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Mar 072012

So tonight, Apple launched their new iPad so undoubted mass hysteria from the Apple fans but is it interesting?

Well of course it is – whatever the specifications, it is going to sell in huge numbers and have quite a big influence on the IT landscape. But ignoring that, what has changed ? And is it all good ?

The big change is the use of a high-density screen – 2048×1536 in a 9.7″ screen. The use of a high-density screen might seem like it is excessive given that each individual pixel is getting towards being too small to see. But it does make the overall effect better – text (when scaled appropriately) becomes clearer, etc. After all one of the reasons that reading paper is easier on the eye is that the greater density makes things clearer.

Software that does not scale the display is going to look a bit odd – after all this screen is very roughly the equivalent of an old 1280×1024 screen (commonly a 20″ screen) in 9.7″. But I dare say Apple has a trick up its sleeve to deal with that.

But it is a bit odd that this is still not a wide-screen format screen – most other slate makers use the wide screen format so films can scale up to the full size of the screen. But Apple wants black bars! Or letter-boxing if you insist although as a film fan I hate that.

With any luck the new iPad’s screen resolution should trickle into other products – whilst I’m not that keen on the iPad to go out and get one, I do want to see a high-density screen on my desktop at some point. And why not? Screens on the desktop have been not just stuck at the same resolution for a decade now, but actually decreasing in resolution – before HD TV became popular, 1920×1200 was a popular resolution on flat screens; now it is 1920×1080. Except if you have very deep pockets (although even that monitor does not have the density of the new iPad).

But what else ? Well, except for the new screen, it’s all a bit “Meh” … nothing shines out as a dramatic improvement.

For instance, it has a new processor. But it is only dual-core when some Android slates are getting penta-cores – usually advertised as quad core, but the many are using a processor with four high speed cores, and a single slow speed (and low power consumption) core.

And the rest of it looks pretty much the same as the old iPad – no memory slot for adding additional media, a proprietary dock connector and no micro-usb so you have to make sure you have the right cable with you. And so on.

And I still find it odd that the camera pointing towards the face is of a lower quality than the camera facing out – doesn’t the front facing camera get used more for video conferencing than the other ?

Feb 082012

If you read certain articles on the web you might be under the impression that Apple has had a secret project to port OSX to the ARM-based architecture with the intention of producing a cut down (although not necessarily very cut down) Macbook Air running on the ARM architecture.

Which is preposterous.

Firstly this secret project to port OSX was merely bringing up the ‘lower half’ of OSX (Darwin) on a particular variety of ARM-processor. The end result ? Probably something more or less equivalent to a “login” prompt on an old multi-user Unix system with no GUI. That is not to underestimate the accomplishment of the student involved – in many ways that would be a good 75% of the work involved.

But a few key facts here :-

  1. This is not the first port of Darwin (or even OSX) to the ARM-based architecture. Pick up your iThingie … that’s got an ARM inside, and whilst we all call the operating system it runs iOS, it is really OSX with a different skin on. Sure there are some differences and limitations, but they are merely skin deep – at the lowest level they’re both Darwin.
  2. If there’s a secret project to run OSX on an ARM-based laptop of some kind, this ain’t it. Take a closer look at the processor used in this experiment. It’s an ARM processor less capable than that in the very first iPhone. You won’t see it in any new laptops. If this secret experiment had any real product behind it, it would be more likely to be an intelligent embedded device – a really clever fridge or something (and no, not a TV).
  3. If there was a real product behind this, it seems pretty unlikely that Apple would choose a student on work experience to do the work. After all such a student might just spill the beans on a secret project given enough green folding stuff as incentive.

What is probably the case here is that Apple came up with this project for the student as a way of testing whether he was worth considering as a full employee – after all it is a better way of testing a potential employee than asking them to make the tea! And have no intention of using the result as a product.

What they will do however is use the student’s observations to feed back into the OSX team – what problems did he encounter that might qualify as bugs ? Etc.

