I was looking at Date & Time preferences on my iMac and under Time Zone I checked the box where it said “Set time zone automatically using current location”, at which point a message popped up telling me to “Turn on WiFi to determine your current location”. Since my machine is connected to the router by Ethernet I don’t normally have Wi-Fi turned on and in fact I had deleted the interface in Network preferences. So I added a Wi-Fi interface and turned it on. When I went back to Date & Time preferences there was now a pin on the map marking my closest city, which it had correctly determined to be Hatfield – United Kingdom (though strictly Hatfield is a town not a city). When I unchecked the auto time zone box the pin disappeared but the closest city was still set to Hatfield, as if I had set it manually.
This post will be about reinstalling Mountain Lion on my iMac but I want to explain the background first. I am still using the iMac I bought in December 2009 when it came with Snow Leopard. In February 2012 I upgraded to Lion and wrote about it here (I upgraded again to Mountain Lion in September). Meanwhile I was thinking about replacing the machine as it was coming up for three year mark where AppleCare expires. My iMac is the one that was released in October 2009 and since then there had been two new models released at intervals of 280 days, but it was another 577 days before the most recent model was released in November 2012 (I got those numbers from the MacRumors Buyers Guide). If any of my friends had been in the market for a used iMac I may well have traded up but for me there was a downside to the new model – it has no optical drive. Although I accept that optical media is on its way out I wasn’t ready to make the break so I would also have needed to buy an external drive. Of course Apple has an interest in seeing people switch from buying plastic discs to downloading stuff from the iTunes Store so I can understand why they might want to leave out the optical drive, though to be fair a lot of people probably have made the break and would prefer not to have to pay for a built in drive that they don’t need. However, having watched the announcement it seems to me that at least part of the reason for omitting the optical drive was to allow a thinner case, or at least a case with a much thinner edge. Yes the new model does look very cool but I don’t understand the obsession with slimness in a desktop machine. My iMac has not moved for over three years since I unpacked it and the new model would not take up any less desk space. The upshot is that I decided to keep my current machine for the time being and wait to see where Apple goes with the next iteration. Having decided to keep the machine I also decided to have a fresh start and do a complete reinstall of Mountain Lion.