Big and Faster Hard Drive for Mac Book Pro

I just finished replacing the hard drive in my Mac Book Pro.  Unlike most notebook computers, this was not an easy task.  I had to remove 25 screws, remove the keyboard and disconnect two ribbon cables from the mother board before I could remove the old hard drive.  Fortunately there are many good tutorials on the web to follow. I used a video tutorial at Other World Computing.

My model came two years ago with a 160 Gb drive.  It was just plain out of space, especially after taking all the photos in Europe recently.  Although I find the Mac must better in terms of applications using disk space, the documents, music and photos all add up.

I decided to go with a 7200 rpm drive, instead of the traditional 5400 rpm.  That meant I would only get a 320 Gb drive, instead of 500 Gb.  I bought the Western Digital drive online at newegg.com for $99, plus tax. Shipping was free.  I arrived late in the day.

I put the new drive in my external hard drive dock.  This is a cool device that holds either a 3.5 or 2.5 bare SATA hard drive.  I ran SuperDuper to clone the existing drive to the new drive so once installed it would boot right up.  Since this external doc is only USB 2, it took awhile, 5 hours in fact.  It was now 11 pm and I was wonder if I should start this project.  Of course I could not resist.

I put a piece of paper on the desk and wrote down where all the screws were coming from and place the screws there as I removed them.  When I finally was removing the keyboard, the ribbon cable came disconnected before I could look underneath to see where it was attached, which gave me a bit of a startle. But I finally figured it out.

After the old drive was removed and the new on installed, and all the screws put back, I turned the computer on.  It seemed to not start and I was now worried.  But I guess it was just trying to figure out what to boot from since it had a new hard drive and shortly it started up.

I am very happy with the performance.  It seems to be a much faster computing experience.  The increase in performace could be from the faster hear drive, the larger hard drive with high density or the fact that I have much more free disk space.  In any case I am glad I went with a faster hard drive.  Only by testing a 5400 rpm 500 Gb drive compared with what I installed would one really know the best solution.

I did some benchmarking of the new drive compared with the what the database for the MacBook Pro.  The graphs below show how the new drive (in green) compare with what the baseline was for a MacBook Pro.  I included graphs for both random read and random write.  It seems the 7200 rpm does make a significant difference.  Click the graphs to view enlarged.

Internal 320 Gb 7200 RPM - Random Read

Internal 320 Gb 7200 RPM - Random Write

Just looking at the specifications, my new internal 7200 rpm drive takes no more power, has any more vibration or a higher noise level, compared with the Western Digital 5200 rpm drive.

Hard Drive Comparision

Hard Drive
WD

Scorpio Black

WD

Scorpio Blue

WD

Scorpio Blue

Capacity
320 Gb
320 Gb
500 Gb
Rotational
7200 RPM
5400 RPM
5400 RPM
Cache
16 MB
8 MB
8 MB
Interface
SATA 3
SATA 3
SATA 3
Current Requirements (mA)
Read/Write
500
500
500
Idle
400
400
400
Standby
50
50
50
Sleep
30
20
20
Power Dissipation (watts)
Read/Write
2.5
2.50
2.50
Idle
0.85
0.85
0.85
Standby
0.25
0.25
0.25
Sleep
0.15
0.10
0.10
Vibration (g2/Hz)
Operating
0.00459
0.00459
0.00459
Non-Operating
0.05102
0.5102
0.05102
Accustics (dBA average)
Idle Mode
22
24
24
Seek Mode
25
26
26
Flash 10 Breaks WordPress File Upload

With the update of WordPress to version 2.6 you are allow you to switch from the flash uploader or Browser uploader (see the above image).  That was working just fine after upgrading WordPress.  At least it was until I came upon a website that said I did not have Adobe Flash installed in my browser.  I knew I had it installed but went ahead and did the update, which installed Flash 10.

That broke the WordPress Flash based file upload so each time I wanted to upload a file, I had to click the link for Browser based, select the file, then click Upload.  Lots of extra clicks.

Later when I was attempting to post a new Word Press blog entry and upload a file, the Choose File button did not work.

