I’m currently upgrading my sister’s 1.83GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro so that it can be handed on to our Mum, now that Jeanna has her shiny new MacBook Air (both at healthy discounts from Apple refurb stock). One of the reasons for handing this on is the built in camera which would allow us to use FaceTime. Thankfully FaceTime is available on OS X 10.6.6 and this MBP supports a maximum of 10.6.8. I did a clean install (to a new SSD) from a 10.6.3 retail disk and updated to 10.6.8 through Software Update straight away. Then FaceTime from the App Store. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get logged in. I kept getting errors along the lines of:

 “Could not sign in to iMessage. The server encountered an error processing registration. Please try again later.  “

When I looked at Console.app I was seeing

06/12/2012 00:49:52 FaceTime[231] ApplePushService: Certificate not yet generated
06/12/2012 00:49:52 FaceTime[231] Couldn’t retrieve identity

My instinct was that the new iTunes account I had setup for Mum as part of the process was the problem and searched on that basis. However, looking at support topics it was clear that when the ID worked with App Store and iTunes Store that it wasn’t an ID issue. By chance I was looking at “About This Mac” and noticed that the serial number wasn’t displayed. You’ll see it’s mentioned in several threads and the outcome is that it generally happens when Apple replace the logic board. Given it was a machine from the refurb store that’s consistent. It naturally occurred to me that the lack of the serial number might be an issue when identifying a client device (thinking of license keys which used to be tied to Sparc host ids). The serial number is in the battery compartment so you just need to find a way to get it on the board. This would typically be a trip to an Apple Service Centre but I’m not aware of a decent one in Dublin – the one I know of had me standing around like a gobshite when I was trying to buy something so I wouldn’t trust hardware to them. There is what appears to be an Apple Service utility which does the job. Have a look for “SetSysSerSum-3T100”.

After that I got another error trying to login to FaceTime but logging into the App Store and then into FaceTime has resolved the issue.