Plugable USB 3.0 Powered Hub : The Good News is it Seems to like an iMac

I recently posted up a thread in which I explained how my previous USB 2.0 Powered hub didn’t seem to like my new 2013 iMac and it was subsequently returned, and that I was on the look out for a replacement…

Well after a little searching I felt I may have found that replacement, and at this early stage it does indeed seem that I have.

So if you are a late 2012 or late 2013 iMac owner who has had issues with USB hubs not being able to cope then one worth trying for you is the ‘Plugable’ Powered USB 3.0 HUB. I picked it up on for about £30.

For reference I currently have a 500Gb Portable USB 3.0 drive, a 1TB Portable USB 3.0 drive, and a powered 3TB USB 3.0 plugged into the rear of my iMac along with this 7 Port Powered Hub. In the HUB I have had running without any issues whatsoever a 320Gb Powered Drive and a further 1TB Powered drive (These are both USB 2.0). I have also had at the same time my iPhone 5s and iPad (3rd Generation) syncing and iPhoto pulling photos off my Panasonic TZ30 digital camera as well as my GoPro HD Hero 3 Black Edition.

Now admittedly there is a lot going on here on here and much more than I usually would be doing at one one time, but it was a good way to test the hub. The results were ‘two thumbs up’ everything worked away doing its thing, without any drive drop outs or apparently power problems. (My previous HUB failed on simply having the 2 external drives plugged into it).

So all in all after over a weeks use the HUB is yet to experience any issues or give me any problems. A firmware update is available however it must be done from a Windows machine. I have not at this stage completed this firmware upgrade as things are working well, and as the man says, ‘If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.’

One little superstition I did carry out was before I plugged in any USB 2.0 devices into the HUB was I allowed each port to mount a USB 3.0 drive. I don’t know if this is a requirement, and to be honest I doubt very much it is, however it is something I and my colleagues always do with USB 3.0 ports – mount a USB 3.0 device first. The legend goes it lets the port know it is a 3.0 rather than getting locked in at 2.0 speeds.

So there you have it, if you are experiencing iMac related USB HUB issues this may well be the HUB worth trying, (one final thought is that the blue LEDs can be rather bright at night, so make sure you have some black electrical tape to cover them up).

Plugable USB 3.0 Powered HUB Unboxing Gallery :

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Show hidden files Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion

I have found that on ocassion you may need to see some of the hidden files and folders in OSX, mainly for troubleshooting. When enabled things can appear very messy and untidy so in my opinion it is best to make things visible, then when you are done, hide them again.

Good luck.

To enable hidden files/folders in finder windows:

– Open Finder

– Open the Utilities folder

– Open a terminal window

– Copy and paste the following line in:
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES

– Press return

– Now hold ‘alt’ on the keyboard and right click on the Finder icon

– Click on Relaunch

You will now see all the hidden files and folders. Once you are finished, perform the steps above however, replace the terminal command in step 4 with:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO

Acer Aspire One D257 RAM Upgrade

The Acer Aspire One D257 is a capable netbook, but one of the choke points of the system is that it is supplied with 1Gb of RAM, this can be easily upgraded by the user to a maximum of 2Gb and this is one upgrade that I reccommend all users consider.

It is a fairly simple process that can be done without any issues by taking your time and being careful.  It isn’t like your desktop where the RAM upgrade is almost foolproof, here you will need to undone some very delicate clips and leads, my best advice is :

1.  Take your time.

2.  Don’t force anything, if it is isn’t going, it won’t go.

Then my next bit of advice is watch this video, it isn’t mine, but I used it and it is very good and well explained :

From this video you will see that this can be broken down into a number of simple parts…

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Acer Aspire One D257 Netbook Windows 8 Installation

Acer Aspire One D257 Windows 8 Installation :

I have decided to add this as an individual post to make it easier for anyone looking for specific information in relation to installation of windows 8 on a netbook, so apologies for the double post.

They say it couldn’t be done! They say it wont work! I say, ‘Bring it on!’

Every one loves a challenge right? So here is the thing Windows 8 is out, I have it. It was on my Mac, I got rid of the Mac, so I had a licence of Windows 8. I wanted it on my netbook. It requires a minimum resolution of 768. My netbook has a resolution of 600. They say nothing will work, I say we will tell it to work!

If you are in the same position and have a 600 resolution netbook and would like to see what Windows 8 is like, it is entirely possible. The upscaled resolution would look completely polished but it is entirely usable and more importantly fully functional!

This machine comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition so the first thing to do is to make sure it is fully updated so run windows update.

– Now Install Windows 8 – as you would if upgrading any machine. Run the ‘Setup’ from the USB / media…Windows 8 will install.

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Acer Aspire One D257 – Unboxing and Windows 8 Installation

Recently whilst in the process of changing from my MacBook Pro to an iMac I went through a stage of being ‘computerless.’  In today’s modern era that’s just not an option!  Couple this with a recent holiday to America during which I borrowed a friends netbook to use as a storage device for the bucket loads of photos and videos I took and found it to be a brilliant little device for this purpose.  Every traveller should consider taking a netbook with them, couple with a portable HDD for backups it is the perfect solution for storing and viewing a large amount of photos.  You can then obviously do basic editting, emailing etc, and the storage options you have are much greater than say for example a 16Gb or even 64Gb iPad.  A netbook will have for example 320Gb of storage and a 1Tb portable drive can be picked up for reasonably sensible money now.  Anyway I digress.  I picked up a brand new net book on gumtree for the handsome of £100.  The Spec of the Acer Aspire One is as follows :

Read moreAcer Aspire One D257 – Unboxing and Windows 8 Installation

D-Link USB 2.0 7 Port Hub Unboxing & Important Mac Related Notes

Whilst I was still using my MacBook Pro I had also been using a USB Hub, although due to power restraints I had to upgrade to a Powered Hub.  After a little research the D-Link 7 USB 2.0 Powered Hub seemed to be the way forward.  I ordered it up and upon its arrival I plugged in it, stuck in in the MBP and now had an extra six USB 2.0 Hubs to play with.

