Michael Olivero
The official blog of Michael Olivero, Software Architect & Humble Entrepreneur

ExFAT filesystem with Mac OSX and Windows7

Thursday, 22 September 2011 15:35 by Michael Olivero

Do you have a drive partitioned half NTFS and half OSX format just so can utilize the drive on both operating systems or resorted to the unreliable FAT or FAT32 for the convenience?

FAT was never designed to scale to the large storage systems available today. so modern operating systems evolved their own sophisticated file systems (Linux Ext3, Windows NTFS, & Mac HFS+) with various features to handle not only the enormously large capacities, but also provide fault tolerance among other valuable features.  FAT, once ubiquitous, still survives today as the defacto file system for flash cards and USB drives. So why is a new file system called exFAT necessary?

It turns out, the modern file systems have significant overhead and are considered to be an overkill for flash drives -- some times making them slower.

exFAT (Extended FAT) was devised specifically to address these issues and more.  Since the latest versions of Microsoft and Apple operating system support exFAT, it coincidentally serves as a great file system to interchange data between the operating systems too!

On OSX's Disk Utility application, you can easily select exFAT during the erase process and similarly on windows as shown:

In summary, exFAT borrows some valuable features modern file systems such as transactional file system TFAT among others.  I'm personally using this as the filesystem for my external USB drive, however I did notice some applications on the Mac side, which rely specifically on Apple's HFS+ file system, are disabled.  For example, I cannot move a Final Cut Pro X project to my external drive to work remotely -- it simply doesn't let me drop it there as it would an HFS+ partition.

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LaCie 1TB & 2TB Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Arrives in Apple Store

Wednesday, 21 September 2011 01:16 by Michael Olivero

Folks, I just came across the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt drives in the Apple store by chance.  And surprisingly there are two versions -- the 1TB and 2TB disk versions.  They will soon add SSD versions in the near future, however this is a welcomed surprise.

From the looks of it, it supports a native RAID0 stripped set by default with 7200 rpm drives delivering an astonishing 250MB/s -- other configurations such as Raid1 are also available according to references.  For a consumer oriented drive, these are speeds previously only achieved by expensive and dedicated NAS storage devices with similar raid configuration. If you consider you have two drives in one unit, effectively duplicating the price with a comparably sized external drive, the price no longer feels unreasonable.

To save space and weight, the enclosure houses 2.5" drives rather than the typical 3.5" drives weighing a reasonably light 1.4lbs.

The solid aluminum construction is typical of LaCie's build quality and additionally serves as a heat dissipator for the drive internals.

 

You will definitely want to have a time machine drive paired up to this speed daemon because unfortunately, the RAID0 effectively halfs the shelf life of the drive as failure of any of the two drives may effectively ruin your data.  With today's reliable drives, this is less of a worry, however it's a prudent thing to do as this will surely be the primary working drive housing important data, such as home video's, given it's speed benefits.

Apple Store Link for LaCie 1TB Little Big Disk Thunderbolt - http://store.apple.com/us/product/H7150ZM/A
Apple Store Link for LaCie 2TB Little Big Disk Thunderbolt - http://store.apple.com/us/product/H7114ZM/A
 
UPDATE 9/21:
The above links are currently returning 404, however when I searched the apple stores again, the SSD version's showed up and very pricy
 
 
Apple Store Link for LaCie 256GB Little Big Disk SSD Thunderbolt $899 - http://store.apple.com/us/product/H7115ZM/A
Apple Store Link for LaCie 512GB Little Big Disk SSD Thunderbolt $1499 - http://store.apple.com/us/product/H7151ZM/A
 
 

Thunderbolt Hub Has Arrived!

Friday, 16 September 2011 02:26 by Michael Olivero

Belkin announced the first independent thunderbolt hub!  This is a dream come true for those who do not want to dish out the $999 for an Apple thunderbolt display.  It seems to have the same ports: gigabit ethernet, 3 USB, and 1 thunderbolt for daisy chaining.  There is no release date specified and no price however however some speculate upwards of $50 since a thunderbolt cable alone from Apple is $50.

Unfortunately, it seems the USB ports are 2.0 instead of 3.0 given the ubiquitous blue connectors USB 3.0 ports usually have.  Lets cross our fingers though and hope for at least one USB 3.0 port if not all. 

With this, one needs to really consider if a less flexible Thunderbolt display is worthy over the more flexible Cinema Display.  The cinema display would simply plug into this hub (including it's USB) and now you have the same configuration as the Thunderbolt display (need to plug in only one cable into your MacBook).  The mini displayport technology in the cinema display is known to be more flexible than thunderbolt.  As a simple example, many have connected their xbox 360's with the appropriate adaptor -- even the iMacs from 2010 can be used as displays for MacBooks within Bootcamp -- something the iMac 27" from 2011 with thunderbolt cannot.

