Tale of Two Drives
(Murphy’s Law Revisited)

Technology Change Management is a top-level Key Process Area from the Software Engineering Institute, the only place where I’ve seen the word “software” carved in stone. These days everybody has to do TCM, from the top-level software company to a down-to-earth retired software engineer like me. For their part, Apple Computer encourages TCM by yanking the rug out from technologies which they developed and recently touted as the latest and greatest.

So it was that I read about Solid State Drives and how they can improve the performance of an Apple iMac, 2011 model. That’s good enough for me! Forsooth I ordered a 500GB SSD for my iMac, plus the cable, bracket, and other stuff needed to install it.

Apple didn’t make it easy to replace the internal hard drive on a 2011 iMac. Fortunately there are good instructions on ifixit.com, which I read carefully and bookmarked on my spare computer, just in case. Then it was time to take the iMac apart to replace the internal hard drive.

Not easy. The ifixit instructions stopped with removing the hard drive that was already there. Fortunately that special SSD cable I bought was designed according to Murphy’s Law: it can’t be put in the wrong way. So who needs illustrations or instructions?

When I got the whole computer put back together – no mean feat – I took a lunch break before re-connecting everything, plugging it in, and turning it on.

The screen stayed black, and the fan started roaring full blast.

What to do? The solution was obvious: Panic! Then I had the presence of mind to call SuperCru. A few days earlier a guy at the Apple store told me that Apple wouldn’t touch my computer because it’s out of date. “But SuperCru is the best,” he added.

So I took my poor iMac to SuperCru.

“We charge $45 for diagnosing the problem, but waive that charge if you have us fix it. By the way, did you make backups?”

“Yes. Actually I have all my documents on external hard drives.”


Then I drove home to a big empty space on my computer table. “My luck ran out,” I told my wife Jacque. “No telling when, or if, I’ll ever see my computer again.”

My spare computer is a 15" Macbook Pro, which has become a traveling companion and does most of the things my main computer can do. After making some more backups, I connected the external hard drives to my spare computer and was able to carry on with most of what I’d been doing.

Quicken isn’t installed on my spare computer – figured it would be best to wait and do the financial stuff at home – and the picture processing is limited.

SuperCru hadn’t called. This must be really bad, the “black screen of death”. Finally, after waiting 48 hours, I called them.


“Oh. It was just the cable connecting the solid state drive. Everything’s working now. You can come by and pick it up.” Jacque went with me.

I paid my $45 and we brought my computer home. Then I re-connected everything, plugging it in, and turned it on. Success! Let’s hear it for SuperCru!

Faster boot up? Nope. Evidently it has to wait for those external hard drives to get going. But applications load faster and some of them run faster. The computer runs quietly.

Never thought much of Murphy’s Law, anyway.

 updated June 17, 2015 Mile 204 Ted