. Be on the look out for it.

                      David Ward
                      Memphis, Tennessee

                    • BTW, I do all my own auto repair. Just recently replaced the engine in my wife’s 2004 Civic. 🙂 I also replaced the water pump on my 2005 Ram 1500.

                      David Ward
                      Memphis, Tennessee

  1. What with the cost of SSDs these days. Eric would be better off installing one. To bad I do not live near him in VA, I’d do the upgrade gratis. Including the cost of the drive.

    David Ward
    Memphis, Tennessee

    • Do you have a date code for the iMac? Does it have a intel processor? How much dynamic ram does the unit have?

      David Ward
      Memphis, Tennessee

      • Hi Dave,

        Here’s what I could find:

        Hardware Overview:

        Model Name: iMac
        Model Identifier: iMac8,1
        Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
        Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
        Number Of Processors: 1
        Total Number Of Cores: 2
        L2 Cache: 6 MB
        Memory: 1 GB
        Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
        Boot ROM Version: IM81.00C1.B00
        SMC Version (system): 1.29f1
        Serial Number (system): W88111WJZE2
        Hardware UUID: 4619AFA2-855B-5C01-966A-890C2AF21D6B

        • Almost the same imac as mine. And mine is almost done too. Hope yours doesn’t have lines of dead pixels on the screen like mine has. Old computers are a pain now a days since support for dinosaur machines has gotten worse over the years. Managed to get a decade out of a power mac back in the 90’s. Not possible with today’s internet etc.

          • My Dell desktop I bought in 2007. It’s going alright but the software is getting too burdensome for it RAM wise. I already have the RAM maxed out as well as having upgraded other bits of it over the years. At work we have some powerhouse machines for CAD. Had these machines for a few years now. I got the bright idea that less cheap companies than the one I work for are probably dumping them. Sure enough what were $6,000-7,000 plus machines are going for much less. Minus the fancy video card I can get the machine I have at work for 1/10th that. If I want to pay 1/5th I can a video card that’s almost as good, 4 times the ram, several times the HD space, and faster processors.

            I know it’s good model because I’ve been using it for three years and it can fly circles around what I can get for the same money new.

          • Hi Rich,

            Yeah, I’ve noticed the decreasing “shelf life,” too. This is the first time I’ve had issues with a Mac – and I’ve had Macs since the early ’90s.

            I think you’re right – they (web sites, etc.) keep adding (got-damn it) “new features” to their sites, software and so on that older machines have trouble dealing with. I suspect much of it is crap I don’t want – more ways to shove advertising down your throat, probably.

            • Once you get beyond the flashy exterior, today’s Macs are little different inside than a garden-variety Windows PC.

              I prefer to stay away from both the Apple and Microsoft corporatist-state oligarchies and run Linux on commodity hardware.

              • Hi Jason,

                I use Macs chiefly because I’m not a computer guy and they are simple and (relatively) trouble-free. I just need the damned thing to work! I definitely do not want to spend time dealing with making them work. It makes my teeth hurt…

                • These days something like Linux Mint is actually pretty easy to use. However, I understand what you’re saying.

                  For one thing you first have to install it/set it up, and Microsoft has made that much more difficult on new systems due to their “secure boot” feature. (It used to be you could just run Linux easily right off a CD or a flash drive on a PC to try it out. Not any more.)

              • Dear Jason,

                I’ve used Mint for years. Recently I’ve been using Xubuntu, which is very similar to Mint XFCE.

                The only problems I’ve had with Mint and Xubuntu are with hardware drivers. Many don’t exist.

                Again, the MS monopoly stifles the effort to make hardware compatible with Linux.

            • My current imac has also been the most problematic mac I have ever owned, mostly software problems with adobe flash. I have had apple hardware since 1983, and for the first twenty five years, never once had hardware fail, not one time! And when a piece of hardware finally failed, it was a (not built in) monitor, not the computer itself.

              Most of the computers I have “retired” in the past decade were because of problems with new “features” that cannot be avoided on the internet. Most of the time everything else was still working fine, and those computers just did non internet duty until they stopped working or were replaced by other internet orphans.

              • That is exactly my issue, Rich! The computer itself is probably ok, but the Internet (web sites) keep “updating” – with ever-increasing frequency, it seems – and my Mac can’t keep up. The sucky thing is these “updates” – from what I can tell – have zero value. Just more gewgaws for 14-year-olds….

          • Hey Richb, et al,

            Truth be known, desktop computers are now considered dinosaurs by many. A 2008 iMac should still have a couple of good years in it. Eric’s has two cores running at 2.4Ghz which is still no slouch. What you have to ask yourself is what are you doing with a computer. Truth be known, very few people need or use the power of a quad-core i7 with 32GBytes of memory just to surf the web, blog, do e-mail etc. The real power users these days are serious gamers. I don’t know for certain, but I speculate that Eric, as well as most of his readers, probably don’t do the serious gaming thing. I’m on my fourth iMac, and the best one. I started with the 2003 G4 iMac (with the 15″ screen on a stalk), followed by two G5 iMacs and now my 2010 iMac which I still love after almost five years. I also have a 2006 MacBook Pro 17″ that still works OK. I personally don’t plan to buy any more Mac hardware because I like more control and Apple’s trend is towards no ability for user upgrades. That, to me, is an unpalatable model for business. I’ve never had an Apple screen to develop dead pixels but I imagine many do. You could always use an external screen if the guts are still good.

            • “Truth be known, desktop computers are now considered dinosaurs by many.”

              I know a few people in business and professions who hopped on the tablet bandwagon only to find they could not do any serious work with them. They quickly went back to traditional desktop and laptop computers.

