Thunderbolt SSD on the cheap

I needed some extra storage, and I wanted it to be FAST storage. So that means two things for my Mac :
1 - Thunderbolt
2 - SSD

So I got me a Buffalo Ministation Thunderbolt 500GB and a Crucial M4 960GB SSD. The Buffalo Ministation includes a Thunderbolt cable as well as a USB3 cable, which saves you from buying a pretty expensive Thunderbolt cable from Apple.

I opened up the Buffalo Ministation, which is relatively easy to do, removed the 500GB 5400rpm harddisk and put the Crucial SSD in. Put everything back together again, and I now have a blazing fast external drive.

Total cost:
Buffalo Ministation Thunderbolt 500GB: 122 euro
Crucial M4 960GB: 530 euro
Combined total: 652 euro for a 1TB external ssd with Thunderbolt.

I don't think this can be done any cheaper at the moment.

New site @ www.muggle.eu

Just opened up a new site. It is called www.muggle.eu. I needed a new domain for my home server, so this is it. It will mainly focus on Tips & Tricks for OS X. I will also add some words on how to set up OS X Server, because unlike most things Apple, this is not as easy to set up as it initially appears to be. So, if you have a Mac and things on OS X, make sure to visit there too. Happy

Firefox 4 suprise

Being the nerd that I am, I decided to test drive Firefox 4 when it came out. Mind you, I always have Firefox installed because Safari/webkit don’t always allow me to see the pages I need to see properly, like some of the pages on my corporate intranet. Firefox helps out here. But, I never use it that much because to be honest, Firefox 3.x is dog slow.

Now, with Firefox 4.0 things are very different. It is fast. It makes Safari and Chrome on my Mac feel like slow ancient browsers. It is not all happy days though. I do not like the amount of space is taken up by the program bar, address bar and bookmarks bar. I like that they put the tabs on top, but unlike Chrome, Firefox does not save any space doing that. I do not like how Firefox shows fonts too large, but that is fixable, sorta. Mind you, these things are not present in the Windows version of Firefox.

But damn, this browser is fast. It is so fast, that despite its little quirks it is now my default browser and that hasn’t happened since Netscape 3 on Windows 3.11. Congratulations Mozilla, this really is a great browser. If you can fix the quirks - font size, size of the toolbars - it has the potential to be the best browser on Mac.

[OSX] mds going crazy on memory

I have recently added a 120GB OWC Mercury Extreme SSD to my Macbook Pro. Since 120GB really isn’t enough for me, I removed the SuperDrive and put the original hard-disk on a bracket in place of the SuperDrive. All is well, and the system is super fast.

But then I noticed that a process called mds was using ridiculous amounts of memory. Not to the point that it was slowing my system down and swapping out - I have 8GB of memory in my MBP - but enough to notice it wasn’t behaving like before. Now, mds is part of the Spotlight indexer, and Spotlight being the internal search engine for Mac OS X. Besides using memory, it is also going over the disks continuesly while indexing. Not good.

Going online to find a solution, I could not find a whole lot. Not that there is nothing to find - there is plenty - but because none of the solutions offered seemed to work.

Here is what I did:

- Clear the indexes. Idea is that if you remove the search index, it will re-index your drives and all should be well. It was not.
# mdutil -a -E

- Reboot. No joy.
- Disable Spotlight. This would fix the memory problem, but Spotlight is actually quite handy. Disabling it will also stop you from searching your e-mail and any other application that uses Spotlight. Not what I want.
# mdutil -a -i off
# mdutil -a -E
# launchctl unload -w com.apple.metadata.mds.plist


What I finally did, and this seems to have done the trick, is disable indexing on all drivers, remove the index, disable Spotlight, remove all Spotlight index related directories, clear my TimeMachine drive, and enable Spotlight again. After this, it immediately started to index my drives again and after it was finished, it is appearing to behave ever since.

# mdutil -a -i off
# mdutil -a -E
# launchctl unload com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
# rm -rf .Spotlight-V100
(on all drives!)

After this, I went in Disk Utility and erased the TimeMachine disk. When the disk was erased, I enabled Spotlight again.

# launchctl load com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

All is well.

What I think has happened, though honestly I have no idea if this is correct, is because I set my SSD up as a bootdisk and the HDD as a secondry which holds my user home directly, the TimeMachine backup sets are completely different to the situation before the SSD. This should not be an issue, but from what I read, Spotlight is tightly integrated into TimeMachine and possibly got confused about the structure file locations of the old backup sets being very different from the new situation. This may have triggered a continuous indexing action, every time it went into the TimeMachine disk and found locations to be different from reality. Again, I have no idea if this is really what happened. Fact of the matter is, after removing the indexes and clearing my TimeMachine backups, the Spotlight indexer is behaving nice again. It can go up to 800MB real memory while indexing (saw that while it was creating the new index, but it also drops between 70-80MB when it isn’t doing much. Whatever it was or is, I am happy with the result.

Fixing WideMail after OS update

I created a little script for myself to make it easier to extract the new compatibility UUID’s from Mail.app and add them to WideMail so that it does not get disabled as an unsupported plugin. I cannot guarantee it will always work (it might actually get really broken at some point), but it does confirmed work for upgrades to OS X 10.6.4 and OS X 10.6.5.

#!/bin/sh
#
# Little script to find the UUID's of Mail.app after an OS upgrade
# and insert them into the WideMail plug-in
#
newMailUUID=$(defaults read /Applications/Mail.app/Contents/Info PluginCompatibilityUUID);
newMsgUUID=$(defaults read /System/Library/Frameworks/Message.framework/Resources/Info PluginCompatibilityUUID);
defaults write
[path_to_widemail_bundle]/Contents/Info SupportedPluginCompatibilityUUIDs -array-add "$newMailUUID";
defaults write
[path_to_widemail_bundle]/Contents/Info SupportedPluginCompatibilityUUIDs -array-add "$newMsgUUID";
#
# EOF


Layout gets a bit screwed, but every line end with a ‘;’. Widemail is typically installed under /Users//Library/Mail/Bundles/WideMail.mailbundle. The same principle obviously works with plugins like GrowlMail. I hope this helps some people.

Until next time. Happy