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News Archive for Thursday Sept. 3, 2009     Goto Current News Page

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Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 5 (w/security fixes)
Spotted this at apple today (restart required after update). Here's the info from the download page:

"Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 5 (161MB download)
Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 5 delivers improved reliability, security, and compatibility for Java SE 6, J2SE 5.0 and J2SE 1.4.2 on Mac OS X 10.5.8 and later.
This release updates Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_15, J2SE 5.0 to version 1.5.0_20, and J2SE 1.4.2 to 1.4.2_22.
For more details on this update, please visit this website:
About Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 5
Here's the doc About the security content of Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 5-Mike)
System Requirements: OS X 10.5.8."
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OWC adds 750GB model to Portable FW800/400/USB2.0 HD line, 750GB WD Scorpios in stock
Site sponsor OWC sent a note they've updated their On-The-Go Pro portable HD line with 750GB FW800/400 + USB 2.0, 750GB FW400 + USB 2.0 and 750GB USB 2.0 only models.
(As usual, their drives include a carrying case, cables, Software bundle (Intech HD Speedtools utility suite, Prosoft Data Backup 3 for OS X and NovaBackup for Windows) and 3 Year Warranty. These drives also qualify for their Prosoft Drive Genius 2 special offer - only $25 with purchase of any of those 750GB models.)

BTW - They also have stock today on the (12.5mm high) WD Scorpio Blue 750GB bare drive.

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OS X 10.6 RAID Problems (w/reader tip for recovering data)
Tony T. sent a link to his post with tips for recovering data from a RAID mirror (but not a fix for RAID 0 or RAID5 users he said) in an Apple forum thread on "Kernel Panic Whenever RAID Array is Connected".
With any OS update (and especially a major one like 10.6), there's always a significant risk of problems/bugs (even more so with 3rd party addons, and not just controller card/drivers but sometimes even external case bridge boards). However a report below from an OS X 10.6/Jmicron chip eSATA Expresscard user noted no problems with a RAID stripe set in an external eSATA-only case.
(I won't repeat comments about having current backups, not jumping on a dot zero OS release on a system used for important work, etc. - I don't plan on putting 10.6 on the main work machine here for a long time yet.)

Earlier this week I also had a RocketRaid PCIe card owner report after the 10.6 upgrade he had problems with this RAID5 array (shown as Read only IIRC) - but I've been so swamped with personal matters since Saturday I've not had time to get back to him on that. Last Friday I posted a FYI that a StardomSJ20-x8 PCIe SATA card/RAID user (Silicon Image Sil3124 v2.0.3) reported it wasn't working after 10.6 upgrade. (And he said SI had pulled the previous drivers (raid and non-raid) from their website.)
And since the day 10.6 was released, there's known issues reported here with other drivers for many SATA controller cards, including Sil3132 drivers removed at 10.6 install for instance - mentioned in last Friday's post. (Although some non-RAID users initial feedback on the Sonnet driver tip last week here said that worked, but no longer term reports yet. And they did not mention using RAID arrays.)

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First report on Jmicron chip based eSATA Expresscard w/OS X 10.6 (w/RAID striped drives)
(Updated with later comments, including a note he's using a RAID stripe on the ext. drives)
There were several earlier reports on other eSATA Expresscards in OS X 10.6 (Sil3132 based, Sonnet Pro card, etc.) but I had been curious about OS X 10.6 with jmicron chip based eSATA expresscards (which had native support in 10.5/10.4). Here's the first report on one:

"I wanted to wait a bit before sending this but I have been running a PPA 1172 (JMicron-based) 2-port eSATA ExpressCard on my 2006 MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo) with 10.5.8 for a couple of weeks now without any major problems.
I have it connected to a dual-bay, two-port eSATA enclosure from OWC.
One thing I did have to do was force (jumper) the 1TB drives (Western Digital WD10EACS) to 1.5Gbps SATA as I noticed a bit of flakiness at 3Gbps, but everything has been fine since. (I asked for more info on the issues he saw before jumpering the HDs. As an FYI, the expresscard interface (slot) IIRC is spec'd at 2.5Gbps (max).)

After two weeks of OS X 10.5.8 use, yesterday I updated this MacBook Pro to Snow Leopard and the drives are still working fine, with the built-in drivers.

(What sort of problems did you see with it before jumpering the WD HDS to sata 1.5Gbps? Any corruption? or just other problems like mounting, accessing, etc. Have you ever noticed any overheating in extended use (as some expresscard owners have - saying some shut down until cooling off)-Mike)
Thankfully no corruption, but I saw that severe performance issues. Everything would be fine upon initial connection, getting full speed (over 100MBytes/sec to the drives), but eventually (within an hour or so) it'd get to the point where reading and writing to the drives would slow to a crawl, down into the 100-500KByte/sec range. Switching to 1.5Gbps SATA fixed that problem.

The drives are configured in a striped RAID set. I've used the following dd command to write 3GB of data to the drives and I consistently get over 100MBytes/sec:

    time sh -c "dd if=/dev/zero of=/Volumes/Time\ Machine/ddfile bs=16k count=196608 && sync"

When the command finishes, it'll tell you the speed it ran at. I also watch Activity Monitor for comparison.

I haven't seen overheating, but I do remember seeing that post (here previously from a user of a different card). I usually run SETI@home all the time, and the additional thermal load on the MacBook hasn't caused any problems with the eSATA card.

I was curious about any overheating during extended (long duration) I/O through the card. I asked he report back if he sees any issues in longer term use. (Also added this to the page of MBP user reports on ExpressCards)

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iStat Menus 2.0 adds Snow Leopard Support
Normally I'd just list this in the software updates section but I know a lot of OS X 10.6 users have been waiting for this update - iStat Menus 2.0 is available now. The version history lists OS X 10.6 support and more.
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Apple forum threads on 1st Gen Time Capsules failing (Power Supply?)
"1st Gen Time Capsules dying
A heads up to something your readers might want to be aware of.
In Apple's Discussion Forums (here and here) a lot of users have had their first gen. Time Capsules die from failed power supplies. I also have one (500GB April 2008) that as yet has not failed. I ordered and will get delivery today of an external quad interface OWC Mercury Elite-AL hard drive that I will use to migrate the data from my Time Capsule. I am going to use the new OWC hard drive for my backups and have it mirrored on the TC drive using Time Machine or the backup software that comes with the OWC hard drive.
I hate to have to do this, but I cannot trust the Time Capsule and really I should have instituted a second backup before this anyway. I will have the OWC hard drive attached to my network server via FW800 and not to the Time Capsule directly.

I hope this heads up helps others with 1st gen. Time Capsules not lose their data by taking measures ahead of time.
Best Wishes, Robert D."

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Other News/Articles/Reviews, Apple TS docs, Misc. Software Updates
(updated during the day)

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