Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User Group Newsletter|
July 1, 2010
It's that time of year when thoughts turn to long balmy evenings, barbecues, fireworks, the latest version of the iPhone. The hardworking SMUG board has also been preoccupied with matters of state - the sate of SMUG, that is.
At our recent Board of Directors meeting we discussed the fact that several members had questioned the membership dues and wondered what they paid for.
It is true that currently we are not paying rent to SLAC for the use of the Redwood Room at our monthly meetings and that we have gradually discontinued the printing of our monthly newsletter in favor of an email version.
However, we do have other significant out-of-pocket expenses: we pay insurance for using the Redwood Room; the newsletter still costs something - we pay Constant Contact for the service that sends it out and keeps us within the anti-spam legalities; shareware CDs for members who want them; occasional party expenses; postage and other mailing costs (membership renewals, etc); occasional printing costs (advertising for new members, mainly); occasional raffle prizes and guest expenses.
We calculated that these expenses would require a minimum of $20 per annum per member to maintain club solvency. Currently membership dues are $30 per annum. Hence we are proposing that membership dues be reduced to $25 p.a. going forward, which would allow us to maintain a "buffer' for any unexpected expenses or events.
Also at this time of year, it's traditional for us to hold elections for Board members. Two members of the Board have departed in the past year, so please consider volunteering to fill their place - a convivial hour's meeting once a month, what's the downside? Dave Strom and I will be buttonholing prospective candidates in the near future.
|June 12th SMUG Meeting Agenda |
|Turner Kirk from Smule|
Ever thought what else you can do with your iPhone other than use it as a phone, listen to music or podcasts, write emails, etc? How about playing it as a musical instrument? (in the picture, Smule founder Ge Wang plays "Yesterday" on his iPhone, accompanied by David Pogue at Macworld 2009) Since Smule's success with the Ocarina app, they've moved on the trombones, T-Pain, and now Magic Piano for the iPad. Turner will be here hot from his weekly interactive podcast to demo all of these apps and show us how it's done.
Shareware - ever noticed the Services menu? (Hint: open any application on your Mac and look below the preferences in the main drop down menu) Ever wonder what it's for? Ever notice that it's been updated in Snow Leopard? We thought not. Dave Aston will explore the under-the-radar features of Services in our shareware presentation
Plus Q & A and raffle
Prizes, giveaways, we've got 'em!
|June Meeting Report: Howard Cohen on hard drives and backups|
Howard Cohen, an iPhone developer and expert at hard drive
backup (note from Dave: expert as in he does an awful lot of it and has lots of
good advice on the subject) presented how to build an external hard drive and
other hard drive backup tips.|
He has been a software engineer for years, he has a RAID
hard drive box, and he had a clone (a bootable backup, like the kind made by
Super Duper or CCC) and an offsite backup of every one of his computers.
Howard asked us what we used to back up our Macs: Time
Machine, Super Duper / Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC), other method, or nothing.
Time Machine, Super Duper, and CCC will not protect your
hard drive against your house burning down or from theft.
If you delete a file in a Time Machine backup, the latest
copy is gone; in a RAID, a drive can die. Use Time Machine if you think you
might make a mistake, RAID if you worry about your hard drive failing.
OFFSITE HARD DRIVES
If your data is really important, store an external hard
drive with your data on it in another physical location. And maybe not a home
next door, in case the whole neighborhood burns down. It is nice if that
location allows you 24-hour access to that hard drive. Howard believes in
safety: he has TWO offsite locations, and he brings the older hard drives back
to his house, swapping them with recent backup hard drives.
