United Promotions

Quick reminder, United has double EQM miles if you sign up by April 21. Also, if you use the “Mileage Plus Mall”:http://mponlinemallcom and use it to buy from Apple, you get one mile for each dollar on top of what your credit card gives you.

For instance, with “Hertz”:http://offer.hertz.com/offers/index.jsp?targetPage=uaelite.jsp?id=5964 if you use the Mileage Plus discount number PC62455, you can earn 1,000 bonus miles on a 2-4 day rental

The “Avis”:http://www.avis.com/AvisWeb/html/partner/ua/elite.html?ICID=PartnerUA&IID=elite2008 promotion is not as good. It is 250 bonus miles for 3-4 day rentals. The discount number is AWD K019300

Snipe Racing

The summer season snuck in on us. At “Snipe Fleet 444”:http://www.snipe444.org/ they race every Tuesdays April-September, so time to get started with at least the Summer series June 18-July 30.

These things are a class of boat, but there are lots of manufacturers and things to consider. “Mike McLaughlin”:http://www.snipe.org/articles/buyused.php did a good overview article on them that is mindnumbing in complexity. You need a good used boat in the first year.

His main points are that the boat itself should be within five pounds of its weight. Otherwise, it has absorbed water. You want a boat with PVC foams. He mentions there are lots of shapes from Chubasco, Eclipse, Jibetech, McLaughlin, Mueller, Persson and Phoenix.

The mast must be a good bendty one. Cobra II, Firestix, Sidewinder, Proctor Miracle and Bryant are all OK.

The blade (daggerboard and rudder) are less improtant but should be straight and smooth.

Time Capsule and Airport Extreme Downgrade to 7.3 and MBA Problems

Well, many folks on “Apple’s discussion”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7026416 are talking about performance issues with 7.3.1. Like me, I now lose the connection to the Time Capsule drive and then Time Machine fails and looks for a password (which should be on the key chain).

The other problem is slow network “speeds”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1477962&tstart=-2 where folks are seeeing speed stuck at 2Mbps (I see 2MBps), but when they go back to 7.3, they get back to high speeds. That is what most folks are seeing. 2MBps even on large copies. Also, the MacBook Air looks stuck at about 2MBps writing while the MacBook Pro is at 9MBps as “Macintouch”:http://www.macintouch.com/reviews/timecapsule/ reports. As an aside, you should get about 14MBps with a direct gigabit ethernet connect.

Here is how you downgrade:

# Start /Utilities/Airport Utility
# Click on your Airport and click on Manual Setup
# Choose Base Station/Upload Firmware and you should see 7.3.1 and 7.3

Color All-in-one revisited

OK, we had the Ikon guy in to look at printers that are all-in-one. Confirms some of the initial work we did. There are basically four vendors, HP, Canon, Ricoh and Xerox to consider. And there are two major lines, consumer and business oriented. So it seems to be a you get what you pay for business.

The PC Magazine leader seems to be Xerox. They have a solid ink technology and low cost. The big issue is what happens when Xerox disappears as a vendor. On the other hand, it is the only middle of the road all-in-one that could be copier we could find:

* “Xerox Phaser 8860”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2199147,00.asp. It lists for about $3K street. Or about $4K list for the “8860MFP”:http://www.office.xerox.com/multifunction-printer/color-multifunction/phaser-8860mfp/enus.html. They claim consumables are lower, but it does need to be on 24 hours to keep the solid ink melted. It won’t collate though.
* “Xerox Phaser 6180MFP”:http://www.office.xerox.com/multifunction-printer/color-multifunction/phaser-6180mfp/enus.html. This is $950 that does copy, fax, print and scan with duplexing.
* “Xerox Phaser 6360DN”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2135176,00.asp. This is only a color printer at $1000 street.

For HP the choices are:

* “HP Color LaserJet CM6030”:http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF05a/18972-18972-238444-12004-3328085-3644750.html which is replacing the HP 9500 for $9000 list price. This is 30ppm but does have a finishing option.

