Adjust Time Machine backup frequency

I managed to get a oldish 3Tb Time Capsule off Carousell for experimenting. It was pretty alright for the first day until I got tired of the hourly loudish HDD spin up.

There must be a way to adjust the hourly backup frequency to every 6 hours. Given this is a oldish EOLed device, I also want to preserve its longevity – as much as i can.

To do so, determine the new backup frequency you want it to be, knowing the backup daemon reads in the backup frequency in seconds.

If you want to adjust to a 12 hour backup, the new number would be 60 seconds * 60 minutes * 12 hours = 43,200

For a 6 hour backup frequency, the new number would be 60 seconds * 60 minutes * 6 hours = 21,600


  1. Go to the macOS terminal app and do the following:
  2. Unload the backup daemon using “sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
  3. Change frequency on the the following file /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ using “sudo nano /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
  4. Look for the line that says “<key>Interval</key><integer>3600</integer>“, change the integer value to the newly calculated value above without the comma.
  5. It should read the following with a 12 hour backup frequency “<key>Interval</key><integer>43200</integer>
  6. Save the file with Ctrl-X.
  7. Then reload the plist using “sudo launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

You will only hear the HDD storage startup only twice a day, and extend the HDD’s life!

PS – The above was verified to work on Mojave.

PPS – You will need to do this for every macOS device.

Another good reason for using macOS (Resetting router password)

I got stuck resetting a router’s administrative password. While I had the required Cisco cable (console to serial) and a Usb to Serial adapter, Windows 10 wasn’t too happy with the Usb to Serial adapter I had.

Windows 10 said the Usb to Serial adapter was too old and wanted me to “CONTACT THE DEVELOPER”. No kidding, that’s what was written on the Devices page.

Switching to the MBP, I connected the Usb end of the Usb – Serial cable and did a

screen /dev/tty.usbserial

And I got a response from the router immediately.

Local firewall for Windows and MacOS

I’ve been on the MacOS platform for over 8 years now and am quite pleased with Little Snitch. I’ve got to look for another one which works with Windows, now that I’m switching over to Windows 10 for work. These are some which I have found.

From what I’ve read, it appears NetLimiter 4 is the only one that allows you to allow/deny individual connection, like Little Snitch. I’ll be installing it to test out. The screenshots on the Netlimiter page makes me just want to head back to MacOS. 🙁

MacBook Pro running hot on Linux?

Managed to get Linux dual booting on an old but high spec’ed MacBook Pro using rEFInd. This was the second time I had Linux on the same machine and i’m still puzzled why the laptop runs cool to touch in macOS but quite warm in Linux.

I had disabled the discrete AMD Radeon GPU which caused display problems in macOS, via nvram.

$ nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00

I’ve also reloaded AMDRadeonX3000.kext on login via the following:

$ sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions-off/AMDRadeonX3000.kext

High Sierra boots up perfectly with the laptop running relatively cool.

But this was not the same for Linux…

I’ve loaded lm-sensors which shows Linux regularly hitting 80+ Celsius while laptop fans spun at 2000 rpm (default speed). Something wrong there, don’t you think?

BTW, I’m monitoring the temperature of CPU cores and the fan speed using sensors

$ watch -n 1 sensors

I decided something needs to be done to bring up the internal fan speed – looking around found tlp.

tlp stands for TLP (duh!) and can be found in many distribution’s repositories. I used this to change the radeon power profile and dpm states by changing the states from default to low.

From /etc/default/tlp







Followed by restarting tlp with

$ sudo systemctl restart tlp.service

No change to the internal fan speed of 2000 rpm. 🙁

After some googling, I loaded macfanctld.

Right off the bat, sensors started to show the correct fan speed. By pushing additional load (multiple Youtube and Vimeo channels) on the laptop, I can hear the fans working harder and sensors is showing higher internal fan speed.

But this still hadn’t brought the temperature of the MacBook Pro to macOS level of temperature. I’ll continue to update this once i find out why and how.

Updating to Mojave 10.14.4 on an unsupported Apple hardware

I am running 10.14.3 on an unsupported Apple hardware. macOS 10.14.4 update showed up on the App Store Updates for quite a while now. I had the opportunity to update to 10.14.4 rather early this morning before skipping out for training. Popped by the mac couple times and before realising the mac hung after a reboot.

I relied on dosdude1’s Mojave Patcher as this mac hardware was no longer supported by Apple. I somehow skipped checking his page for the latest news on 10.14.4, and this turned around and hit me squarely in the face.

