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Early adopter issues: MacBook Air, SuperDrive, Remote Disc and Install

post #1 of 25
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The MacBook Air ships with software tools that allow users to do without the external drive option for most purposes. Remote Disc, Remote Install, and related technologies that enable the Air to share a network host's optical drive both for reading files, installing software, backing up data, and even booting over the network. Here's a look at the Air's SuperDrive and how well early adopters can expect Apple's software to actually work as an alternative to carrying around a physical SuperDrive.

Next to the missing FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet, the MacBook Air's missing optical drive presents the second largest issue for new adopters of the ultra-thin, lightweight laptop. Apart from Sony, which has a reputation for shoehorning impossibly thin optical drives into its ultra small VAIO laptops, most other ultra mobile laptops drop an internal optical drive to shave off volume, weight, and battery consumption. Like the MacBook Air, they supply a matching, external optical drive; the difference with the Air is that Apple suggests that its SuperDrive is entirely optional.

Reset Your Expectations

Our previous segment on the Air's hobbled Migration Assistant noted that replacing speedy FireWire with the significantly slower and less reliable nature of networking, and particularly wireless networking, results in some obvious and serious tradeoffs. Depending on how users decide to use their Air, this may or may not be a significant problem. Anyone who plans to copy huge amounts of files from their existing system to the Air should plan to do so using a Time Machine backup or a manually created archive disk using USB.

Because the Air is intended for use as a highly mobile machine rather than a workstation replacement, its limited ability to rapidly migrate files is probably less of an issue for many of its intended users, particularly when compared to the wireless alternatives to its optional optical drive. Air users might likely perform a migration only once, but will typically need to install software regularly, and may occasionally need to reinstall their system from the Mac OS X DVD or run utilities from it.

The optical sharing features that Apple supplies also beg for the fastest network possible, and just as with wireless migration, no amount of slick software should be expected to turn a network into an equal rival of a directly connected SuperDrive. Ideally, users will spring for the $99 USB SuperDrive option for all those times when they will actually need it. However, Remote Disc and the Remote Install process, while not without their limitations, do work very well, and will benefit users whether they buy the SuperDrive or not.

Installing Software: SuperDrive

As great as the idea of jettisoning old technology is, the reality is that most users should probably consider getting the optional SuperDrive. It's attractive and compact, and self powered. It's also priced decently. It's extremely thin, but it still looks clunky next to the razor edged Air. With the screen open, the Air looks thin enough to fit into the SuperDrive's slot. Closed, the Air still appears thinner than the SuperDrive (below).







On a Short Leash

The SuperDrive has a short cable that limits how it can be positioned, but also makes it compact and easy to carry around (below). The text just below where the cable leaves the drive is the unit's serial number, and appears designed to be read only using a microscope. There is no other label or printing anywhere on the device apart from some grey on black lettering and an Apple logo on the base.





The profile of the drive next to the slim chassis of the Air makes it obvious why Apple peeled the optical drive out and offers it as an external option (below).





For Your Airs Only

For some reason, Apple doesn't support the new SuperDrive on anything other than the Air. There's no obvious physical reason for this; our previous observation that Apple was using a higher powered bus to drive the SuperDrive turned out to be wrong. It uses the standard 500mA USB power, and when plugged into other Macs, it shows up as a recognized USB device (below, plugged into a MacBook Pro).



All that appears to be missing is the software driver. It is possible that Apple is offering the drive as a loss leader convenience for Air users, and doesn't want to support the drive on other systems because it's not making any money on it. If that's not the case, it's simply a mystery as to why the new SuperDrive is Air-only, as a number of users (and employees) at the Apple Store remarked about wanting to buy it for use with another Mac.

The SuperDrive shows up on the Air as the OPTIARC DVD RW AD-5630A (below). There wasn't an obvious kernel extension driver we could find that supports the SuperDrive, although the Air ships with at least two unique Extensions: AppleUSBMultitouch for the trackpad and ApplePlatformEnabler.



Installing Software: Remote Disc & Remote Install

Without buying a SuperDrive, you can use Remote Disc to access files from the optical drive of another Mac or Windows PC after installing the CD and DVD Sharing software on the Air's Mac OS X Install DVD. This automatically discovers and connects to optical drives using simplified access permissions, so users don't have to set up accounts for file sharing on the host system and can instead simply turn on an option to ask permission before sharing the drive.

