format

If you're having trouble formatting a new SSD in a Mac, it could be the cable

tl;dr: If you see weird errors when using or formatting a drive internally on a Mac (especially after upgrading to a newer and/or faster SATA hard drive), it could mean the SATA cable needs to be replaced.

Mac mini mid-2011 lower SATA hard drive cable with connector
Who would've thought such a tiny cable could cause so many problems?

I have an older Mac mini (mid-2011 i5 model), and I use it as a general media server and network backup. It handles Time Machine backups for two other Macs, it has about 20 TB of external storage connected, and I also use it as a 'home base' to store all my Dropbox, iCloud, and Photos content locally, and store an extra Time Machine backup of all that. I'm a little nutty about backups... but I haven't lost a file in two decades and I don't want to start now ;-).

Format the built-in eMMC storage on an Orange Pi Plus

To use the built-in 8GB of eMMC storage on the Orange Pi Plus as a writable volume in Linux, you need to delete the existing partitions (I think mine were formatted as FAT/WIN32), create a new partition, format the partition, then mount it:

  1. Delete the existing partitions:
    1. sudo fdisk /dev/mmcblk1
    2. p to list all partitions, then d and a number to delete all existing partitions, then w to write the changes.
  2. Create a new partition:
    1. sudo fdisk /dev/mmcblk1
    2. n to create a new partition, then use all the defaults, then w to write the changes.
  3. Format the partition: sudo mkfs.ext4 -L "emmc" /dev/mmcblk1p1
  4. Create a mount point: sudo mkdir /emmc
  5. Mount the disk: mount /dev/mmcblk1p1 /emmc

Running a Windows XP VM in Parallels (Mac) from a USB Flash Drive

I thought I'd post my experience here, for the benefit of others, because I couldn't find a whole lot of information about this specific use of an external USB flash drive.

I have a MacBook Air with a dainty 128GB SSD drive, so I try to keep large files that I rarely use on external drives. I have plenty of external USB and FireWire storage (over 6 TB), and running VMs in either Parallels or VMWare Fusion works great (very highly performant) off any of these external drives.

However, there's no way I'm going to lug around an external hard drive and USB cable (and maybe power adapter) just so I can test things in Internet Explorer (basically, the only use I have for Windows).

Flash Drive to the Rescue!

I found a cheap 32GB USB flash drive that only sticks out of my MacBook Air half an inch, and copies at a consistent rate of 30MB/second (which is quite sufficient for most tasks). Also, the little drive should have very good read performance, since it's not a spinning platter. Write speed wouldn't be anything to brag about, but writing shouldn't happen all that often when simply opening up Internet Explorer—I hope!

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