How to install software from a CD onto a Macbook Air

Thursday, April 14, 2011 12:34 pm By BigLig

I had a user ask me how to install some old software on their Air that they only had on CD.

I thought I'd post my reply up here to remind myself that I actually write quite a lot for my work. (And IMHO this is rather good.)

First thing to do is to see if the software is available for download from the hardware manufacturerís web site.

You should do this anyway even if you have a Mac with an optical drive, because the CD that comes in the box is inevitably going to be out of date.

If not, then you need another machine with a CD/DVD drive. On that machine you can do one of three things:

1) Share the optical drive over the network.
Go to follow their very good instructions.

2) Make a disk image and copy it a USB stick.
Takes a little longer, but this is really useful for any optical you might need to use more than once, or when you might need to access the disk on the Air when away from the other machine.
I have a portable USB drive with all my CDís stored on it as images.
On a Mac, this is super easy.
Start Disk Utility.
Select the CD in the left hand list.
Press the New Image button.
Say where to put the image and what to call it.
Once the image is made, copy to a USB stick, then move the stick to the Air.
Double-click the image file on the Air (you can leave it on the USB stick or copy to the Air's disk) and it will mount just as if youíd put a CD in.
On Windows, there isnít a built in tool to make a disk image, but if you have CD-burning software installed it often has this as a feature. It's usually called something "Make ISO image" or "Create Image".
If not, there is a lovely little piece of free software you can use at
Download the appropriate version for your Windows, install it, then right-click the CD in My Computer and choose "Create Image from CD".

3) Copy the files from the CD to a USB stick
Quick and dirty.
Open My Computer or the Finder, select the files on the CD, Edit Copy, go to the USB stick, Edit Paste.
I left this method to last because sometimes software expects to be on a CD, and sometimes a Windows PC doesn't read a Mac disk very well, and so on, and so forth so it might not always work.

Hope this helps someone.

BTW, while we're on the subject, isn't the Snow Leopard reinstall tool that comes with an Air beautiful?

Week Eleven, Twenty Eleven

Sunday, March 20, 2011 10:38 pm By BigLig

This week ended with frustration and delight, so at least it wasn’t boring.

The frustration: my new watch arrived early (yay!) but on Friday, when I wasn’t at work, so it’s been locked away and I can’t get it until Monday morning. (Boo!)

The delight: checked my weight this morning and since I started my diet on Feb 3rd I have lost a stone. As I tweeted, I don’t know how much that is - never understood imperial measures - but it sounds blinkin’ impressive. A stone sounds like something serious. Even better, my target is to lose 5 stone, so I’m 20% of the way already.

I’m on Tim Ferriss’ “Slow-Carb” Diet, and it’s working well. It’s a bit dull but do-able. Sundays are the worst: you have to have one “binge day” a week where, in the words of Mr. F, you “eat total crap” all day. It stops your body thinking that you’re never going to eat again (at which point it starts hoarding fat for the long term) and helps psychologically, as every time you think “I’d kill for a Cadbury’s Creme Egg” you know that you can have one on Sunday. Sounds good right? Well, not so much. When you eat crap every day, you get used to it. When you eat crap once a week, your body does not enjoy it one little bit.

Today I ate: 2 eggs (my usual breakfast), 2 slices hot buttered toast, pineapple juice, cinnamon skinny latte with an extra shot, raspberry and almond slice, raspberry and white chocolate muffin, Cadbury’s Caramel bar, 2 slices cheese on toast, can of expensively imported American root beer, quarter of liquorice creams, two helpings of Toad in the Hole with onion gravy, can of Fanta Twist (less unpleasant than the can makes out) and a knickerbocker glory. Achieved the aim of making myself feel a little sick all right. Maybe that’s a psychological trick in itself… Certainly tomorrow I will go back to my usual boring combinations of salmon, beef, turkey, water, beans and veggies with great relish.

OK, what else this week? Spent a pleasant Saturday evening installing a new monitor in my home computer set-up, then reorganising the icons on my iPhone. Yes, I did give up drink as part of my diet. How is that relevant, exactly?

Lastly, my geek cred went up several hundred points this week when I attended a high-level meeting at Tesla’s European headquarters. Sure, it was about toilets, but it still counts. Slightly worried at how non-plussed people were to see me in a suit for those high-powered meetings. Wait until I’m thin enough to start wearing loud waistcoats again.

