Mac Mini 2010 Audio Jack Issue

I do have a Mac Mini 2010 that I use for my home theater setup. Things were excellent and I was happy user of my Mini. Until I upgraded from MacOS El Captitan to Sierra.

Things went down hell for the Mini. It become a bit slow and the audio jack stopped pushing optical audio signal. My toshlink stopped working all of sudden. Audio through HDMI works fine. But I want to use optical audio since this Mini is connected to my sound system setup.

I googled and found few suggestions that I tried.

  • The first one is to use a wooden toothpick. Just push the metal pieces that hold the 3.5 jack. According to the sources, the metal pieces might be stuck. Did not work for me. Nothing was stuck.
  • Another suggested solution was to reset the SMC chip when you start up your Mac by holding option + command + p + r before the apple logo appears. Did not work for me. It fixed nothing.
  • The third suggested solution was to go to utility folder inside applications. Start up midi application and changed the sampling rate to something lower tha 44.00 Hz. Did not do it for me too.

Once I ran out of suggested fixes, I decided to use the HDMI and just live with it. But I did not like it. Since using the TV speakers is not good compared to using the speakers of a sound system.

So I prepared a Linux ubuntu USB and booted my Mac with it. The I pushed the audio through the jack and it worked. So it seems it is a MacOS serria issue of  removed driver.

The last step that I took was to revert back to Trusty el captitan. This was step was not difficult. All I had to do was erase the hdd through Mac recovery tools. Start up Mac with option button pressed. Then startup disk utility and erase the OS disk.

The you need to prepare a bootable USB stick with El Capitan image. You can obtain the image from apple App Store by going to recent purchases. You will find it there.

Just download it and make sure it is inside your application folder.

The go to terminal and use the following command, just make sure to change the bold “untitled” with the name of your USB drive.

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\

After this, your USB will be ready. Then just start up your Mac with option key pressed.

And boot from the USB.

That’s it. Audio jack worked like before.


Roof Garden & irrigation system

Roof garden is one of these projects that not just fun, but a great learning opportunity as well.

I attempted my roof garden project in a hope to cut on my grocery bill. But it turned out to be a fun project. Now, gardening become a hobby of mine.

One of the benefit of having a roof garden is that, it gets more than 8 hours of direct sun light. It is also an off limit place for kids.

I started with two rows of pots that I bought from Ikea and planted few vegetables seeds. Few days passed and I started to see plants growing. I kept watering them whenever I had time. This become a choir so I decided to install a automatic watering system. I used a small submersible water pump that I got from Amazon, and small hose that pass through the pots. I used wooden sticks and planted them in each of the pots.

I punctured the hose above each pot and knotted the end of the hose. Water will pass through the hose and stop at the knot and then escape through the punctures. I forgot to mention that the water pump runs on solar panel and a timer. I documented how I did it on a previous post.

Then, I faced two issues. Water runs out fast so I needed to find a way to refill the water reservoir automatically. Another issue is that, plants grows fast and then stop. I later found out that the pots that I am using are relatively small. Nutrients run out fast from smaller pots.

The decided to expand the project and add more rows of pots. I bout 20 pots, and grouped them into 2 groups. Each group consist of 10 pots divided into 2 rows. Each groups has 5 pots in a row and a water reservoir. Each eater reservoir has a water pump. This time, I decided to go with larger pots. AC1CFC0D-48E3-42D6-B7A5-E495D672750F

As for the automatic refilling of water reservoirs, I decided to use the main water tank that my house has to get water from. I used a simple garden water hose and made a hole through the water tank. Then I passed the hose through the hole and started to siphon the water from the tank. Because of gravity, water would flow through the hose and into the water reservoir. This hose goes to each water reservoir and fill it. I then installed a float valve to prevent the water from over filling the water reservoir. It worked flawlessley.

After this, I cut the garden hose and installed a T connection so that I can take the water to the other water reservoirs. 3F8D4210-3972-4C62-8977-A9BC7A57353D
Since cutting my grocery bill was my main goal out of this project, I decided to only plant eidable plants. Do I planted tomatos, potatos, garlic, onion and watermelon.