In reality, Apple probably already has OSX running on ARM based machines in their labs. It’s an obvious thing to try out given that all their iThingies are ARM based, and it is not an enormous amount of extra work to finish off what is already in place to get something that looks and runs like OSX. After all, Apple did ages ago admit that early versions of OSX did run on x86-based processors when their product line was all PowerPC based, and keeping OSX portable across architectures is something they probably want to keep as a possibility.

Will Apple launch an ARM-based Macbook Air ? Not anytime soon. Whilst the value of a 64-bit architecture is over-rated, it would seem unlikely that Apple will ever again launch a 32-bit based “real” computer. But with 64-bit based ARMs arriving in a year or two, who knows ?

Nov 172011

I have an Android phone that automatically uploads photos to Google; you have an iPhone that automatically uploads photos to Apple’s iCloud service. We both want to send photos to a Facebook gallery for some friends.

To solve this problem, we either have to copy photos manually from Google to Facebook, or make use of some special application to do the work for us. But isn’t this the wrong solution to the problem ?

If the different propriety clouds used an open standard for uploading photos, it would be possible to automatically upload to Google from an iPhone, upload to Apple’s iCloud from an Android phone, or … to some new competitor. Or even for those of us who prefer to do our own thing, to our own servers.

As someone who mixes and matches things, I have “islands of data” in different clouds – some photos are uploaded to Facebook (when I can be bothered), some are in Googleland, and some (the ones I regard as the better ones) are uploaded to my own server. And that is just photos; there are also contacts, notes, documents, drawings, etc. None of this can be easily moved from one island to another – sure I could move it manually, but why would I want to do that ? Computers after all are supposed to be good at automation.

This is all down to the convenience of the cloud providers of course – Google makes it easy to use their services and hard to use others because it’s in their interests to do so, Apple is similarly inclined to keep your imprisoned in their “perfumed prison”. And so on.

But it’s all our data and they should make it easy to move our data around. This not only would be useful for us, but less obviously would actually benefit the cloud providers. After all if I find it tricky moving from one online photo gallery “cloud” to another, I’m less inclined to do so.

Making it easier to move cloud data from one provider to another not only means it is easier for a customer to “escape” one proprietary cloud, but it is also easier for a customer of another cloud to move in. And it would not necessarily be that difficult to do – just produce a standardised API that works across multiple different cloud providers, and let the application developers loose.

To a certain extent this is possible right now – for example, Facebook has an API and Twitter has an API and it is possible to produce code to send status updates to both places. But the equivalent to update a Google Plus status does not seem to be available, and combining status updates in one tool just isn’t there as yet – I have a simple script which sits on top of two other tools (and very nicely pops up a window, a text input box, or takes the status on the command line). But with a standardised API, the code would be much easier to write.


Oct 062011

Today was the day we learned that Steve Jobs died. This is of course massive news within the technology industry as Steve Jobs has been such an important player in the industry since the beginning of the personal computer revolution (long before the iPod and all the other iThingies). As with everyone who dies, my sympathy goes out to anyone who knew him.

The reaction has been … interesting. Amongst the other compliments he has been called a great innovator, which to those who observe the industry closely seems a touch inaccurate. There are plenty of things that Steve Jobs was – he was a great businessman who not only built up Apple in the first place, but returned to rescue it from obscurity (and possibly saving it).

He had the ability to take innovations and introduce them to the mass market – he could somehow lead his engineers into producing usable mass-market products. But without meaning to criticise he was not as much of an innovator as is sometimes made out to be.

Looking through the history of the products he brought to the mass-market …

Apple I & Apple II

Neither of these were truly original. The Apple I was one of the first personal computers that were available fully assembled, but it was not the first. The basic concept of the personal computer released as a product can be traced to the IBM 5100 (1975) or the HP 9830 (1972). These may have been a lot more expensive but were probably more successful than the Apple I which only sold about 200.

The Apple II was a good deal more successful – probably the closest to a dominant personal computer around before the original IBM PC took off, but was no more truly original. For instance amongst the hordes of similar personal computers around at the time, there was the quite close Commodore PET (which was admittedly somewhat less expandable).

And the least said about the Apple III, the better!

