Mac moans

I bought a new Mac towards the end of last year which meant I had to make a choice between getting one of the last of the Intel lines or one of the first of the new Apple silicon ones, which was a bit of a pain because it was basically: Everything works now but will stop working faster this upgrade cycle or loads of things (especially music software) won’t work to start with.

I opted for the Intel one because at least I’d be able to port over all my music software working, but anyway it is easily my least favourite of the four laptops that I’ve had from Apple. Leaving aside the well documented niggles on keyboard quality, the screen management with using an external monitor is flakey, and I find the sound management a nightmare – if often won’t notice headphones have been plugged in, or if you unplug them one app will keep pumping the sound out that channel rather than the speakers (NowTV and Audacity are particularly bad at this) with seemingly no way to rescue the situation.

I haven’t got it running Big Sur, because that also has a reputation for breaking all your music software and plugins, but I installed a security update the other week which re-introduced the start-up chime. In a big way. Like in a Spinal Tap turn it up to 11 way. Everyone in the street knew when I switched my laptop on in the morning. And all the Apple support pages about turning it down or switching it off kept pointing to options in the sound settings menu that I just didn’t have.

Eventually after some Googling I found there was a way to open Terminal and switch it off at the command line – it was sudo nvram StartupMute=%01 if you care about that sort of thing – but holy moly I’ve been a Mac user for fifteen years and do you remember when they just worked?