Move OSX Home Folder to Another Drive

Why Change Your Home Folder

Due to the speed advantages of an SSD (solid state drive), many people are installing them. But because SSDs are expensive, you might consider having two drives: 1) an SSD for the OS and programs and 2) a standard hard drive for your data and files in your home directory. Included in the Home directory are the files that take up most of the room on a computer, such as photos, music, and videos. By having two drives, you can get some of the speed advantages of an SSD but still keep your 500GB of files on a HD.

A second drive can be added internally (actually 4 drives total) on a Mac Pro. A Mac Mini could use an external firewire drive for a secondary drive. And on certain model Macbooks, you can find drive enclosures that replace the optical bay.

How to Move the Home Folder

Here are the steps:

  • From Finder, move the home folder to your second drive. For consistency with arrangement on the main drive, I put my home folder in /Users/”home folder name” on the secondary drive.
  • Open System Preferences – Accounts
  • Click on the lock to make changes. Enter authentication password.
  • Control-Click or Right Click on the Account. Click Advances Options.
  • Chose the new Home directory location. Click OK.
  • Reboot for the settings to take effect.

After this, the default location for all User data will go to the new location when in that account.

Google TV Worst Product Ever

I like Google and knew that they were attempting something new and audacious with their Google TV. I knew that it had been horribly reviewed and that all the major networks blocked their content from the device. But it wasn’t until I opened my review unit of the Google TV Revue by Logitech that I fully appreciated what a disaster this product was.

It’s “Open”

Yes, Google TV is open, which I now see means that there is no consistency in App design and interface. There are no standards for layouts or buttons. Do I use a mouse or click buttons? Use whatever you want.. it’s different in every app and very confusing.

It Feels Like A Computer

At a few points, I got the message that an application was not responsive and asking if I wanted to force-kill it. That’s not something most people want to deal with on a TV.

It’s Low Quality

The Logitech Revue takes in the video feed from your cable box or DVR and then overlays its content on top of it. This way you can put the live TV feed in a corner box while browsing the web. The downside? The video is re-encoded and therefore degraded in this process. I wasn’t even looking for it, but noticed that the colors and shadows were far more muddy than they should be. I then switched back and forth on the same content and could easily see the problems introduced to the video feed. Audio? Your 5.1 surround sound is converted to stereo.

DVR Integration Fails

The whole idea of Google TV sitting on top of my TiVo DVR doesn’t work for me. If I search for content and the Google TV thinks it’s on live, it will attempt to change the TiVo channel for me. But if my TiVo responds, “Currently recording something else. Do you want me to cancel that other recording?” the Google TV doesn’t know it. It’s clunky and confusing. Just keep my boxes separate or fully integrated (Google TV built into my DVR).

No Content

There is remarkably little content for the Google TV. Most of the content felt like shells for the web pages. I had to click on the option to expand the video to full screen.

Google TV does have Netflix (what box doesn’t today?), Amazon, and Pandora, but many of the other applications either didn’t work or worked sporadically. This is on the latest firmware as of Christmas 2010.


Google TV might be an upgrade if you’re running a Web TV 2.0 box from 2004. But with Apple TV, Roku, Windows Media Center, and a host of “hacker” systems from Boxee, XBMC, and Plex, there are many alternatives now that do far more for less money.

I applaud Google for trying to move into the living room, but this box needs to be redesigned to be user friendly for non-engineers. It needs a consistent user interface and more content.

Google says that they’re continuing to develop Google TV, but Logitech has stopped making this Revue unit and the products planned for CES have been cancelled. Lets hope that Google takes this break in product development as an opportunity to rethink their approach to entering the living room.

Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Review

There are several MiFi devices out there these days but none as cheap as the one by Virgin Mobile.  A MiFi allows you to get on a cellular network via your devices WiFi.  Your laptop or iPad has WiFi but probably not built-in cellular network support.  This bridges that gap.  You can also use up to 5 devices thru the MiFi at one time so its more useful than a built-in connection like the high-end iPad.  This MiFi 2200 can be had from for just $139.99 with no contract.  In comparison, the Verizon MiFi is $269.99.  The Verizon data plan is $60/month with a 5GB data cap while Virgin Mobile offers unlimited data for just $40/month.


The first thing you have to do is activate the MiFi.  This is actually different from paying for service.  Activation involves creating an account, getting some special IDs from Virgin Mobile, and entering them into the MiFi.  This is a simple guided process that you do by connecting to the MiFi via wireless and going to virginmobile.mifi in any browser.  One odd thing is that the MiFi will not connect to 3G (EVDO) until it is activated.  This means you have to go through the activation website via the older 1xRTT Sprint network which is only slightly faster than dial-up.  While annoying, you should only have to activate your MiFi once.  Once activated, you will then see it connect to 3G.

You can provide your billing info without actually starting your data plan.  You’ve got an option to have your plan auto-renew which is nice if you plan to use it always.  If you plan to use it only on occasional trips, there is also the option to only pay manually so when you sign up for a month of service, it will simply end at the end of the month.

