November 28, 2007

WD Passport 250Gb drive review

I bought one of these today in Best Buy for 139 bucks plus tax. I needed more space immediately on the macbook pro just because of vmware images taking so much room. I have a big WD 320GB 3.5" USB external drive that I use with time machine for backups but it's too big to take on the road.

The unit itself is very small, looks very nice. It's a little bigger than an iPod classic, probably same size as an iPod touch. It uses USB for power so there is no power brick to haul around with it. It has a single USB cable and just plugs in to the MacBook Pro. I'm using a left side USB port. I'd read that people had trouble with these because of the power needed at boot but this is working fine for me on battery or on mains power. My MacBook pro is one of the newer ones (3,1 in the preferences) 2.4Ghz core 2 duo. The drive comes with one cable, it's a micro USB to USB cable and is short, about 6 inches long (a good thing, less to tangle up).

Speed wise, well, it is what it is. It works fine, I can run vmware images from it and it's fine for what I want. It's a 10ms, 5400rpm 2.5" drive inside so like I said, it is what it is and for me, thats adequate.

The model number of the drive is WD2500U017-005. Best Buy had another 250GB passport also but it was 209 for some reason and the look and packaging were different but I couldn't see any difference.

I reformatted it when I first plugged it in and switched the partition table to the apple one and formatted to HFS with journalling to avoid any issues. Overall, happy, it as cheap, 250gb is enough for portable storage and it is real easy to haul around when travelling with minimum fuss and cables.


November 28, 2007 in Product Review | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 26, 2007

Main issues with a MacBook

It's been a couple of months now and I'm still happy I switched. This entry just documents the issues that I've seen.

Bigger hard drive
First one is I should have gotten the bigger drive, 250GB. I'm out of disk space now and I want to make VM ware virtual machines and they are just big.

15 inch or 17 inch
It doesn't really matter. On a plane in economy you aren't using any laptop once the person in front leans their seat back so I don't think the size is a big deal. The 17 inch screen is nice when working on it at home etc.

Dont upgrade to Leopard... yet...
I've had panics and application crashes more since I upgraded. I had no panics at all pre-leopard and now I get them maybe one a week. Nothing manic but annoying none the less. Time machine is the coolest thing about leopard I think though.

Safari still isn't a very good browser.
IE is better as is firefox. I find sites that don't render correctly on safari which pushes me to use firefox.

No Java 6
Apple seem to have forgotten Java developers with Mac OSX. Leopard comes with a Sun Java 5, I think but its pretty old in the tooth now.

Buy VMware fusion not Parallels
I've had parallels panic the machine after failing to allocate contiguous memory and no issues with vmware plus it's cheaper. Most people at IBM use vmware so making vm images with that makes more sense as others get the benefit.

Office for the Mac
Why don't the arrow keys work properly. Same thing in eclipse. Home/end etc don't seem to do anything on a Mac when they move the cursor to the beginning of the line, end of lines etc elsewhere. There is probably a way to make them do something besides annoy people but it should do this out of the box. I still much prefer the windows version of office in terms of usability. It'll be interesting to see Office 2008 when it's out in January.

Buy Snap it pro
Snap it pro is a screen capture program that works with stills or makes movies of what you are doing. Very cool.

Fast sleep should be default
I hate having to wait for the safe sleep. I have it doing a fast sleep now using a pmset command but the default 10 second sleep is frustrating (I have 4GB of ram, writing it to disk takes a while).

iChat AV
Most frustrating piece of software due to firewalls and just plain getting anything but text to work. My mum bought an iMac and we can't get them to conference over video. It's a big selling feature but it just doesn't work well enough out of the box.

All this said, it's probably the best laptop I've owned and I'm pretty happy with it day to day. It's fast, more responsive than a windows laptop. I don't get disk thrashing like I did with windows. It's a lot faster than a vista based desktop in terms of feel when using it.

November 26, 2007 in Leopard | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 13, 2007

Liking Time Machine a lot in Leopard, most of the time

Time machine works well as far as I can tell. It backs up the deltas and makes them super easy to access from the file system, no more proprietary backup file formats, they just use the existing file system which makes it a lot more useful.

I've been using it now for a couple of weeks and it does work. It seems like everytime is consolidates hourly backups for previous days, it says it failed during that process but then the next backup comes along then it's working again. I figure this will get sorted when the Leopard update comes out in a couple of weeks so I'm not that concerned about it.

Overall, upgrading to Leopard has been uneventful, I don't see much in the way of improvements, the visual stuff isn't a real reason to upgrade. The main benefit I get is time machine which is probably one of the best personal backup utilities I've seen.

November 13, 2007 in Leopard | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 06, 2007

Recording demos on the Mac - Snapz Pro

Just bought this and it's looking pretty cool. Plus, for 70 bucks you can't go wrong. It lets you select a region of the screen and then record it real time to a quicktime movie with the mac speaker and a microphone if you want. Pretty cool. I'm hoping to use this to record some objectgrid demos in the near future.

November 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Time machine works again

Strange, on the off chance it would work again, I plugged in the external drive today and turned it back on and it's been doing backups all afternoon with no errors. No updates were applied that I know about so wierdness. Hopefully, this Leopard update thats coming in a week or two will fix the issues anyway.

November 6, 2007 in Leopard | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 03, 2007

Bluetooth and isight working now on Leopard

Of course, no sooner than I blogged they don't work, I figure out a way to get em working. I restarted the macbook and when the boot screen appears I did a APPLE-OPTION-P-R and then it made the boot noise again, rebooted and bluetooth and the isight work fine. The PR resets the cmos I think.
Anyway, they work now :)

November 3, 2007 in Leopard | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tiger looking more and more attractive

Leopard may go the way of Vista. My iSight camera doesn't work either. Apple geniuses say go back to Tiger. Just found a bunch of people with the same problem. Apple says its a hardware problem. Right. Suddenly when Leopard is installed, all the camera break...

November 3, 2007 in Leopard | Permalink | Comments (0)

A week after upgrading to Leopard

This audio podcast highlights the issues since upgrading to Leopard (Mac OSX 10.5) during the first week.

Download devwebsphere_2.mp3

November 3, 2007 in Leopard | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 01, 2007

Time machine only backs up when laptop is powered

Plugged in my external disk this morning and just checked a new next backup would be scheduled and nothing happened. "--" was the next backup. Restarted, same time. Plugged in the power to the macbook and presto, next backup time was set. So, time machine only backs up when the laptop is plugged in.

November 1, 2007 in Leopard | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 31, 2007

Leopard time machine initial backup done

The backup finally finished and it's been making hourly back ups since which so far haven't been noticeable using the macbook. The good news is that when the full backup finished, I could just eject the external drive with no worries. It continues when I plug it back in so thats easy.

October 31, 2007 in Leopard | Permalink | Comments (0)