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I’m migrating my files and apps to my new MacBook Pro. A highly anticipated improvement was connecting my Drobo S to a USB 3.0 interface, instead of my previous laptop’s USB 2.0 bus.

During my migration, the Drobo Dashboard advised me that a Drobo firmware update was available. I did the update, which -boom- bricked my Drobo.

After trying rebooting, power-cycling the Drobo, and plugging it into the other USB socket, I’m at a point where Drobo Dashboard says the Drobo is healthy. But OS X won’t mount it. Disk Utility says:

Unable to bootstrap transaction group 6000: cksum mismatch
No valid commit checkpoint found
The volume xxxxxxx was found corrupt and needs to be repaired.
Problems were found with the partition map which may prevent booting
Error: This disk needs to be repaired. Click Repair Disk.

I then run Repair Disk, and it tells me the same thing! So Repair Disk can’t repair the disk!

I bought DiskWarrior (for $109, I’ll have you know) but it can’t repair a disk that isn’t mounted. They’ll ship me a physical CD-ROM of my purchase, so I can try booting from it. Oh, but wait, my MacBook Pro/Retina doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive!

I am not a happy camper.


Apple’s OS X Lion is a great product. I’m glad I upgraded. But it’s got some annoyances.

My first Mac was a version 1, back in 1985. After that, I used DEC operating systems for a few years, and then used Microsoft Windows exclusively throughout the 1990s and most of the 2000s. I switched back to Macs in 2008, when I bought a MacBook Pro with OS X Leopard.

OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard were fine, quintessential Apple products.

I’ve now upgraded to OS X Lion. Nothing in the earlier two versions made me clench my teeth, but some of Lion’s changes bother me. Someone surely had a good reason for each one, yet all but one are backward steps in usability. (I’m fence-sitting about one of them.)

I won’t prattle about why my opinion matters, but I’ll remind you that I’m really smart and what I say is always right.

Here’s my list of top OS X Lion annoyances.

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After I removed Flash from my MacBook Pro, I was annoyed by frequent “Safari can’t find the Internet plug-in” warnings.

It turns out that ClickToFlash makes those warnings disappear. Meaning: Yes it does this when you have Flash installed, but it also does it if you don’t have Flash installed. You’ll see the “Flash” image where the Flash media would be, and won’t get the annoying pop-up.

Hat tip to Joe for this suggestion.


Innerdaemon has a short, blunt list of suggestions for Adobe w.r.t. Apple. Money quote:

Some suggestions on what [Adobe] can do to get back in the game instead of whining like a teenager who got dumped for the first time:

  1. Build your own damn tablet, optimized for Flash. Two kids in India built their own…Go buy them if you don’t want to build it yourself…
  2. Start an intermediary transcode service for Flash. Don’t want to build one? Buy RipCode.
  3. Fix Flash for OS X, and resolve CPU hogging issues for iPhone, iPad. Give us a reason to care.
  4. Decide on a corporate strategy and execute… No company can serve all customer segments, target every market. What’s Adobe want to be?
  5. If you can’t decide, sell yourself to Google.

Last night, I tried installing the latest Release Candidate of Adobe’s Flash plug-in.

It didn’t install correctly. I uninstalled it, searched for leftover installation files, and then reinstalled. Still didn’t work. I then uninstalled, tried something else, installed, uninstalled, rebooted, installed, uninstalled, tried one last thing, installed. Still didn’t work.

Then, I snapped.

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I’ve never been thrilled with Mac Mail’s default layout.

Letterbox is a free Mail plug-in that gives you a three-column view that’s more logical for wide screens. It rearranges the user interface into three vertical columns, so the message pane is to the right of the message list, instead of below it.

Three columns!

I’m running the latest Beta for Snow Leopard, and it works great. +1, highly recommended.


I’ve used the BumpTop 3-D desktop (Mac version) for a day. It’s a promising start, but not worth using, or paying for.

BumpTop’s visual metaphor is a 3-D desktop surrounded by four walls. It works with OS X’s Spaces, so each Space can be a 3-D desktop. This means each virtual desktop now has five surfaces (the desk and four walls) for icons. Application windows can exist only on the desk, while icons can be there or on any wall. This is useful, if you need more space for icons.

So: Think of an application window being attached to a Space, and a BumpTop 3-D background being attached to a Space. BumpTop represents your desktop icons. The application window and BumpTop aren’t aware of each other.

You can move icons (except for one kind, the “pile”) to any surface. You can swivel the view to bring any surface to the fore. (E.g., double-clicking the right wall will bring the right wall front and center.) You can slide an icon into a wall and watch it bounce off — Ooooo, physics!

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I’m trying a new 3D desktop, for Macs. It’s called BumpTop. I’ve only played with it a bit, but it’s interesting enough to keep it for the next couple of days, and see how I like it.

I already see one visual oddity… The BumpTop desktop is 3-D, but open application windows are 2-D.


I’ve wanted to replace EMC Retrospect 8 as my home backup application for some time. Seven months after its release, Retrospect 8.0/8.1 still has atrocious performance, buggy behavior, and no user manual.

I’ve decided on a simple solution. The primary backups will be Time Machine to a Drobo USB disk hanging off my Airport Extreme. The secondary (off-site) backups will use a online backup service, such as Jungle Disk.

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Cleaning the mental loft of some odds and ends…

An ex-colleague torpedoed my reputation with a start-up. I uncovered this from the timing of the company’s backing out, a LinkedIn update, and a third party’s casual comment. It gets better: I had been neutral about them, due to doubts about the company’s technical direction and market opportunity. OOTB they said TBNT, and a few days later I discovered the torpedo in the water. The epilogue: I’ve since learned things that confirmed my earlier qualms about the company, so it’s just as well (good for me, actually) that our talks are off. So to my anonymous known admirer: Thanks for helping me dodge a bullet! And, Bitter, party of 1: Your table is ready.

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