If that option is set, the Air will pop up a request on the host system whenever it browses the host from the Remote Disc device in the Finder. With the option turned off, the disc will simply show up under the host system's computer name. Remote Disc works pretty well in theory, but some systems seemed to have a problem getting or responding to the request to use the drive. Other discs didn't work at all in certain computers, or had intermittent problems that made trying to use Remote Disc a frustrating experience. These issues need to be worked out before we can recommend trying to use the Air without having the optional SuperDrive available, but they're all software issues that can be addressed in an update.

Some of the problems we experienced appeared to be related to our own network and software setup on the external computers we tested. While the Air and new Remote Disc can't be blamed for all the problems, it did seem like the Air's Finder was more likely to stop responding or beach ball and then fail to shutdown after doing some endurance testing on the Remote Disc features. Again, expect Apple to address these issues in software refinements over the next few weeks. Nearly every new model released has some period of minor problem shakedown before everything runs perfectly, from battery optimizations on earlier MacBooks to the startup firmware on the latest iMacs.

One thing that won't be solved in a software update is the limitations posed by copy protected software on DVD or commercial DVD movies using CSS, neither of which can be accessed via Remote Disc. If you want to watch a DVD movie without buying the external SuperDrive, your only options are to rip the disc to standard files that can be played with DVD Player or rip and transcode it with Handbrake to H.264 and play the resulting movie file from QuickTime. Of course, Apple would also be happy to sell or rent movies to you from the iTunes Store, too.

On page 2 of 2: Installing Software: Remote Install; How Slow Is a WiFi OS Install?; Remote Repair and other Utilities; To Buy or Not To Buy; and One More Thing...

Installing Software: Remote Install

While Remote Disc is a "nice to have" alternative to carrying around the SuperDrive, being able to use the drive to reinstall Mac OS X is even more useful, and appeared to work more reliably than Remote Disc, too. The CD and DVD Sharing software also installs a new utility that allows a remote system to host a bootable DVD for the Air over the network called Remote Install Mac OS X (below). With the utility installed on nearby host system, you won't need to carry a USB hard disk with a copy of the Air's Install DVD, making the Air easier to set up afresh than other systems.



Once launched from the host system, Remote Install leads the user through a setup process that identifies the shared DVD and allows the user to select to use WiFi or an Ethernet cable for the remote installation.







It then directs the user to boot the Air with the option key held down (below).



Option booting on the Air brings up a modified disk startup selection screen (below top) that allows the Air to find a host on the local network running the Remote Install utility, as well as enabling the Air to join a wireless network in order to find one. It presents the discovered network install DVD as a bootable drive, and after selecting it, the DVD boots and runs just as if it were directly attached.





During the install process, both the Air and the host system serving the installer DVD show a progress bar indicating how long the process is estimated to take.



How Slow Is a WiFi OS Install?

Performing the same Mac OS X "erase and install" on the Air, including the bundled applications but manually deselecting X11, extra fonts, printer drivers, languages, the remote Ethernet install was actually slightly faster compared to using the directly attached USB SuperDrive. Over WiFi, we expected the install to take much longer. It did not.

54 minutes to install Mac OS X from SuperDrive DVD
50 minutes to install Mac OS X from Remote Install DVD over Ethernet

and drumroll please...

49 minutes to install Mac OS X from Remote Install DVD over WiFi. Yes, we couldn't believe that either.

Why was WiFi such a problem for Migration Assistant but so brilliantly well executed and practical for use with Remote Install? Who knows, but we were floored by the slick wireless install. Simply option boot the Air, select the desired wireless network from the drop down menu, enter your password, and installation takes off just as if it were booting from an install DVD. After completing the first phase, it reboots and continues the install process, asking for the wireless password again. It then finishes up and you're done.


Of course, if you have a flakey WiFi network, a non-standard wireless router, or are using something other than 802.11n WiFi, you have to lower your expectations. Apple presents a few suggestions for reducing sources of wireless interference, including turning off Bluetooth. As long as your WiFi works well, Remote Install should blow you away.

