Archive for September, 2007

Seagate FreeAgent Desktop and the iMac

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

FreeAgent Desktop external hard driveI just bought a FreeAgent Desktop 320GB external hard drive for doing backups. I generally trust Seagate drives these days; I’ve bought plenty over the years and had no problem with them, so they seemed like a safe bet. The 5-year (admittedly extremely limited) warranty helped to some extent too.

I was a little apprehensive about the orange glowing light on the unit, as I have the iMac in our bedroom and the backups run overnight. What’s more, you can’t turn it off except via the FreeAgent Pro software (which you pay extra for!). However it’s not too offensive in practice; I keep it hidden under my desk and it behaves itself.

When I first connected the drive I had to reformat it for the iMac using Disk Utility, but after that it just appeared as a USB drive in the Finder. Too easy.

The drive’s nice and quiet too. The glowing light pulsates gently when there’s disk activity, which is very sci-fi, and not as distracting as normal activity lights.

The only problem so far is that it prevents the iMac from going into a scheduled sleep. This only seems to happen on nights when it’s done a backup. The iMac’s scheduled to sleep in the middle of the night, but instead it stays on, and then at some random time in the morning it starts trying to go to sleep! Very pesky. I’m not sure what’s going on there. On the plus side, when I sleep the iMac manually in general use, the drive powers down too (and turns off its orange glowy light).

Pros and cons, then, of the FreeAgent with the iMac.


  • Cheap (but most external drives are these days)
  • Chocolate-and-amber styling’s OK, if you like that sort of thing
  • Quiet
  • Easy to install
  • Seems fast enough


  • No way to turn off the amber light (that I could find anyway)
  • Sometimes stops the iMac from sleeping
  • Comes with a separate “wall wart” power supply; powered from USB would have been nice.

Stop iPhoto launching when connecting a device containing images

Friday, September 14th, 2007

iPhoto has an annoying habit of launching whenever you connect a storage device that contains images – whether it’s your digital camera, a memory card, or a CD-ROM. There is a way to stop it, though, and bizarrely the setting is not in iPhoto or in System Preferences. No, in true Windows-style, it’s hidden away in a place you’d never think to look: Image Capture.

To change this setting and stop iPhoto launching:

  1. Run the Image Capture app (Applications > Image Capture). Don’t worry if you get a window saying “No Image Capture device connected”.
  2. Bring up Image Capture’s Preferences (choose the Image Capture > Preferences menu option).
  3. In the General tab, change the setting for “When a camera is connected, open”. The default is iPhoto; you can change it to “No application” to stop iPhoto launching. Or you can pick a different app to launch instead.
  4. Click OK, quit Image Capture, and you’re done. No more grief with iPhoto launching all the time!