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greyhound rick
01-02-2016, 08:01 PM
Hello everyone,

I recently signed up for a PeachPit class for El Capitan. In the instructions it states that because of the nature of the operations that will need to be performed, they are advising that they be done on a "spare" Mac as many of the procedures are irreversible and could cause issues on your main computer.

I was thinking about picking one up on eBay, but wanted to know what you would recommend in terms of the model, year, specs, etc. It would need to be able to run El Capitan.

Thanks so much for helping me as I am just getting started.

Best to you all,

Rick

chas_m
01-02-2016, 08:22 PM
Can you give us a few more details on what this "Pitchpit/Peachpit" class is covering?

There are a lot of Macs that will technically run El Capitan, going back to 2008, but how good the experience is going to be is VERY VERY dependent on exactly what you're doing and what that requires (better graphics? lots of RAM? powerful processor? lots of storage?). Your profile lists two MBPs, so you appear to already have a "spare" machine that can run El Cap.

I'm assuming this is for development of some type (though specifics would be really handy), but broadly speaking the obviously answer when choosing any Mac for any purpose is "the best value for money you can possibly afford," with the caveat that in some circumstances, an older upgradeable one might trump a newer un-upgradeable one, depending on what you are or will be doing with it over the course of its useful life.

Again broadly speaking, I generally recommend 2010 or newer for Mac Pros, and 2012 or newer for everything else. This is because of important ancillary technologies found in the 2012s and later that OS X is increasingly dependent on for various important features, chiefly Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, 802.11ac, and PCI-e storage (the last two less important now but becoming important). Mac Pros that can legally run El Capitan can have a lot of these things added to them, so they get away with being able to be older. :)

Slydude
01-02-2016, 09:31 PM
Can you give us a better idea what the class will cover? It might be sufficient to install El Capitan on an external hard drive and boot from there while taking the class.

greyhound rick
01-03-2016, 12:36 AM
Thanks very much chas_m and slydude! I appreciate your input very much!

The course covers:

INSTALLATION AND CONFIGURATION

USER ACCOUNTS

FILE SYSTEMS AND STORAGE

DATA MANAGEMENT

APPLICATIONS AND PROCESSES

NETWORK CONFIGURATION

NETWORK SERVICES

SYSTEM MANAGEMENT

Thanks again for your recommendations. They will help me a bunch!

take care,

rick

chas_m
01-03-2016, 01:40 AM
Installation and configuration of ... what?

Slydude
01-03-2016, 02:42 AM
So far I can't see anything too weird/exotic there. I kinda doubt anything there will permanently alter the hardware. if you ask, and the answer is that none of the tasks alter the hardware you may not need to purchase another machine. If that't the case I'd purchase an external drive and do a complete installation of El Capitan onto that. Boot from that drive whenever you are running class activities.

bobtomay
01-03-2016, 07:56 AM
Agree with the above - I'd grab a USB 3 WD Passport and run it externally - a 1 TB drive is less than $60 - should be plenty good enough just for class work.

greyhound rick
01-03-2016, 10:51 AM
Installation and configuration of ... what?

Sorry i wasn't more specific. Its for the installation and configuration of El Capitan. I believe you are asked to wipe your Mac clean and start fresh with a new install of El Capitan. I think for a newbie like me that they are concerned an error(s) may take place.

This is what they said about the course:


Several of the operations covered in this les- son involve significant changes to your Mac computer’s setup. Many of them are difficult to reverse, if not irre- versible. If you plan to follow the exercises in this lesson, you should do so on a spare computer or an external disk that does not contain critical data.

I was leaning toward buying an older Mac as I will also be studying hardware repairs/replacement and want to have a machine that I would be ok to screw up lol.

Thanks again for the help,

rick

pigoo3
01-03-2016, 01:14 PM
This is what they said about the course:

Several of the operations covered in this les- son involve significant changes to your Mac computer’s setup. Many of them are difficult to reverse, if not irre- versible. If you plan to follow the exercises in this lesson, you should do so on a spare computer or an external disk that does not contain critical data.


