The Northern Spy — Fusion Power

northernspy3

With the release of OSX 10.10.1 the Spy decided to take another try with Yosemite and installed it on one machnine. Seeing none of the problems he experienced with the beta at WWDC, he eventually installed on three machines–a late 2007 MacBook Pro seventeen inch (emergency unit), a 2013 Retina MacBook (main one at work), and a Westmere tower MacPro (home). So far all has gone well, though there has been no opportunity to test the fusion space where Mac OX and iOS 8 meet called Handoff. However, he has had time to view the flat, nearly lifeless-looking dialogue boxes in both, and does not see them as an improvement. Bring back oh bring back my skeuomorphism to me.
And, yes, he did activate his iPhone 6+ on the Fido network with a cheap prepaid plan. A month in, he’s used some two loonies worth of the ten he deposited. But, you ask, Fido, when it’s owned by arch bad-guy Rogers? Well, it is run as a separate entity, and it is the cheapest thing going, until 7-11 has nano SIM cards. OTOH, the Fido web site activation was broken–both for him and at the store. Only a call to a representative could get it done. You would thing that a telecom company would get it at least close to right. Speaking of which, the Shaw cable gateway into the Spy’s house is down today, so no Internet or land line. No other houses are affected. Brickbats to a company that has its closest phone centre in Winnipeg and cannot get a technician here till Monday afternoon. BTW, late Saturday the 30th saw a restoration–bad weather day, got it fixed, or a fault with an Shaw office router; who knows?

A more interesting adventure was had when the Church’s ancient iBook G4 reported disk full, and the Spy took on the task of clean and update. The former was easy–move five years of sound files recording the services to a backup and delete the originals, freeing up half the thirty-seven gigabytes available in the tiny disk. (Who’d ‘a thunk in the old days of 5M hard drives, we’d call 36G tiny?)  Updating from Panther to Leopard (the highest system the machine will run) was more…interesting. After the install, the machine booted to a never-before-seen w*nd*ws-like blue screen of death, and would do no more. It took a few hours to discover that System/Library/SystemConfiguration/ApplicationEnhancer.bundle was responsible and remove it, then more time to do the updates to more recent software than the Leopard install DVD knew about, more time still to update to 10.5.8 versions of Quicktime (7.5.5 was not correctly installed by Leopard) and Audio Hijack Pro–the latter to 2.9.2 as the highest one that would run (not as the Rogue Amoeba site said 2.9.9a, which would not). Of course, there were dire warnings all along, especially from Safari, about software not being secure, and the user should upgrade to new hardware, but the machine will have zero sensitive files, won’t be used for browsing, and sits behind a firewall, so he let that all go.
The Spy had available a spare 100G notebook drive that he partitioned and to which he cloned the new boot partition, hoping to swap out the small drive. Alas, he discovered the task would require a complete disassembly of the machine, something he’s not willing to do for an upgrade that may still only last a year.

Multitasking during this, the Spy took advantage of a couple of spare 1T and 2T drives he had available (one by tearing apart a WD Book enclosure whose best connectivity effort was Firewire 400 and the always unreliable eSATA) along with two 256G ADATA SSDs he picked up from NCIX to stitch together fusion drives for his two desktops. The idea is that data sent to the combination goes first to the SSD, and is later and transparently passed through to the spinning platter drive.
Here, the work drive(s) live in an external two-bay enclosure attached by Thunderbolt, and the home one in the tower’s internal bays. There are instructions on the net in several places for doing this, but they are incomplete, as they do not tell you what to so when error messages multiply like rabbits. Here are the Spy’s more complete instructions:

1. Go to the Apple menu and select “About This Mac”.
2. In the ensuing dialog box click on “System Report”.
3. From the left column click on “Storage”.
4. All the volumes will be listed in the form diskNsM where N is the disk device number and typically runs from 0 to 6+ and M is the partition (volume) number on each device. This information can also be obtained by going to the terminal and typing “diskutil list”, except the result also has an entry beside the partition scheme heading up each device volume list that reads “diskN”. This information is not available in the GUI version of this called DiskUtility.
5. Choose the two devices you want to fuse and note their disk numbers (without the partition numbers). Suppose for the sake of what follows these are disk1 and disk2. (They should probably not be disk0 as that should normally be the boot disk, and it would be a bad idea to fuse it unless you first cloned it off to an external drive and booted from there.) Note that unless one of the drives to be fused is an SSD, there is no speed advantage to combining the two.
6. Make doubly sure that any volumes on the drives you want to fuse are backed up elsewhere or are otherwise expendable, as they will be erased.