HARD DRIVE TYPE
There is a LOT of choice for hard drives. LaCie (enclosed
hard drive) is expensive. Macsales.com is good to buy from, and you can phone
their people and talk to them, they will speak your language. On that website,
you can click on External Storage and see RAID hard drive enclosures; if one
hard drive in a RAID fails, you can replace the failed hard drive without
He uses Seagate hard drives and never had one fail. He will
spend a little more money on a hard drive to get a good one. Most of his
information about hard drive reliability is anecdotal. Most of the drives he
saw fail was Hitachi or Western Digital. (Note from Dave: Hey, my 2 TB hard drive
is Hitachi! Well, I do have its data backed up to other drives.) He likes
Seagate, but find a hard drive that you like.
HARD DRIVE SIZE
You will need a hard drive that is as big or bigger than the
one on your computer. Howard buys hard drives on Amazon that are twice the size
of the one on his iMac. (Note from Dave: I bought a hard drive off Amazon
myself: a 2 TB model. Also, Fry's has nice sales on hard drives.)
To see the size of your hard drive, select it in the Finder
or on your desktop, then select File: Get Info. You will see the capacity of
your hard drive, how much space on it is available, and how much space is used.
If your back up hard drive is big enough, you can partition
that drive and make two backups on it. (Note from Dave: My 2 TB hard drive has
two partitions: one 500 GB, for my MacBook Pro backup, and one 1.5 TB for my
Macintosh data drive with lots of HD video on it.)
Oh, the hard drives Howard uses are Sata, which are the most
common. The most common enclosures and docks use Sata drives.
HANDLING HARD DRIVES
When you handle the drive, hold it on the sides; do NOT
touch the circuit board on the bottom! And do not move that hard drive when it
is spinning. Let it spin down first (about a minute after it is powered off).
Dropping a hard drive is not as much of a problem as it used to be. Hard drives
can handle about 300 Gs, your toe would break first if you dropped a hard drive
on it. But do not try that, ouch.
If you intend to use USB 2.0 to connect your hard drive
enclosure to your Mac, make sure your Mac connection is USB 2.0.
HARD DRIVE DOCK
Howard showed a hard drive dock: this is a box that has a
slot where you can plug a bare hard drive. (Note from Dave: A dock differs from
an enclosure, where the hard drive is completely enclosed in a (usually) metal
case, and you have to deal with several screws to install or remove it from the
enclosure.) Hard drive docks (and enclosures, for that matter) have various
interfaces; Howard's had Firewire 400, eSata, and USB 2.0. You plug the hard
drive into the slot, turn on the hard drive dock, and you plug the cable (USB
2.0 or Firewire, or eSata if you have that on your Mac), and that hard drive
shows up on your Macintosh. When you are done with the hard drive, you have to
eject it from your desktop, and then perform the easy step of turning off the
hard drive dock and physically unplugging the hard drive from the hard drive
slot on the dock.
He showed a hard drive dock that holds two drives at once.
Very handy for copying from one bare hard drive to another.
HARD DRIVE ENCLOSURE
If you buy a hard drive from Amazon (note from Dave: or
Fry's), you get it in a box. You can buy hard drives that are already in a hard
drive enclosure. Howard showed us how he puts a hard drive into an enclosure.
He showed the anti-static bag that bare hard drives come in: once you break the
seal on that bag, you cannot return the hard drive.
You will need a screwdriver that can drive the screws on
your hard drive enclosure. Howard had a very nice screwdriver set: a couple of
dozen screwdriver bits.
Howard has more detailed instructions posted at http://www.timefold.com/osx/tips/harddrive.html.
The external enclosure consists of a little bag of screws, a
case, and a circuit board on a sled. Some enclosures have fans. A hard drive
can operate at high temperatures, so if you only run the drive for backup, it
is okay without fan. If the hard drive is on all the time, and the case has a
fan, and the fan fails, the hard drive can cook (and not in a good way).
Oh, his enclosure is USB and Sata. You can get Firewire
also. If your USB drive is the only thing on that bus, speed is good. (Note
from Dave: I hunted around to find an enclosure with Firewire 800, USB 2.0, and
eSata, and that uses as few screws as possible to put in the drive: six in my
case. Another case I used to own had about 16 screws, and that was too many!)