Thanks for the additional info.:)

What that statement is saying is…if you use your current Apple computer (which may be your main day to day computer) for use in this course…many of the settings, account info, browser bookmarks, user installed apps, user created files, etc…may be lost in the process of the lessons for this course.

Another possibility for you (prior to starting the course)…is do a Time Machine backup of your computer (which hopefully is already being done)…or use an app like CCC (Carbon Copy Cloner)…to make a clone of your computers storage (both or either of these on a separate external HD). Then you would use either of these to "restore" your computer (after the course) to what it was like before the course (if you wanted to).

Running your computer (for needs of this course) from an bootable external HD (mentioned above)…is also a great idea.:)

In either case. There is absolutely no reason to purchase a 2nd computer (new or used) just for this course. UNLESS you knew for certain…that messing around with changing the computers firmware was being done in this course (which it doesn't sound like it is). Then a 2nd "spare" computer would be a good idea.

- Nick

greyhound rick
01-03-2016, 01:36 PM
Thank you very much Nick. Great advice and i appreciate it!!

Im sorry for such basic questions, but because I don't know...can you tell me if when you boot up and use an operating system from an external hard drive if it is as simple as installing El Capitan on the external hard drive and then selecting that drive on the desktop which will boot your computer up? Ive never done anything like that so again, I apologize for the lack of knowledge on my part.

Thanks again for helping me.

best,

rick

pigoo3
01-03-2016, 02:03 PM
...can you tell me if when you boot up and use an operating system from an external hard drive if it is as simple as installing El Capitan on the external hard drive and then selecting that drive on the desktop which will boot your computer up?

When you have a bootable external HD (bootable means it has an OS installed on it)…that bootable external HD needs to be plugged into the computer & can be booted from in 2 ways:

1. If the computer has not been booted from the bootable external HD (and the computer is currently running). Go to "System Preferences"…click on "Startup Disk"…then choose (click on the external HD's icon that shows up there). Then reboot the computer & it should boot from the external HD.

2. If this bootable external HD is plugged into the computer (most likely via a USB port). And the computer is powered off. Then press the power button to startup the computer…and press the "option" button on the keyboard. Two icons should show up during the early booting process. The internal storage & the external HD. You would now choose the external HD if you want to boot from the external HD.

HTH,

- Nick

p.s. There's a 3rd way to do this too (without going to system preferences). If the computer is running from the internal storage…you could simply reboot the computer (with the external HD attached)…press the option button & choose the bootable external HD.:)

IWT
01-03-2016, 02:51 PM
For those, like me, who have no idea what the course is about, here are the basic details which might assist those of you helping the OP. It is book-based.

"Copyright 2016
Dimensions: 7-3/8" x 9-1/8"
Pages: 936
Edition: 1st
Book
ISBN-10: 0-13-442820-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-13-442820-8
This is the official curriculum of the Apple El Capitan 101: OS X Support Essentials 10.11 course and preparation for Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) 10.11 certification–as well as a top-notch primer for anyone who needs to support, troubleshoot, or optimize OS X El Capitan. This guide provides comprehensive coverage of El Capitan and is part of the Apple Pro Training series–the only Apple-certified books the market. Designed for support technicians, help desk specialists, and ardent Mac users, this guide takes you deep inside the El Capitan operating system. Readers will find in-depth, step-by-step instruction on everything from installing and configuring El Capitan to managing networks and system administration. Whether you run a computer lab or an IT department, you’ll learn to set up users, configure system preferences, manage security and permissions, use diagnostic and repair tools, troubleshoot peripheral devices, and more–all on your way to preparing for the industry-standard ACSP certification."

"Covers updated system utilities and new features of OS X El Capitan.
Features authoritative explanations of underlying technologies, troubleshooting, system administration, and much more.
Focused lessons take you step by step through practical, real-world tasks.
Lesson files and bonus material available for download–including lesson review questions summarizing what you’ve learned to prepare you for the Apple certification exam.
Web Edition provides full text of the book as part of our Content Update Program with revised content for significant software updates.
This book is part of Peachpit’s Content Update Program. As Apple updates features of OS X El Capitan, sections of this book may be updated or new sections may be added to cover significant updates to the software. The updates will be delivered to you via a free Web Edition of this book, which can be accessed with any Internet connection. For details about accessing the Web Edition, please see the "About This Guide" section of your book."

