Living With Apple's MacBook: File System Access Alternatives, Startup Sound Muzzles and Expansion Options
Almost two weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d uninstalled Mediafour’s MacDrive after experiencing HFS+ (OS X) partition corruption, obscure error messages and an inability to enter Hibernation mode. If read-only access to the HFS+ partition from Windows is all you need, Erik Larsson’s Java-based and open-source application HFSExplorer will fit the bill; I’ve successfully used it several times over the past week with no problems encountered. Erik’s website also hosts many other interesting and useful utilities, such as DMGExtractor.
Speaking of DMGs, that’s how Arcana Research packages up its useful StartupSound System Preferences pane, which enables you to adjust the volume or even (as I’m doing) completely mute the sound that you normally hear when starting up an Apple computer. Because the startup sound operates outside of both Windows and OS X, isn’t normally affected by either operating system’s audio volume settings. StartupSound.prefPane saves me the embarrassment of drawing unwanted attention to myself when I boot up my computer, for example, in the audience of an in-progress company presentation…or at the ballet, opera or symphony…or a spiritual gathering…;-) The v1.0.4 link on the developer’s website only supports Power PC-based Macs; for the Universal v1.1 beta build, you have to use VersionTracker’s link (for some unknown reason).
A recent post by Digital Media Thoughts’ Jason Dunn prompted this next suggestion. His recent laptop transition, like mine, involved elimination of the PC Card slot (an ‘evolution’ that I’ve grumbled at length about before). In his case, at least he still has an ExpressCard slot; in order to continue using his old PC Card and CompactFlash peripherals, he can leverage (for example) Delkin’s various ExpressCard adapters as well as Duel Systems’ DuelAdapter. Conversely, my MacBook only offers USB2 and IEEE 1394a (aka FireWire 400) expansion options.
For my cellular data cards, this expansion backwards step has necessitated the use of a suboptimal USB2 adapter (or, as I’m doing as I type these words, a cellular router intermediary). For Secure Digital cards coming from my Samsung DSLRs, I’ve had good success under both OS X and Windows with a diminutive and no-longer-manufactured Sandisk Cruzer USB adapter (which unfortunately doesn’t support the SDHC format). And for my Pentax DSLRs’ CompactFlash cards, I first tried using a Microtech ZiO! USB adapter. No longer made, its drivers don’t work with Windows XP SP2.
I discovered via an online-sourced tip that Delkin’s eFilm Pocket Reader-10 drivers also (sorta) support the ZiO!…that is, as long as I don’t attempt a reformat or to delete more than one file at a time from the CompactFlash card (both operations eventually resulting in ‘drive not found’ timeout error messages, which to be clear are not Delkin’s fault since I’m using its drivers with officially unsupported hardware). I also couldn’t find any OS 10.4-compliant drivers for the Zio. And anyway, its slow USB1.1 transfer rates made for tedious memory card unloads.
Instead, I’ve obtained a Kingston 15-in-1 USB2 reader (see here and here for deals on alternatives). Truth be told, I haven’t yet had the free time in the last few weeks to get behind a camera viewfinder, so I haven’t yet had a reason to use it, but Kingston assures me that both Windows XP SP2 and OS 10.4 offer native support for it. It’s also a bit bulkier than I’d prefer, compared to the svelte ZiO, although its consequent breadth of memory card support (including SDHC) means I no longer need to also carry the Cruzer.
Continue reading with ‘Living With Apple’s MacBook: An Optical Imbroglio‘…