very slow backing up to fancy new LaCie IamaKey flash drive

I was so excited about getting the new LaCie IamaKey 4G flash drive which is scratch- and water-resistant, looks like a very chic key, and fits nicely on one’s keychain so if one is paranoid about house fires/floods/book-stealing burglars one can take one’s book everywhere but backing up my Scrivener project on it is very slow (about 90 seconds to back up my project, which is 45 MB). Even after consulting with the folks at LaCie who walked me through partitioning the drive so that it will work better with a Mac (I’m running 10.5.6) it is still very slow when I use the command “backup file to”.

Curious, too, that it was faster (though still slow) backing up to my old, 512MB flash drive.

Other types of files copy quite quickly to the new flash drive.

Any idears about what I might do to speed up the process? I realize 90 seconds is not the end of the world but when doing multiple backups it’s irritating and sometimes after working for several hours one wants to backup, shut down, and get the heck away from one’s desk.

Thanks in advance.

If you are less lazy than me you might consider backup up to a local folder then copying the folder to the flash drive via the finder. My suspicion is that there is an exasperation of IO bottlenecking by the way scriv is writing the compressed file. Just a suspicion.

Dear Jaysen:

Thank you very much for your reply. I don’t know if I followed your directions correctly (I just copied the latest version of the project I’d already backed up to my hard drive onto the flash drive) but it happened a bit faster – about 10 seconds faster (but who’s counting?). Still slow but I guess that’s how it goes…

BTW, what means “IO”?


Input/Output. Shorthand for everything that goes into transferring information around, either inside your computer, or from one device to another. In other words, stuff at a level far beneath what Scrivener can do anything about (beyond choosing between different higher level methods).

As AmberV pointed out IO is a generic term used to refer to anything that goes in or out of the processor or related systems. The screen you are looking at to read this message is an O (output). The keyboard is an I (input). Some things, like disks, network, USB ports can be both I and O. depending on the level at which you are working inside a system, even RAM can be be considered part of IO (although most sane folks consider RAM a subsystem of its own).

All that technical mumbo jumbo out of the way, I have some information that might not make you super happy. If your copy (which it sounds to me that you did it correctly) was only 10 seconds faster then I don’t think your issue is with scriv. It seems to me that your USB drive is simply slow. I know you said that the manufacturer helped you optimize it, but it sounds to me like there is a problem there.

This brings us to a bigger topic: USB/flash/NAND memory reliability. If you search the archives here you will find that several folks smarter than me agree that you should not rely on these technologies for exclusive backup. There are some pretty detailed tirades (the irrational ones are mine) that will explain how these technologies work and fail. You might want to make sure that you understand the limits of flash as well as have additional backup strategies in place.

Yes, the sky is always falling at my location…

Of COURSE the sky is always falling! This is why I’m using a flash drive in the first place: what if someone breaks into my house/there is a fire/flood/plague of locusts which wipes out both my hard drive and external hard drive? Well, then of course I have my handy little flash drive dangling from my keychain and five years’ work will be saved. Too bad now that particular little dream has been crushed and I now know all’s I’ve got here is a high-tech keychain ornament. That said, I will continue to use it or something like it (this particular one may go back to the store) as my backup backup location and maybe, just maybe, it will work if all else goes to hell.

I truly don’t understand why this new, fancy one is slower than my old piece of crap 512MB one. That is a mystery. New guy’s transfer rate is fast when used with non-scriv stuff. Harrumph.

Anyway, thanks again for all the help and info.

When using “Backup File To”, do you select to zip up the file? If so, I’m wondering if it is a result of the shell zip command being slow when compressing to the USB.

The new drive has a larger file system, hence larger index tables, hence more address space. This is just INSIDE the flash drive. Now that is also true of the OS method of access. Add to that the “possibility” that the old drive may be using faster components internally and …

Anyway … if you only see a 10 second speed up when you copy the file from the local drive, I would stand by the hypothesis that this is not an issue with scriv. Sorry.

I agree, the ten-second difference is probably the zip processing time. In “action A” you are copying a known quantity of bits from device 1 to device 2. In “action B” you are generating a sequence of bits on the fly and transferring them from RAM to device 2. It isn’t the same action, and one is going to be by definition a bit slower because there is more going on.

My opinion, take the extra time to stand up and gaze out the window for your extra ten-seconds. Your eyes and wrists will thank you for the periodic break. :slight_smile:

Did you format your flash drive “Mac OS Extended?” I believe non-journaled is faster than journaled.

Also, a good backup strategy often includes some kind of online backup service, well covered in this forum.

I recently bought this flash drive (March 31 is last day for rebate deal): … 6820233037

I noticed that it was much faster than my old “crappy” flash drive.

(PS. The rubber around this drive is nice cushioning, but it makes it too bulky to sit next to other USB connectors.)

Good luck.

Most flash drives are pre-formatted in FAT by default from the manufacturer. This makes it easier to put in either a windows or OSX machine with no pre-formatting needed. This is also a very SLOW format when it comes to copying large amounts of files or large files especially in a 4G environment.

If you are using this in a OSX only environment and have no need to access this flash drive from a windows machine I would recommend taking everything off of the flash drive and using the Disk Utility (Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility) and reformat the flash drive to a MAC OS EXTENDED (Journaled) format

WARNING: THIS WILL ERASE EVERYTHING ON THE FLASH DRIVE. Back up any files before reformatting. Double check your backups. ALSO formatting into MAC OS EXTENDED will make this flash drive unreadable by a windows machine or device.

If you are unsure how to format then here are some basic instructions.

(3) Plug the FLash drive into the computer.
(4) Go to the APPLICATIONS folder, scroll down to the UTILITES folder. Open it. Look for DISK UTILITY. Double Click (Launch) Disk Utiltiy.
(5) Look in the left pane oof the Disk Utility window. Locate the FLASH drive and click on it to highlight it.
(6) In the right pane center of window click the ERASE tab.
(7) Next to the option VOLUME FORMAT is a pull down menu. Click on it and select MAC OS EXTENEDED (Journaling).
(8) Right below VOLUME FORMAT is NAME and a field. Type the name of the Disk you want it to be called in this field (This is the name it will appear as on your desktop)
(8) Click the ERASE button on the right hand side.
(9) Donate a dollar to the Wildlife Fund or any animal charity because they are cute. :slight_smile:

Once this is done, quit Disk utility. Drag your disk off of the desktop into the trash (unmounting).
Now take the disk out and then put it back in and test to see that it mounts (shows up on your desktop) properly. Now test it by copying a file to it to see if it now shows a speed increase in copy speed.

Hope that helps?

Slow and unreliable in my experience. All of my flash storage data corruption issues ever have been on FAT format cards. Anecdotal, but I’ve never had a corruption issue on an HFS+ formatted flash device, whereas corruption happened often enough on the FAT devices that I nearly gave up on them entirely before I thought of using HFS+.

Another advantage, which you should never rely upon for any measure of security, but 99% of the people on the planet that randomly pick up your lost flash device will think it is busted when they plug it into their computers. It isn’t secure, but it is the difference between an envelope and a post card. Even an ethical person might be tempted to read a postcard sitting on a bench, but only someone with a screwy sense of ethics will open another person’s letter. It isn’t real security, but it is enough to trigger the “maybe I shouldn’t do this” behaviour.

I keep my flash drive in my pants pocket. I do this out of habit like I carry my keys and My wallet. This is a simpple backup in case of a natural disaster (fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, angry wife, bob sledding gnomes).

So for security purposes they would really have to be protected from WIFE WITH GUN SYNDROME if they dare to reach into my pants pockets.