Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Installation of a Western Digital Black2 Dual Drive in a Mac

This is a follow up to the previous post on this topic - this one contains more comprehensive instructions.

The first stage is to prepare the drive for use in the Mac. Due to the drive configuration and Western Digital’s lack of foresight/focus on Windows - this stage must be completed in a Windows PC.

You’ll need:
From the WD Black2 Box:
  • The USB -> SATA cable
  • The USB key (this has the software to ‘unlock’ the spinning partition of the dual drive
  • The drive itself
Also:
  • A windows PC/laptop which you can take the hard disk out of easily
  • Skill commensurate to the activities of removing and reinstalling hard disks
  • The ability to find your way around the terminal command line (linux or Mac)
  • A USB based installer for OS X (see here for a useful tool to help with this)
  • A working Time Machine backup of your Mac - update this before you start. 

Stage One - Unlocking the spinning disk
  1. Boot the laptop in to Windows off it’s main hard disk - make sure you have an Internet connection and a browser with Adobe Flash capability.
  2. Connect the Black2 disk to the laptop using the USB -> SATA cable.
  3. Insert the WD USB key - crazy automatic things will start happening and you’ll find yourself at the product website on www.wdc.com - you can safely remove the USB key at this point.
  4. On the Overview tab which shows by default, click the Data Transfer Software link.
  5. Download the Acronis True Image WD Edition software (~230MB in size).
  6. Go back to the Overview tab and download the Partition Software as well - we’ll need that in step 11.
  7. Install the above software and start it, selecting Clone Drive.
  8. Use the Automatic option and, after some processing, you’ll be told that Windows needs to restart - click through this message for Acronis to start it’s own boot Loader and complete the clone process - the laptop will shut down automatically once it’s completed.
  9. Now things get physical. Remove the drive from your donor laptop and replace with the Black2.
  10. Boot and wait. Hopefully it’ll just start up pretty much like normal here. Don’t be surprised if Windows reports that a chkdsk needs to be run during startup - the disk has been completely re-written after all!
  11. Once Windows has started, it’ll likely request a reboot to complete installation of the new hardware. I know, I know, using Windows is a pain.
  12. Now we need the Partition Software which hopefully was downloaded back in step 5. Install it and follow the wizard through.

You should now have two partitions available on the Black2:


Stage Two - Drive partitioning 
  1. Remove the disk from the PC laptop and put it’s own laptop back. Happy Windows machine.
  2. Connect the Black2 back to the SATA USB adaptor and connect it up to your Mac.
  3. Fire up Disk Utility and erase the disk - make it a single Mac OS Extended (Journaled) volume.
  4. Download the OS X Recovery Disk Assistant from here - run it to create a correctly sized recovery partition on the disk.
  5. Now, in Disk Utility again, create two partitions on the disk. Make the first 119GB (to allow for the first part of the disk being used for the Recovery partition. The second should be 1TB. I called mine SSD and HDD just for clarity.

Stage Three - Create the Fusion drive
  1. In Terminal, type: diskutil list and press Enter. You should be able to find the disk easily if you named the disks as I did in Stage Two above.
  2. Once you’ve found the SSD and HDD partitions, note down the Identifier for each of the partitions
  3. In Terminal, type: sudo diskutil cs create Fusion disk4s2 disk4s3 (the last two items should be the Identifier of your partitions - SSD first, then HDD.
  4. Check through the resulting text to make sure everything worked without error - here’s mine for reference:
    • Started CoreStorage operation
      Unmounting disk4s2
      Touching partition type on disk4s2
      Adding disk4s2 to Logical Volume Group
      Unmounting disk4s3
      Touching partition type on disk4s3
      Adding disk4s3 to Logical Volume Group
      Creating Core Storage Logical Volume Group
      Switching disk4s2 to Core Storage
      Switching disk4s3 to Core Storage
      Waiting for Logical Volume Group to appear
      Discovered new Logical Volume Group "2A40C88F-0E1F-433D-BEA5-55A19BEBCB9F"
      Core Storage LVG UUID: 2A40C88F-0E1F-433D-BEA5-55A19BEBCB9F
      Finished CoreStorage operation
  5. Once the Fusion drive is created, it needs to be formatted. But before we can do that, we need to find the ID for the Fusion drive. In Terminal, type: diskutil cs list - the long alphanumeric string for the Logical Volume Group is the one you want - copy that to the clipboard - we’ll use it in the command in Step 6.
  6. Now, in Terminal, type: diskutil cs createVolume <ID string> jhfs+ “Macintosh HD” 100%
    • This will create a filesystem called Macintosh HD that takes all the space available on the Fusion drive
  7. All going well, the disk is now ready for final installation in your OS X device

Stage Four - Install the unit in your machine

I’ll leave this one alone, assuming A) you know what you are doing or B) you can follow one of the many excellent resources on the net - from instructions at OWC or Lifehacker, to videos on youtube.

