Aug 23, 2010

Aug - 10 2010 | By


Downgrade your System!

HOusehold Chemicls DAtabase from NIH

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Thanks Mikail for the following links about booting a Mac from a flash drive…

Install & Boot OS X Leopard from a USB Flash Drive:

A discussion thread from users…

It can be done even on a PowerPC but there are issues:

USB 3.0 vs FireWire 3200:

Additional notes  


Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at:
They're tagged with #Zentech

Editor comments are delimited by < >


The disclaimer:
Views and opinions expressed are those of the hosts and not necessarily those of anyone else.

Glenn asked previous callers, to whom solutions were suggested, to call back and share their results.

To find out why less is more, see the above link. You may not need the best computer to suit your needs.

You can get a netbook computer with an Atom CPU that's about as powerful as a CPU in a desktop machine of 5 to 8 years ago.
– Such CPUs consume much less energy and often don't require a cooling fan: one less thing to fail.
– There is less heat stress (thermal cycling) where solder joints and contacts can fail.
– Netbooks don't have CD drives: eliminating yet another thing that can go wrong. You can watch a movie on some netbooks if you copy it to a thumb drive, which can be had for about $12 for 8gig or $20 for 16gig (enough memory for 3 or 4 movies), at a place like
– If you need a USB floppy drive, they can be had from eBay for about $25.
– You can get an external USB CD drive for around $30, if you feel you really need one.
– You can get more storage space by storing your data online at Google Docs or <and many other places>
– Keep in mind that floppy disks have a limited lifespan. Don't expect your data to be there after about 3 years. So, before buying a floppy drive, check that your disks are still good.
– A big thing that goes wrong with a machine with CD or floppy drives is that cooling fans draw in dust. And without a fan that's one less mechanical problem. External USB floppy drives don't have either problem.

Glenn said he finds flash drives are handy for utility programs when he services other people's computers and for carrying data.
Paul asked if he has tried booting from a flash drive. Glenn said he's tried it but wasn't successful.
  Paul said modern computers are supposed to be able to do the boot but the flash drive first has to be specially formatted. There is also a utility that can copy application software from a DVD (or CD) to a 4gig flash drive so it can be run from there.
Paul went on to say that flash drives can die suddenly; static electricity is usually the problem, especially during dry weather. He suggested discharging yourself by touching a non-metal object in the room before picking up a flash drive. <By my thinking, you SHOULD touch a metallic ground to properly discharge.>

Chris called about booting a Mac from an external drive. She said that can be done only with a Firewire connection.
Paul said Macs can be made to boot from a USB drive, but it's not straightforward.
Paul said inexpensive miniature Firewire drives can be partitioned with a special boot partition that will allow you to boot from that drive. If you also want to use the drive for backing up your data using Mac's TimeMachine, you'll need to create a separate partition.
Chris said she likes Carbon Copy Cloner better than TimeMachine for backups.
Chris also said, make sure the Firewire hard drive you buy is compatible with TimeMachine, if that's what you want to use it for. Paul said you can buy drives already formatted from LaCie or Rockstar and, if you're going to format a drive, format it as GUID.
Paul said Firewire (for PC or Mac) has the advantage over USB in that it can be cascaded or daiy chained with devices.

Mikail called to correct what Chris just said.
– You can boot from USB drive on any Intel Mac using the built-in disk utilities.
– He has poor opinion about LaCie drives because he's had many of them fail.
– He's never had problems using TimeMachine with non-Firewire drives. He likes to format the drives himself no matter whom he buys the drives from.
– He does agree that Carbon Copy Cloner is a great program. He also suggested SuperDuper.
– Paul added that the problem he's had with booting from a USB drive was on a non-Intel Mac.
– Mikail said the article about downgrading <less is more, above> applies mainly for PCs, not the older non-Intel Macs. Power PC Macs just don't handle many of today's applications.|
– Firewire is getting left behind because Apple charges manufacturers a royalty for using it, making it more expensive. Sony Betamax VCR had a similar issue with licensing.

Cleo called and said she has a 2.5-year-old HP computer with Vista and when she tries to run Word (and some other programs), she gets the message "word is not responding".
Paul asked her to find the exact version of Vista she's using: click Start, right-click Computer, left-click on properties.
Doing that, she said she has Service Pack 2 so the next thing is to update her version of Office. To do that, go to, The Office update should take care the problem.

Scott called. He has an Intel Mac Book and he confirmed that there is no problem booting from USB hard drive or using TimeMachine. Also, he hasn't had any problems with his LaSee drive.
Paul said statistical rather than anecdotal evidence of reliability is more important and that for $1 you can get test results regarding hard drives from Consumer Reports.

Gary called asking for an opinion about Microsoft Essentials, an anti-virus program.
Paul said Microsoft initially tried to sell it and then decided to give it away.
Glenn noted that Microsoft made the operating system and then tried to sell a program to protect it. He said, he and Paul just use the free version of AVG.That's just the anti-virus program and not the entire suite of utilities from AVG. They both agreed that the full suite of any similar product is not worth the bother because, for one reason, it would use up a lot of processor time while constantly running.
Paul again brought up smitfraud <mentioned in last weeks show> saying he's never seen any security software that can defeat it.

Gary went on to say his wife's machine has Avg Free and now has a lot of "crap" from Yahoo. He'd like to get rid of it.
– When installing AVG Free it's important to do it in the manual mode and uncheck the option for the Yahoo toolbar (Paul later called it AVG toolbar <maybe there's 2 of 'em>). There's another checkbox for Internet Explorer: uncheck that too.
– You can manually delete 2 folders to solve the problem. On the C: drive go to Program Files -> AVG -> AVG9 and delete the folders called Toolbars & Firefox. Make sure no web browsers are running.

Gary then ask what the guys knew about the Yippy Cloud search engine. But they haven't heard of it before.

Ben called and asked the guys if they knew anything about Kaspersky Labs, a security product. He's been using it, it runs quietly in the background, and he asked for comments.
Paul said he's seen it running but hasn't dealt with it.
Ben said he first encountered Kaspersky at Sun Micro Systems where he worked. He found out Sun and other companies were using it on their corporate networks. He bought it for $60 and is now using it at home.
Kaspersky has a trial version.

Nicole called. She bought a Thinkpad about 1yr ago but it overheated and now has blank blue screen.
– It's likely a dead computer take in for repair.
– Restart the computer with the original CD in the drive and pick the option to recover the operating system.

She also asked if it's ok to reuse passwords.
– Not a good idea. At least use different versions of a password, e.g. if one password is bottle, your Gmail password might be bottleGmail and for your bank it might be bottleChase.

Listeners were nvited to add KVMR as a friend on Facebook to get notifications of things happening at the station.

Paul said he found a website providing information about household chemicals. See the above link.

Last updated: 10:07 PM 8/23/2010 

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