New MacBook Air features USB software reinstall drive

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 56
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post


    It's about time!



    The HP MediaSmart Windows Home Servers come with a routine that builds a bootable USB drive to restore your Mac if the hard drive crashes - it works very well (tested it when I upgraded my hard drive). Nice to see Apple doing this, although since it's read only - as another poster opined I would rather see it built into the computer, accessed by a key combo or something. Impossible to loose that way.



    I assume they just wanted to wait until NAND prices dropped, but I have to assume that they used the cheapest and slowest NAND they could get. It?s still a lot faster than any ODD.



    I had stated years ago when the first MBA came out and I was shocked that Apple did splurge for the NAND on this premium priced machine that they may do it as read-only to prevent potential security issues with the install files and to keep a user from getting reckless by deleting the files for storing porn (or whatever) just to realize they needed the Restore Disc after all.



    I think the built-in secret partition isn?t a bad idea, but it is a cheap idea. It?s how many cheap PCs have been doing it for years. Some give you the option of burning a DVD. Some don?t. It does use part of your storage and it does make it ineffective if your drive dies. At this stage in the game I think Apple chose well, though I would have figured that SD would have been the way they were going, not USB.
  • Reply 42 of 56
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sabuga View Post


    Yeah, thats fine for mac savvy users (I myself do that), but as an apple tech, I service Joe off the street's mac, and they most often don't so that. If apple did USB target disk mode, that would be great.



    Tell me again why you need TWO Macs to boot into the machine to fix a drive? Being a savvy user ?m sure you know that you can INSTALL Mac OS X onto a USB drive, SD card, or external drive and access their drive that way all with only ONE Mac. That?s the savvy way to do it!
  • Reply 43 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Tell me again why you need TWO Macs to boot into the machine to fix a drive? Being a savvy user ?m sure you know that you can INSTALL Mac OS X onto a USB drive, SD card, or external drive and access their drive that way all with only ONE Mac. That?s the savvy way to do it!



    I know you can install mac os on a USB drive (I've got it installed on a Firewire 800 pen drive, as it's faster than USB), but I've just found it easier to boot into target disk mode. I'm not saying that I'm right, and your wrong, there are many ways to get the same result. I'm just saying that the method I use doesn't work on a mac without firewire, and since it's been standard on macs for about the last 10 years, I've gotten used to the target disk mode feature. (And since I work fixing macs, and always have a spare mac for such a purpose, thats what I do).
  • Reply 44 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zindako View Post


    Only the genius over at Apple engineering could have thought of this ...



    a few vendors back in 2007 would contest your claim.
  • Reply 45 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sabuga View Post


    I know you can install mac os on a USB drive (I've got it installed on a Firewire 800 pen drive, as it's faster than USB), but I've just found it easier to boot into target disk mode. I'm not saying that I'm right, and your wrong, there are many ways to get the same result. I'm just saying that the method I use doesn't work on a mac without firewire, and since it's been standard on macs for about the last 10 years, I've gotten used to the target disk mode feature. (And since I work fixing macs, and always have a spare mac for such a purpose, thats what I do).



    And if we're just talking about running Disk Utility, a complete install of OSX is maximum overkill. FSCK in Single User Mode does exactly the same thing, and it requires nothing but the one Mac and a few keystrokes. Haven't heard anybody explain to me why that isn't the easiest method of all.
  • Reply 46 of 56
    I just want to add this article related to the usb software reinstall, which i found very interesting

    http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/20/a-compact-death/
  • Reply 47 of 56
    gxcadgxcad Posts: 120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bobmarleypeople View Post


    May I be the first to say that the picture makes the restore tool look tiny. If it's as small as it looks, it's bound to be lost pretty damn quickly...



    PNY makes a USB drive that small, and so does Sony. The PNY one is called Pico USB and I think its the type C. The Sony one is called micro vault TINY. I've had one of each for many years and have yet to lose them. Depends on the person, I guess, though I tend to agree they would be easy to lose.



    I suggest to create a habit of always placing it in the same place when you are done with it. I don't think they would be any easier to lose than a standard compact usb flash drive.
  • Reply 48 of 56
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    Once the Mac AppStore is up and running I wouldn't be suprised if they remove the internal CD/DVD drive from the MBP to save weight and add extra battery life. Once you can download most apps & media an internal optical drive becomes less important for most users. There would of course continue be an external one available to purchase if you need it.