 

For more details on the connections options see this post I made a week or so ago:

Connecting your Apple iMac 27 or Cinima Display using only one connection similar to Thunderbolt Display

Apple Revolutionizing Retail Support with iPhone & GPS!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011 13:19 by Michael Olivero

 

I was at the Apple store the other day and was quite surprised the Apple store iPhone app interacts with the store once you are within the vicinity.  I was going for a Mac genius appointment and the process was so smooth words cannot do it justice.  Checkout these screenshots I took of the whole process.

The pictures left to right speak for themselves...super smooth.   Notice iPhone's time indicator from for the duration of the screen shots from 3:07 to 3:22.

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Windows7 may drain battery faster than Max OSX on MacBook Air 11"

Tuesday, 30 August 2011 20:30 by Michael Olivero

I was intrigued at how fast the battery drained while running bootcamp on my MacBook Air 11" (2011 model).  There are various blogs discussing how Windows is not SSD friendly, particularly Vista, however I felt this would have been resolved with the latest version of Windows and/or latest service packs.

 

After various trials and errors, I achieved reasonable battery life by turning off Windows Search which has indexing running in the background.  Simply turn off the service called "Windows Search" and change it's startup to either "Manual" or "Disabled".

Thunderbolt and MiniDisplay Mac Compatibility 101

Thursday, 21 July 2011 19:05 by Michael Olivero

I have a MacBook Air 2010 model with the mini display port.  At the office we recently ordered an iMac with the thunderbolt port.  On occasion, I want to use my MacBook Air at the office so I was exploring the option of using the iMac 27 as an external monitor via the thunderbolt port.

The latest macs, both the 2009-2010 models using mini display ports as well as the 2011 using the thunderbolt ports support a feature referred to as "Target Display Mode".  In essence, when properly cabled with either of the two cables, hitting Command/F2 will enable it.

The main question is, what are all the possible combinations?  Meaning, here I am with a mini display port MacBook Air and an thunderbolt iMac 27", do they communicate?  Turns out no, a mini display port cannot target a thunderbolt machine (or monitor) as a target display.   So a little frustrated, I went to them Apple store to sort things out and the Apple employee was super friendly on testing all the combinations with a new thunderbolt MacBook Air and cables I had just bought.  Here are the results:

SourceDestinationCable UsedResultDestination iSight Camera works
MBA Mini Display Cinema Display (Mini Display) Integrated Mini Display Cable Worked Fine Yes
MBA Thunderbolt Cinema Display (Mini Display) Integrated Mini Display Cable Worked Fine Yes
MBA Mini Display iMac 27" Mini Display Mini Display Cable  Worked Fine No, MBA prevails
MBA Mini Display iMac 27" Mini Display Thunderbolt Cable Did Not Work NA
MBA Mini Display iMac 27" Thunderbolt Mini Display Cable Did Not Work NA
MBA Mini Display iMac 27" Thunderbolt Thunderbolt Cable Did Not Work NA
       
MBA Thunderbolt iMac 27" Mini Display Mini Display Cable Worked Fine MBA Prevails
MBA Thunderbolt iMac 27" Mini Display Thunderbolt Cable Did Not Work NA
MBA Thunderbolt iMac 27" Thunderbolt Mini Display Cable Did Not Work NA
MBA Thunderbolt iMac 27" Thunderbolt Thunderbolt Cable  Worked Fine NO, MBA Prevails

One thing to note, when using target display mode and mirroring, the resolution will default to the lowest resolution device. In my case, I had a MacBook Air resolution displayed on the iMac 27 which didn't look great for extended reading. There are two ways to achieve target display native resolution. One way is to close the MacBookAir and tap on the mouse to wake it up. When it wakes up, it will adjust to the target display resolution. With the Thunderbolt MBA, you will need to have the magsafe power plugged in. I am not sure if this is required also for the Minidisplay MBA.

The second way entails setting up a second monitor side by side (uncheck mirroring). The problem here is, if you want to ignore the MBA's monitor and solely use the target display, the dock and menu bar are annoyingly on the MBA monitor making it very cumbersome to work. We accidentally came across a nifty solution by trying out various options. We discovered, just like you can move the orientation of the second monitor, you can move around the menu strip too. So while viewing the monitor orientation window, click and drag the little white strip above one of the monitors and drag it to the other. This in essence moves the doc and menu over to the target display monitor. At this point, you can either dim the brightness of the MBA and you are all set to go.  Thanks!

 

Unfortunately WordPress didn't make it convenient for migrating blogs out of their system.  As a consequence, I'm linking to the original posting for this topic so others can have access to the comment history.  Moving forward I will be updating this blog.

http://mike952.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/thunderbold-and-minidisplay-mac-compatibility-101/