The Macintosh

Most people assume that the Macintosh was the first computer with a graphical user interface, but it was not even the first from Apple themselves! They brought out the somewhat less successful (and very expensive) Lisa first. The first GUI computer was the Xerox Alto first built in 1973 – before Apple even existed! Admittedly this was never a commercial product, but Xerox did eventually launch a commercial workstation based on this early experiment – the Xerox Star, in 1981. That’s still 2 years before the Macintosh.

The Macintosh did however bring the graphical user interface to a mass audience even if the first Macintosh computers were more than a little constrained by lack of memory (128Kbytes anyone?).

The iPod

After a few successful years with the Macintosh (and having ditched Steve Jobs in 1985), Apple started to go downhill. Until Steve Jobs returned, and helped to turn the company around with the launch of Macintoshes that were better designed in terms of styling. Although he was probably right to kill it off, he also did something interesting on his return – he killed the Newton product line which although it was not really recognised at the time, was actually Apple’s first slate computer (it was marketted as a PDA but with a much bigger screen than most PDAs).

But the next big thing was the launch of  the music player that nearly everyone has tried at one time or another – the iPod. Again to disappoint the reflex Apple fans, this was not a massive innovation from Apple – there were portable digital music players launched before this. Such as the music player (with a somewhat limited capacity of 3.5 minutes!) envisaged by Kane Kramer way back in 1979 (and patented in the UK in 1981). Apple even hired him when they were facing patent litigation over the iPod.

Altogether there were five different music players launched in the market before Apple took a hand. But of course Apple made it easy enough for the man in the street to use.

The iPhone

The iPhone was an interesting product – a “smartphone” (it might have been more accurate to call it a featurephone) that on the basis of pure feature comparison was weaker than the competition in every way – a less capable data network (no 3G), many missing hardware features that were present on other smartphones (GPS, proper bluetooth support, a slot for memory expansion, etc.). It couldn’t even load additional apps – Steve Jobs tried telling everyone that apps should be on the Internet and not installed on the phone!

It did do two things better than the competition though – firstly the CPU was of reasonable strength to run a smartphone with. At least the pre-iPhone smartphones I used were positively anaemic in performance due to weak CPUs. Secondly, the iPhone made using a smartphone simple. And that was the real reason the iPhone took off – anyone could use it.

The iPad

And yet again Steve Jobs does it – take a product that was pretty much universally unpopular, or at most was popular only in certain vertical markets, and pushes it out to the mass market in a way that everyone can enjoy. Again very little in the way of innovation, but a great product (with some odd weaknesses until the iPad 2).

Oct 042011

So it has been announced at last. The iPhone 4S, which is more or less an iPhone 4 with some fiddling – a faster processor, an improved antenna, and a software update that gives it a feature that Android has had for a while. That is voice control.

Undoubtedly it will all be done in a very slick way – that is the Apple way, but is it enough ?

Well it all depends on what you mean by “enough”. It will undoubtedly sell – both to the Apple fans who worship anything Apple produces whatever the merits, but will it sell enough to keep Apple’s current level of influence in the mobile smartphone sector ? After all, Steve Jobs has now left and everyone is wondering how the new Apple will maintain it’s leadership in the smartphone and slate market.

Well the iPhone 4S is nice, but so is my iPhone 4. But it is hardly a major improvement – yes it’s faster; probably a lot faster. And the antenna improvement will please those who managed to tickle the antenna problem on the iPhone 4 (I could only do so by going through ridiculous contortions).

It’s a perfectly reasonable mid-life facelift, but it’s a touch late for a mid-life facelift, although admittedly a bit early for a whole new phone. Oh! Sure Apple will claim that the internals are completely different, but it’s still an improved iPhone 4 rather than an iPhone 5. Although it’s unreasonable, Apple’s problem here is that the iPhone 4S looks a little boring and in a post-Jobs era, they need to convince people that they are still able to release exciting products. And this isn’t it.

The big problem I see from my personal perspective is that there is no option for an iPhone with a big screen (and no I don’t mean an iPad!). If you look at the oodles of choice you can find in the Android phone market, you will find examples of premium smartphones with larger screens than the iPhone. Such as the Samsung Galaxy S II with a 4.3″ screen, and that is not even the largest smartphone screen you can find (although it may well be the best).