It’s been over 2 months and a half now and I started to pick up tomatos. And I am starting to see other plants growing as well.

If think everyone should have a small garden in their house. It’s fun and great learning experience. img_9271

Water Cooled CPU

I just bought Intel thermal Solution TS13X. It is the first water cooler that I bought for a PC. I decided to go the water cooling route because it makes the PC setup much cooler and also to element the noise. I used to depend on air cooling before, but I witnessed the following problems. The room temperature would rise, especially if there is a graphic card also installed.

I intended to use it for my Intel DX79SR motherboard that I also bought used. But the Xeon processor that I bought for it, got delayed, so I decided to use it for my experimental setup.

Experimental Setup: 

I constructed an experimental setup with 2 GPUs that I had laying around. I used an Intel core I7 4470k for this setup. Then I used a mining  software miner gate to push the processor to 97% usage. I noticed that the temperature never reaches 37 C. Which is really cool. It is a departure from the air cooler which usually the temperature reaches around ~70 C. Keep in mind that, Air cooler pushes hot air into the case, and the case pushes the air outside the case and into the room. Which raises the room temperature. Water cooling on the other hand pushes air into the radiator that has water in it. IMG_8585

Assembling it:

Not as easy as air coolers but not difficult at all. It just need an extra step of fixing the extra brackets. One on the bottom of the motherboard and another on top of the processor. The bracket that fits on top of the processor also the one that holds the copper pieces that sets on top of the processor and transfer heat to the radiator.

Overall, not hard to assemble, and adds much value to your setup.

As a bonus, I found that if you want to sell your PC, it would sell much faster if you added a water cooling to your setup. I believe that water cooling is a sign that your processor temperature is never pushed over limit. Also it looks much sophisticated. Just my opinion based on what I saw in the market.


What Do I think: 

From now on, I would never by an air cooler again. I would recommend this cooler to any PC owner. It would lengthen the life of your PC and make it run much cooler.


Zelda Breath of the Wild

Me and Games: 

It’s been a while since the last time I played a Zelda game. The last Zelda game that I played in recent years was Zelda: A Link between two worlds on the 3DS. It was an amazing game. It brought the thrills of a Zelda game, yet it felt new and familiar at the same time.

Now, I just received my own copy of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Wii U. I picked the Wii U version because I own the console. Also I am not a fan of playing it on game pads. I like my controllers to be small, so I am using game controller pro.

I am yet to grab a Nintendo Switch. It seems that I will wait for a bit longer before getting it. Not because it is not available in the stores right now, but due to not having enough time to play video games these days.

I used to play games all the time during my childhood. I kept playing games until I got to college when things changed a bit. When I got into college, the first two years, I was bad at time management and thus had little time for hobbies including video games. In addition to this, I picked up new hobbies such as hanging out with new people. Not just this, but school was just taking so much out of my time that I had little time for myself. After the second year, I figured out how school works and managed my time well. I had time for video games and pretty much everything else.

In any case, let us get into the New Zelda game. Just to let you know, I am just few hours into the game, but I completely sucked in.

The Feel of a Zelda game:

The game looks different than any Zelda game that I played before. The Hyrule is now an open world that you can explore in any form of shape that you like. It is a departure from older Zelda games, in which you had a bit of freedom to explore, but in a much liner way.

You will find many similarities between this game and older Zelda games in some elements such as weapons, Dungeons, and puzzles. You still have bombs arrows, and swords.

Hyrule is still similar as before, but now, it is much more expansive and huge. It feels much more realistic. For example, now when you get close to a mountain, you climb on it like a real elevated landscape. Unlike Zelda Ocarina of time in which the mountain has a liner path you go through. IMG_6488

What is Different now: 

The first thing you will notice is the voice over. Now there is a narrative voice that adds a little depth to the game.

