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10 Questions that have been bugging my mind...

Posted on 2006-11-02
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I have a few questions that has been bugging my mind.

1) I am using SMARTReporter to check the health of my G4 laptop's HD.  What interval should I set it to check it at?  The default interval setting is 60min.  I am planning to set it to everyday so that would make 1440.

2) When I verify permission from disk utility, should I select the actual disk or the partition that is listed underneath or should I verify permissions on both?

3) As I have mentioned earlier I have a PowerBook G4 17" running OS X (10.4.8)  I ran a lot of applications since I am in the software development business and at the sametime I share files with other machines so there is a lot of disk writing activity.  Is this "very" bad for the HD?  I am not worried about the performance of the computer.

4) Does is matter if I continue working if I am burning a DVD?  I have never had a problem where the burning process have failed.  I am just concerned about the writing quality, if there will be any faults during.

5) Sometimes when I am in a hurry, I cancel the DVD verifying after it has completed burning?  Does this have any side effects?

6) Again sometimes I forget to "exit" the Terminal properly and I close the Terminal app.  Does that session stay active and time out later?  What happens when I do not quit the terminal properly.

7) How do I pop open my keyboard for cleaning purposes?

8) I have about 800 fonts in the system.   Does this slow down the system like it does in Windows? If at all, how many will.

9) Also I connect two external USB HDs to my laptop? The jumpers are set to master on both.  Does this even matter in Mac? or even in Windows?

10) Does SMARTReporter or a similar application for Mac check the SMART status of your external disks?

Thank you all in advance.  I am curious to know what you all think.
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Question by:CompuTurk
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strung earned 100 total points
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1) I am using SMARTReporter to check the health of my G4 laptop's HD.  What interval should I set it to check it at?  The default interval setting is 60min.  I am planning to set it to everyday so that would make 1440.

   This is a personal preference. I have left mine set to 60 and have not noticed any performance hit. The trade off is safety against performance.

2) When I verify permission from disk utility, should I select the actual disk or the partition that is listed underneath or should I verify permissions on both?

   I believe you have to select the partition. It will verify only boot partitions.

3) As I have mentioned earlier I have a PowerBook G4 17" running OS X (10.4.8)  I ran a lot of applications since I am in the software development business and at the sametime I share files with other machines so there is a lot of disk writing activity.  Is this "very" bad for the HD?  I am not worried about the performance of the computer.

  I would assume the more activity, the sooner your drive will wear out.

4) Does is matter if I continue working if I am burning a DVD?  I have never had a problem where the burning process have failed.  I am just concerned about the writing quality, if there will be any faults during.

  If the disk verifies, then it was written properly.

5) Sometimes when I am in a hurry, I cancel the DVD verifying after it has completed burning?  Does this have any side effects?

  There are no "side effects", but if there was an error in writing to the disk, you wouldn't know about it.

6) Again sometimes I forget to "exit" the Terminal properly and I close the Terminal app.  Does that session stay active and time out later?  What happens when I do not quit the terminal properly.

  I believe closing Terminal App closes the session.

7) How do I pop open my keyboard for cleaning purposes?

   See:  http://repair4laptop.org/notebook_keyboard.html

8) I have about 800 fonts in the system.   Does this slow down the system like it does in Windows? If at all, how many will.

   Don't know.

9) Also I connect two external USB HDs to my laptop? The jumpers are set to master on both.  Does this even matter in Mac? or even in Windows?

  Both should be set to Master on either a Mac or a PC.

10) Does SMARTReporter or a similar application for Mac check the SMART status of your external disks?

  This page:  http://homepage.mac.com/julianmayer/ suggests that it does not support external drives.
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by:walsellers
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7) How do I pop open my keyboard for cleaning purposes?
      See:  http://repair4laptop.org/notebook_keyboard.html

I am not aware of any PB-G4 17-in model with a "poppable" keyboard.  The first 17-in (I'm typing on one) and all since had back-lit keyboards which are integrated with the top panel of the laptop base.  You basically have to take the laptop all the way apart to get it out, then you have to remove the keypad from the plate it is mounted to (about 12 screws hold it to the upper plate)

If you try to do this, you definitely need to check out a take-apart guide somewhere on the net first.  This is a bit tricky.

