Where’s my fusion drive?

A week ago my iMac’s fusion drive failed. Despite trying to fix it myself through software the reality was that it was looking very much like a hardware failure. I booked it into the Apple Store for a repair.

Less than a week later I got a call from the Apple Store saying it was fixed and I could come and pick it up. Having driven up to the store and come home, I got my iMac out of the car and set it up. I switched on my iMac. 

The Apple Store had replaced the failing hard drive, but that was it. They had left it pretty much, from an OS X perspective as I had left it with them. The SSD was still visible, but at least now I could see the 3TB physical drive. I had to reset the fusion drive. Luckily I knew how to do this via Terminal and the diskutil resetfusion command.

I did think that this was poor, as the last time the drive failed they had reset the fusion drive and installed OS X onto the iMac. 

Having reset the fusion drive, I then set about formatting the drive and installing OS X. Decided to bite the bullet and install Big Sur, knowing full well that I had applications that I liked that I wouldn’t be able to use. Key for me was Fireworks, but I did have Photoshop which I could use instead..

Installing Big Sur didn’t take long.

Then I used the migration assistant to start moving files from the external hard drive to the iMac. This took much longer than I thought it would.

Finally after many hours it looked like my iMac was back. iMac

Getting it repaired

Well after the failure (again) of the Fusion Drive in my iMac I took it to the Genius Bar of my local Apple Store. They confirmed my diagnosis that the Fusion Drive had failed.

I had a few options.

I could replace the SATA HDD myself with another SATA HDD, which I did consider. I could replace the broken SATA HDD with a new SDD drive.

I could get someone else to do that.

However upon consideration, taking a 2014 iMac apart isn’t a simple job and would require replacing the adhesive for the glass LCD panel. So wasn’t sure I wanted to go down the road. Also the cost of a 2TB or 3TB SDD was quite expensive, though buying a 3TB HDD myself would be cheaper than what Apple was proposing to charge.

I did consider before taking it to Apple to get someone else to do this, but they would charge £84 first just to diagnose the problem, so would then charge (like Apple) for labour on top, as well as the replacement HDD cost.

What the Apple Store was proposing wasn’t excessive and so decided to go down that road.

So now they have my iMac for a week, well hopefully less time than that.

It’s bigger…

Dropped into the Apple Store on my way home, this was an unplanned stop, as due to traffic problems I took the opportunity for a break to take a look at the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus.

iPhone6 and iPhone 6 Plus

As you might imagine the shop was quite crowded on launch day, but as it was early evening I was able to try out and get a feel for each of the new iPhone 6s.

I did think when I picked up the first iPhone 6 that it was the plus model, as it felt quite large and comparing it to the iPhone 5 it looked much bigger. I then realised that this was not the plus model, just the 4.7” iPhone 6. I then realised how much bigger the 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus is!

It is huge, not as big as some of the Samsung phones, it felt very much like an iPad mini. The 5.5” screen certainly gives you a lot more screen real estate than you get with the 4” screen of the iPhones 4 and 5. I can see how such a device will allow you to increase productivity, and is more usable.

I have read though that unless apps have been optimised for the iPhone 6 Plus they don’t look quite right. I am sure most developers will get round to changing their apps at some point (if they haven’t done already).

I am less sure about the design, the thinness does make it feel lighter than it probably is, but the curves seem more of a backward step, quite retro. The gold version looked like and felt like my Google Nexus One, more brown than gold.

Overall the new iPhone 6 looks and feels much more a response to what has been happening in the smartphone market than something new and innovative, that will make other companies sit up and take notice. The original iPhone and iPad, though not the first touch screen smartphone or tablet, were from a design and technical perspective innovative and game changers. The iPhone 6 is an interesting evolution of the iPhone, but it isn’t a game changer.

How to sell a Windows 8 laptop, or not…

Back in August 2011 I wrote a blog article about how awful the customer experience was at Staples when you wanted to try out anything in the store.

Well Staples could learn a lot from Apple about how best to present the kit they sell they have on display. I was in there the other day and they had a really nice range of tablets on display, most were Android, but there was also the HP TouchPad.

Most had power, but not all. None had anything on them except the default install, so no apps to try, no content to view or look at. Though all had wifi, none could be used to access the internet as none of them were connected to the internet! Really what was the point of having them on display, when the average consumer is going to have no idea about how they work and how they could fit into their lifestyle.

I was in their last week buying some sticky labels and noticed that they had a Windows 8 display.

How to sell a Windows 8 laptop, or not...

Well I thought to myself, though I had “played” with the WIndows 8 Beta, here’s an opportunity to try out, not only the release version, but a piece of dedicated Windows 8 hardware.

So looking at the piece of HP kit, I looked at the screen…

Automatic Repair and that it couldn’t repair the PC.

Automatic Repair and that it couldn’t repair the PC.So not only was it unusable, it was also broken. Hardly a good advert for Windows 8.

I have no idea if this was a Windows 8 problem, an HP hardware problem, however it was a problem for Staples.

Again I ask the simple question, as a customer why on earth would I buy anything from Staples if not only can I not try out a piece of hardware (as I can at the Apple Store) but why on earth would you have on display a piece of broken hardware?

There are very good reasons why Apple can make so much money from every square foot of retail space they have, other companies need to send not only their staff there, but also the managers of such companies like Staples need to go to the Apple store and then go to their own stores to see what a vastly different experience it is.

Also companies like Microsoft and HP need to do so much more to ensure that companies like Staples don’t scupper their efforts in selling laptops and software.

turbo.264 HD

I am a great fan of Elgato’s EyeTV and have been thinking for some time about buying their turbo.264 USB device to speed up the conversion and encoding of my recordings for use on the iPod touch or iPhone.

As I was near an Apple Store today I decided to pop in and see if they had one. Thought I found it and checked the price, wow, £139.95.

I know that buying retail can sometimes be a little more expensive, but the price seemed ridiculous, I had expected it to be around to £80-£100 mark.

Well, at least with the Apple Store with all their computers and free wifi I thought I would just recheck the Elgato website, and there on their website was the device for £139.95.

At this point I noticed the name, the turbo.264 HD read a little more and realised that this was not the turb0.264 I thought it was, but a new product, one which would also do HD. Released back in March I had missed the release.

turbo.264 HD

Are you frustrated by the amount of time it takes to get the video out of your new HD camcorder and into a watchable format?

Do you want to watch your videos and EyeTV recordings on your iPod, iPhone or Apple TV?

Do you wish it didn’t take so long for your EyeTV recordings to be ready for Wi-Fi Access?

Want to put your videos on YouTube and take advantage of their new HD features?

Do you own a Sony PSP® and need a way to export videos to it?

Are you a video professional and need an efficient and inexpensive way to compress your video for streaming or the web?


Turbo.264 HD is right for you.

As well as speeding up my EyeTV recording conversions I can also use it for other video conversion. Shall be interesting to see how much faster it does work.

Initial tests seem to show that it does work faster.

Quiet External Drive – LaCie Poulton 1TB

Was is only a few days ago I was blogging about noisy external drives when I happened to find myself in the Apple Store in Regent Street in London when I noticed that they had a LaCie Poulton drive on display, switched in and boy was it quiet. So quiet that even when I put my ear to it, I couldn’t hear it!

No fans.

So even though I had only popped in for a look at the Apple Store, out came the wallet and a purchase was made.

LaCie Hard Drive by Poulton