The second aspect of the game that you will notice is the futuristic feel to it. The game has many places that look futuristic because the locations uses some ancient technology. You will see the bright xenon light around the dungeons which is really pretty.

Does it worth it?

Yes. Unlike Zelda Skyward Swords, I find myself completely immersed in the game. I can’t put the controller down. I want to play a little bit more and explore the next dungeon. Just like Zelda: Ocarina of time, Everything feels fresh and exciting. The graphics, the sounds, and characters and the gameplay.

I feel that Nintendo did the right thing when it decided to follow this path for the game. I revived older elements from older Zelda games, but changed pretty much everything else.

My advice, don’t get the Nintendo Switch version, get the Wii U version why? because it is going to be collectable. With the Nintendo ending the Wii U production and it is getting much rarer to find these days. I thing the Wii U version will also be printed in limited quantities. Thus it will fetch much higher price in the near future.

Mac Mini, Apple and Other Things

Mac Mini is by far one of my favorite Apple products. It gets the job done and it is perfect for regular computing. As a person who has multiple PC at home, I find myself using it more often.

I don’t do video editing or computing intensive tasks to need a super computer. I just need to browse the web, watch YouTube, work processing, programming and that’s it. It does all of that.

As for gaming, mac is not a great machine for gaming. For me, I don’t game on PC at all. I use consoles for that. I believe consoles deliver the best experience when it comes to gaming. Game consoles also become powerful enough that you don’t need powerful PCs to enjoy breath taking graphics.

My First Mac Mini

I bought my first Mac Mini during collage. My laptop had an issue with its SuperDrive, so I sent it to Apple for repairs. At that time, I forgot about one of the assignments that I needed to deliver by the end of the week. It was an assignment for an Artificial Intelligence class. The name of the course seems fancy and high tech. But it wasn’t fun and mostly was mostly boring. Was had to code in languages such as schema, Lisp and Prolog. Did not like any of them. Anyway, I went to the school’s computer lab but those laps were using Windows. I was not able to download a compiler for Prolog because I had a student not admin account.

At this point, I decided to buy the cheapest Mac available. And it was Mac Mini with SuperDrive.

I ordered it from Amazon with over night delivery. I had Prime membership so I did not pay crazy price for this option. Only 4 dollars to receive it over night. I received it the night before the assignment is due. And was able to finish the assignment with an all nighter.

That’s not the end of it. I started working on it as my daily driver. I even used it to host my personal webpage, among other sites that I hosted at that time. The thing is that, I liked setting on a desk while working on a computer. When I had a laptop, I used to set on the sofa. That added much to why I liked the Mac Mini.

In anycase, I still have the first Mac Mini that I bought in 2008. Recently, I bought a 2010 version with SuperDrive to use it as a media center PC. Since the drive was a regular HDD, I replaced it with an SSD and upgraded the RAM to 8G (was 4).

Apple After Jobs and alternative to Mac Mini!

I believe that moment Steve jobs died, Apple went downhill. They started to produce products that are disposable. You can’t upgrade them nor you can easily fix them. For example, the very same Mac Mini version 2014, has a solders on RAM. In addition to this, the HDD is also much more difficult  to change. These changes obviously were made to force users to choose a product which the hight specs that they can afford. If they can’t not afford a higher spec product now, they will be deemed to change it after few years because it will become obsolete.

For this reason, I started to look for alternatives. Since I am a guy who likes small form factor PC, I looked at Intel NUC and AsRock Deskmini. Both are amazing.

Intel NUC however, fails when it comes to performance. I choose a NUC with Core I7 but still, it was too noisy and would slow down when I am doing doing many tasks at once.

As for Asrock Deskmini, it is a DIY computer. So I choose the parts. Well, this unit was a beast of a PC. I choose a core I7 67900k which is a powerful processor. So it provided a fine computing experience without an issue or slowdown. IMG_9740 2

In the end, Deskmini and NUC are not Macs. I mean they don’t run Macintosh. Well, you can run Hackintosh but that’s a hassle and it is not upgradable. And I hate Windows.

