News Archive for: Tuesday Nov. 27, 2007 (later added items first)
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Price cut on WD Notebook 250GB SATA Drives
(from site sponsor OWC)

" WD 250GB SATA 2.5in (5400rpm/8MB cache) was $165, now $154.75. :)
$2.95 Ground makes for $157.70 to the door within the lower 48 states."
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Articles on flawed Seagate hard drives in some MacBooks
I missed this in the inbox last night but Sammy had written about an article at Informationweek yesterday titled Seagate's MacBook Hard Drive Destroying Data, that refers to a UK data recovery company (Retrodata) warning about larger than normal numbers of premature failures of some Seagate drives in Macbooks. (Note the same drives could have also been used in Macbook pros and Minis) The Retrodata page is Important Notice: Users of Apple MacBooks, but I was disappointed to see doesn't even have a date and no drive model(s) info on their warning page - only the SATA drive revision.) Neither of those articles mentioned any specific Seagate drive model number(s) but say to check Apple System Profiler's SATA info and see if the drive firmware is revision 7.0.1 as a key. (I'm baffled about all the 'warnings' about this with ZERO drive model info - makes me wonder about the company sounding the alert...)
I found another reference that mentioned model numbers ST96812AS and ST98823AS (60GB and 80GB respectively IIRC) and a reference to a (now locked/archived) Apple forum thread started back in May titled MacBook hard drive failure epidemic. It would be nice if the Data Recovery firm (and Apple) would clarify the affected drives but from everything I've seen I assume it's not an issue with current/recent MacBook drives but if anyone knows differently let me know. (Current MacBooks have 80GB drives on the low end, 120GB and 160GB on the base higher end models and normally Apple often uses more than one OEM source for drives.)
Update - Several readers replied with a link to a Nov. 2nd Techworld article "Users at risk of data loss thanks to 'irresponsible' Apple" that confirms the Seagate model numbers affected are ST96812AS and ST98823AS. The failure mode is apparently head separation causing major (unrepairable) damage.
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iPod software update 1.2.3 for 5th Gen
I didn't notice a problem after the 1.2.2 update with my 5th gen iPod, but apparently some did as Apple has released v1.2.3. It's referenced as the fix in an apple kbase doc today titled iPod (5th gen): Songs and other content do not appear after updating to software version 1.2.2. (I applied the 1.2.3 update tonight.)
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Updated OS X (incl. 10.5) drivers for Edimax/RAlink 802.11n Adapters (USB, PCI, PCcard)
(FYI - When I first posted this Tuesday morning, the Edimax.US site had no Mac software downloads and had note to see Edimax.COM for latest drivers - however later in the day Edimax wrote that Mac drivers were now available on the updated .US site download page at http://www.edimax.us/html/english/frames/b-download.htm and suggested readers use that page instead of the Edimax.com site links below. I suspect the drivers are the same, just without the RAlink PDF doc in the .zip files.)
(original post from Tuesday AM follows)
Although some readers have used the previous drivers with OS X 10.5/Leopard with their Edimax 802.11n adapters (USB, PCMCIA, PCI), I received an email today from Edimax saying there were updated drivers available now with OS X 10.5 support. No links in the email but I checked their website and found the download pages. Although RALink's USA Mac Drivers page didn't show any recent updates (yet at least), downloading the "mac" drivers at Edimax.com's site showed (in the unzipped docs/dated dmg files) they were updated and listed OS X 10.5 support. Here's the download pages from Edimax.com (note the Cardbus/PCMCIA driver/download is the same as the PCI model):

Inside the .zip downloads (which in some cases unzip to a folder w/different suffix letter than the .zip file name suffix) is a PDF doc and installer (dmg) file with Nov. 26th dates and info on updated driver and interface versions. (The PDF docs have a red note (in all caps) from RALink that they contain sensitive information and has restricted distribution. (?))
I don't currently use one of these adapters but welcome feedback from readers that try them with OS X 10.5/Leopard. Let me know what you think (and info on your Mac model, network/base config, etc.)
(I've also added the above to the original page of Edimax 802.11n PCI adapter reports. There were some news posts w/USB model feedback also earlier this year.)

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Q&A with AMD's Arturo Wong Chujoy on ATI Graphics cards for Macs
A few weeks ago I sent some questions about the present retail drought and future of ATI graphics cards for Macs to Arturo Wong Chujoy, GPG Desktop Product Marketing, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. I was hoping for something more definitive as far as future Mac retail offerings, but he does confirm the 9800 and X800 are EOL and also that the X1900 G5 edition is soon to be. Here's the page with the Q&A.
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G5 owner report on Leopard Problems with Shared Drives
(from a reader mail last night)

" Leopard Problems with Shared Drives
After upgrading to 10.5.1, and starting to adjust the firewall settings, each of the other macs in the house had login errors with the aliases and I had to reauthenticate as the admin again into the G5, make a new alias and everything was fine.