    They could even add an area within the AppleStore for 'downloading apps' for those who don't have fast broadband.
  • Reply 49 of 56
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    Once the Mac AppStore is up and running I wouldn't be suprised if they remove the internal CD/DVD drive from the MBP to save weight and add extra battery life. Once you can download most apps & media an internal optical drive becomes less important for most users. There would of course continue be an external one available to purchase if you need it.



    They could even add an area within the AppleStore for 'downloading apps' for those who don't have fast broadband.



    IMO, it?s the availability of NAND that has been the biggest issue here. Shipping millions of Macs per quarter and putting upgrades to Mac OS X on 16GB NAND USB flash drives would be difficult in a market is already strapped for NAND and Apple buying the Lion?s share of it.



    The second biggest issue has been cost, which has been raised because of demand. Though I contend that the cost of cheap NAND for this single purpose would be cheaper than the cost of the optical drive that they can now get rid of in their Mac notebooks.



    The last issue is an app store. I think most consumers aren?t even using their ODD for installing apps. I think they use company?s website or a local repository of apps for downloading an app. Even MS and Adobe products are downloadable. The only thing that would be difficult would be the OS.



    The only reason I can see the Mac App Store being a plus for this new way to use Mac Restore/Install is to give a simple unified way to get updates to a new Lion installation without Apple having to put it all on the Flash stick. Right now they need up to 16GB, but if they can get that to under 8GB they can cot costs of NAND, obviously, in half.



    ?*I wonder if Lion will be DVD-only or if they will sell that on a cheap USB flash drives.

    ? I wonder if this means that the next wave of Mac notebooks will go this route, especially considering it puts Apple in a pickle in the 13? MB/MBP in regards to Core-iX and battery space. They did mention the MBAs as the future of mobile computing.

    ? I wonder if Lion will be even smaller than SL, even though this was a bragged about feature in SL and not at yesterday?s event.
  • Reply 50 of 56
    shaminoshamino Posts: 412member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by foobar View Post


    ... why not wish for USB target mode?



    Sounds great, but such a mode would require a special cable. USB, unlike FireWire, is very particular about not confusing upstream and downstream devices. If you put a Mac into a hypothetical USB-target mode, where it acts as an external USB drive, it's "A" connector is going to be used in a context where the standard says a "B" connector should be used. You'll need to use a special (and standard-violating) A-A cable, which would not be usable outside of this USB-target mode.



    But there are solutions to that problem. One might be to add a USB port with a micro-AB receptacle. (See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Univers...cal_appearance.) This can accept micro-A cables (for attaching peripherals) or micro-B cables (for use when acting as a peripheral.)



    And if Apple started using micro-USB connectors for some of the ports, they could cram more into the limited space of a MacBook Air

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I?ve had Mac OS X on a partition of my external HDD for years now. Have an issue? Just hold down option and choose that partition to boot from. Which is a hell of a lot easier than needing a 2nd Mac and a FireWire cable with the appropriate end connectors for those two Macs.



    There are, as you so clearly describe, multiple solutions to the problem of how to repair a computer with a damaged drive.



    A hard drive with an emergency-boot partition is one good solution. Target disk mode is another.



    Target mode is especially useful for a repair tech who has to work on lots of computers. It's very convenient if you can just hold "T" at power-on time and attach the bad computer to your test-bench system loaded with diagnostic and repair tools. And it's a lot faster than booting the other computer from external media. Especially when you need to support a wide variety of computers that may require different OS releases, and therefore different sets of external boot media.



    If you've only got one computer, then clearly this isn't your best solution, but I strongly disagree with your assertion that there's no good reason for anybody to ever want target disk mode. The fact that you have no need for it doesn't mean it's a useless feature.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I know people with Macs, but I don?t know anyone anymore with the appropriate FireWire cable. Am I suppose to plan to have the appropriate FW cable with me on vacations, along with an adapter for FW400 or FW800 to make sure my bases are covered, assuming there is someone else with a Mac if I need one?



    How about just using your Time Machine drive, or a USB flash drive or a SD card. Those are always in my computer bag and I don?t have to rely on anyone to do a simple Disk Repair.



    So you have no problem dragging emergency-repair hard drives with you on vacation, but you balk at the thought of carrying a FireWire cable?



    I don't think you're seriously interested in discussing the subject. I think you're just emotionally bent out of shape over the fact that some people want a feature you don't use.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quillz View Post


    Also keep in mind this is only a read-only reinstall. It's still, at least as far as we know, not a sign that all future Mac OS X builds will be released on USB drives.



