Upgrading a Mac system

Back in October, I upgraded an old (Mid 2011) Mac mini server (running macOS Sierra) to a new (2018) Mac mini (running macOS Catalina). The process of porting all of my documents, hardware and software to the new system was a mix of stuff that just worked, stuff that needed help to work and stuff that didn’t work at all.

I wrote a series of articles on my personal blog describing the experience, for the benefit of others who may find themselves needing to do the same thing. So, for anybody who may be interested, here they are:


Very helpful. Now, if only somebody would write something similar about upgrading to Big Sur - especially about apps. I’m still holding off about moving up from Catalina.


One interesting followup. As it turns out, my installation of Snapz Pro X (2.5.1) was not actually compatible with Catalina. I assumed it was because it launched, but when I tried to actually capture something, I got an error.

Some web searching revealed that this is probably because the kernel extension was not signed. They signed it in the last version, 2.6.1, which I never downloaded.

I did see that many third-party download sites were offering it, but I won’t download from them, out of fear that they may contain malware (although I’m sure there are some sites that are reliable enough to use). On a hunch, I decided to visit an archived copy of Ambrosia’s page for Snapz Pro X (Snapz Pro X | Ambrosia Software, Inc.). There was a download link from there which, much to my surprise, downloaded an archived copy of the 2.6.1 installer.

The installer file was signed with Ambrosia’s certificate. Although that cert had expired in 2017, the Apple installer utility validated the installation package and it installed.

This version is still not 100% with Catalina. It quits (probably crashes) when trying to capture video, but it works great for all of its still-image capture capabilities.

Of course, if you don’t already have a license key, this download won’t help you, since the company went out of business about two years ago, so there’s nobody to generate keys anymore, but if you have a key for an old copy, you can still upgrade to the latest version.

I wrote all this in a blog post yesterday: Thank you, Internet Archive

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Or you can dump that 2+ year old software and choose something like Xnip, a modern, up to date compatible piece of software for doing annotated screenshots.

I have a friend who is good friends with Andrew Welch, founder and owner of Ambrosia. Andrew doesn’t like to talk about what happened with his company. Assume what you like. Some people say he went bankrupt. Others say he had a complete nervous breakdown. I honestly don’t know.

I loved Ambrosia and used many of their products for years. Andrew Welch was a pioneer and if he has chosen a new, less stressful path, who are we to judge?

But like any breakup of a long relationship, it is time to let go and put Ambrosia into the history books.

They were great. But the are very much dead. Stop trying to breathe life back into them.


…but I’m still going to play Maelstrom every once in a while…