After playing with the Back to my Mac settings to try to get this working (I sent several links to apple docs on BTTM setup, router compatibility, security, inability to wake any sleeping macs, etc. but he later wrote he'd seen them and was using apple's setup guide PDF), suddenly (I mean over the course of an hour of playing with different setting and trying to get this to work), each of my macs were knocked off the mounted volumes that they had and they no longer could mount with the new aliases I had created.

Now it got worse, all "Shared" connections are being made via the *username.mac" login and I no longer could even see the drives on the G5 when attempting to connect and mount the volumes.

After this, I spiraled into a hell of new Leopard concepts surrounding the availability of mounted volumes from one macintosh to another. Also, one of the two other local machines is still running Tiger so what I am describing affects Tiger clients as well.

After many hours of trying, including BTTMM off and on and a million other things, I discovered in the "Get Info" panel, the "Shared Folder" checkbox on the various volumes and was able to get all but one of the volumes to appear again in the "Shared" connection (or connect to server dialog under Tiger).

The one volume I can't get to connect also happens to be my Time Machine volume for the G5. Nothing I've tried will get this back on-line for other Macs to mount.

I didn't try to turn off Time Machine (I actually ran out of time after all this and now I am work in Ohio while the network is in Chicago so it has to wait until Friday for that test).

User level access control to shared volumes, the Shared Folder option, Back to my Mac and Time Machine are interacting in a very new (and weird) way.

Of course, I searched the web and Apple site to learn much of this but no coherent guide exists yet to achieve a previously easily obtained goal of sharing volumes over a local area network under Leopard.

(I asked for more info on his networking setup and more details on the comments on firewall settings changes)
I use a Airport Extreme Router all off the same gigabit backbone as the macs but it won't really have factored into the problem as it was all done locally. All setups were done using the info from Apple's new guide.

Firewall was set to all possible settings on each machine during debug attempts.

A couple of other things are learned was related to people complaining about these drives not appearing on the desk top but through both finder preferences and the trick of dragging the then visible volumes from the desktop to the sidebar device area so that they can be referenced within application open/save dialog boxes (believe it or not, they don't automatically appear there!!!!).
-Jim P. "

(It may not matter at all, or at best be temporary but I asked if he'd tried repairing/verifying any of the shared volumes (from the host mac) as in the past some readers that had shared drive connect problems (including airdisks) had said a direct connect to a Mac/Repair (using DW, etc.) had helped but that was pre-Leopard.)
After seeing the (big) performance hit when copying to a shared mounted volume (with PPC macs) I avoid it on the G5/10.5 machine here but if anyone has suggestions or has had better results, let me know. Thanks.

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FYI on Western Digital's Doc on SATA Hard Drive Compatibility
One of yesterday Drive Upgrade reports was from a G5 tower owner using an SATA Western Digital WD4000AAKS 400GB drive. Although it's a different suffix, I asked if he had seen any of the problems reported back in fall 2005 (and noted in a Feb 2006 WD Tech note) with the earlier WD4000YR/KD series and onboard SATA Macs (i.e. G5 towers). He later replied he'd done some large file copy tests w/o any problems (although he did see a hang during an initial clone to the drive) and also mentioned that Western Digital's WD Interface Guide listed none of their SATA drives were Mac OS X (or OS 9) compatible. (Down the page is a table under the heading "Which internal drive is compatible with my operating system: SATA or EIDE?" that has "No" in the OS X and OS 9 sections for WD SATA Hard Drive Compatibility with a note under the table "Note: Compatibility may vary depending on user's hardware configuration and operating system.").

My guess is after some issues with the original WD4000 series (and some later drives they later added to that tech note), all their later drives may use the same IF design now and they decided to officially avoid any potential support costs and just list all as incompatible. (That's just my guess - as some mac owners are using various WD SATA drives ok but it doesn't give you a warm fuzzy on choosing WD SATA drives for your Mac.)

I've added a note/link to that doc to the 2005/2006 page here on WD4000KD/Onboard G5 SATA Problems which also has a link to the Feb 2006 (originally) posted WD FAQ/Tech note on "Apple G5 Tower compatibility with the WD4000YR, WD4000KD, WD740ADFD, WD360ADFD, WD1500AHFD, and WD1500ADFD hard drives. (That doc said the problem is the "Apple G5 tower does not support certain standard Serial ATA interface protocols used" by those drives, resulting in an interface lock-up/system hang.)

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New/Updated Apple Support/Troubleshooting Docs

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Misc. Software Updates, Other News/Articles

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Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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