    But distributing Mac OS X on read-only USB drives isn't a bad idea, assuming Apple can get the cost down to something comparable with the cost of today's distribution DVDs. Not knowing what ROM costs in large quantities, I couldn't say how likely that is to be true in the near future.



    Since all Mac capable of booting Lion (as far as I know) have firmware that can boot USB devices, there's no technical reason why not. It will all come down to cost.
  • Reply 51 of 56
    shaminoshamino Posts: 412member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    IMO, it?s the availability of NAND that has been the biggest issue here. Shipping millions of Macs per quarter and putting upgrades to Mac OS X on 16GB NAND USB flash drives would be difficult in a market is already strapped for NAND and Apple buying the Lion?s share of it.



    If you're distributing software, you won't be using flash. You'll be using some kind of ROM technology. Different chips, different market, probably different pricing.
  • Reply 52 of 56
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shamino View Post


    I don't think you're seriously interested in discussing the subject. I think you're just emotionally bent out of shape over the fact that some people want a feature you don't use.



    Yes, I’m so uninterested in the subject that I gave multiple solutions for the same argument that TDM was the only viable solution and that any Mac with FW is an automatic fail¡



    Quote:

    So you have no problem dragging emergency-repair hard drives with you on vacation, but you balk at the thought of carrying a FireWire cable?



    You really think carrying a FW cable and the appropriate adapter with me, and then finding someone with a Mac that is willing to assist me is better than using the SD card that tucked away in my computer bag? This is exactly rocket science.
  • Reply 53 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post


    Make the DVD drive in MacBook Pros easily removable, and sell secondary batteries that slide into the optical drive bay. Allow people to choose between having an internal optical drive or longer battery life whenever they want. Unless diehard Apple defenders find even the option of an internal DVD drive so personally offensive that they would prefer nobody have it at all.



    You can disagree and think most MBP's should have optical drives, but your post is so silly, I'm surprised you wrote it thinking it was a viable option.



    Apple won't even make their new MBP batteries easily replaceable in order to have more room for battery space. So you think they should include the ability to detach an optical drive from the bottom of the computer?! Let alone provide the functionality of plugging in an optical drive and it working...and plugging a battery pack in the same spot and it working? That is a terrible idea, and 100% impractical.



    Plenty of Apple fans want the optical drive, it has nothing to do with "Apple Defenders". It has to do with people who think the optical drive will soon be useless and battery life more important. I own an Apple MBP with a DVD drive, what am I defending?
  • Reply 54 of 56
    [QUOTE=shamino;1738214]Sounds great, but such a mode would require a special cable. USB, unlike FireWire, is very particular about not confusing upstream and downstream devices. If you put a Mac into a hypothetical USB-target mode, where it acts as an external USB drive, it's "A" connector is going to be used in a context where the standard says a "B" connector should be used. You'll need to use a special (and standard-violating) A-A cable, which would not be usable outside of this USB-target mode.



    That reminds me of some old PC servers that actually had as USB "B" port on the back of them so you could do a similar sort of thing to "target USB mode", it was rather handy, but the main issue was that that both computers had to support the feature, so you couldn't just rock up to site with your laptop, and get it to work, you had to have a 2nd server with the same feature.



    And, yes, as a Apple tech, I find it much eaiser to have my workshop macs (currently a PowerMac G5, and an Intel Mac Mini) all loaded up with my favorite utils and apps etc, ready to work on a customers mac via target disk mode, than maintaine USB install of mac os. Again, I'm not saying that this way is the only way, Solipsism seems to prefer a USB drive with mac os, or the 2nd partition with mac os, that way works fine too.

    On my personal PowerMac, the 2nd drive has a partition for TimeMachine, and a small partition with a raw install of Mac OS.

    My laptop is a PowerBook G4 12inch, and I love taking a small (lightish) laptop to site, and using target disk mode, as it's getting slow (and I can't do some things on Intel based macs from a PowerPC mac), I want to get a MacBookAir, I'm not saying that the lack of firewire is a deal breaker, but it's giving me a moments pause.
  • Reply 55 of 56
    bosco08bosco08 Posts: 19member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    ?*I wonder if Lion will be DVD-only or if they will sell that on a cheap USB flash drives.





    Wondering the exact same thing myself. Seems like they have to.
  • Reply 56 of 56
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bosco08 View Post


    Seems like they have to.



    Not at all.



    I wonder if it'll be on Thunderbolt drives.
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