Data Plans

In addition to the $40/month plan that most will probably get, there is also a $10/month plan with 100MB cap.  That’s a great cheaper option if you just need to use the MiFi for a short period.  There’s one other secret extra special plan only available to people who buy their MiFi from walmart.  For $20/month, you get a 1GB cap.  That’s a nice additional plan option since that would likely cover most people for a week long trip.  This is plenty reason enough to purchase your Virgin Mobile MiFi from walmart.


Virgin Mobile is owned by Sprint so it uses Sprint’s cellular network.  When you are connected to Sprint 3G, you can expect typical downloads speeds of 300Kbps to 1000Kbps.  While testing, I typically had 2-4 bars of 3G and averaged about 450Kbps.  This is no where near as fast as most DSL or cable speeds but for the price and mobility, I think its terrific performance.  If you are not in a 3G area, the MiFi will fall back to the older 1xRTT network where the best speed you’ll likely see is 100Kbps and more typical is probably half that.  I recommend you check out sprint’s 3G coverage map before purchasing to be sure 3G is available in the areas you plan to use it.  The 1x speeds are fine if you’re desperate for any connection but it will be painful to use.  As long as you’ve got 3G, you’ll be happy with the performance, especially at just $40/month.  If my home internet ever went out, I’d be happy to use this as an alternate internet connection.  And since you can start your data plan through the device, you can do just that whenever you have to.

Battery Life

You can expect to get about 4 hours of continuous use from the MiFi.  It can be setup to automatically power down after X minutes of no usage.  This can be handy to save battery life but it is also easy to simply press the power button until the light goes out to save battery.

If you are looking for a little more battery life like me, I recommend an external usb battery like the Satechi Battery Extender Pack.  The built-in MiFi has a 1150 mAh battery.  This Satechi has a 4800 mAh battery.  That means it has enough extra juice to fully charge the MiFi over 4 times.  It can also be used to charge almost anything else powered by USB such as iPhones, iPads or most other cell phones.

Admin Options

This MiFi offers terrific admin controls.  You can change the wireless SSID, the wireless password or admin password.  You can even setup port filtering, port forwarding, and mac filters.  Once you’ve setup your config, you can even back it up to a computer in case you ever have to reset your MiFi and restore your setup.


The Virgin Mobile MiFi doesn’t offer the fastest speeds.  It doesn’t offer terrific battery life.  But it is an amazing price with terrific data plan options.  If you’re a price conscious shopper that wants connectivity for any of their many WiFi gadgets, this is the device for you.  I think road warriors or occasional travelers would be happy with this device.

LastPass Acquires Xmarks

My favorite cross-platform password manager, LastPass, just acquired my favorite cross-platform bookmark sync tool, Xmarks, thereby saving Xmarks from death. Back in September, Xmarks had announced that it would cease operations because it could not find a way to pay for the services it provided. With LastPass now taking over, they are moving to a “freemium” model, still offering Xmarks for free but having paid options as well. It’s great to see that Xmarks will stay around and to have two products that I trust and rely upon working together.

See the press release from Xmarks:

Today we’re excited to announce that Xmarks has been acquired by LastPass, makers of a leading cross-platform password manager. It’s a great opportunity that ensures the survival of Xmarks as the same service that you know and love.

In the last few years, we’ve attracted over 4.5 million users syncing more than 1 billion bookmarks across 5 million computers. Most importantly, we’ve provided a simple solution to help people easily access their bookmarks, wherever and whenever they needed to. We’ve had thousands of users tell us that Xmarks has become an integral part of their browsing experience. You can rest assured that LastPass will continue to build upon the service in the coming months.

We’re also committed to keeping Xmarks free while implementing a viable long-term plan. Xmarks is transitioning to a “freemium” business model, the same model that allowed LastPass to grow into a thriving, profitable business. The browser add-on and the vast majority of what users have enjoyed remains free. Users can then opt to purchase Xmarks Premium for $12 per year, which includes new enhanced features like Android and iPhone mobile phone apps, priority support, and more. The Xmarks and LastPass Premium offerings are also available bundled together at a reduced subscription rate of $20 per year. For those of you who pledged your financial support, you can make good on your pledge today and upgrade.

The restructuring of the Xmarks offerings will accelerate the introduction of new features and service improvements. The two services will continue to require separate downloads and will be administered through two distinct extensions and websites, although there are plans to integrate them in the future.

We believe the acquisition will prove to be a success because of the common mission shared by LastPass and Xmarks. Xmarks complements LastPass’ vision of secure, universal access to the information that gives you entry to your digital life. By joining LastPass, Xmarks will also be able to accelerate the introduction of new features and developments. As the ultimate cross-browser, cross-platform team, Xmarks and LastPass will work together to help more people simplify their digital lives and access their data from anywhere, at any time.

We’re excited to join forces with LastPass and be a part of a team that will continue to provide the best data-syncing tools out there! We hope you will support both of these great services through your business and your Premium subscription. For more information, please see the FAQs.

The Xmarks & LastPass Teams