7. In the Terminal, and after checking carefully that you have the right numbers, join the two devices into a logical volume group by typing the command:
diskutil cs create FusionDrive disk1 disk2
using whatever numbers you have discovered as the correct ones, not necessarily 1 and 2, and instead of “FusionDrive” you may use any name you wish. Here, “diskutil” is the command line access to the DiskUtility routines, which is much more powerful (and dangerous) than the GUI access to these same utilities offered in the program exposed in the Utilities folder, “cs” brings in “CoreStorage”, which runs the Fusion routines, among other things, and is only available in Lion or later.

8. If, as the Spy did the second time he tried this, you get an error message that one of the disks cannot be unmounted, go to the Finder, eject its volume(s) and if (when) that fails, choose “Force Eject” in the ensuing dialog box, wait for confirmation, and then go back to Terminal and try again.
9. If also as he did the second time (and you will if the disks have previously been formatted under Lion or higher by DiskUtility), you get the message Error: 22: POSIX reports: Invalid argument then reformat both drives with one (GUID mapped) partition using DiskUtility, and have a look at the disks and partitions as in step 4 above. Ignore the EFI partition which should be 1 (more than one partition is the reason for the error message). Most of the space should be on partition 2. If so, retype the create command as follows:
diskutil cs create FusionDrive disk1s2 disk2s2
10. When the command at step 7 or 9 is successful, the output should look like:
TowerMacPro:~ theUser$ diskutil cs create FusionDrive disk1s2 disk2s2
Started CoreStorage operation
Unmounting disk1s2
Touching partition type on disk1s2
Adding disk1s2 to Logical Volume Group
Unmounting disk2s2
Touching partition type on disk2s2
Adding disk2s2 to Logical Volume Group
Creating Core Storage Logical Volume Group
Switching disk1s2 to Core Storage
Switching disk2s2 to Core Storage
Waiting for Logical Volume Group to appear
Discovered new Logical Volume Group “C37F5DE7-451C-4CE6-A536-E2EC6DF6FA6E”
Core Storage LVG UUID: C37F5DE7-451C-4CE6-A536-E2EC6DF6FA6E
Finished CoreStorage operation

11. Copy and paste that UUID number somewhere so you don’t lose it. Note that it is different from the UUIDs of the separate (physical) disk devices.
12. Next in Terminal type:
diskutil cs list
You should see something like:
TowerMacPro:~ theUser$ diskutil cs list
CoreStorage logical volume groups (1 found)
|
+– Logical Volume Group C37F5DE7-451C-4CE6-A536-E2EC6DF6FA6E
=========================================================
Name:         FusionDrive
Status:       Online
Size:         1255577452544 B (1.3 TB)
Free Space:   1248984653824 B (1.2 TB)
|
+-< Physical Volume 31073E17-2909-45A8-8EFC-8ABA40951645
|   —————————————————-
|   Index:    0
|   Disk:     disk1s2
|   Status:   Online
|   Size:     999860912128 B (999.9 GB)
|
+-< Physical Volume 65BEEC82-FCED-4768-88E1-73AEA12A2098
—————————————————-
Index:    1
Disk:     disk2s2
Status:   Online
Size:     255716540416 B (255.7 GB)

12. Note that the UUID for the logical volume group is the same as above. You may also want to copy the free space number, here 1248984653824though this may not be necessary (see below). This is the combined size of the space available on the fused volume, in this case 1T + 256G. Note that only the contiguous string of numbers in the size will be used, not the extra material afterwards

13. The next step is to format the combined fusion drive. This is done with the command:
diskutil cs createVolume GroupUUID jhfs+ volumeName size
where the “jhfs+” option tells the DiskUtility program to do Apple Extended Format (Journaled); the GroupUUID is the one copied above; the volume name can be anything you like (and can be changed on the desktop later like any other volume name) and the size is the second number copied above. Here we use:
diskutil cs createVolume C37F5DE7-451C-4CE6-A536-E2EC6DF6FA6E jhfs+ FusionVol 1248984653824
or just diskutil cs createVolume C37F5DE7-451C-4CE6-A536-E2EC6DF6FA6E jhfs+ FusionVol 100%
if we want all the space, but a lesser number otherwise, which would leave free space behind for (a)nother volume(s). If using all the space was the plan all along, steps 11 and 12 could be skipped, though step 11 is a good verification.

