RAID

 

I am using Apple’s software raid in my Mac Pro. I have pair of 3TB Barracuda drives. So far there has been no problem. Then I got this.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 6.26.44 PM

 

What “Failed” means is a mystery to me. Could it be some kind of data corruption or physical failure of the drive? It seems unlikely that hard drive mechanism would just die suddenly. Those things are ultra reliable these days. SMART status showed no issue.

What I did first was to verify which physical disk is the failed one. Disk Utility told me that the failed one is living in Bay 4.

So I shut down the machine and pulled the drive out, and connected it to my Macbook Pro via my USB3 interface. The disk worked perfectly. I was able to even run disk utility in it and check for logical errors. There was none, whatsoever.

Now, actually I think the proper way to do this would have been to demote the failed one before pulling it out. This way there would be absolutely no confusion which drive is which. When I was accessing the drive with my Macbook the raid array showed up there as well which was a bit scary.. But anyway, I thought since the disk is “failed” it won’t matter to the actual system anyway and drives can go totally dead.

So I attempted to format the damaged one. If the disk really is bad, it might show up during formatting. Formatting went totally fine, just as you would expect with a normal working drive.

So I put it back in my Mac Pro and booted up. DU said that the drive is now missing, which is to be expected. I demoted the missing drive, and dragged the freshly formatted one back to the RAID set. Then simply “Rebuild”. It takes about 7 hours. What’s really cool is that diskutil appleraid list  command in terminal actually gives you the percentage of the progress as well as other useful information. Some people recommend to do this stuff entirely from terminal which is fine, that stuff doesn’t look too complicated, but I thought to test the DU’s demote / rebuild buttons. It seems no problem.

Good thing is that I am able to access and work with the data while it’s rebuilt. There’s no downtime. I have my Time Machine backup anyway, so I’m feeling quite carefree and gay. However it’s good to note this time december-22 in my calendar, should the data become corrupted somehow due to me being total amateur in RAID setups, I would be able to recover from a backup that was made earlier than this moment. And my most important treasures, my present day Lightroom Catalog and image data is also on another external drive which normally disconnected. (I wrote a little shell script which uses rsync to update the disk whenever I plug it in so it’s super convenient)

Couple of things worth noting:

  • OS X gave me no warning whatsoever of the failing RAID slice. I was lucky to just find out by accident the failing drive when using DU.
  • If we compare this situation to the non-raid scenario, the obvious benefit is that I am able to keep working with the data, non-stop, even while rebuilding the RAID. If I was relying on Time Machine backup solely, I would first need to transfer the data in order to work with it. 2TB+ takes a very long time especially since my backup drive is connected via FW800.
  • I could add one more disk to the pack to act as a hot spare for extra safety. I am actually considering this since I have my Bay 3 empty at the moment. If one would fail I would still have two good ones.
  • One more obvious benefit of the RAID mirroring is that the repair can wait; as long as I have extra backup, there’s no immediate need to do anything. I can just order replacement drive from Amazon and when it arrive, swap the bad one. Of course this is because I do have TM in which I can rely in total catastrophe. This flexibility is definite benefit of RAID.

It is interesting question why the disk in Bay 4 became corrupted. I suspect it’s just something that happens every now and then with things like Apple’s Software RAID. If the same disk would fail again, then it’s likely to be hardware issue.

 

 

Angry Inch

How many of us replaces a watch every two years? iPhone 5 for example is kind of made like a watch. It’s extremely well made object. But so many people in Japan for example always want the latest and greatest, thus they abandon their extremely well designed and manufactured aluminium and glass iPhone 5 for the latest thing. What a pity, really.

I honestly think 4 inch iPhone 5 is perfect size for me. I don’t want it any bigger. It’s just right for me. It’s easy to handle and works perfectly. If I need to read or write a long article I’ll probably use Mac or iPad. Smaller device is also more discreet. And if I need to do something what I can’t do with 4 inch screen, I would still probably feel uncomfortable doing with 5 or 6 inch screen.

Gadget buying is kind of like having a fever. I admit it, honestly I would like to have Leica M6 with a really nice Leica lens. It would be amazing.. But I know if I would buy it I would probably soon get used to it. I would probably keep using it, but the pleasure of my shiny new camera would soon diminish. To be honest, actually my Voigtlander is probably almost as good as Leica. The experience of shooting isn’t that different. Instead of worrying about buying new shiny things, I focus on shooting more pictures.

Eric Kim has brilliant article, Happiness and Street Photography. Number one on his list “What hasn’t brought me happiness in street photography” is Cameras and equipment. I concur, Eric.

It’s good idea to use the money for experiences rather than material.

And you know, when we die we can’t bring any of that stuff with us.

Handoff

I had my Eureka! moment when my wife called me and I was away from my iPhone, using my iPad. The call came through to my iPad and I was able to answer it. Then, I was able to make ordinary calls with iPad and send SMS messages.

It’s something that doesn’t seem like it’s such a big deal, but actually it makes a lot of sense. This kind of effortless integration is one of the reasons why I love using Apple’s devices. For Handoff to work I had to do absolutely nothing, (except update to iOS8). Apple guessed I would like this to be enabled by default, and they were right.

Moreover, now I’m able to send SMS from my iPad. Really good thing. Can’t wait Yosemite so that I will be able to enjoy this kind of comfort from my Macbook Pro.

Regarding iPhone 6 design

I was honestly turned off by the industrial design of iPhone 6. Segmented back and general absence of Apple’s design standard left me cold; while I dig the curved glass and round edges, the protruding camera lens and unnecessary complexity of the design left me wondering; is Apple becoming just another gadget company?

Take for example, iPod Classic, especially the last version with click wheel. From industrial design point of view, there’s no question about it, it’s extremely well designed. It’s bold and original. It can be recognised from distance; it’s iPod, clear and simple.

iPhone 3G, iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 (and 5s) were also good designs. My own favourite is still black iPhone 5. It is obviously informed design and it has nothing unnecessary. It is also honestly black; everything is black in this phone and there is no decoration. It looks like monolith from 2001: Space Odyssey, and it’s what I like; it’s elegant and sophisticated, and yet so simple.

I believe industrial design should be a statement of the core values of the company that manufactures it. For example, organic curves of Genelec’s speakers is a bold design that goes surely noticed. Seeing the speakers I felt that the designers must be beautiful people. (and they really are, by the way). Moreover the design serves a purpose; the organic shape provides a stronger structure and less interference for sound. Design is communication.

Another example; Apple’s Macbook Pro. It’s is simplified design from earlier versions. The “Macbook Pro” title is gone from the display, the sleep LED light is gone too, and I don’t miss either of them. The new Macbook Pro is a great and sophisticated design that is joy to use. There are no visible segments except the removable bottom plate. The computer has clean lines and form that serves function. I liked Apple’s choice to simplify the existing design.

With iPhone 6, Apple however seems confused. It doesn’t even lie flat on surface because of the protruding camera lens. It’s just a packet of latest technology. It seems to me that Apple just had to make it thinner so that they could say it’s thinner.

It is dangerous game; can they make iPhone 7 even more thinner? I am not expert by any means what comes to cellular antennas but there must have been a better way to get antennas working than accept the god-awful bloody segmented back; they could have made the phone from polycarbonate for all I care if that would result a cleaner design.

Technology should enhance our lives in unobtrusive, visually pleasing way. It saddens me to see that Apple seems to be losing it’s core values regarding their phone’s design.