If installing into a Mac with a hard disk temperature sensor, you can bypass the sensor with a small jumper wire (this mitigates against the fan-on-full issue which will occur if the sensor is not bypassed). There are instructions out there on how to do this bit as well.

Stage Five - Reinstall your OS


This is where your USB installer for OS X & Time Machine backup come into play - plug it into the Mac and boot from it and reinstall OS X onto the new drive then follow the instructions to restore from your Time Machine backup.

Note that the first steps of this procedure would also enable the drive for use in a linux machine. With root mounted on the SSD and /home on the HDD portion, this would also speed up your favourite linux box!

I hope this has helped - let me know in the comments if you have any questions that I might be able to answer for you.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Keep Religion out of Schools"... a follow up

Today, we have an interesting development in the ongoing skirmish between some parents and school boards who have allowed the volunteer run "Bible-in-schools" Programme into their schools.

The article in question appeared on the Stuff website this morning. You can read it here:

It tells the story of a father who successfully campaigned the Human Rights Commission to have the school move Bible class from school time. The school has moved the class to a lunch time session instead (arguably still "outside of school hours") but that is not good enough. 

The school has abided by the intent of the ruling - if not the letter - and it is *still* not enough. Being so intent on not having something they disagree with in the school, they'll campaign to remove the right to choose from the other two groups of people involved - those who *want* the classes, and those who don't mind them all. I'd warrant that the latter group is actually the larger of the three..

It would seem, then, that the problem *isn't* with the Programme being run inside school time at all but that it is even being run. 

Another fallacious argument I have been given is that, by allowing these programmes, it is "state-sanctioning of Christianity" and, here's the kicker, that "it is discriminatory in that no other religion outside Christianity is permitted to come in and teach at these times." (This is the single part of Peter Harrison's comment on my previous post with which I do not agree.)

I have not heard of, nor have I seen any articles regarding, other religions outside Christianity not being permitted to come to schools - at this or any other time. In fact, there was a case of a North Shore school which spent actual school funds building a prayer room for their Muslim students. No outcry from the "Keep Religion out of Schools" folks over that one I might add.

It certainly looks more like the other religions are busy doing things that are important to them rather than wanting to do this and being excluded from entry.

Please, if anyone has some real proof that other religions are not allowed, let me know in the comments below. Oh and, if you feel the need to post some snarky response and that makes you feel better, be my guest.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Has Microsoft Lost The Plot?

I made a comment on a blog post over at The Loop which I quite liked. I didn't want it to just disappear so I thought I'd put a copy here:

Microsoft have lost the plot.
They appear to be hanging *everything* on two fallacious premises:
1) Users want the exact same interface across every device they have.
2) Users want to have MS Office on every device they have and will start buying devices with MS Office on once they are available.
No. 1 is quite daft to me - and many others from my experience. On my mobile touch screen device, I want an interface that is designed to work well on a mobile touch screen device. On my desktop, I want an interface that is designed to work well on a desktop. Etc.
As far as this "we've listened to our users and bought back the Start button" thing goes - from what I can tell, it's not the Start button that people wanted back and/or missed from the pre-Metro days - it was the Start *Menu*.
And they haven't bought that back at all. Forcing people to change interface paradigms every time they want to find an app is, again, daft.

What?! A "Windows only" hard disk??

Came across these Western Digital Black2 Dual Drive units the other day. What a cool idea I thought! Just the thing for a couple of laptop users here at work who prefer the speed of an SSD in their laptops but would like a bit of extra room for VM's and the like.

So I ordered three - one for my work iMac as well. I'd recently upgraded the iMac with an older 256GB SSD - which was fine - though not a huge amount of space obviously.

The units arrived and I set about hooking it up to the iMac using the handy USB->laptop drive SATA cable that it came with.

Only the 120GB SSD drive portion appeared.

Digging a little further, I found that the unit is supported in Windows only - you need to install software in Windows to enable access to the 1TB disk in the Black2 Dual.