For Canon the choices are:

* “Canon iRC3480” which is 34ppm and about $13K stree

For Ricoh the choices are:

* “Ricoh SP C811DN”:http://www.ikon.com/products/Printers/Color/Ricoh_Aficio_SPC811DN.asp. this is supposed to be about 15% less reliable than the Canon. It is $4K

Time Machine Slow Initial Backup

We’ve found Time Machine incredibly, incredibly slow on the initial backup. Even with gigabit ethernet, it would backup may 3GB after 2 hours. With the way we use machines at work, it would just start over all the time. “Macrumors.com”:http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=379066 has some advice about what to do:

* Turn off Time Machine
* If you aren’t using a Time Capsule, “don’t”:http://blog.stevex.net/index.php/2007/11/04/time-machine-and-slow-first-backup/ let Time Machine format the disk, do it yourself (not relevant if you have Time Capsule since these are already formatted). “Gizmodo.com”:http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/apple/leopard-disk-utility-format-issue-screws-with-time-machine-but-theres-an-easy-fix-316573.php explains the problem is that with PC formatted drives, Time Machine doesn’t format them correctly, so you have to erase with Disk Utility and then format as a Mac drive with Disk Utility as well.
* Exclude the disk from spotlight indexing and don’t start the initial backup while spotlight is doing the initial installation. “Discussions.apple.com”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1430223&tstart=0 emphasizes that you ahve to turn privacy tab off of spotlight for all disk involved. Go to System Preference>Spotlight>Privacy and drag to all the disks involved. Both the Time Capsule and the local hard drive.
* Turn off virus checking for sure! (I think this is my problem with my MacBook Air. I use clamav). This sped up the system 10x for the user.
* Other folks report that unmounting Time Capsule from Finder might help, but that’s unclear.

A 90GB system should take 120 minutes to do.

On a different front, “vitarara.org”:http://www.vitarara.org/cms/node/149 points out that you need to delete the “.inprogress” folder using the Finder on your Time Capsule and then restart Time Machine. You should get 12-14MB/second on a wired connection.

For “Time Capsule”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7110199 itself, people are finding that it takes 8 hours to backup 150GB and they use the wired connection. It is slow apparently intentionally to keep the computer being backed up fast. Not what folks want. I suspect, most folks would want to dedicate it because 8 hours of waiting just doesn’t make sense for most folks with laptops. Means they would be without a computer for a day in essence at work.

Others are reporting that the “Time Capsule”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1430223&tstart=0 seems to slow down over the day and they need to do a restart. *It seems to me that what is probably happening is the 802.11 wifi is slowly hunting down. That can happen, the Wifi slows down if there is interference and never goes back up, so it sounds like regular reboots of slow Time Capsules matter*

Some other problems include “backup corruption”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1503192&tstart=0 on MacBook Pro on wireless and then will hang on preparing backup…

As an aside the theoretical speeds for a Time Capsule should be “11.76MBps”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1471381&tstart=15 on Gigabit ethernet and 10MBps on 5Ghz. I’ve never actually gotten this.

Finally some folks suspect that the latest firmware “7.3.1”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1471381&tstart=15 is just slowing things down and “some”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1502277&tstart=30 have found that a hardware reset by pushing the factory reset on the back realy does help. He was getting 0.2MBps until he hit reset then got 2MBps on an 802.11g connection.

C Drive is failing!

Yikes, one of our machines has a faiilng C drive. It is a great 74GB Western Digital 10,000 rpm drive, but I can’t defrag it. It won’t completel. Norton Ghost fails on reading sectors. When I try to chkdsk, it comes out fine, so something is wrong. Time to figure out how to migrate to a new drive.

Actually it is fine since this machine hasn’t been rebuilt for three years and it is very flaky with all the video and other stuff loaded, so I just need to:

# “Dynamic to Basic”:http://www.theeldergeek.com/hard_drives_10.htm Convert one of the “dynamic”:http://www.petri.co.il/difference_between_basic_and_dynamic_disks_in_windows_xp_2000_2003.htm drives I have to basic. You can only boot from basic drives and there is no utility to convert dynamic to basic. Sigh. Windows.
# Norton Ghost has a single disk backup, so I’m going to take a standard copy as well
# “Convert to Basic”:http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsServer/en/library/354e5163-f388-4354-984c-ea4e4206694c1033.mspx?mfr=true
Basically, you start Computer Management/Storage/Disk Managment. Then you right click on the drive icon (not the big white thing on right but the actual icon) and you will see Convert to Basic Disk