Jun. 23rd, 2017

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I had already established that the LCD of the Air was kaput, and that booting with an external monitor didn't really help much because said external display just shows additional screen real estate apart from the main display.

So yesterday evening, I plugged in an old Apple USB keyboard that I picked up somewhere and proceeded to boot the Air in "clamshell" mode. When everything settled down, I was looking at a login screen offering me the opportunity to login as either of two users. Unfortunately, the USB keyboard had no built-in mouse, and attempts to crack open the clamshell to use the system unit's mouse didn't work too well. Fortunately, the keyboard is outfitted with a couple of USB ports of its own, so I plugged in a Logitech wireless mouse, and now I could log in.

The non-admin "mom" user of the Air was kind enough to supply his/her password ("12345") in the password hint, but that left me sort of stranded in terms of rooting the system.

While still logged in as "mom", I did a little more research and found that typing ⌘ + S "after the chime" would put me in a position to root the system. I immediately asked myself "What chime?" as I hadn't heard a peep from the Air, ever. A little digging in the system settings revealed that the machine's sound capability had been muted. I unmuted it and upon rebooting, heard something that must have been the "chime."

I rebooted again, and upon hearing the sound, I typed the requisite keychord and was deposited in a command line environment. I followed the instructions that were supposed to root the machine, but found no joy, because it turned out that Apple USB keyboard has a section of "dead" keys, which prevented me from entering the appropriate commands.

Fortunately, I had an Apple Wireless Keyboard available, so after replacing its batteries, I was about as good to go as I ever would be (without actually replacing the LCD screen). But how was I to proceed?

More research suggested that typing ⌘ + R after the chime would initiate a recovery session, which turned out to be the case, and within minutes, I had reset the login and keychain passwords of the admin user and had been deposited in what I can only assume was said user's most recent desktop at the time of the LCD debacle.

Yikes! Is it really that easy, Apple? Although I will admit to significant experience with computers and with Unix-like systems, my total time driving a Mac of any kind is, to date, about an hour. Or was my Internet search-fu a factor? Whatever the cause, getting at the former owner's stuff was wa-a-a-y too easy.

Anyway, a diagram of the way things should be versus the way they turned out is shown below.

I'm figuring there's very likely a way for the unit to boot so that the main screen appears on the external monitor. That's next, but not now.


Update: There does appear to be a way to make the external monitor the main screen, but it requires both the Air's screen and the external monitor to be active at the same time. No joy.
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I was browsing through Netflix offerings and paused to examine a potential candidate titled Last Knights on the basis of seeing Morgan Freeman's face on the graphic Netflix shows for the movie. The description seemed reasonable and the duration not excessive, so I hit "play."

Spoilers follow.

At about the point where it became clear that the character played by Morgan Freeman— that of a noble lord of an imperial province—was about to be executed, I got to thinking about how his demise exhibited, broadly speaking, similarity to the death of the nobleman in the story of the 47 Ronin, a classic Japanese story with aspects that I, at least, don't understand fully, principally (I suspect) for cultural reasons.

However, when the property of the character played by Freeman is forfeited to the emperor, when his knights become "disavowed" (effectively making them masterless, making them essentially equivalent to ronin, or masterless samurai), when they are forced to work at whatever menial jobs they can find, and when the commander of said knights falls into a long, alcoholic tailspin under the watchful eye of spies sent to keep an eye on him by the emperor's official responsible for the death of Freeman's character, I no longer had any doubt as to the provenance of the story, and simply settled back to enjoy this Westernized version of the classic Japanese tale (very similar to the way John Sturges's The Magnificent Seven was a Westernized version of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai), with a weather eye peeled for how certain aspects of the story would have to be changed to adhere to Western customs.

Specifically, I was curious as to how the finale of the story would be handled. In the Japanese version, the surviving ronin all commit seppuku (ritual suicide) to atone for their retributive actions. In Last Knights, the knights do not commit suicide, but neither do they all get off scot-free to live happily ever after, either. I found the solution to be reasonable, given the plot line.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie.



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