9) <b>Also I connect two external USB HDs to my laptop? The jumpers are set to master on both.  Does this even matter in Mac? or even in Windows? </b>

Connect as many as you like, up to the USB limit of 127 (or whatever it is.)  The jumper settings on the drives only matter to the IDE side of the bridge-board in the box.  In fact, lots of bridge-boards could support 2 IDE drives if there were space and power enough in the box.  Every dual-drive external I've seen only has 1 bridge-board.

10) Does SMARTReporter or a similar application for Mac check the SMART status of your external disks?

SMARTReporter relies on Mac OS X's libraries to handle disk communication.  So anything the OS could get SMART info from, SMARTReport can as well.  (You can see a SMART readout in Disk Utility at the bottom of the window if you select the drive mechanism name instead of the partition name.)

Firewire drive bridging is based on the SCSI driver, which had no SMART support, so no SMART data is available for them.  (Some companies sold external Firewire cases that got the SMART data directly from IDE and displayed it on  small LCD screens on the cases.)

SATA supports SMART natively and I believe Mac OS X will be able to get it from external cases connected via SATA (which requires a SATA card since no Mac has an external SATA port.)  As a bonus, these should be bootable on a PowerPC based MAC, unlike a USB external.  (USB's can boot the Intel Macs.)

It should be noted that SMART is not a full-proof system for getting a warning of impending drive failure.  Drives can fail without ever signalling a problem with SMART.
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by:Kelmon
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Question 8 (Fonts): I believe that the answer is, yes, having lots of active fonts will slow down your system.  I have no idea how many is a significant number as I am sure that the "critical" number differs from computer to computer but you can improve performance by Disabling unnecessary fonts that you might want again later.  The cheapest way to do this is through OS X's Font Book application where you can right-click a font family and select "Disable 'font name' font family" - the font family will now appear in the Font Book list with "Off" written beside it's name.  The more expensive but better way to manage large font collections is with an dedicated application like Extensis's Suitcase Fusion (http://www.extensis.com/en/products/font_management/product_information.jsp?id=1060).

Based on a quick check of my own Font Book I'd suggest that 800 is a lot since I only have 165 installed.
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by:Andrew Duffy
Andrew Duffy earned 150 total points
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On Fonts:

Kelmon has given a very good answer as most people won't need to know more than that when it comes to fonts. If you're a design professional, for example, you may need more control. The document in the following link is very useful reading, but can take a while to comprehend if you're not completely au fait with OS X or Font Management in the first place:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=75494

The next document is actually better written, but is in the context of using a Font Management such as Extensis' Suitcase:

http://dl.extensis.com/downloads/SC/EN/P/Fonts_Best_Practices_in_OSX.pdf

Essentially, there are five locations that fonts are stored within in OS X:

/Library/Fonts
/System/Library/Fonts
/Users/Username/Library/Fonts
/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts (If you have Creative Suite or some other Adobe product)
/System Folder/Fonts (If you have OS 9 installed)

Fonts in these locations are loaded when OS X starts (except for the last one, which is only relevant if Classic is running). Stripping out those you don't need (while leaving the ones the System does need) will save you some memory and also prevent conflicts. The Extensis document will give you a good guide on this. The easiest way of managing fonts is to use something like Suitcase, which, as a bonus, comes with Font Doctor. This program is an excellent tool when it comes to weeding out faulty or incomplete fonts, and getting them all in one place, ready for a Font Management package to use. Only worth spending money on if you're a professional who needs a high level of control.

On hard disks:

All hard disks are built with a 'lifetime' expectation. It all depends on the manufacturer's stated figures, but at the end of the day the lifespan of your disk is based upon luck and good care rather than the amount of reads / writes per day. Yes, theoretically, if you had two identical drives and one got used more often than the other within a 3 year period, the one that was used more often will fail first. But it could just as likely be the other way round. All you can really do to control this is make sure you have a secure backup strategy, make sure the drive doesn't overheat or get too cold (difficult to control, easier to monitor) and be careful not to jolt it. Read this page for more info:

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/qual/specLife-c.html
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by:CompuTurk
ID: 18196130
Thank you for the great answers!
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