-> Dosdude1’s patcher page indicated the 1.30 patcher tool needs to be installed before updating to 10.14.4. <-

Drats! Training called and I had to leave. I was mulling over this problem and googling to no help – It is very no one tried updating to 10.14.4 WITHOUT dosdude1’s 1.30 patch.

Just not long ago, I bit the bullet and applied the 1.30 patch over the currently non-functioning partition. After 32 minutes and applying the dosdude1’s Post Install drivers, the mac booted up. [Hooray!]

I quickly ran a check and all seemed fine except 10.14.4 was not applied and the mac remained on 10.14.3.

I’ll keep the mac on 10.14.3 until this weekend.

Steps to convert a Parallels (OSX) VM to VMware (Linux)

I had couple VMs in Parallel lying around on the old storage. Some of these still have a valid Microsoft Windows and Office licences which would mean throwing away good money if I’ve just dumped them.

I managed to figure out how to move these VMs to VMware Workstation on Linux. Here are the requirements and the steps.

Things to note after the conversion
1. The extraction will transmigrate the underlying OS innards to VMware’s. This will trigger reactivation for Microsoft Windows and also Office. Interestingly all I need was to click the reactivation notices (1 for Windows and 1 for Office) and all was done!

1. Able to boot into the Parallels VM (It should be running Windows)
2. Make sure the host storage space is at double the size of the Parallels VM you want to convert.
3. Download VMware Converter from VMware (The current version is 6.2)

1. Boot into your Parallels VM
2. Make a shared folder to the host operating system from Parallels. You will save the new VMware image here.
3. Install VMware Converter
4. Then run VMware Converter as an administrator 

5. This screen will be shown. Select Convert Machine

6. Next select “This local machine”. The source type should say “Powered on” since this Parallels instance is powered on.

7. The screen below will pop up. The options look alright. Make sure there is a location where you can save the converted virtual machine to, at the last selection.

Note if C:\ drive is selected, it means the virtual machine will be saved back to the same Parallels instance – this is not what we want.

Click Next.

VMware Converter will chug along, depending on the speed of medium which the virtual machine will be saved to. It took less than 60 mins with a SSD.

Start up the newly created VMware instance on VMware Workstation. Done!

Launch Sublime Text 3 from command line

Wiped and reinstalled OS X on the MBP, thus lost the shortcut to invoke Sublime Text on command line.

Thought I should document this so I won’t have to go through Sublime Text directories in Applications.

Open up Terminal and run the following (assuming 1. Sublime Text is installed 2. /usr/local/bin is in your PATH)

Step 1: Go to Terminal; Check whether /usr/local/bin in in your PATH

echo $PATH

Terminal should return the following


/usr/local/bin is located at the end of the string. You’re set!

Step 2: Run the following on Terminal

ln -s /Applications/Sublime\ /usr/local/bin

Step 3: Test the setup by running the following:

subl .

This will kick in Sublime on the current directory.


OS X unable to read WD My Passport Ultra

(Or How To Read From A Slow Booting WD My Passport Ultra portable hard drive)

Recently, El Capitan and Sierra had stopped recognizing a WD Passport Ultra external USB portable hard drive that I have.

I had some really important data held inside which made me quite anxious about it. After scouring the intertubes [here], I had an assumption that a major surgery needs to take place before I can extract the data ever again.

The WD Passport Ultra has a PCB with a proprietary interface and I wasn’t able to attach a SATA to USB adapter to the hard drive. Also, the Passport Ultra comes with built-in AES256 encryption which meant I can’t read it directly when plugged into a SATA to USB adapter anyway.

I had even chucked the WD Passport Ultra into the freezer (freezing trick) that had worked before, all to no avail. Furthermore, the video above was quite telling about the recovery requirements, with the need for a PCB of the same version etc. Thus I had almost given up on the WD Passport Ultra.

Right before I decided to open up the hard drive, I had a job that required to forensically image a client’s data. A spark went off and I tried using a linux based recovery tool to read the portable hard drive.


I was able to mount the portable hard drive in readonly mode and was able to copy out the data. Of course, there is a need to sudo apt-get install hfsprogs as the drive was formatted in OS X, before mounting the drive in readonly mode.

Q: Why did a Iinux-based recovery tool managed to read the drive while full featured OS X couldn’t?
A: I suspect OS X will assume the hard drive as dead if it does not respond in an acceptable time.

Q: Why did the portable hard drive work previously?
A: Beats me. But since I was able to extract the data, I’ll leave it to the WD Quality Assurance division to give an answer.