            • Hi Giuseppe,

              I don’t game at all. I watch YouTube videos sometimes. Other than that, I work on EPautos, I write my columns, I visit various web sites. That’s it. My Mac is often very slow lately. And it “hangs up” – if that makes sense. I’ve read this suggests a hard drive problem rather than a memory problem – which makes sense to me given the thing worked fine six months ago.

              • Hi Eric, et al,

                There are tests that are free for testing memory and hard drives. You can use the Disk Utility to have a glance at your hard drive’s SMART status. Or you can download a trial version of Smart Utility for free at:
                And you can run Apple Hardware Test….all documented in the article I linked earlier on Mac Beach Balls….good luck..if I was coming to visit my brother, I’d stop in and do this for you. But, if you intend to actually upgrade, I’d recommend getting something more modern but not the latest and greatest because in the lowend iMacs (not 27″) there is NO user upgrade path…..no memory upgrade at all, what you order is what you get. Also, the newest iMacs do not have an optical drive…you can use thunderbolt to attach one but that’s a suck-ass solution for my purposes.

                A proud member of the Desktop Dinosaurs,
                Giuseppe Crowe

        • 1GB ram… there’s your problem. The software today is so resource hogging. I have 4GB in my Dell (only 3.* addressable because of a 32bit OS) and it’s swapping memory to the drive a lot. If you can get more ram in there that would make things marginally better. The SSD for the swap file is another patch up.

        • Eric,

          Your iMac is capable of holding 4gb of ram and with certain modifications can support 6gb of ram. However, Apple does not support that configuration. More ram and a SSD will get you back in the saddle again. Your iMac can support Mavericks so it is a 64bit system. I have 2 mac minis. The later one is very similar to your iMac in capability and I use it in my music studio. It currently runs OS X Mavericks.

          Let me know if you need any help. I may be able to arrange something. You can email me at Guitarman6052@gmx.com.

          David Ward
          Memphis, Tennessee

            • Hello Eric,
              Have you considered replacing the hard drive and perhaps upgrading the ram while you’re at it? The hard drives start to have trouble reading the data after about 5-7 years and need to be replaced to speed things up- this is because hard to read data is read by the machine, but it may take several tries for the data to be ‘seen’ by the computer (excessive clicking of the reading arm in the drive). This manifests itself as slowness for you, and is merely a worn hardware issue. Most computer places can copy all data to a new drive of even the same model as the one you have, and you will have a new computer again because the computer will read what is there as it will no longer be worn-like rebuilding an engine. I did this with my HP dv1000 laptop I got in 2005 around 2012 and it ran like new again, and still does. I like windows xp and have everything the way I like it on this machine and wanted nothing changed, and I suspect you do too. I really did not want any ‘upgrades’ from the evil microsoft! This option usually costs less than $200 with parts and labor.

              • Hi Anchar,

                I’d have no clue where to even begin! I know nothing – nothing! – about computers. And the idea of messing with this one scares the crap out of me because if it doesn’t work anymore, I’m kaput. This is the only machine I have that still functions; without it, EPautos is effectively offline.

                • Not a good position to be in, that’s for sure. It might be worth picking up a cheap, even used, PC just in case, just something to connect to the internet and get online if the Mac should die on you. (Yeah, I know Windows can be a pain when you’re used to something that ‘just works,’ but any port in a storm.)

                  • They can be found in the trash. I’ve got computers I’ve simply saved from the landfill. Good for emergency purposes and other things. But usually the harddrive is wiped so they need an re-install of the OS.

                    • Reinstalling the OS itself is usually not a big deal, but getting all the device drivers can be a pain for the novice. This is especially true if the base operating system doesn’t come with a suitable network driver since you wind up with no internet connection.

                      Linux actually has a leg up on ease of installation in a lot of cases, as long as you’re not talking about newly-released bleeding-edge hardware.

                  • Yeah!

                    I still have a very old Mac laptop (early 2000s) and can get online with it. But it’s so out of date that I can’t do stuff with it, such as operate this site.

              • New hardware has gotten very cheap, as long as one is willing to put up with Windows. The Wally-mart website currently lists an Acer AXC-603G-UW13 mini-tower PC with a quad-core CPU, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, and DVD drive for $248 and free shipping. Granted it’s a Celeron CPU, but the new Celerons really are not bad.

                • Hi Jason,

                  I have never had a PC and don’t know how to use one. Macs are appealing to guys like me because they just work. Click on this, it opens. It’s all very intuitive and self-evident and (really important for someone like me) virtually no worries about “firewalls” and “viruses.” The machines (macs) are very stable; seem to always work – or have for me – and so leave me free to work.

                  Now, my Mac has been getting slow … but I suspect that’s due to constant “updates” being foisted on me by Yahoo! and other such that seem to believe everything has to be “improved” every three months!

                  • Understandable. However if you need a backup machine and don’t have the $$$ for a new Mac, Windows is not all that difficult to deal with. I don’t care for it and don’t use it, but it works well enough for a lot of people. Braindead Clovers use Windows on a daily basis and can work with it well enough to spew their idiocy here. It’s better than having no internet connection at all.

                    It’s just a matter of affordability. Sometimes you have to drive a Yugo for a while if you can’t afford that Corvette yet.

                    • True, Jason –

                      However, I need to be able to do work immediately. Right out of the box. I can’t afford to spend days/weeks learning a new system.

                      I am pretty much on my own, doing the entirety of keeping EPautos going… and (believe me) it doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

  2. It might just be the hard drive Eric. Although I’m simplifying this because I’m not too familiar with Mac’s, often a few bad blocks on the disk where the OS is seeking a file will cause similar problems. The OS will try and access these blocks many times to get a proper read, causing delays and often a fail.

    I don’t know how often (if ever) you do a full cleanup, but it’s the first thing I’d be looking at. Dunno if you’ve checked this yet.


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