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Drew's World

Rants, News, Etc on my Life and Projects

MacBook Air SuperDrive Woes

As some of you already know I recently bought a new MacBook Air and with it I bought the MacBook Air SuperDrive. The MacBook Air SuperDrive is the first Apple product I bought and feel stupider for buying it. Obviously, because I am stupid and assumed that apple would create a good external CD/DVD drive that would work with the MacBook Air.

It seems that the MacBook Air SuperDrive only works when directly connected to the MacBook Air. Hence, no using the external SuperDrive with USB hubs. Beyond that the MacBook Air SuperDrive doesn’t work on non MacBook Air laptops. After googling a bit some people think this is because Mac is using it as a loss leader for the Air and don’t want to support it as a general external drive. I think this horrible from a product perspective because the MacBook Air only has 1, thats right 1 USB port.

Hence, when you run into a situation like today where I was installing some printer drivers and software and their installer expects you to be able to plug in the printer as a step in the wizard it gets a little tricky. Luckily, I was able to quit out of the installer disconnect the MacBook Air SuperDrive and connect the printer and get it working with some extra effort.

Anyways, the point of this story is that if you buy a MacBook Air, do not, I repeat DO NOT, buy a MacBook Air SuperDrive. You are much better off just going and buying some other external DVD ROM/Burner that will work on all your machines and via a hub.

Got to Love Excuses (MacBook Air)

So as a result of my 17in Mac Book Pro Battery expanding and my second battery starting to approach the same level of expansion I decided that I would use this as an excuse to upgrade my, I think, 4 your old 17in Mac Book Pro with a much smaller version as I have been coding all over the place lately. I have been going to Ruby group meet ups, private project development meet ups, and just wanted to get out of the office and do some coding. Hence, I bought one. Thats right, a MacBook Air. You can see the two machines side by side in the following picture.

MacBook Air vs. 17in MacBook Pro

Initially I thought I was seriously going to hate the small screen but then I thought about it and decided what the hell I should just take the leap and adapt as is required with most things. So, I did. Let me tell you there is something about having lots of screen space that was holding me back from using Spaces. My original background was Linux which has had the same concept as Spaces for as long as I can remember. I had no problem using virtual desktops (a.k.a. Spaces) when in Linux but I could never really get the feel for using them with my 17in. But, now that I have a tiny little ultra light weight sexy beast of machine that has a tiny 13in screen, I LOVE Spaces. I stay more organized this way and have a lot less clutter in my environment.

It blows me away that reducing my screen size has had so much of an effect on my workflow and organization, and in a positive direction at that. Crazy, anyways I will make posts on any tricky things I have found I don’t like or love about the MacBook Air as my usage of it progresses.

Fat Fingered my MacBook Air

So I setup my MacBook Air right after I got it and was just using the basic functionality. I then realized that I needed root to do something. Yep, you guessed it, I some how managed to to fat finger my root password when I setup the initial Admin user in the setup process. This is normally not a big deal as you can always put the DVD back in and rerun the setup wizard to create a new user. However when you are a MacBook Air and have no DVD drive it gets to be a tad bit more complex.

The key is single user mode. After some googling I found that you can easily get into single user mode on Mac OS X simply by rebooting and right after the Chime noise holding Command-S and it will start you up into single user mode. For details on single user mode please go here.

When you see the prompt for single user mode it will tell you two commands to run to make it so that you can modify the file system. One is a fsck command and the other is a mount command. I simply ran the two commands as the info above the prompt instructed me to. Once it was done running those commands, I ran the following command and rebooted so that it would start the initial setup process over again. I did this because I knew that if I created a new Admin user and knew its password I could then sudo in and change the password of my existing Admin user that I previously fat fingered the password for.

rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

I know that there are command line tools that allow you to change passwords, etc. in Mac OS X, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling like looking up the directions on how to use them. Hence, I just did it this way. Figured I would share my find on Single User Mode, :-). I am sure someone has already found it, but it is new to me.