Friday, 3 September 2010

Upgrading your HDD...

Since I've been doing a HDD upgrade on my MBP recently, and Zexun's about to do the same, I thought I'd share some info to help you if you're thinking of doing the same.

Step 1: get a new HDD
I saw a few shops selling internal 2.5" SATA 7200rpm 500GB HDDs for S$129 in Funan. And I got my Hybrid HDD from Cybermind at Sim Lim for S$199 (NDP Special, though - price may have changed since then). 

Either way, just make sure it's: 
•SATA, and this is one which people tend to overlook: 
•STANDARD THICKNESS (i.e.: 9.5 or 9.7mm thick. Some HDDs are actually 11mm, and those won't fit in MacBooks). 
•If you want performance, I'd recommend a 7200rpm drive.

Step 2: clone your current HDD. 
Make a bootable duplicate of your current hard drive's content. You may need: 
•a Hard Drive enclosure (recommended if you're busy) 
•or a spare external HDD if you have one (would be a two-step process, though). 

You'll also need one of these apps: 
•SuperDuper! ( ) or 
•CarbonCopyCloner ( ).

Now, the tricky bit: I used CCC to duplicate my Hard Drives. Tried to start up the Adobe apps, but to no avail. Anyway, I contacted Adobe Support, and they basically said:

"Ronald, it seems that Illustrator has not been copied properly during the cloning. I would request you to un-install Illustrator and re-install from the original media. For that:
1. Navigate to application>utilities>Adobe installers 
2. Lunch (sic) the un-installer for the CS4 suite. 
3. Then select Illustrator from the list to un-install.
4. Then re-install from original media."

Now, I have not tried this yet, since I'm in Jakarta, and my Adobe discs are in the UK. If you want, you could try first and let me know how it goes. But whatever you do, I suggest you keep your old drive with the data on it first - don't format it clean yet, so in case the upgrade doesn't work, you still have something to work with.

One more thing that I just remembered: Alternatively,
Step 2, Method B 
If you use Time Machine, you can "restore" from an old "backup". You need:
•Your current HDD
•Your new internal HDD
•A Time Machine backup drive, with backups.
•Your Mac OS X Snow Leopard (or Leopard, if you're on Leopard) DVD

Here's how:
1. Do one last backup before you move to the new Hard Drive. Then shut down your laptop.
2. Take out the old internal drive, swap in the new one.
3. Insert your (Snow) Leopard DVD and plug your external HDD back in - the one with the Time Machine backup.
4. Boot from your DVD - Just press the power button, press and hold the "Alt" key, and select the DVD icon when it loads up.
5. Format the new hard drive. (Should be Mac OS Extended Journaled, CMIIW.)
6. Select "Utilities>Restore System from Backup..."
7. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Apparently, Method B will help keep Adobe apps useable, somehow.

Hope that's been clear and helpful at the same time!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

So, how did the Announcement Predictions pan out?

Well, let's see...

1. Apple will announce a new iPod nano - square screen, camera on the back.
2. Apple will announce a new iPod touch with camera(s) for FaceTime.
3. Apple might announce an iPod touch with 3G, much like an iPad 3G.
4. Apple will announce an update to iLife.
5. Apple will announce an updated Apple TV. May be called iTV everywhere except the UK, due to trademark reasons.
6. Apple will announce the end of the Shuffle.
7. Apple will make the iPod classic thinner &// with greater capacity &// SSD &// cheaper / discontinued / the same. Could go any of the abovementioned ways.
8. Apple will talk about iOS 4 for iPad.
9. Steve Jobs will make the announcements.
10. Scott Forstall will also make an appearance.

Looks like I got a few details wrong. Heh.


Anyway, I'm quite surprised the boffins at Apple left the iPod classic unchanged - it's been in the current design since 2007, and the current model has been around for a year. I think this could be a sign of a maturing product being pushed to a slower upgrade cycle, much like iLife, Final Cut, and OS X.


Since we're still on the subject of the Apple announcements, I thought I'd give my early impressions of the products Steve announced.


The iPod Shuffle.
Good move on Apple's part - they realised that people can go too far in their desire to get rid of buttons, and people would move away from your products. Apple bit the bullet and reinstated buttons back to their rightful place - on the face of an iPod Shuffle. Longer battery life, colours, you know what? This is an upgrade. Sure, it still doesn't have a USB connection - you're still stuck with the 3.5mm-to-USB cable/dock. But hey, it's Apple. What were you expecting?


