Sunday, 11 February 2007

MacBook hard drive and memory upgrade

Boy, that was fun. Upgrading a Mac Book memory - and the hard drive - yech!

I wanted more memory so I can run the excellent Parallels Desktop for Mac, as well as play with various music tools on the Mac.

Yes folks, just the one, small Intel x86 MacBook with its awesome battery life, and running both Mac OS X and Windows XP at the same time, debugging code on both without any problems whatsoever. Apart, that is, from the strange keyboard mapping when in Windows XP on Mac OS (all sorts of keys useful for programming aren't mapped properly - which gets confusing!)...

Anyways, here are some upgrade tips:

Before you start, take a look at how to take the back off your Mac Book, through this video of taking the memory and hard drive out of your MacBook... excellent!

Before you start to install your memory upgrade (or the hard drive upgrade), you'll first need a Phillips No. 0 screwdriver. Don't bother even getting started without one of these! I upgraded the RAM in my MacBook from the measly 512KB (made up of two 256KB units ... why do Apple provide such a pathetically small amount of memory on a standard MacBook?) to the maximum 2GB (made up of two 1GB units).

If you want to upgrade the hard drive, you'll also need the right size of Torx screwdriver (get a set of the small ones!) or you won't be able to take the hard drive out of its mounting bracket (and fit the replacement into the bracket... before putting the thing back in!).

Oh, and the SuperDuper! software is fabulous/essential for first backing-up your hard drive. I found that I in addition to my new Seagate Momentus 120GB drive (to replace the Seagate Momentus 60GB that was pre-installed in the MacBook), I also needed a SATA to USB adaptor so that I could copy-across the data from the drive in the Mac to the new drive ... I got this one which seemed to do the trick. Oh, and as this was a MacBook upgrade, I was very careful to get a 2.5" SATA drive... and why don't Apple fit a bigger drive as standard so I didn't have to upgrade the drive in the first place?!

Basically, in order to do the upgrade, I first plugged the new drive into the SATA to USB adaptor, then plugged this into my Mac Book. I used SuperDuper to copy the data (after a couple of attempts... the first try hung-up!) from the hard disk in my MacBook to the new disk. Next, I restarted my Mac pressing Opt when restarting to give me the option of which drive to boot from (the internal one, or the newly copied external one). Note: the Opt key on my MacBook is the one between the ctrl key and the key with the Apple logo on it... why Opt isn't written on the key is a good question! Anyways, that allowed me to do a test boot from the external hard drive before replacing the internal one with the new drive.


I hope this info is of some use!

Sharing a Mac OS X external USB hard drive with Windows XP

I've been looking for a way to have easy-to-use add-on hard drive storage that could be shared easily across my home network between both Mac and Windows machines.

And the good news is that if, like me, you want to share your Mac OSX external USB Hard Drive with your Windows XP computer (and, for that matter, any other Macs on the network), it is pretty easy ... once you know what to do!

First, you need to get SharePoints and install it to your Mac. When you configure SharePoints, add your USB drive and give it a name like "My USB Drive". Remember to enable SMB file sharing (this is the Samba protocol that allows your PC to see the software; your other Macs can use it too).

Right, now that is done, how do you actually see the drive ? Easy!

Mac: Finder: Network ->; Workgroup -> (your Mac computer name) -> press the Connect button.

You'll be presented with this message "Select the SMB/CIFS shared volume you want to connect to". Select the one called "My USB Drive". You will need to enter your user name / password. An icon representing the drive then appears on your Mac desktop! You can drag this icon to your Trash to Disconnect the drive.

Windows XP: Windows Explorer -> My Network Places -> Entire Network -> Microsoft Windows Network -> Workgroup -> (your Mac name!) ->My USB Drive. You will need to enter your *Mac* user name / password. Sorted!

There you go, as easy as you like. Follow this advice and you should be able to get a cheap USB hard drive, plug it in to e.g. a Mac mini, and use that as a cheap, shared file storage device in your local network for e.g. backing-up photos (or code!) or as a common place for storing/streaming your MP3 files and what have you.

Certainly a lot cheaper than buying an AirPort Extreme with AirDisk!

Now, can somebody please tell me why the functionality in SharePoints isn't built-in to Mac OS X?

One more comment: I strongly recommend that you connect two USB drives, and configure them as a RAID array (in a RAID 1 mirrored configuration - see for more information). This is really easy on a Mac, as it has software RAID built-in. Having such a RAID array has already saved my bacon once, when one of my cheap USB drives failed on me a few weeks ago. Have a look at the USB Floppy Disk Striped RAID for a fabulous example of how easy it is to build RAID arrays on any Mac!

miniMIXA mixing grooves live (who needs a mixing deck?!)

Folks, here is a video of miniMIXA being used to lay down some cool grooves at SYPC!!

... and here is the link!

Welcome to my blog!

Hi folks.

If you're wondering who I am, I'm Pete Cole, one of the co-founders of SSEYO (which I founded with my brother Tim Cole - AKA Colartz).

We founded SSEYO to create the Koan generative music software. SSEYO got acquired by Tao Group, to develop for them the amazing intent Sound System (iSS) audio framework for Tao Group's intent operating system.

These days, we're focused on creating the most amazing media creation software for mobile devices - something we call miniMIXA.

We're also going to be building new generative software at Intermorphic ... so for those of you wondering about the power of generative art and generative music, check-out the Intermorphic website at!