Howard also uses enclosures with Firewire 800, which is very fast.
Howard slid the hard drive onto the Sata connector on the
internal sled for the enclosure. This is easy, use only one pound of force. You
could plug in the power to the enclosure right now, but Howard compares that to
using a table saw without a blade guard. (Note from Dave: Which he does. And he
still has his fingers. But he seems to not recommend that.)
He took the screwdriver and the itty-bitty screws. There are
four itty-bitty holes for screws in the bottom of the hard drive. He screwed
the hard drive onto the sled.
He showed the little slot in the case that he lines up with
the sled with the hard drive on it. He had to pull a little wire out of the way
to do this, something to watch for when you are putting hard drives into
He plugged a little cable on the enclosure onto the hard
drive, and warned us to not let it get pinched when you close the case. This
cable just plugs in the hard drive activity light. (Note from Dave: I have not
often attached such cables with my hard drive enclosures, and I believe Howard
said it is not necessary to attach those types of cables.)
He had two screws to close up the case.
He plugged in the power, and the USB cable.
Then he plugged the USB cable from the enclosure into one of
the Mac's USB 2.0 slots. He turned on the hard drive enclosure, and DO NOT DROP
IT OR MOVE IT when it is turned on.
HARD DRIVE INITIALIZATION
Since he was not using a new hard drive, he did not get the
usual message about did not have a new drive (message: disk drive cannot be
used). If the hard drive had been brand new, there would have been a message
that the drive you inserted is not readable by this computer. So you would just
click the initialize button, which would start Disk Utility.
Disk Utility manages your drives. You can erase them, split
(partition) them into smaller disks.
HARD DRIVE PARTITIONS
To partition the hard drive, select the physical drive in
Disk Utility. Disk Utility shows two ways to select the drive: the physical
drive, and the name you gave the drive. (Note from Dave: My hard drive shows
500.11 GB ST950032AS Media for the physical hard drive, and AYEbook500 for the
name I gave to that hard drive.) If you want to partition the drive, click on
You do not have to create more than one partition. You might
want to partition a hard drive if you buy one big HD, and you split it into
three partitions, and you copy three smaller Mac hard drives onto them.
A given hard drive only connects to one Macintosh at a time.
Time Machine is very good if you connect a hard drive to a Mac and let it stay
attached all the time. Like a network attached hard drive.
When you partition a hard drive, your partition cannot take
space from other partitions.
Maybe you edit videos, and you store copies of them on
external drives. FYI, when your edit video stored on an external hard drive,
you likely want that drive attached by Firewire 800.
There is software that can re-partition without erasing, but
Howard does not try to change the partition size without backing up the hard
drive first! This is a dangerous operation!
HARD DRIVE CONFIGURATION
There are three different ways Disk Utility can configure a
hard drive on a Mac:
GUID: Intel Mac bootable.
Apple Partition map: Power PC bootable.
Master Boot Record. DOS and Windows.
The same hard drive will not boot both PowerPC and Intel.
(Note from Dave: I think we had a little discussion on this. But really, you
want one hard drive to make that bootable backup, I would not try to boot up an
Intel Mac from a PowerPC backup, I would think that would really confuse your
Migration Assistant works under 10.5 and works under USB
Anyhow, pick the configuration, then the number of
partitions. Drag the partitions (boxes under Volume Scheme) to the size you
want for each. Before you click Apply, BE SURE YOU ARE FORMATTING THE RIGHT
DRIVE! DO NOT PARTITION YOUR MAC'S INTERNAL SYSTEM HARD DRIVE! Look to be sure
you are partitioning the right hard drive.
HARD DRIVE FORMAT
When you format the hard drive, the right choice is Mac OS
Extended (Journaled). This means that the Mac saves and buffers, and writes
that stuff to the hard drive (buffered). Do not bother with Case-Sensitive
Journaled, your applications will break if you do this. If you want to use the
drive on a Windows computer, pick MS-DOS FAT. You can store data on it with a
Mac, but you cannot boot from a FAT drive.