Remote Repair and other Utilities

In addition to using this process to install Mac OS X, it can also be used to remotely access other features of the Mac OS X DVD, including:

Startup Disk, for manually setting the boot device.
Reset Password, in case a user account login password is lost.
Firmware Password Utility, for securing the Air against anyone else booting it from the installer DVD and wiping a password.
Disk Utility for remote verifying or repairing of the Air's drive.
Terminal
System Profiler
Network Utility
Restore System from Backup, which uses Time Machine to restore the system.

These installer features usually only work when a Mac is booted directly from the installer DVD, and do not work when the DVD is imaged to hard drive. This restriction is in place to prevent other users from overriding firmware password security and running the utilities, particularly Password Reset, on a machine they are not authorized to reset. With full physical access to the system, however, anyone can learn how to override the firmware password; the Air is not secured against theft even when a firmware password is set, and must be kept physically secured.

Unlike Remote Disc, the Remote Install process didn't ever give us any troubles. The issues with Remote Disc seem to be related to Bonjour browsing, which can sometimes be a tricky beast. Remote Install only uses Bonjour for initial discovery of the installer disc, and appears to rely on Apple's already mature NetBoot technology to do the heavy lifting. Still, we were impressed that the DVD installer could boot and complete over WiFi so rapidly, and hope to see this new wireless install firmware rolled out for all new Macs, both to simplify network installs and to provide easy access to the DVD utilities from a central host.

To Buy or Not To Buy

Our experience with Remote Install suggests -- against our preconceived notions -- that Air users don't necessarily need to buy the $30 Ethernet dongle and need only consider getting the $99 SuperDrive if they have needs Remote Disc can't solve. Once the early adopter Remote Disc issues are resolved, the SuperDrive will be even less important, but simply being able to burn DVDs, watch DVD movies, and rip CDs seems to make the external drive an easy option to spring for when getting the Air, even if (or perhaps "when") Remote Disc works well enough to not need it.

Just as with the SuperDrive, the USB Ethernet adapter only works with the MacBook Air, and sports the same black-labeled packaging to distinguish that fact.



In the Apple store, the Air's USB Ethernet adapter was placed next to thin FireWire cables intended for use with MacBooks, which seems like a cruel tease for Air users.



One More Thing...

There's still another buying decision MacBook Air users will need to think about: that $1000 Solid State Drive option. Is it worth the extra grand? We've been running tests to find out, and will present them in the next segment on the MacBook Air.
post #2 of 25
That remote OS X install is pretty cool! Remote disk repair even

I'm glad the early adopter issues have been software ones rather than hardware... since I hope to be one of the early adopters within a couple weeks. Plus, the software issues affect one-time tasks (migration, installations) and won't affect me once those are done.

As for the SuperDrive, I plan to wait until the day I NEED an optical drive--I won't spend $99 "just in case." I can have one in my hands within hours should a need arise that Remote Disc can't meet. Burning won't be the issue: I can burn to a disc image file (iLife makes this easy) and copy the file to any Mac or PC with a DVD burner. No need for Remote Disc to support burning: all I need to move a disc image is a network!

Ditto for ethernet--which I realize I haven't needed on my current laptop in over a year. I'll buy the dongle the day I need it, if ever, but not before.
post #3 of 25
About time someone take wireless network to higher level. Thats good news if they can implement wireless boot on all mac computers. Apple, I suggest you go ahead and patent wireless network boot before someone else sue you
post #4 of 25
That Wi-Fi install time will drop a few jaws.
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post #5 of 25
Apple should have released Time Capsule before MBA. Most of the issues being raised would have been non-issues if someone had both (assuming TC works the way it is intended/promised to).

That said, a few months from now, the types of the concerns being expressed about MA on the MBA will seem like distant history.
post #6 of 25
My MBA remote boot over 802.11g from my PM G5 Dual 2.5 GHz (June 2004) to just 28 mins to get to the Installer Language selection window. One does have to be patient and MBA owners need to to do this at least once so they know what kind of wall time they should expect.

I actually went one step further and restored my MBA from a Time Machine backup I had done to a direct attached USB disk previously. It worked perfectly and restored my system to exactly what it was before I did the remote boot process.

Booting using my MBA's SuperDrive is far more enjoyable from a shorter wall time perspective.
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post #7 of 25
I bought my Airbook yesterday, and migrated from an early (rev A) Macbook.

