USB ports, USB hard disk, Apple store

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ajbrehm, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. ajbrehm macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2002
    Zurich, Switzerland

    I found the following hard disk in the Apple store:

    Iomega MiniMax 250GB + Built in FireWire/USB Hub

    My situation:

    I have an iMac Core 2 Duo (2.16 GHz, 500 GB, 2 GB) and an iMac G5 (1.6 GHz, 160 GB, 1 GB). The iMac Core is my main machine.

    My iMac has three USB ports, one used by keyboard/mouse. That leaves two available ports.

    I have an external hard disk, usually powered down and disconnected. I also have a HP PDA and a camera with their respective cables connected to the remaining two USB ports. I do not want to replace the cables constantly.

    I am now planning to buy an iPod, which requires an USB port.

    So I was considering buying a USB hub, preferably unpowered.

    Then I found the afore-mentioned hard disk, which has hub and three USB ports built-in.

    I figure I can connect the hard disk (which obviously needs power) to one of the USB ports, leaving four ports available (1 always, 3 when the hard disk is switched on).

    Does that sound like a smart solution? And what's the best combination for the devices?

    The PDA has its own power cable, so perhaps the PDA should be connected to the hard disk hub (and I could only sync it when the hard disk is powered on).

    The camera is rarely connected and I merely don't wish to disconnect the cable for practical reasons. Thus I figure it could use the second hard disk hub port (and would only sync with iPhoto when the hard disk is switched on).

    The second USB hard disk can use the third hard disk hub port, as it is rarely powered on and will certainly never be needed INSTEAD of the new hard disk, which will more or less replace it.

    And the last available USB port in the computer could be for the iPod, which I understand recharges via USB.

    Any ideas?
  2. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2002
    Zurich, Switzerland
    Bought the 500 GB Iomega disk

    In case anybody's listening, I bought the 500 GB external USB/FW disk.

    I connected it via Firewire (it came with all the cables) and it works. It's a bit louder than the (Intel) iMac it's connected to.

    It comes with backup software, and although it is being advertised as the ideal companion disk for the Mac Mini also sold in the Apple store, the backup software is PowerPC code. (It does run though.)

    I found Retrospect too complicated as a backup program and plan to continue to use disk images for backups.

    I started a backup of my home directory (80 GB) last night and it was still running this morning (after 8+ hours), and I think the computer fell asleep while copying.

    When I return from work tonight I hope the backup is finished.

    In case anybody is looking for a good naming scheme for backups, I use

    <computername>.<folder name or user name if home directory>.<folder name in home directory if home directory or "lib" for library>-DDMMYY.dmg[.gz]

    I.e. if my computer is "Winnie" and I am "Peter" and I make a backup of my Library folder on the 2nd of January next year, I'll have a file


    I know Americans write the date the other way around (010207), but this naming scheme allows for easy search for years and months, and I find myself looking for "April 2005" a lot more often than for "the second day of any month in 2003" (i.e. ..0405 rather than 02..03).
  3. dustininsf macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Smart decision using Firewire instead of USB2!

    If you're making backups of things such as your Library folders, you may want to give some thought to using a tool that's made for doing backups (and knows how to handle various MacOSX/Unix file permissions, ownerships... not to mention the ability to keep your Mac awake through the process!). I suspect that Retrospect is a total beast to use and have actually heard quite a few horror stories of Retrospect itself actually destroying or corrupting the backup data (only to be discovered when people were trying to recover their data from the backups after catastrophe, of course!).

    I know that SuperDuper is popular with folks that go the cloning route (a clone isn't really a true backup but can be a very useful part of a good backup plan, especially if it's likely something that you will stick with - or will just automatically run)... and I know it does do the permission/ownership thing correctly.

    I personally use the DejaVu prefpane, (came for me with ToastTitanium but also available for purchase individually) because I don't necessarily want to clone my entire disk, but I do want to have sets of backups that run at various intervals (Monthly, Weekly, Daily, and manually) that back up specific parts of my internal drive to my external hard drive. That external drive has two partitions, one setup with OSX10.4.8 as a boot partition, that, in addition to having diagnostic/disk repair tools ALSO has the core set of my mission-critical applications, etc. installed on it (nothing that is even remotely flakey or weird). One of my DejaVu sets takes care of backing up crucial settings (keychains, bookmarks, etc. to an alternate library folder on this system disk, so if I need them, they're available, but if something in that set is corrupted, it's not auto-copied to my "emergency" startup/work disk.) My Documents, Pictures, iTunes folder and other Important directories are also backed up to the boot partition, so any transition would be almost seamless between the two startup disks. (my iTunes music/media files are all actually on a separate external media hard drive... at somewhere around 120GB, it's a backup issue of its own! - but the crucial iTunes Library file IS backed up and of course knows to point to the right drive for the mp3/aac/m4v/etc files... so iPod syncing continues as normal, etc). DejaVu has a "safety net archive" feature that can archive a set number of changed and/or deleted files, so I don't need to be terribly concerned that a crucial file will be destroyed when a newer version is overwritten in the backup.

    Beyond that emergency boot drive partition, I also have DejaVu making regular backups of my stuff to a few additional drives on an automated schedule based on importance and how often things are generally modified, etc. Of course I make archives of stuff onto DVDs as appropriate. My goal is not so much to be able to restore my system to exactly the state it was in right before disaster struck as it is to ensure that my data, settings, media are appropriately backed up, archived, and protected - while suffering a minimum of downtime because of the emergency/working boot drive with my "core" functionality/tools intact. I can then reconstruct my primary drive as a fresh, clean install as my schedule allows (I do love that feeling of knowing that everything is clean and not all weighed down with all the little things I end up tinkering with and settings I modify and so on...).

    Just recently had to put all this in action as my PowerBook's hard drive began suffering from a nasty clicking with disk i/o hangs, SLOW startups, and then the discovery of a growing # of bad disk sectors. Within minutes I had switched over to my backup drive with a reboot and quickly had all of my settings (mail, bookmarks, keychains, etc) up and running after verifying that they weren't corrupted themselves. I had a major project that I was wrapping up for work and thankfully was able to continue to do so (ultimately finishing it on schedule) before sending in the PowerBook for repair/drive replacement about a week later.

    oh, and on the date thing, why not name the files along the lines of:


    (or 2006-12-15 or 20061215 or whatever)

    I find that this number format has the dual benefit of being easily read/parsed by both the computer and by me! - unless you tell the finder to sort by someting other than name (i.e. size) these will always sort chronologically - and I also find these dates to be very clear and easy to read even when I'm quickly scrolling through things pretty quickly - not only that but the text of the name seems to stand out more as well.

    with the: DocumentsArchive12152006.dmg route it just seems more jumbled to me (even with just the one name - try a looking through a directory of hundres of files named that way - yikes!)

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