Ian

pigoo3
01-03-2016, 02:53 PM
Thanks for searching & posting that info Ian. I was curious too!:)

- Nick

greyhound rick
01-03-2016, 03:39 PM
Thanks so much Nick and Ian!! Very helpful! :)

chas_m
01-03-2016, 03:43 PM
Ah, okay. The way you described it, it sounded like a class on how to INSTALL El Capitan, which really doesn't need a class and certainly doesn't need a 936-page textbook.

Thanks to Ian, it's now clear that this is a technical overview of the OS as part of the normal training future Apple Techs must undergo.

Slydude
01-03-2016, 05:08 PM
Thanks Ian. Excellent detective work on your part.

Even with Ian's new information I don't think a second machine is necessary (unless Greyhound rick needs an excuse to buy one):Oops: It should be sufficient to install a copy of the OS on an external drive and boot from that when doing class assignments.

greyhound rick
01-03-2016, 10:41 PM
Thanks Ian. Excellent detective work on your part.

Even with Ian's new information I don't think a second machine is necessary (unless Greyhound pic needs an excuse to buy one):Oops: It should be sufficient to install a copy of the OS on an external drive and boot from that when doing class assignments.

Thanks Slydude!

If I were going to buy a used Mac on eBay to be used for hardware repair/replacement education and practice what would you recommend?

chas_m
01-03-2016, 10:56 PM
Thanks Slydude!

If I were going to buy a used Mac on eBay to be used for hardware repair/replacement education and practice what would you recommend?

I'm not him, but if the point is to be trained on hardware repair, you'd want something fairly recent, since 90+ percent of the machines you're ever going to see for repair are either within the last 3-4 years or ridiculously olden (10+ years). At least that was our experience when I was a tech repair guy.

I hope the class will at least mention that Apple has starting sealing up machines more and more, making repair considerably more challenging (but also dramatically dropping the chances repair is needed -- Consumer Reports said that less than percent of Macs have a serious repair issue in the first three years, and that includes user abuse/accident rather than just defects, so when you consider that the figure is way way down from 10 years ago.

pigoo3
01-04-2016, 08:07 AM
If I were going to buy a used Mac on eBay to be used for hardware repair/replacement education and practice what would you recommend?

From what I'm reading you're fairly new to this sort of thing. The kind of experience I think would be helpful at this point (in regards to computers) is simply doing a bunch of disassembly & reassembly work. Removing small screws, disconnecting very small cables & connectors, prying things apart that are not held together with screws, and basically following a step by step procedure to disassembling & then reassembling a computer.

Then the idea is to reassemble the computer & see if it still works!;)

I would say get a couple older low cost Apple computers to do some complete disassembly & reassembly exercises on. Something like a 2006/2007 iMac and a 2006/2007 MacBook. Make sure they both work 100%…so that if you do run into issues…the issues are from errors on your part (part of the learning experience).;) Do this a couple times if you want. Then you could resell these machines…and purchase different models to practice on. Just don't get anything too expensive…just in case you make some major/costly errors.

These older computers may not be 100% perfect examples of what you might face with much newer Mac's…since newer computers (like iMac's) have more difficult cases to open (glues & adhesives are used more frequently). But skills like removing/installing small screws, disconnecting & reconnecting small cables, and just carefully working with small delicate parts are always good skills to learn when working with computers.

And of course you really don't want to be learning these sorts of skills on $1000 computers…where the cost of the computer is coming out of your pocket!;)

Also…you're going to need some tools:

- Micro screw drivers (with the many various "heads" needed to remove things).
- Small pairs of pliers.
- Spudgers & prying tools.
- Tweezers
- grounding strap(s)
- maybe strong magnifying/reading glasses (if your eyes are not the best)
- a strong desk light to see things better

Lastly. Use a website like ifixit.com for the procedures on how to disassemble various model Mac's.:)

HTH,

- Nick

greyhound rick
01-05-2016, 01:32 AM
Slydude, chas_m and Nick, thank you for your continued expertise! Very helpful and enlightening :-)