Some notes:

I used the Migration Assistant with the Time Machine option, by way of an external USB hard disk. (I left it plugged into the old Macbook overnight the night before, to produce a full backup.) Using Migration Assistant from a Time Machine drive was speedy, comparable to the old firewire target mode option -- it took approximately 80 minutes to migrate apps, settings, and user accounts from a 76Gb backup.

However, I've had a couple of minor problems since then: notably, the airport driver seems to forget its settings when recovering from sleep, and the multitouch features on the trackpad are grayed out. I suspect this is because of some older versions of components of the 10.5.1 OS from the Macbook, so I am now using my superdrive to do an archive-and-reinstall of the OS.

The archive-and-reinstall isn't finished yet but subjectively it's about as fast as doing it on a 2GHz original Macbook ...

Update: archive-and-install completed satisfactorily, but the airport settings lossage is still there, so it's not obviously a side-effect of using a Time Machine backup with Migration Assistant.

(Aside from the trivia, I've got no real complaints; the Airbook reminds me a bit of my Powerbook 100, back in the day -- neat, compact, well designed, does what it says on the tin, although for some reason idiots seem to keep dissing it for not being a Pro desktop.)
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The SuperDrive shows up on the Air as the OPTIARC DVD RW AD-5630A (below).

According to this web site: This SuperDrive had been used by Apple since Sep. 2007, and it also supported LabelFlash (allow you to label your disc with burner's laser).

P.S. They also provided modified faster r/w speed and RPC1 firmware.
post #9 of 25
What about installing Windows? Has anyone tried booting from a Windows image via USB? I don't want to buy a USB DVD drive since I am only going to use it once
post #10 of 25
Prince:

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Air Super Drive does indeed just need more power. When I plug usb 2 devices into usb 1.1 sockets on my old PowerBook, System Profiler misreports their power use figures too.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by digdog View Post

According to this web site: This SuperDrive had been used by Apple since Sep. 2007, and it also supported LabelFlash (allow you to label your disc with burner's laser).

P.S. They also provided modified faster r/w speed and RPC1 firmware.

That LabelFlash sounds amazing ... not much info on those links though.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

On a Short Leash

The SuperDrive has a short cable that limits how it can be positioned, but also makes it compact and easy to carry around (below). The text just below where the cable leaves the drive is the unit's serial number, and appears designed to be read only using a microscope. There is no other label or printing anywhere on the device apart from some grey on black lettering and an Apple logo on the base.

Apple does seem to have a tendency to make their cables just a bit shorter than a useful length.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

About time someone take wireless network to higher level. Thats good news if they can implement wireless boot on all mac computers. Apple, I suggest you go ahead and patent wireless network boot before someone else sue you


It's the same idea but extended to a different network medium. That would be like patenting booting over TokenRing. And then patenting booting over wired Ethernet. Or patenting booting over a fiber optic network. Most of a networking implementation is supposed to be agnostic of the physical layer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by digdog View Post

According to this web site: This SuperDrive had been used by Apple since Sep. 2007, and it also supported LabelFlash (allow you to label your disc with burner's laser).


Do you mean something much like LightScribe? It's a neat idea, but all I can find about it that it's faster than LS but lower quality. LightScribe takes 20 minutes per CD and looks like crap. The image you get is pretty rough and the contrast is something like between 30% and 70% gray. I later bought an inkjet printer with CD printing capabilities and it prints in higher detail, full contrast and in full color in less than a minute. The only thing LightScribe has on it is that the inkjet CD can smudge if you get it damp and touch the label while damp.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Do you mean something much like LightScribe? It's a neat idea, but all I can find about it that it's faster than LS but lower quality. LightScribe takes 20 minutes per CD and looks like crap. The image you get is pretty rough and the contrast is something like between 30% and 70% gray. I later bought an inkjet printer with CD printing capabilities and it prints in higher detail, full contrast and in full color in less than a minute. The only thing LightScribe has on it is that the inkjet CD can smudge if you get it damp and touch the label while damp.

Similar one, but this drive only took less than 5 miniutes.
http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/NEC-dri...om-Yamaha.html

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Tthe reality is that most users should probably consider getting the optional SuperDrive.

I totally disagree.