I was forced to select the use “Browser Upload” method instead.  That mean everytime I went to use upload a file I had to change the upload method. I found this anoying.  Research showed Flash 10 introduced a new security measure which prohibits the calling of the File Browse dialog from code. This means all flash based file uploader applications need to be radically changed in order to function with Flash 10. This change is affecting all flash based file uploaders across the web including Pixie, Flickr, WordPress etc.

Okay, so I did not need this headache so I decided to go back to Flash 9.  That was not so simple.  I finally found Flash 9 on the Adobe website.  It was there for developers to use to test software, just assuming everyone would want to use Flash 10.  Then I had to figure out how to uninstall version 10.  If found an unistaller here: http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/knowledgebase/index.cfm?id=tn_14157 .

Intially the uninstaller stalled when it started to access my Time Machine external drive.  I had to a force quite, take that drive off line, and then start over.  Finally after getting Flash 10 uninstalled, I installed version 9.  Now I can still click to choose the file using the flash uploader, but when when I select a file, it does not seem to upload.  So more trouble shooting is needed.

So the real question, who needs Flash 10 when it crippled things? They should have given a warning before they install.

Personal Websites Make-over

Long before most people had up a personal website, I started a website at one of my domains, kelsch.com. The problem with websites is trying to keep them current and updated. Eventually the information there was so out of date that I gave up and changed kelsch.com to a family blog. Blogs, such as this one are much easier to keep up and post new information.  I have setup several blogs for different purposes, as have most all of my children.

I still have several websites I do maintain. I decided to do a make over on all of them using some of the techniques I have found including:

  • Flash based slide show that goes through about several images.
  • RSS feeds from the various blogs and photo galleries.
  • Contact form

So with these feeds the website keeps current without any need for me to do anything. I can change the images for the slide shows at any time by using Lightroom, selecting 30 images, and doing an export to the right folder, then FTPing them to the site. It only takes a minute.  I also setup a photo gallery on the website, which is accessed at http://www.kelsch.org/gallery .  This is a gallery created entirely within Lightroom send directly to the webserver.  I am still playing around with this feature.

See the screen shots below.  Click on any of them and visit that website.

Here is a screen shot of what Kelsch.ORG looks like now [Visit Site].

Here is a screen shot of what the FranzKelsch.com site looks like now [Visit Site].

Here is a screen shot of what KelschFamily.NET looks like now [Visit Site].

Here is a screen shot of what my Photography site looks like now [Visit Site].

Here is a screen shot of what my Tech site looks like now [Visit Site].

I did have one issue with the kelsch.org site that that showed up only on Windows based browsers. I am using a Spry hortizontal menu and when I would click on the menu item, the drop down portion of the menu would be hidden by the flash slide show below.  Doing some research, I solved this by adding this command to the flash slide show coding:

<param name="wmode" value="transparent" />

This makes the background transparent.  Inside Dreamweaver, select the Flash slide show and in the properties select Parameters.  Add “wmode” with a value of “transparent”.  Change the order so this is the first parameter in the list.  That solved the issue.  For more information refer to this item:

http://kb.adobe.com/selfservice/viewContent.do?externalId=tn_15523&sliceId=1

It might be good to list down now all the domains I have, along with the subdomains, and what they are currently being used for.

Franz Kelsch Hosted Domains

Domain
Subdomain
Now Hosting
kelsch.com
root
F&A Blog
franz.kelsch.com
Collection Blog
john.kelsch.com
J&ABlog
jeff.kelsch.com
Jeff Blog
photo.kelsch.com PhotoBlog – Favorite Images
franzkelsch.com
root
Franz Website
sports.franzkelsch.com
Sports Blog
photo.franzkelsch.com Photography Bog
tech.franzkelsch.com Technology Blog
kelschfamily.net root Family History Website
annekelsch.com root Anne Website
ultracycle.net root Ultra Cycling Website
blog.ultracycle.net Blog
johnkelsch.com John Owns – Not Being Use
Google Earth on the iPhone

Google Earth for the iPhone and iTouch has now been released and this is one amazing application.  It integrates with things such as your contacts list.  When I selected to search, and started to type my own address, my full address showed and I was able to just select it.