Bugger.

Once I'd finished ranting about how crap it was that a hard disk vendor would build a hard disk only for Windows, I had a think. There *must* be a way to make this work - surely! Just because they haven't built this 'enabler' software for OSX surely doesn't mean that it absolutely wouldn't work.

So, I went to work getting it set up on a Windows laptop, figuring that I could unlock the disk in Windows & then pop it back in my iMac and configure a Fusion drive across the two disks.

Annoyingly - or cleverly I guess, depending on how you look at it - you cannot unlock the 1TB portion of the drive while it is connected via USB. It actually has to be resident inside the machine (or at least, connected to the SATA bus) to unlock.

This meant I had to image the existing SSD in the laptop onto this one - using the afore mentioned handy cable.

Once it was unlocked, I connected it up to the iMac and converted the partition table from MBR to GPT using the gdisk utility. Note that the 1TB portion shows up as a partition NOT a second hard disk I had suspected it might based on the reviews I'd read.

I removed all the partitions from the first 128GB of the disk and created an EFI partition then ran the Apple Recovery Disk Assistant tool to create a Recovery partition on the new disk.

Excitedly, I then used the directions here to create the Fusion drive.
diskutil cs create Fusion disk3s2 disk3s3
Unfortunately this resulted in a POSIX Input/Output error so it seemed like that was the end of the road.
Frustrated, I posted a brief report into a MacRumours forum in which I'd left a question.

Overnight, "Weaselboy" replied with a few further links to check which renewed my hope that it might work.

One in particular - this excellent (as usual) article from Anandtech described how the controller uses LBA to address the different areas of the disk. Here was the reason for my renewed hope.

Ok, I thought, let's just wipe the whole thing in my iMac and create the partitions again.

So I did.

And, this time, it worked.  Similar steps would mean this disk could be 'enabled' for use in a linux machine as well - it would work really well with / mounted to the SSD and /home on the 1TB mechanical portion.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Keep Religion Out of Schools" .... unless it's my Religion

This morning, I read the article entitled "Kids 'punished' for opting out of bible class" over on TVNZ news site.

I have met Peter Harrison and respect him greatly. He has done (and, no doubt, continues to do) many excellent things for the Free/Libre Software movement in NZ. A man with wonderful debating skills - and a passion for what he believes in.

I must admit, I also thought him to be a much more rational man than the above article would suggest.

Surely if a child is feeling 'punished' when opting out of *any* class - be it religious, sport or whatever the context - that should be the responsibility of the school to correct, rather than whomever is running the programme being opted out of? Should the facilitators of said programme provide a 2nd class for those who's parents have opted them out? Would those parents not also protest that class?

But no, the answer - as presented by the comments in the above article - is to cancel the programme entirely. To me, this shows some larger motive underlying the comments rather than what you might expect - which is evidenced by Peter's Facebook group.

The larger issue appears to be that having the option to opt-out of something we don't agree with is no longer enough - we now have to campaign to have that which doesn't line up with our beliefs, expunged entirely from existence. This harks back to many nasty periods of mankinds history (some - though not all, and certainly not as many as popularly portrayed - perpetuated in the name of God).

I am certainly not accusing Peter himself of wanting these periods of history repeated, but that does seem the common end to this train of thinking.

(For what it's worth, I find it suprising that any biblically based teaching would say that "dinosaurs don't exist" - there are, in fact, many references to 'dinosaur' like creatures in God's "archaic document".)

[EDIT 5th Feb 2014: Gosh, this certainly generated some interesting comments. I had thought the title of this post was self explanatory but it appears easily twisted to mean something else. Of course I was referring to the Secular-Humanism religion which is obviously not the focus of being kept out of schools.

Anyways, I decided to leave all the comments and not delete any of them as I think they tell a good story. There was even one on the Facebook group page from someone saying 'look - this guy says he's a Christian - he obviously has an ulterior motive!' Ironic.

Also, many thanks to Peter for his well reasoned and logical comment - which I mostly agree with - in which he was able to expand on what the media was presenting.]

Friday, February 10, 2012

another wifey poem (for a recently departed friend)

Illuminating
Life giving
Words endowing wisdom
Resting on the gentle page
Powerful, serene, yet
Imbued....only to dwindle
The life snuffed out
Words disappear
Gone, on my
dead Kindle

a poem..

My lovely wife wrote this poem for me - I wanted to share it with 'the world'.