Next week I am on contractually obligated vacation and who knows what jinks I may get up to. High ones, I hope.

You know you've got too many apps on your iPad when...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011 4:44 pm By BigLig

... you're reading an interesting article about Warren Ellis's toolkit (,and he mentions an app he likes, and you think "I could use an app like that", but iTunes won't let you buy it, because you've had it for four months, and have never opened it.


4:41 pm By BigLig

Nothing like telling a few people that "Oh, just google Biglig, you'll find me" to make you realise that:

a) your blog is inedible muck, and there isn't enough of it.
b) your tumblr is just reposting photos other people find. (and is the source of the majority of your Facebook and twitter posts via a robot)
c) your picassa is full of photos of you looking fat.

That should be Flickr, rather than Picassa, of course, but I'm stuck with biglig.geo (yes, I'm very old, I used to have a Geocities account) and so the curse of Yahoo strikes again.

The cleverest piece of cinema ever made, IMHO.

Saturday, March 05, 2011 12:34 am By BigLig

SPOILERS AHEAD. Don't read this until you've seen Playtime. Don't do anything until you've seen Playtime.

Done? OK.

At the beginning of Jacqueline Tati's 1967 masterpiece, Playtime, we, the audience, are a little guilty. We know that Tati doesn't really want to make another Hulot film, but we really do want him to, and so his backers (swines that they are) have forced Playtime to be a Hulot film.

Playtime begins in a large building, and we move through it, meeting the wonderful characters who are in it, but not really paying attention because we are looking for Hulot. Of course, Hulot is not seen until quite late in Vacance or Oncle, but we are impatient. We demand Hulot! Tati knows this, so...

...very soon we are in a very wide shot of a very large room, full of people, full of characters, and then, in the back of the shot, we see the tiny figure of Hulot cross the scene. Of course, we can't see him very well, he is dwarfed in this huge space, but it is obviously Hulot: the gait, the costume, the umbrella. Hulot doesn't do anything; but we have seen him. It is a Hulot film. We relax, and now pay full attention to the other characters. Now we are no longer searching for Hulot, we really get into things. Tati knows this, so...

...very soon another wide shot in a long room, but this time we are looking at the characters, who we are enjoying, especially as we now suspect that the ninth American is the heroine, when there is a loud noise. Hulot has walked into the back of the scene again, but we didn't see him, because this time we weren't looking for him; we don't notice him until he drops his umbrella and we all look at him. The characters do too. Then he walks away, agin without doing anything. We realise with a start that we were enjoying the film without Hulot: that Tati was right all along. Tati knows this, so...

... We finally leave the building, along with the heroine, and she gets on a bus. The scene empties out, and there is Hulot again, walking past the camera and away from us. Someone sees him, chases after him and cries "Mr Hulot, hello!". We realise that Hulot's adventures are about to begin. Tati knows this so...

...Hulot turns round and it is not Hulot. It is an Englishman, Smith, who happens to be dressed like Hulot, to walk like Hulot, we have been fooled the whole time. "i think you've made a mistake" says Smith. It wasn't Hulot before, just someone dressed like him: we are right back at the beginning. We want it to be a film about Hulot but it isn't and indeed, we are fools to think that it has to be. Tati knows this so...

...soon we see the faux-Hulot get on a bus, but this time we are not fooled.we know it's not Hulot. His name is Smith. The bus makes its journey, a crowd gets off, the faux-Hulot, however, has caught his umbrella handle on someone else's umbrella, that of a tall man in a tweed coat. That's the kind of thing Hulot might do, we think, except he would be funnier, and we sigh a little, and feel a little foolish that Tati has effortlessly fooled us half a dozen times already. Tati knows this so...

...the tall man, in the tweed coat, turns round and unhooks his umbrella and gives a little bow to the faux-Hulot, and of course, how utterly perfect, it is Hulot.

What I made yesterday...

Sunday, January 02, 2011 1:04 pm By BigLig , In

I really need to look at the photos Instagram takes at full size more often. This one's rather good, even though I say so myself. I'm biglig on Instagram, as you'd expect. This was taken at Marsh Lock in Henley, just below the fish ladder. A lovely spot.