In conclusion, I will see how it goes. I started using Linux so I might switch to it permanently. At least I see it as the closest thing to Mac and much better than Windows.




Second Experiment with Solar Panels

I like to keep myself busy with projects during my weekends. I also like to use junk that might be useful. This post is about my second experiment with solar panels, but this time I used it with lighting.

Why I decided to work on this project. 

I recently installed a home shade n my front yard so that I can park my car in a cool shady place. Away from the sun. However, this shade blocked the sun rays, and even during the night, it was dark. So i decided to install 4 lights to light up the area under the shade that I installed.

I had two solar panels laying around, each with 100 watts. I decided to connect the panels in series to generate 24v. I decided to go this route because I did my calculations and found out that I would need much less Amr/Hour per battery than a 12V system. With 24v system, a load 60 watts that needs to run for 8 hours would require 46 AH. But for a 12v system with the same requirement would require almost the double ~94. Source

How is the system wired?

I placed the panels just above the shade, so that I gets exposed to the sun most of the day. Then I salvaged two used car batteries that I had laying around being unused for few years. Surprisingly working fine. As long as they are being pushed half of their capacity, they would be fine. I keep the timer and the rest of parts inside a solar box. A sturdy box that is made of plastic. It is able to withstand heat, and would protect the system component from dust or rain.

All is lift was to connect panels to the charge controller, and then the controller to the batteries. The batteries to the timer and the timer to the lights. Light were connected in parallel to avoid interrupting the circuit in case one of the lights got burned.



How did it go?

Very well. The system worked great for 3 weeks before one of the batteries went bad. It might got over drained. But I was satisfied with what I learned from this project. The fact that I used junk batteries to build this system was cool.

What’s next?

There few videos on YouTube on how to fix dry car batteries. I already looked at them and understood what I need to do in order for me to revive the batteries. I will do that next and update this post with a photo of working lights.

Until then,  farewell.

Haruki Murakami


I am an avid reader of Murakami.

The first book that I read from Murakami was After Dark. IT wasn’t a great read, but it has all of the elements that made me believe that he is one of the best writers ever. From that book, I started a quest to finish all of Murakami’s books. I managed to read most of them. Few books left. What makes me keep on reading them is a collection of factors that makes this writer unique.

The atmosphere is relaxing, yet is gripping. There are always events happening.

The characters, each have their own personality and uniqueness. Murakami does not introduce many characters in every book that he writes. However, each character is memorable enough and has a deep level of personality.

Another likable fact about his books is the dialog between his characters. It feels real. The dialog is so well done.

Murakami, is one of those writers that once you start reading one of his books, you can’t put it down until you finish it.

In the last few days, I finished reading South of the borders, West of the sun. Wasn’t his best book. But don’t get me wrong, the book was great read and I had fun reading it.

It is one of these books that has a story that does not end with the last page that you turn. The story makes you keep thinking about it for a while. The worst of all, it makes you feel depressed once you finish it, just like many of his books. Probably it due to the end of excitement that ends when finish reading his books


The book talks about Hajime, an only child and how he lived his life. His relationships in his younger years and how they formed his life later on.

This seems like just a regular story that we all heard before. It does not introduce new ideas that weren’t introduced before, but it kept me thinking for days after finishing it about what he was trying to say in it.

Most of the twists happen when Hajime got married and his life become too stable to be normal. Then he started to think about one of his childhood’s girlfriends. One who he really likes.

She started appearing out of nowhere and it missed up his life. He started seeing her and at one point, he decided to throw away his stable life and start a new one with this girl. But in the end, it did not happen and he continued to live with his wife.

After think about the theme of the story, I started to see what the author tried to communicate to the reader. Hajime’s life was too boring and too normal for him to bear. It was going in one direction every day. He was looking for ways to change that. Meeting his childhood friend was the last glimpse of hope to change how his life is going

To me, the moral of the story is that, once a person stops looking for new challenges, life become too unbearable to live.17799