The iPod nano.
Ding dong, the Click Wheel is dead as we know it (well, it's still on the iPod Classic, but we all know that's not going to last forever, right?). The removal of the Click wheel marks the descent of this "Apple" idea (there's some debate as to what extent Apple can be credited for the click wheel, since it is just a mouse trackpad made circular.). But we now see Multitouch take the reign as Apple's favourite modus operandi when it comes to using their products. Gone are the days of forming donut rings with your thumb as you scroll through playlists - you now scroll by thumbing on a glass screen.

I do have a few negatives to point out about the iPod nano. Firstly, this new model is a step back from the previous in the sense that two of its features - the video camera + the ability to play videos - have been taken out. This might be because the screen is now smaller. But mind you, the price has been kept the same as with the previous models. So, this is a bit of an improvement on a UI and design front, but a step back in the sense that this thing doesn't do anything video-related.

Also, I'd love to see someone actually use this with their fingers, because this thing looks quite small. I foresee problems with people trying to rotate the screen with two fingers - especially if you're quite burly.


The iPod Touch.
I think a lot of people had forseen the updates that were coming to the iPod touch, thanks to the iPhone 4. Retina Screen, Gyro, Facetime, Video camera (no flash?), Apple A4 chip, that sort of stuff. I'm impressed that they could make it thinner, while still packing the cameras.

I find it a bit odd that Apple chose to go with having 8, 32 and 64GB models (where's 16GB?). I'm guessing they wanted an iPod touch model that they could price as close to the iPod nano as possible (8GB touch = US$229, 16GB nano = US$179), and preferably lower than the iPod classic (160GB = US$249). Or it could be an Apple effort to upsell people to the 32GB model - pay only US$70, and you get 4x the capacity! Now that seems like a bargain, doesn't it?

But anyway, as Steve said, this is a very popular product, and I'm sure they'll shift even more iPod touches as time goes by...


The Apple TV.
This would be Take 3 for Apple - attempt numero tiga in trying to get an Apple-branded set-top box in the living rooms of consumers. It's made steps in the right directions - cheaper and simpler. No more computers involved now - it's all clouds and streaming from here on end. It's a pity Apple couldn't get everyone to agree that US$0.99 is the magic price people are willing to spend on renting TV shows, but I do hope this thing works out, and other studios start to see the positives about delivering content at cheap prices.

The Apple TV still does what the old one does - put your media on your big screen. The difference is that now, with no hard drive, the device is cheaper, smaller, and easier to manage - no more worrying about limited capacity. Everything's streaming now. That sounds great, except for the fact that I probably represent most consumers who have to face crappy internet service providers who aren't too happy about me streaming HD content onto my TV, instead of subscribing to their Cable TV+Internet bundles. With the war on bandwidth that's going on in many countries, I wonder how many people would actually consider buying this device.


iOS 4.1/4.2.
Three things - 

(a) Why must they release 2 updates, and not just one with all the things people want? Splitting the updates will just annoy people, because it means having to download 300 MB of software TWICE - once next week, once more in November. And don't get me started about iTunes updates (see below).

(b) What took them so bloody long to get iOS4 onto the iPad?

(c) HDR? Never really thought I needed that in my phone, but since it's in 4.1, I'd love to see it in action...


iTunes 10.
Let's start with the biggest issue I have with iTunes 10 - Ping is a stupid name, period. But what it does, though, is brilliant. I've always thought that Apple is probably the only company which can start a music-based social network and make it stick. Yes, there's this thing called But think about the number of iTunes users relative to users. And think about Apple's position in the music retail industry - they are the number one music retailer in the US, and probably the world, too. Surely, if Apple tries to set up a music-focused Facebook, it's probably not that hard to get a large number of users on board quickly and develop an ecosystem.

I'm worried not for Apple, though. I'm worried about what this would do to and Myspace, the current places for connecting with fellow music listeners and musicians respectively. Would iTunes shadow these sites? I think possibly. I love Myspace for its ability to help indie artistes get themselves promoted, and I hate to see them quashed by iTunes Ping's popularity and (knowing Apple,) closed-doors policy.


Well then, I guess we'll have to wait and see if my critiques are spot-on or just chatter.

Oh, wait one more thing:

AirPlay - on the iPad.
One word: Awesome!