14. Core Storage will work for a while, then report:
The Core Storage Logical Volume Group UUID is C37F5DE7-451C-4CE6-A536-E2EC6DF6FA6E
Started CoreStorage operation
Waiting for Logical Volume to appear
Formatting file system for Logical Volume
Initialized /dev/rdisk6 as a 1 TB case-insensitive HFS Plus volume with a 98304k journal
Mounting disk
Core Storage LV UUID: C12BDEAE-6E76-4FC7-8ECD-B8B6CC9CE073
Core Storage disk: disk6
Finished CoreStorage operation
TowerMacPro:~ theUser$
And at this point the empty Fusion volume now appears on the desktop and is ready for use.
15. If you were doing this with the original boot drive a participant, clone the copy from which you are now running back to the new Fusion Drive and you should be good to go. If you backed up something else before using its drive, do likewise.

That Other Technological Adventure
with the Spy’s CPAP machine to control sleep apnea is not going well. The pressure ramps up to open the airway, and when it gets high enough it blows the sides of the mask out and the air all escapes, or else it pumps air into the stomach. Trying adjustments, and a different machine. Experimenting on oneself is messy.

The Pitter Patter of Little Feats
Elections in the Excited States and locally here in British Columbia have recently concluded, and mature reflection is in order, for as has become typical, there was much juvenile nastiness. The extent of slanderous vituperation (the political equivalent of nuclear fusion–anti-constructive noise, heat, cloud, and destruction), causes one to wonder what has become of the civilized dialogue the Internet was supposed to promote by bringing the world to our desktops. Instead, we seem to have merely energized both old and new hatreds, so that our social fabric is more fractured than ever and intelligent dialogue has all but vanished. Surely we must change our collective political ethics.
Some candidates or parties try to solve this by launching defamation and libel lawsuits, and while one might applaud this as a deterrent to abhorrent behaviour, such cases rarely succeed, for the courts tend to take the view that anything, no matter how outrageous, is permitted comment in politics. When they do succeed, the damages tend to be in the $30K-$100K range, hardly worth the trouble once lawyers are paid. Best to ignore it, for another Judge who can see the thoughts and intentions of hearts will one day deal with slanderers, and the results won’t be pretty. But neither is ignorance.

To illustrate, one local accusation of conflict of interest was made on the grounds that a candidate had a relative working for the city. Do not the accusers know that boards and councils are executive, not operational (management), and never the twain shall meet? Do they not know there are legal safeguards and sanctions against “reaching down” past managers to interfere with personnel? In the military, a general who reached past her officers to discipline a private would herself face court martial. A corporate board member who directed or interfered with staff would not only be dismissed but could well face criminal harassment charges. Since only deliberate malfeasance and a reckless disregard of consequence could lead to such an egregious breach of trust, slanderously accusing it prior to or in the absence of any evidence is tantamount to claiming to know motives and intentions–something no mere human can do.
A director or member of a government cannot raise management issues outside a board, cabinet or council meeting, express opposition to the very body over which they have governance, or act on its behalf without specific instruction (violations of solidarity result in dismissal). A chair (and Mayors ought to take note) should not raise management issues except at an in camera board/council meeting and after first yielding the chair and declaring any conflict. A chair who does this more than once or twice in a year should step down entirely. The result in either case must be delegation to the responsible operating officer, not action or even specific direction to act from the executive level.
People seemed to know these matters of duty and procedure once upon a time, but today, alas, it seems more damage is done to organizations and governments by rogue directors, cabinet ministers, and councillors acting on their own than by all external forces combined. One hopes that none of the critics possessed of tongues that could cut sheet metal are elected (even when one leans toward their ideas), for those most contemptuous of others (especially authorities) are the most likely to abuse authority when they imagine they have seized it themselves–and this is true across all forms of governance, from political to corporate, church, community associations, and horse or stamp clubs.
Is there any solution, or are the Western notions of “parliamentary language” and “fiduciary duty” becoming yet additional moral/ethical castoffs for a society rushing to discard any values but those of indulging the savage passions of the moment?
Perhaps we could mandate candidate schools for all society/corporate/ and political elected positions so that they are at least taught what constitute fair comment, civilized dialogue, reasoned criticism, the meaning of defamation/libel, and the powers and limitations of the office they seek. Education may seem a trite solution, but it’s got to be better than more of the same.

–The Northern Spy

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author’s own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a.k.a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Canada’s Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member or consultant with the boards of several community and organizations, and participated in developing industry standards at the national and international level. He is a co-author of the Modula-2 programming language R10 dialect. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and nine novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he’s a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.

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About the Author

rsutcliffe

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author’s own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a. k. a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Canada’s Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member or consultant with the boards of several community and organizations, and participated in developing industry standards at the national and international level. He is a co-author of the Modula-2 programming language R10 dialect. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and nine alternate history SF novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he’s a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.