If you buy a hard drive that is already in an enclosure, it
is likely to be formatted with NTFS. You can get an extension on your Mac to
write to that drive also, and you would have a data drive readable by Windows
and Mac. (Note from Dave: There is a utility for Windows, MacDrive, that lets
Windows computers read and write to Mac-formatted drives.
LET'S DO IT
Howard had his drive in Disk Utility, and he had selected
the format/configuration/partitions he wanted. He clicked Apply. And it asks,
are you sure? Then the Mac unmounts, erases, and remounts the hard drive. And
see, those partitions now show up as hard drives in the Finder!
Howard said, can you just drag the file folder from one Mac
to another to copy the whole hard drive? No. Howard uses Carbon Copy Cloner
(CCC). That will not copy a Time Machine drive, Super Duper will. Time Machine
hard drives use a metadata fork, and CCC does not copy the metadata fork. (We
discussed if CCC has been updated for metadata forks.)
Howard never copies his time machine drive. It has crashed
about three times. He has CCC, and uses it for free.
CCC is simple: you see a source disk and a target disk. You
have the choice to back up everything; it takes a LONG time when you make a
backup. Try the incremental backup for selected items, or for deleting items
that do not exist on the source. (Note from Dave: I use Super Duper and Smart
Backup, which copies changed/new files from the source to the target, and
deletes files on the target that I have deleted on the source. Super Duper
costs $30 to get the smart backup option, else I would have to back up the
whole hard drive every time, and that takes a long time, and it means erasing
the target drive every time.)
He has a file called TMP that he puts stuff into that he
does not want to backup. There can be a lot of GB of data that he does not need
backed up. This saves time.
His backup CCC was going to take about 4 hours. He does this
several times a week.
You cannot do a block-to-block copy from a hard drive that
is mounted. CCC will refuse to copy block-to-block unless it can unmount the
TYPES OF HARD DRIVE BACKUP PROTECTION
The difference between RAID and Time Machine is that you
protect against different risks. Time Machine risks, overlaps a bit with RAID,
Risk of hard drives: For RAID, protects against the hard
drive itself failing. Offsite hard drives protect against your house burning
down or someone stealing the drives from your home. Time Machine protects against
you making mistakes, overwrite or delete data that you want, Time Machine can
get the previous version of the data.
Howard has had Time Machine crash a few times on him. He has
big hard drives and it rebuilds. If rebuild, turn off Spotlight. System Preferences,
spotlight, privacy, select your hard drive, then undo that after time machine
Drobo can be set up as one big drive or separate drives. One
drawback: if Drobo dies, the hard drives can only be used in another Drobo.
Howard mentioned network accessible storage (NAS) hard drives, so any computer
on the network can see that hard drive. Good if you have lots of movies, etc.
Drobo comes in NAS.
Drobo lets you take a bunch of drives and read as one big
drive. One setup is JBOD: just a bunch of disks. However, in JBOD, if one drive
dies, you can lose all data. JBOD adds all the failure rates all together you
use the JBOD approach. Howard says do not use JBOD.
A guy in the audience said that you can back up to the cloud
using MOZY. He knew a guy who backed up 2 TB that way, but it took 4 months!
And Howard backs up a couple TB a week! We discussed Internet connection
speeds: cable modems share with neighbors, DSL does not. (Note from Dave: I
think cable still has the reputation for being faster.)
Howard suggests that when the backup hard drive is not
backing up, have it disconnected and turned off in case of lightening, but that
risk is rather small.
Well, someone might detect ways to see if you are at home.
Also, Firewire ports can die! USB ports might be a bit
tougher. (Note from Dave: I have not run into this problem. Yet. I use Firewire
800 for my backup drives.)
Dave Strom/SMUG Vice-President
|As advertised, July 12th in the Redwood Room, NOT July 5th, which is a holiday.|
See you there!