External USB 3 drive unmounts on OS X Lion when the iPhone is plugged in

Sarah noticed something weird today — might be related to her recent upgrade of her iPhone 4’s OS to iOS 7-point-something. Or maybe not.

Ours looks like this.
Ours looks like this.
Our aging Mac mini is what we’re keeping around for iTunes purposes. It’s how Sarah gets her stuff (apps, podcasts, music, etc.) onto her iPhone.

The mini model we have only has an 80GB drive, so our collection of music and apps and stuff has to reside on an external drive, a 1TB USB 3 external drive we snagged in Hong Kong a couple years ago. Up until this week, that drive worked great even through a powered USB hub. We plugged it in after bringing home, migrated our iTunes music library onto it, and forgot about it.

Hers has a few more scratches.
Hers has a few more scratches.
…until it started making ominous clicky noises this week. That started the beachballing in the Finder. I thought for sure the drive must be kaputt, but after unplugging it and replugging it and running the diagnostics on it via Disk Utility, everything still seemed hunky dorey. I even ran Apple Jack to see that would help with anything. Sarah mentioned that it only made the clicky noises when her iPhone was plugged in, and that it might have been around the same time that she was applying an update to iOS7.

USB 3But this all seemed pretty strange to me. Could an iOS update really influence the mounting behavior of external USB drives? Sure enough, while the drive was making the clicky noise, I unplugged her phone and the drive mounted itself normally, ready for use.

What the heck?

I googled some for it but couldn’t find any direct hits immediately, or even anything close. I saw other people with newer computers and external drives discussing voltage differences through USB hubs and overheating problems, but nothing that seemed applicable to our situation.

But on a whim, I tried plugging the USB drive into the last remaining available USB port on the Mac mini — skipping the USB hub completely.

And it seems to have worked. iPhone and USB drive are both plugged in and working normally. Hope it stays that way.

Ginger Cookies

I saw @LivWrites and @Rachel_Munich tossing ideas around about ginger cookies, including this recipe from allrecipes.com: Big Soft Ginger Cookies

I thought to myself, “Self! You have everything you need to make those!”

But I looked more closely at the recipe and decided, mostly out of laziness and efficiency, to swap in ingredients of my own choosing: some coconut oil and butter instead of margarine What follows are the ingredients I used — the steps are the same as the original.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups (311 g) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
110 g coconut oil
50 g butter
1 cup (210 g) white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup (about 100 ml) molasses
2 tablespoons white sugar for rolling

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls*, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

They don’t look so great, but the flavor is very good. As usual, I tried to get too many cookies onto one sheet and I totally forgot that step about letting them cool before trying to move them. I like the subtle addition my coconut oil substitution lends.

These will be good eating as an ice cream topping. Next time, I think I’ll try oomphing up the ginger flavor another notch with either even more ground ginger or perhaps some freshly minced ginger root in the dough. Not to mention sticking closely to the sizing guide and making four or more trays worth instead of just two.

*Really, tend toward smaller if you can help it. Walnut-sized must mean “half the edible nut part inside of a walnut shell,” and not the greeny fleshy ball thing containing the shell containing the edible nut parts that falls from the tree. Too literal, I know.

Brief Bout of Self-Promotion

Don’t worry, it’ll pass.

You all probably know this: I’m a singer. And I’m in a lovely group in Munich with a choir, orchestra and Big Band, English Speaking Music Ensembles e.V. (ESME). We do two big concerts a year and our winter concert is quickly approaching.

Do you need a big blast of Christmas cheer, right in the face? Wanna support live music made by your fellow expats? Just looking for a way to spend a Sunday evening in Munich? There are still tickets left through München Ticket, but they’re going fast!

Snowflakes and Sleigh Bells
19:00 on Sunday, December 1
Festsaal – Künstlerhaus am Lenbachplatz
Munich

Snowflakes and Sleigh Bells
Snowflakes and Sleigh Bells

Flensburg, Frankfurt, Friedrichshafen: Germany from North to South in one week

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It’s been a busy week. We’ve been at both ends of the country, and I’ve been in the middle on a training trip, and all three destinations start with the letter ‘F.’ I don’t think that means anything, but it does seem a weird coincidence. Continue reading Flensburg, Frankfurt, Friedrichshafen: Germany from North to South in one week