You zoom in/out using the usual pinch finger.

It was speedy using the WiFi connection. It includes the Panoramio and Wikipedia layers under the “Geographic Web” by default. Click on a blue photo icon when you see one, and it will load the Panoramio photo for that location.

Read the blog entry by the Google Earth team.

Here is a video released by Google.

Remote Update of a Website using an iPhone

I am part of a two man relay team that will be competing in a 508 mile bike race called the Furnace Creek 508.  I setup a website for our team and wanted to have a way to update it while on the road using only my iPhone.

You can see the solution I developed here: http://www.ultracycle.net/prairiedog/index.php

Embedded into the website are two different RSS feeds.  One is from a gallery on SmugMug and the other from a WordPress blog.

I use two applications on my iPhone.  One is called SmugShots that allows me to take pictures with the iPhone and upload them to a gallery on Smugmug.  The pictures are saved on the iPhone until I am in a location where I get network access.  The thumbnails will soon appear on our team website.  I set the coding to show the last 7 photos.  If someone clicks any thumbnail they are taken to the SmugMug gallery.

The other application called WordPress allows me to post blog entries to a WordPress Blog.  The first part of the blog entry will show up on the website via RSS.  Those than want to read the whole entry just click on it.

Both applications are free.  This seems to be the easiest way to update the website using only the iPhone.  I would like to figure out one other item.  Near the top of our website I am using a Flash player to show a slideshow of images.  I am using some photos from last year’s race by our team but would like to figure out how to use the iPhone to upload some of the photos to the right folder on the webserver.  If anyone has an idea how to do that, please contact me at franz@kelsch.com.

Gmail Issues on POP Download to Multiple Devices

In the prior blog entry I talked about moving my domain for email over to GMail. Hosting my website at Dreamhost makes this simple.  I configured Gmail to allow POP access and changed my settings in Entourage to use the Gmail POP and SMTP settings.  It all seemed to work fine, except I notice that not all the emails were being downloaded.  When I checked my Gmail Inbox using a browser, I found messages there that did not download.

It was difficult to find out what was going on.  It seems that unlike most POP clients, with Gmail when any device downloads using POP, it marks the message as downloaded and then when another device tries to download the message, it does not download.  I had my iPhone setup for POP access, as well as using an app in MyYahoo to see the messages.  I view this to be a issue with Gmail that should have been fixed since all other POP clients can tell if a different device is attempting a download.

So how to fix?  I found this information: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=47948

Basically you setup the mail client by adding “recent” in front of the username, as in “recent:name@gmail.com”.  You have to also leave a copy on the server, but that is true for all POP clients if you want to download to multiple devices.

When I added the “recent:” in front of my user name, I was able to get a bunch of messages.  I have to see how this works and see if I get multiple messages in my Inbox.

Using Google Apps with Your Own Domain

If you host your domain, you can use Google Apps using your own domain name, including using their gmail application.   If you use Dreamhost the steps are different and much simplified.  Be sure to setup the new email accounts in Google BEFORE you change tell Dreamhost to make the chagne, or you change the MX Records or you will lose emails.  Google provide excellent help on how to do all this, including videos.  However these don’t take into account what Dreamhost is doing for you so I have written these notes.

1. Sign up and sign in.

Dreamhost: If you are using Dreamhost to host your domain, go to your Dreamhost control plane and select Domain/Manage Domain.  Select to edit the domain.  Towards the bottom look for Google Hosted and click the link “register at Google Apps for your Domain”.  Do NOT try to have Google host yet since your email will be routed to Google and you have not yet setup user accounts.

Other: If you are not using a hosting company that provides the support, from the Google Apps home page, click ‘Compare Editions and Sign Up’ to get started and access to the control panel.  For most everyone the free Standard Edition would provide all that is needed.  You might wish to pay for the Premier Edition if you need more disk space, need to migrate your old email over or want 24/7 support.  After you make your selection on which plan, then enter your domain name.  Be sure to check that you are an administrator.  Learn more

2. Verify domain ownership.

Dreamhost: For one domain I setup I did not need to verify.  It seemed that once I clicked in the Dreamhost control panel to switch over to Google mail, verification worked.  For another domain I had to follow the steps below.  I choose to create a HTML file and upload to the domain.  It might be that for this second domain I had a WordPress blog setup on it instead of a website, as was the case for the first domain I switched over.  Once I had it verify using the HTML file I uploaded it said it woudl take up to 48 hours to verify domain ownership, however it worked in a matter of minutes.

