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#944: Locate with Terminal; Vintage vs. Obsolete; Your Computer Talks Back


Hello Fellow Technophiles,

Sometimes it seems like new operating systems appear more and more frequently. In reality, Apple has been on a pretty regular schedule of releasing a new OS once per year. Every time that they do, I get the same set of questions:

  • Should I update my machine?
  • Will my software/hardware be compatible?
  • Is it going to look really different?

My answers are “maybe,” “maybe,” and “not really..but if you are on an old enough OS now…maybe?” There is no hard and fast rule for this. Of course, the decision may be made for you if your machine is not compatible with the newest OS. To complicate this whole thing, once you upgrade it can be very difficult to revert the machine. There is another way, though.

You can add a partition to your drive and install the new OS there. This allows you to take it for a test run without upgrading your normal startup disk and its associated user accounts. As with any time that you are going to install a new OS or change your partition scheme, it is essential that you back up first. But assuming nothing goes wrong, and you decide you don’t like the new OS, all you have to do is remove the partition and you are right back to where you were.

This week our techs bring you articles on using Terminal to locate files, an explanation of Apple’s designations of vintage and obsolete, and a way to get your computer to talk back to you.


  Locate with the Terminal  

Unlike the Terminal find command, locate provides indexed search results which is faster than find. Before using locate, you must build a database of system files, which will allow you to search by using the locate command. To build the database type the following command:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

After the database is built you can run the locate command using the following syntax:

locate name

Locate does not search the files on your disk, instead it searches for file paths in a database. One downside of locate is that the database must be constantly updated in order for your new files to be included in the search. Now this should be updated automatically in a cron every morning but if it is not, you can manually update the database as a root user using the updatedb command. This will ensure your database is current. Please see the example below using locate to search for a particular file:

  Life Expectancy  

It is well known that computer have a life expectancy. When I refer to the life expectancy of a computer I’m not referring to how long it will work, I’m referring to how long you can keep it up to date with supported software and get it serviced. Many machines will work for years past their life expectancy. If you are reading this on the model pictured on the right, your machine is definitely past its normal life expectancy.

There are two terms that Apple uses for machine that they no longer have hardware support: Vintage and Obsolete. Apple usually classifies a machine as vintage once it reaches 5 to 7 years past its initial release and obsolete models are those that are 7 or more years old. Apple doesn’t provide hardware support for vintage and obsolete models, however most models that are vintage can support the latest software and receive updates.

Once a machine becomes obsolete, however, it usually will no longer will be able to support the newest OS X and security updates. Once a machine has unsupported software the machine starts to be become more susceptible to security breaches. A common security breach comes from exploiting older software that has a known issue. Once your computer can’t accept a supported OS X (which is currently 10.10 Yosemite and 10.11 El Capitan) it reaches the end of its life expectancy because the machine is no longer is repairable by Apple and the machine cannot receive software updates.

  Terminal Tidbits: say command  

Apple’s built in text-to-speech can be a useful tool, or just a lot of fun for pranks. This can be triggered via Terminal. When you go and open Terminal (found in the Applications > Utilities folder) you get a blank screen with a blinking cursor. Type say “what you want you Mac to say” and your Mac will speak to you. And you didn’t even have give it a treat!

The say command has options like change its voice to something different. To see the options available in your OS, navigate to System Preferences > Dictation & Speech > Text to Speech and there is a menu with all of the available System Voices. To choose a voice in Terminal type: say -v “Voice Name” “what you want your Mac to say”

You can also export the voice clip as audio file. To do this use -o and specify the file path. The command would look like this: say “Hello World” -o hello recording.aiff

For more info type the following command into Terminal: man say

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