If I asked for you to hold my hand
And sit with me a while
If I asked for you to see my heart
And breathe with me
If I asked for you to hold
all that I hold, very dear
And cradle it
And keep it safe
Protect it from my fear
I hope you know that I would too
Embrace your humble soul
Comforting and keeping you
For our life makes me whole.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the unthinkable has happened

I never thought I'd see the day when I would lay aside the excellence of linux and actually enjoy using another operating system - a proprietary operating system at that!

But it has happened. Through various events, an opportunity arose a couple of months back, to use an early Intel model iMac at work. My quad-core i5, 4GB RAM, 64bit debian running workstation was flattened and redeployed with Windows 7, to someone requiring the horsepower.

The iMac, a spare loaded with XP, sitting unused for many months, became my workstation. Needing to run iTunes, and refusing to use Windows outside of a VM or RDP session, my only option was OSX as the spec wouldn't cope with a VM running atop linux.

A good opportunity, I thought, to see how an increasing percentage of the other side live - to see what all the fuss was about.

I wasn't prepared for what happened next.

At first, it took a little time to get used to the slightly different keyboard layout & the plethora of new, sometimes unwieldy hotkey combinations. However, I did feel at home though with the familiarity of the interface having come from a GNOME environment - it was uncannily similar.

Slowly but surely I felt a growing sense of wonder of just how simple it was to use, of how things just worked. I enjoyed that sense of the technology getting out of the way and just letting me get on with what I needed to do. And yet, a bash command line was just a click away...

I discovered I *could* have the comforts of a commonly used mainstream OS and UNIX too. I did a little investigation and found that, completely by happenstance, I had all the right hardware at home to make a Hackintosh. So, for roughly the same time as having the iMac at work, I've also had an almost-Mac-Pro at home.

Of course, my Apple-loving friends all nodded knowingly, tut-tut-ed and wondered why it had taken me so long...

I began to understand that it's not just about a single device, or the OS, or an App Store. It's the eco-system that all these things exist in that is so appealing. It is all there, designed to work together - not perfect, but much closer to completeness than anything I've previously come across - either proprietary or non. And I really like it.

What has ensued is a philosophical crisis of sorts: How can I *like* a proprietary OS? Is this nice, easiness worth giving up some freedom for? Where is my loyalty? If I like this, does this mean I might like Microsoft one day? How am I ever to afford the 'real' hardware to run at home?

Of course, these are all questions of which I'm willing to spend some time on getting to the answer of.

I know there are many among the FOSS community who have tread this path before me - some of whom are much cleverer and whose opinions are valued much more highly, than mine.

But I still can't help but feel a little guilty.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

a donkey by any other name

When I first joined Twitter, back in July 2009, I was somewhat disappointed to find that the closest I could get to my nickname of choice, was nz_d0nk3y. (IRL my nickname is Donkey - after the annoying talking smart ass from Shrek).

Recently, due to two years of inactivity, I managed to score the twitter nickname I wanted. Now, I am @donkey - the only 'real' donkey in the world! Muwahhahhaa! (well, on twitter anyway - and it also now matches my account over at identi.ca).

It's been an interesting ride since then with all sorts of extra followers - like, apparently real people rather than the obviously fake accounts that new followers invariably are.

This past weekend however, it got even crazier.

A couple of tweets came in from some people I'd never heard of - obviously with a friend called 'Donkey'. I normally wait for it to die down and then reply to them all with a Donkey quote from Shrek - just for a laugh - which I also did in this case. A little later, I noticed that I suddenly had about ~25-30 more followers which seemed odd.

Even stranger was the fact that they were all young ladies - and all from Canada (Oh, Canada). One of them happened to mention a name that had shown up in all of the tweets I'd received earlier. On closer inspection, this twitter account had nearly 140K followers and appeared to be some kind of celebrity.

Turns out this fellow, Jacob Hoggard had been a contestant in Canadian Idol and had gone on to front a band called Hedley.

Apparently, they have a friend called Sean (who also has the nickname 'Donkey'), and it was he whom all these people had mistaken me for. The new young female Canadian followers continue to arrive at a rate of a couple a day - a few which I have conversed with (Kirsten; Marylou; Tricia) , all of which seem wonderfully nice and very friendly.

Isn't it interesting the things that happen when you throw millions of people from all around the world into an online community - shared names, perceived shared experiences, mistaken identities and all...