imac

Doing Some Benchmarks - Mac Processor Speed

I currently own or use a variety of Macs, and am approaching the end of a 'cycle' of Mac usage, where I need to decided what Mac I'd like to purchase next. Currently, I'm using a 27" iMac at work, an 11" MacBook Air (from work) for travel, and a 24" iMac at home. They're all great computers in their own right, and using Dropbox, MobileMe, and a couple other helper services, I can operate simultaneously on all three Macs, without any hiccups.

So, I'm thinking about getting a new Mac for hardcore development work (web and app), some graphic design, and possible portability. I have an iPad for lighter computing (reading, browsing, email, videos...), so even though the MacBook Air is probably the best thing to happen to a laptop in a very long time, I'm shying away from it as my primary personal computer.

Removing a Stuck Disc (CD/DVD) from a Mac - EVERY Way Possible

CDMost of the time, I'm extremely happy with Apple's decision to make all their physical media (CD/DVD) drives slot-loading, as it means there's one less part to accidentally break off my Mac, and it just looks so darn pretty! But every now and then, I have a hellish experience with the drive. This usually happens when:

  • A CD/DVD disc is warped or really thick (like most discs with homemade labels)
  • I'm given a mini CD (business card size) or DVD (this rarely happens anymore)
  • A CD/DVD is way out of balance... usually it's just slightly warped

That's the hardware side. Sometimes, I just want to get a dratted disc out of the computer, but dragging it to the trash, or pressing the 'Eject' key won't work. Often a dialog pops up and says "the disc is in use" (but it doesn't specify what application is using it!), or worse, there is no error—the disc just won't come out.

Here are the steps I usually take in trying to eject a CD or DVD—in order from least likely to damage the disc and/or my Mac, to most likely... always try the steps in order!

Using the Plextor PX-B120U Blu-Ray BDROM Drive with a Mac

A few notes from my initial use of the Plextor PX-B120U external USB BD-ROM drive (you can pick it up for under $100!):

  1. You need to plug the drive directly into your Mac, or use a USB hub capable of providing enough juice to power the device directly. Since the Plextor drive doesn't actually have an AC adapter, it needs all its juice through the USB port. (I was trying to plug it into my weak Belkin USB hub, and that wasn't working).
  2. You can use the drive with VMWare Fusion, but it seems you need Windows Vista or Windows 7 to be able to actually do anything besides read DVDs or CDs with the drive.
  3. I don't have Windows 7 (yet), so I can't yet test how well a new iMac can play back Blu-Ray discs using the included CyberLink PowerDVD 9 BD.
  4. I am evaluating MakeMKV (a native BD/DVD ripper for the Mac) to see if it will be able to do what I did for my HD-DVD collection—back everything up in full HD, including the surround sound tracks (I'm okay with Dolby Digital 5.1...)

I'll post back here with any new updates I find.

New Article/DIY Guide Posted: How to repair your Intel iMac

Over in the Articles section, I posted a detailed tutorial/guide on how to replace the hard drive inside a 24" Intel iMac with an aluminum enclosure (the process is similar on other aluminum iMacs). It's a rather intricate process, so in addition to a few illustrations, I posted a video of the process on YouTube (it's embedded in the article as well!).

Intel iMac Teardown and Hard Drive Replacement - DIY/Guide

Have fun repairing your iMac! (Please be sure to leave comments on the guide post, and not here).

How to Repair Your Intel iMac — DIY Guide from Lifeisaprayer.com

Over on Lifeisaprayer.com, I posted a detailed tutorial/guide on how to replace the hard drive inside a 24" Intel iMac with an aluminum enclosure (the process is similar on other aluminum iMacs). It's a rather intricate process, so in addition to a few illustrations, I posted a video of the process on YouTube (it's embedded over on Lifeisaprayer.com as well!).

Intel iMac Teardown and Hard Drive Replacement - DIY/Guide

 

iMac - Intel - Guts exposed

Have fun repairing your iMac! (Please be sure to leave comments on the Lifeisaprayer.com post, and not here).

Intel iMac Teardown and Hard Drive Replacement - DIY/How-to Guide

FSCK -y didn't help.
Yeah... that was a no-go.

My iMac's hard drive was recently borked (I was getting node errors and i/o errors when I ran fsck in single-user mode, and I couldn't format and reinstall OS X), so I had to replace it. Rather than spend a few hundred dollars to get the drive replaced, or using an external FireWire drive to boot the iMac, I decided to replace the drive with a larger/faster model myself.

iMac - Guts Exposed
The 24" iMac is large. VERY large. I can't imagine repairing the 27"!!

I used the instructions found on the Amfiteatar website to compile my more condensed instructions here. I won't go into any gory details of hard drive types, speeds, recommendations, etc. I'll simply inform you of my decision to use a 1 TB WD Caviar Black drive (7200 rpm, 32 MB cache). I don't need a ton of storage space on the internal drive, as I have multiple externals for different uses.

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