Solved: Ubuntu 20.04 update makes boot time increase by 4 minutes

I’m doing software development on an Ubuntu 20.04 VM running on my MacBook Pro via Parallels Desktop 17. I recently noticed that the “Software Update” app in the Ubuntu desktop machine was saying there were a lot of things to update, which makes sense since I just created this VM a couple of months ago via a fancy Ansible playbook, and I haven’t gotten around to updating it until yesterday.

Well, after the update, it started taking a really long time to boot. There were two places where it hangs for 2 minutes for no apparent reason, meaning that the boot process is about 4-1/2 minutes long.

I’ve figured out what happened and found a workaround, but I’ll mention a few of the things I looked at along the way since they’re sort of interesting and may be relevant if your issue is similar but not caused by the same thing.

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OTP codes from Mac not working due to Mac clock running fast

I’m a fan of Time-based One-time Password, aka TOTP, as a means of Two-factor authentication. I’m also a fan of the 1password password manager, which I have set up to sync between my various devices: a laptop Mac, an Android phone, and an iPad. A nice feature of 1password is that it will act as an OTP authenticator, if you store the TOTP secret (either copy-pasted as text, or scanned as a QR code that decodes to a URL containing the same text) alongside your password info. So if I’m lying in bed with only my iPad nearby and I need an OTP code to log into something, I don’t have to get up and grab my phone to get it from Google Authenticator. (I do also have the OTPs in Google Authenticator though.) More importantly, this means that none of my devices is a single point of failure; if my phone is stolen or dies, I can still get into stuff because I have the secrets synced to multiple devices, encrypted in transit and at rest by the password manager.

But, this all stops working when your Time-based OTP is generated on a Mac with a clock running over a minute fast!

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Solving macOS Error -69784, “Unable to create Core Storage Logical Volume Group”

FileVault’s full disk encryption is a really nice feature of macOS, and making a bootable full-disk daily backup of your Mac’s internal hard disk or SSD using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! is a great way to avoid downtime if your internal hard disk dies. You just reboot from the backup drive and get back to work, having lost at most 1 day of work.

However, you may encounter trouble when trying to create an encrypted bootable volume on your external backup drive. I had no trouble finding helpful articles to tell me how to reformat the external drive as encrypted, or even to convert the disk non-destructively to an encrypted volume, but none of them actually worked. In every case, the UI was happy to say it was gonna encrypt the drive and even gave me a recovery code and took a passphrase for the encryption, but then failed with the following message:

Unable to create Core Storage Logical Volume Group.

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Making macOS High Sierra 10.13.1 work with 2 displays again

I have a Mac Mini (“Late 2014″) hooked up to an Asus PB278Q 27” display and a Dell 2405FPW display. This setup has served me well for two years, but today the Mac stopped talking to the Asus monitor for some reason. After some fiddling, I was able to fix it.

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Fixing a Mac Fusion Drive that Disk Utility can’t erase

My Mac Mini w/ Fusion Drive (that’s a hard disk and an SSD pretending to be a single volume for better performance) froze and wouldn’t boot. Nothing would make it boot normally again. Recovery mode was OK but couldn’t erase the boot volume nor mount it via Disk Utility (I just got “Unable to delete the core storage logical volume”), so reinstalling seemed impossible.

Fortunately, I figured out how to do it, using some help from a StackExchange post I found. See below for the details.

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