Other: Otherwise go sign in and go to the dash boarad and then confirm that you own the domain you signed up with to activate Google Apps.  If you did not purchase your domain from Google, you will need to verify you are the owner.  This requires you to ypload a special file to your site and then create a special CNAME record for your domain. Learn more

3. Customize Google Apps.

This is the same if you use Dreamhost or not.  Google Apps lets you easily modify a variety of settings that apply to your entire organization.  Learn more

4. Create User Accounts.

This is the same if you use Dreamhost or not.  From the Google  control panel, create your user accounts accounts to match the users email accounts you already have setup.  Do this BEFORE you change the MX records in the next step.  You can bulk upload a list of user accounts if you wish.  Learn more

5. Turn on Email.

Dreamhost: If you are using Dreamhost, go to the Dreamhost control panel there and select Domains/Manage Domains.  Select Edit for the domain you are hosting and click “Google Host this domain now”. Dreamhost will re-route your email rather than you needing to change the MX records for that domain.  Then go to the control panel in Google Apps and activate email.  Although I did not actually change the MX records, I had to tell the google control panel that I had.

Other: If you are not using Dreamhost, to receive your email at Google, you need to modify the MX record for your domain.  You do this at the company where you have your domain registered.  Once you make the change, your email will not longer be routed where it was previously sent.  If you wish to check things out before you change the MX record, you can use a temporary email address to send to using this format: user.name@your_domain.com.test-google-a.com. You can use the webmail function in Gmail to send out an email directly.  Learn more

6.  Migrate Email.

If you use Micosoft Windows, Google offers a tool to migrate your existing email from some applications, such as Outlook, to your new Google Inbox. For Mac users, I did find one commercial program.  I also found one approach but have not tested it:

  • Using Thunderbird connect to your old email account through IMAP,
  • Do the same with your new Gmail account. You need to have Imap activated in Gmail in order to access it from Thunderbird. .
  • Copy email from each folder of your old accout to gmail.

If you are going to continue to use POP access it is not really important since you will use your email client to retrieve your new email and it will go into the same inbox as before.  If you wish to switch to IMAP, then prior emails will not be online, but that will be an issue of less importance as time moves on.

Posting from an iPhone

So cool! There is a new Word press app for the iPhone that allows me to write or edit a posting to a WordPress blog. I am using it for this entry.

Too bad it does not yet support images from the iPhone camera

Your Own Speed Test

A friend showed me how to install some files on my own web server that can be used to do a speed test, which I have done. I have installed on my server so you can test it out. The image below is a screen shot of what it looks like when running. Click the link below to actually run the test.

RUN SPEED TEST

The necessary files and instructions to setup this on your own server can be found at http://www.speedtest/mini.php. There are versions written in PHP, ASP.NET or ASP.

You can also test your speed at their main site by clicking the button below.

Test your Internet connection speed at Speedtest.net

I have mostly relied on the tools offered in WordPress to create and edit my blog postings but I have always wanted more. Since I have Adobe Creative Suite 3, I also have a copy of Adobe Contribute, which allows you to do direct editing of websites and blogs. Although this software has some nice features, such as the ability to insert tables, I have found using it to be rather annoying. If I try to edit an existing post, all the paragraphs are run together. It just seems to do havoc to the html code in the existing post.

I did stumble upon a neat plugin for FireFox, called ScribeFox. By clicking on the icon in the tool bar, I get a split screen, with the upper part of the FireFox window showing the blog and the lower one where I can create or edit a post. See below for what the input screen looks like. I did find there were no easy tools for setting the image attributes, such as the size. This software may not have all the bells and wistles but it is an elegant and straightforward approach to creating and editing blog entires. Also when I go back and use the built in tools in WordPress, I don’t get a scrambled mess like I do with Adobe Contribute.