Sure not everyone wants a large screen on their smartphone, but I do and Android gives me that choice. And plenty of other choices – 3D screens, physical keyboards, etc. And no being chained up in Apple’s walled garden!

So yes, sorry Apple but it’s a bit of a yawn event. Try again with a proper iPhone 5 with a large (for a smartphone) screen.

Nov 062010

Well it’s here! An android slate that is – something I’ve been after for quite a while. And it turns out to be a Toshiba Folio 100. Perhaps not the best picture, but at least it hasn’t been stolen :-


Hardware Thoughts

Supposedly some people thinks it feels cheap, well I can say it doesn’t. Admittedly there is a fair amount of plastic involved in the case, which is perhaps where the thoughts come from but it’s pretty good plastic. Perhaps it compares a little unfavourably with the Apple iPad or iPhone4, but for a half plastic device it’s not bad at all. The back is textured plastic which is perhaps a slightly dated design feature, but it does mean the slate feels less likely to slip out of your hands – that iPhone experience of the slick metal and glass (for the iPhone4) and slick plastic (for earlier iPhones) feels good out of the box, but most people end up sticking it inside a case and the need to feel it securely in your hands is at least part of the reason for the case.

The back is slightly smaller than the front, which makes it look a tad slimmer than it really is, but the thinner edge makes it easier to hold onto the device. The 25cm screen sits within a larger area leaving a 2cm border around the device. Again a slightly dated design feature, but it does mean that when you hold it with your thumb on the top surface for a more secure grip, you don’t obscure any part of the screen.

The top of the bezel holds the tiny lens for the built-in webcam and a hole for the microphone. The right edge holds in order, a battery/power light, and a series of four touch sensitive buttons which are quite possibly just sensitive areas of the touchscreen – the LCD panel doesn’t extend to the edge of the device, but the glass of the touchscreen does. The top edge holds the only physical buttons – an on/off switch, and a volume control rocker switch. The on/off switch feels a little loose, which isn’t good, but the volume buttons seem to work fine.

Connectors can be found on the right edge and bottom edge with some covered by rubber covers. After having seen so many devices that recharge through a USB connection, it seems oddly old-fashioned that Toshiba have included a conventional powerbrick to plug into an old-style proprietary power-jack. This is one place where being dated is not good – why not use the USB ports for power like everyone else ?

Without commenting on the software (yet!), in use the device works pretty well. The screen is nice and clear; the touchscreen is pretty responsive and accurate although there’s always room for improvement. The only oddity is those touch sensitive buttons on the right – they sometimes seem reluctant to activate. Of course the screen is both reflective and subject to getting greasy fingerprints on it.

The Software

Before I start making any comments, please be aware of two things that may influence my comments :-

  1. I haven’t used an Android device before so I won’t be aware of how this device compares in use to other devices. Plus of course nobody (according to Google) is supposed to be using the current Android builds for tablets!
  2. My home Wifi network is especially flaky so some problems may have been down to this.

The Toshiba may be running Android 2.2 but it isn’t quite the full Google experience – there are no Google applications, and the real Android Marketplace isn’t there. Of course Toshiba has bundled in some applications to get started with, including it’s own Marketplace application, but it would be nice to have a choice. What is missing from the bundled applications is a map viewer (admittedly this would have to be manually driven given the lack of a GPS unit, but even so), and a game or two. It may also be sensible to have a more obvious “widget” on the home screen(s) to lead into a quick overview of the device. And please explain the different power lights in that quick overview!

The Marketplace. Well it looks fine at first glance, but is a little flaky in operation. It is subject to frequent crashes, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot in it – for instance where is the Kindle app? And what there is in there seems to be very haphazardly arranged with some rather startling choices of categories.

Ok, perhaps Toshiba have restricted apps to things that will work well on the Folio which would explain the limited numbers. Well, no. At least two of the apps I downloaded turned out to restrict themselves to a phone-sized display which looks very silly. I could understand that sort of thing on the main Android Marketplace as Android slates are so new, but in Toshiba’s “walled garden” ?

