Standing on this side of my troubles, I realize that the following will seem pretty obvious to most of y'all. I just thought I'd post my lesson's learned here in the hopes it'll help someone else in my situation.
IWhen I did my Galaxy SII to Cyanogenmod last year, it went pretty smooth. Not so, on my new-to-me Galaxy S3. Of course, I had forgotten everything from before so I had to relearn everything but still ...I hit a lot of pitfalls.
I started with the instructions last year and went to work trying to root it.
Recovery mode is a ***** on this phone. I loaded Clockwork on there but I didn't realize that the T-Mobile Galaxy S3 will detect and override it. You only get one shot to load it and if you let Odin reboot the phone, you're going back to square one. Of course, having not worked with it for a while, I didn't even realize I wasn't even in Clockwork but rather the stock recovery mode. I spent a lot of time banging my head against the Android recovery rejecting the rom. STOCK=BLUE FONT
HUGE thanks SkunkApe60 for pointing what was going on in his posts from last year. His updated instructions make it very clear and I really wish I'd found it first. Anyway, I feel it bears repeating that if you let the phone reboot on it's own, you're spinning your wheels.
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After finally figuring out how to get the damned thing to boot into clockwork, I still ran into the CM.TAR file being rejected because of a phone ID script error. I looked at a few fixes including modifying the script or the phone's ID file. Finally, I dropped clockwork and loaded TWRP and CM file finally loaded. It sucks cuz once I saw the big buttons, it all came back to me that I'd used that one to install on the SII. Of course, my excitement of seeing the spinning wheel CM logo was short lived when I realized it was stuck. So, back to TWRP to load it again, this time clearing the cache first.
I then quickly went on to install the wrong Google apps version for CM 10.1 which killed my keyboard. Ugh...nothing is easy.
Anyway, general thanks to all y'all who keep the boards alive and well!