Monday, November 09, 2009

Western Digital MyBook Studio failing to mount on OSX Leopard

A very boring title, but this is miraculous.

I have a Western Digital 1TB MyBook Studio external hard drive, with a triple interface: USB, Firewire 800 and eSATA. It's lovely - quite, roomy, and previous WD drives have been very reliable. It's under a year old.

It has all of my last year's work archived on it. A LOT of work.

It suddenly failed to mount on my Mac.

The disk would spin up - I could hear it spinning the disk up (it's v. quiet, mind) - but the cylon lights on the front wouldn't light up, and it wouldn't mount to the desktop. Checking system profiler for Firewire devices only showed an Unknown Device, and a transfer speed of up to 800Mbps.

Disk utility completely failed to see it.

So - I'm sitting here thinking that I'd need to rip out the drive, find an enclosure, void my warranty... you name it.

And then I found this:

Feb 14, 2008
- After posting my question, I got through to a Wd service manager who checked everything out with me and finally suggested I tap the drive sharply on the back since a power button would sometimes stick. I did that and the button must have released since the drive then became bootable, recognizeable and has been working since. Sorry to have been such a bother for so simple a solution; I had tried to work the button but I quess it needed a slap--maybe I do too!


So - I've just unplugged my drive, given it four hard taps with my knuckles on the casing at the back - and bingo. It works again. Yay!

So - how to solve a problem with a Western Digital MyStudio 1TB hard drive failing to mount on a Mac. Worked for me, deserves some google juice.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


There comes a point in any project when you have the day when it all seems a bit too much, deadlines growl at you, things just... don't come together.

The only proper response is slight hysteria, and a brief burst of creative procrastination.

Here is today's.

mildlydiverting Idea - download wikipedia on to a microSD card, and EAT ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE as an art piece.

Of course, that goes to Facebook (sorry, I know republishing is crass, I just have different friends in different places).

And then I did the maths.

Kim Plowright Idea - download wikipedia on to a microSD card, and EAT ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE as an art piece.
3 hours ago via Twitter

Jen Bolton, Alison Breadon and Lee Warren Magician like this.

Brian Lok Olsen

can you fit wiki on just one microSD. Perhaps a layer cake with microSD's and cream

Kim Plowright
SO - you can get 16gb on a MicroSd.

From Wikipedia's statistics for the English version of wikipedia:

Content pages 3,040,693
Pages (All pages in the wiki, including talk pages, redirects, etc.) 18,062,483

So there are 21103176 pages, of which content makes up (we'll exclude pictures and multimedia for the sake of argument) apx 14.4%

The most recent complete compressed database dump is 2.8 Terabytes - 2867 Gb, as there are 1024 G to a T. 14.4% of that is about 412GB, requiring me to eat 16 microSD Cards. I need to do some research in to the components within an SD card: do they contain circuitboards? Would they break apart during digestion? Is there a dioxin or a mercury load involved, and would 16 cards be enough to significantly damage my health?

All of these questions remain moot.

However, that 2.8gb dump also includes all HTML, and ALL revisions on the pages. I'm only interested in eating the current state of human knowledge: I don't need pretty formatting, or edit wars about Richard Dawkins.

You can actually download a data dump (compressed) from that contains just current snapshots of page articles. This download is 5gb approximately....

So, we could just eat one micro SD card, with a substantial cost saving (£10.59 for 8gb rather than £34.95 for 16gb), and hopefully less long term health risks.

Next decision: how to document this process.

Right, back to steering the oil tanker with a toothpick, and herding the Schrodinger's Cats.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Rhonda Forever 2003-2009

Rhonda Forever 2003-2009

This is the most lovely 3d drawing tool. The haptics of it are just fantstic. Makes me want to actually... DO for once.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reading Dematerials

My Library on Google Books

A few years ago I spent a good few hours scanning the barcodes of my (huge) collection of books, cds, dvds etc using a lovely little bit of software called Delicious Library. It's smart: it uses your built in webcam as a barcode reader, and grabs cover images from Amazon. It also told me interesting things - for instance, I own six books whose second hand value is currently over £100. Alas, even under current circumstances I think I could only bear to part with one of those.

The drawback of the software, however, is that it seems to be very much tied in to a desktop paradigm: something I've noticed is fairly common with Mac apps. The latest version has a 'publish to web' option which spits out rather over-designed HTML. It's a database: what I'd like is a way of syncing a list of identifiers with services that are already out there: listal, LibraryThing perhaps. Both of those sites got fed a long list of ISBNS, or a hacky XML file a while ago, and show a frozen snapshot of my library in time.

I wonder if Google Books 'My Library' might be impetus to get this sorted. Syncing a list of ISBNs shouldn't be too hard, and an API is out there already, and there are some lovely tools coming from the team that help dematerialise physical objects and spread them on the web.

I'd love an application that sat on my phone, let me add books to my local library with the phonecam, synced to my desktop application then updated the various sites where I've stored information over time. As more books go online within the Google Books site, suddenly I have a way of searching across the big, physical knowledge backup system I've been carting around and building upon since I was 5.

I don't think I could ever get to a point where I'm able to box up my books and leave them in storage: I'm too in love with them as physical objects; they're too totemic. But as physical authentication tokens for locked online data stores, they're also pretty interesting. If you could access a digital version of a text only through holding the physical object up for recognition... Hmn.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Ugly and neglected fragments (Phil Gyford’s website)

Just skim reading this post on the vernacular by Phil.

I was thinking, on the bus, the other day, about the history of the move from telephones being that of addressing a space, to addressing a person. A land line number connects you with a house or building, in which space the person you want to address may or may not be coincident. Mobiles untethered the phonenumber from a place, and associated it with an individual. You call someone's number, someone's phone, with no overlay of serendipity beyond can they hoik it out of their handbag in time.

I found myself wondering - will the history of the homepage be like this, too? A move from an addressable piece of web real-estate, that may contain the recent activity of an individual; towards a model where a person leaves data trails, a stream, that isn't bound to a certain digital location, or instatiation, but is remade wherever the reader happens to aggregate it. Will the layout of a homepage be superseded by a bunch of feeds - from twitter, flickr... wherever. Are we just a sum of activity rather than publishers?

Anyway, it was a half formed thought. I suspect I may just be talking about 'everyware'.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Originally uploaded by MildlyDiverting

Friday, February 20, 2009

Things that are exciting

Originally uploaded by Mikeyj_cox
I've been working on a really quite bonkers project - Routes for about 8 months now. We're slap in the middle of our live run, and the most amazing thing has just happened: one of our players has mostly figured out a code based on DNA codons within a couple of hours of the pictures going up on a 'police' website.

It's kind of magic to watch.

The best thing: he's posted a really lovely explaination of the science behind the code - and even used some of the same sites that helped us formulate the idea for the puzzle originally.

Monday, January 26, 2009

One Of The Reasons I Have Been Quiet

I have been working really quite hard.

The little Breeder widget above is just one part of the huge bloody game I've been working on:

It's about genetics, and stuff. It's quite good. Try it out.