We have owned our AirBook since Wednesday (06FEB2008) evening.
Since then, I have installed (using wired Ethernet (the USB to Ethernet adapter)) using Remote Disc:
MS Office 2008
Adobe Creative Suite 3
iWork

My experience was:
MS Office installed almost as fast as on my 2.8 GHz iMac.
iWork was the same.
CS3 took forever. But, then it did on my iMac.

I have not use Remote Disc in wireless mode and no intention of doing so. I think that is just silly. Remote Disc works very well in wired mode as far as I can ascertain.

The most painful part of the entire install process was downloading/installing Adobe updates. Took over an hour.

I have no intention of buying an AirBook Super Drive as I just don't see the need.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Apple does seem to have a tendency to make their cables just a bit shorter than a useful length.

Tell me about it. They new keyboards can't be used on keyboard trays without an extension cable. They at least included back in the G3 days.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

I totally disagree.

We have owned our AirBook since Wednesday (06FEB2008) evening.
Since then, I have installed (using wired Ethernet (the USB to Ethernet adapter)) using Remote Disc:
MS Office 2008
Adobe Creative Suite 3
iWork

My experience was:
MS Office installed almost as fast as on my 2.8 GHz iMac.
iWork was the same.
CS3 took forever. But, then it did on my iMac.

I have not use Remote Disc in wireless mode and no intention of doing so. I think that is just silly. Remote Disc works very well in wired mode as far as I can ascertain.

The most painful part of the entire install process was downloading/installing Adobe updates. Took over an hour.

I have no intention of buying an AirBook Super Drive as I just don't see the need.

There's quite a few around that no longer have a wired network.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Apple does seem to have a tendency to make their cables just a bit shorter than a useful length.

Speaking of... I bought my little brother a new Mac Pro. He hasn't been a Mac user since he was a young kid and before Jobs came back to the roost. He thought he had a bad mouse because the mouse cable was much too short to go form his desk to the Mac comfortably. It never occured to him that he could plug it into the keyboard. Since then he's been many hiccups that are all due to looking at things as Windows and beige box user.
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post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Speaking of... I bought my little brother a new Mac Pro. He hasn't been a Mac user since he was a young kid and before Jobs came back to the roost. He thought he had a bad mouse because the mouse cable was much too short to go form his desk to the Mac comfortably. It never occured to him that he could plug it into the keyboard. Since then he's been many hiccups that are all due to looking at things as Windows and beige box user.

Wow, you're pretty generous.

At least back before Jobs performed his Defenestration of Apple, they had the ADB system which allowed them to attach a mouse to the keyboard. The current mouse cord is about long enough for that use, but the keyboard cable was pretty short. They did provide that little extender cable, but it seems a bit hokey to have to use it. In the instances that I didn't need it on that keyboard, those things aren't useful for anything else because of a notch that Apple put in.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Speaking of... I bought my little brother a new Mac Pro. He hasn't been a Mac user since he was a young kid and before Jobs came back to the roost. He thought he had a bad mouse because the mouse cable was much too short to go form his desk to the Mac comfortably. It never occured to him that he could plug it into the keyboard. Since then he's been many hiccups that are all due to looking at things as Windows and beige box user.

Great story! I love the quirks of transition. There's always something that is head-scratching that people always go "duh" when they figure it out.
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post #20 of 25
I have had the MBA in our household for a couple of days now, and I set it up for my wife over the weekend. She is, needless to say, beyond thrilled with it. (I am going to wait until mid-year to get mine).

I transferred over 20 GB of music, 4 GB of data and 6 GB of photos, all via a 80GB iPod where it had been recently stored (don't ask about the music transfer, cough, cough). Some of the productivity software via the external superdrive. Seamless, simple, and the whole thing took a little over 1.5 hours. I'll wait until I have the Time Capsule that we ordered to do updates/backups wirelessly from here on.

It is a stunning machine. Fast, despite the 1.6 processor. The new keyboard is unbelievable, as is the screen. It is light. And thin, really thin.

Only one irritating thing so far: When I checked 'yes' to all the multi-touch features in System Prefs, the touchpad started with weird behavior -- e.g., files and text would move around randomly as my finger moved over the touchpad. I went back into SP, unchecked the multitouch feature to move photos around, and the problem seemed to have disappeared.
post #21 of 25
I use migration assistant to wirelessly migrate from another machine. It's cool that the MacBook will allow you to create a new wireless network on the fly for that job. My office network is only a G network, so this little feature let me create an N capable network ( i think) The network created was called 'new mac' so it was easy to find.