On this machine it worked flawlessly, never missing a beat, my machine didn’t have USB3.0 so that wasn’t an issue and this hub happily powered four HDDs (2 of which were powered, 2 were portable).  It also worked whilst syncing my iphone / ipad and camera.  No complaints whatsoever on this machine.

This specific Hub also has two ports which are dedicated to charging.  They are ports six and seven, and if your machine is powered down but the hub is still on (via the wall socket) you can use ports six or seven to charge your phone / tablet etc.  It does not charge whilst the machine is in use.

For reference the machine this Hub was being used with was a Early 2011 MackBook Pro i7 2.2GHz (1Gb Graphics), 8Gb RAM, USB 2.0 with a Apple Cinema Display attached via Thunderbolt.

Then came the problems.  I upgraded my computer to an iMac.  It was at this point that this hub stopped working.

Again for reference the machine it was being used with was a late 2013 27″ iMac i7 3.5Ghz, (4Gb NVIDIA Graphics), 8Gb RAM, USB 3.0.

In this set up I used 3 of the 4 USB 3.0 ports on the rear of the machine to deal with three USB  3.0 hard drives (2 portable and one powered).  The forth port was used to power the D-Link Hub.  At this point only 2 hard drives were being used in it (both themselves powered desktop drives).  This is when things started to fail.  Both drives would mount momentarily, then disconnect with errors, mount -> disconnect and repeat!  If you removed one drive the other mount successfully (either drive).  Either drive would successfully mount via the USB ports to the rear of the machine.

For some reason when both drives were plugged into this port things failed.  My only option was to bin the hub and try again with a new one.  A quick Google search for USB hub problems with an iMac do tend to suggest that this is an issue with many hubs and the power they require as opposed to what they actually supply.

As expected customer service from Amazon was excellent and a new hub was ordered.

D-Link USB 2.0 Hub Gallery :

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Griffin Protector Case Unboxing and Quick Thoughts

This isn’t so much of a review as more of an initial quick thought post.

I purchased this case as a quick installing silicon case for my iPhone 5s, at this stage such cases specific to the iPhone 5s are pretty scarce, so this case is one that has been in production since the iPhone 5. There is no functionality for the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, but other than that everything else is perfectly functional. All ports are accessible and the camera cut out works well, both with and without flash.

I won’t dwell on this case too much by simply stating the obvious, this is a silicon case, it has reinforced corners offering a good degree of drop and bump (or as it says on the packaging ‘jolt) protection.

It is face safe in that the edge of the case around the screen ensures the screen itself does not come in contact with a flat surface, should it be placed screen down on one.

I like silicon cases for the protection they offer, although like most such cases there are a few negatives.

– This case catches dust and dirt – a lot. Even in the unboxing images this is cleary evident, remember at this stage this case has been out of its packaging for mere seconds…

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– With only one application there was evidence of stretching…

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Spigen Tough Armor Case for Apple iPhone 5/5s Unboxing and Review

With the addition of the Touch ID Finger Print sensor on the new iPhone 5s it has meant that case developers are still working on the technology for my usual style of tough cases such as the Griffin Survivor, or Otterbox Armor / Defender Series.  Obviously anything for the iPhone 5 that covers the home button will not be compatible with the new iPhone 5s’ Touch ID Sensor.

And like anyone with a new toy I want to play with it, so at this point covering the Home button isn’t the option I want to use.  A quick search on the net then pointed my in the direction of a manufacturer called Spigen.  I haven’t owned a Spigen case, nor seen or used one before so on taking some online reviews at their word I ordered myself a Spigen Tough Armor case.  It was pretty expensive at £20 from Amazon, however if the reviews are correct it should be a £20 well spent.

As usual with Amazon it arrived quickly and on taking it out of the box I was pretty impressed.   The case feels solid, and well manufactured.  It looks good, the white version complementing the white iPhone well.  The subtle branding of the case looks smart.  The explanation of the tech behind it is basically impact diversion.  The case takes a knock and the design of the case then spreads the forces from the impact throughout the case, keeping the forces away from your phone.  The result is it shouldn’t break.  Thats the theory anyway and the inside of the case has nice lines running from corner to corner, maybe this is an illustration of the force distribution or something.  I think it looks like flight plans plotted on a flattened out globe, but anyway that hardly matters.

One thing I really did like about this case is that it comes with a serial number that you type into the Spigen website and it checks the authenticity of the case.  As you will see from previous posts I have been a victim of counterfeiters before and this is a really nice idea by Spigen.   Something other premium branded and high cost case makers should consider implementing,

The phone fits well into the case.  The buttons are responsive, power and volume buttons are covered.  The remaining ports and silent rocker switch are left open.  There is a cut out on the rear for the shiney Apple logo to peek through, ye know just in case some one might not be aware you are using an iPhone.

Read moreSpigen Tough Armor Case for Apple iPhone 5/5s Unboxing and Review