AMITIAE - Tuesday 26 November 2013

Cassandra: Beware the Mini Disk and its Irregular Cousins

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By Graham K. Rogers


There are still enough Mac computers around with optical drives to be useful, and also to provide users with problems if care is not taken. A message earlier today from a local user found me unable to offer the usual quick fix that this Mac owner expects from me. He had bought a wireless modem router which had a small mini CD for PC installation. However, he did insert the mini CD and it became stuck.

disksI suggested re-starting the Mac with the mouse (or trackpad) button held down, adding that it might be helpful if the Mac was turned on its side: let gravity help. I was not hopeful and expected that he might need a trip to the local repair shop. Not long after, he wrote another email letting me know that gravity alone had done its thing and the disk was now out.

Macs only like regular disks, and the manuals that come with the computers (or are available online) all warn against smaller or "irregularly shaped" disks.

For example in a manual for a mid-2007 MacBook, the information concerning the optical drive reads, The optical drive in your MacBook supports standard 12 cm (4.7 inch) discs. Irregularly shaped discs or discs smaller than 12 cm (4.7 inches) are not supported. An identical instruction is provided in the manual of the early 2009 iMac.

With the move away from optical disks, this is another problem that will fade and eventually disappear.

The modem-router was set up without any recourse to the software on the disk of course.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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