Now, I ran into an issue that was really frustrating. On the old mac, I opened migration assistant as directed and started the migration. However, after a few minutes, it stopped progressing. I forced off the MBA and it came back to the setup screen. I started the migration again. It knew that some stuff had transfered so it gave me the option to wipe that out. Handy.

Anyway, it went part way again and stopped. Finally, I realized that the source MacBook Pro was going to sleep part way through the transition. You'd think that when it's in the middle of an activity it would prevent energy saver from kicking in. Apparently not. I set energy saver to never sleep, and it went through just fine. About 10 gigs worth of data took over 3 hours. Not speedy by any means!
post #22 of 25
has anyone tried using the Superdrive on a USB hub? i have the drive but not a hub and don't want to buy one if it isn't going to work.

i was thinking a small USB hub + superdrive + ethernet + extra ports could almost act as a fakey "dock" system. if it is possible that is.

thanks!
post #23 of 25
You state that the Air's SuperDrive doesn't need the extra power, but I believe this to be incorrect for two reasons: the first is that other DVD R/W drives need it, hence the need for extra power adaptors or Y cables, and the fact the drive doesn't work off a standard powered USB port even when connected to the Air.

Second, you're basing this on information gained from the System Profiler, which is reporting power usage of 500ma. However, Profiler reports the same number if the drive is connected to the Air and doing nothing, and if reading, and if burning a disk.

Which leads me to believe that it's simply reporting the USB maximum.

See: Fixing The Air #2: The SuperDrive
post #24 of 25
For some reason, Apple doesn't support the new SuperDrive on anything other than the Air. There's no obvious physical reason for this; our previous observation that Apple was using a higher powered bus to drive the SuperDrive turned out to be wrong. It uses the standard 500mA USB power, and when plugged into other Macs, it shows up as a recognized USB device (below, plugged into a MacBook Pro).
All that appears to be missing is the software driver.
If this is really true, then the drive should work when attached to the Air via a powered hub.

Has anyone tried this test yet?
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

As for the SuperDrive, I plan to wait until the day I NEED an optical drive--I won't spend $99 "just in case." I can have one in my hands within hours should a need arise that Remote Disc can't meet.

Or, for that matter, use a third-party USB DVD burner. Sure, it will need an external power supply, but it will be compatible with all your computers. Unless you think you're going to need it while traveling, the external power brick shouldn't be a real problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It's the same idea but extended to a different network medium. That would be like patenting booting over TokenRing. And then patenting booting over wired Ethernet. Or patenting booting over a fiber optic network. Most of a networking implementation is supposed to be agnostic of the physical layer.

I'm not so sure the two are comparable.

Traditional network-boot systems involve putting a disk image (typically floppy-sized) on a server somewhere. The boot ROM uses BOOTP/DHCP to auto-configure an IP address and get boot parameters, followed by a TFTP file transfer to read the disk image. It then mounts the image in-memory and boots from that.

The Apple solution appears to be different. It would appear that the ROM is actually mounting the remote disk and booting directly from this network-mounted volume, and not from a disk image mounted from RAM. This may be something patentable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

You state that the Air's SuperDrive doesn't need the extra power, but I believe this to be incorrect for two reasons: the first is that other DVD R/W drives need it, hence the need for extra power adaptors or Y cables, and the fact the drive doesn't work off a standard powered USB port even when connected to the Air.

Have you personally tested this? See my question, above. Speculation and quoting blogs is all great, but no substitute for hard data.

BTW, did you write the isights.org article you linked to? Your message is an almost-verbatim quote from it.
post #25 of 25
Gang,

As I see it the problem with the superdrive is that it kills one of the most inportant interfaces of the Air.

Someone needs to make a superdrive with an internal USB hub and maybe some of the other lacking ports that people may want. Like better Audio Out and Audio in. Maybe another external drive like a 1.8" 160gb for backup. But have at least 2 USB ports available for other stuff.

Kinda like a USB doc of some sort.

Thanks
GOrdon
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