The photo above shows that at least some applications originally written for a phone-sized display work “correctly” on the larger screen of a slate, although perhaps resulting in a somewhat humorous result. Although I can imagine some people would find calculators with such big buttons useful. What Toshiba needs to do is :-

  1. Debug their marketplace app so it doesn’t crash (and doesn’t have so many issues with long lists of apps!).
  2. Restrict apps in their marketplace to those apps that work well on the Folio, and categorise them much more carefully.
  3. Allow the use of the standard Android Marketplace – perhaps with the addition of a quality warning screen. Or indeed with an option in the settings to allow it’s use.

Despite claims that this device supports Flash, the Youtube experience shows that it isn’t quite there yet – you get a screen saying you need to upgrade your version of Flash. There was a slip of paper put into the box telling me to check the Toshiba Multimedia website for a Flash download, which doesn’t seem to be there. But why can’t the Flash update be included into the standard update mechanism ? This all has the feel of a slightly rushed product. In some ways this is fair enough, providing that there are frequent updates online (through the “Toshiba Service Station”).

Over a few days, my initial impression of it being a little rushed have been reinforced – there after frequent crashes of the Toshiba applications, and the system has a habit of slowing down to a crawl from time to time. The only update that has been provided so far has been to the Toshiba Marketplace application – which didn’t come through the “Service Station” app, and that has made things worse. Now there are no applications available at all!

Apparently Dixons have gotten so many returns, that they are effectively refusing to sell any more (see the article from The Register). Toshiba needs to buck up it’s ideas pretty quickly here. Even if it is just an update to :-

  1. Provide the standard Marketplace application.
  2. Provide an option to remove all of the added Toshiba applications.
  3. Provide an explanation that the Toshiba branded applications are being temporarily removed for quality issues.

At the very least they need to send out a message either on the device itself, or via an email to urge customers to apologise, be patient and announce expected dates when updates will be provided.

Final Words

Well, even after the long awaited update the Toshiba software was still sub-standard. The best option for anyone who hasn’t lost patience and returned their Folio is a community-hacked up ROM.

Oct 232010

I have not had the opportunity to fiddle with one, but if Apple wants to send me one to review I am more than willing to do that! But I do have a few thoughts on the new Macbook Air. Both the 11″ one and the 13″ one. If you want something closer to a review (although nobody has had one long enough to review it properly) you can do worse than have a look at this article.

It is amusing to see the reactions to various articles published on the new Air from the “Apple is Satan” crowd, and the “Apple can do no wrong” crowd. Both as it happens are wrong.

If you look at the raw specifications of the Air – especially the 11″ model, you will see something that looks more or less like a netbook. Which of course it cannot be because Steve Jobs thinks netbooks are snake oil and useless at that. In fact it is a little bit better than that – the CPU is a little quicker, the graphics are a little better supported with a faster chipset, and there is a touch less storage (unless you go for the really expensive 256Gbyte model!).

So it’s just a very expensive netbook then ? Well, more or less. It fills roughly the same need – most people are not going to use one of these as their main machines, but will carry them around as ultra-portables. That is the kind of mobile computer you can take anywhere but once you are at your desk it sits in the drawer whilst you use a “proper computer”.

Sure the CPU is a little light-weight, but a couple of years ago a Core2Duo CPU was fine enough to get Real Work Done, so it’s still perfectly adequate to do a bit of light word processing on the train, throw up a presentation on a screen, do a little light web browsing during a boring meeting (ps: I never do this), and of course perfectly adequate for running kermit to connect to a Cisco router whilst balanced on top of a boring blue box.

Most of the compromises made in the specification are to get the size and weight of the laptop down to increase portability – that’s what a laptop is for after all! If you want power, go back to your desktop.

There is a fair amount of criticism around the cost of the Air being as it is very much more expensive than most netbooks. So ? Apple is hardly known for tackling the low end of the market where margins are small, so it is hardly surprising that things have not changed here. And of course this machine has a better specification than any netbook, whilst retaining the characteristic that Apple thinks is important in a netbook – portability.

Of course Apple is hardly perfect. Why must the battery and the SSD be fixed ? And why is there no possibility of swapping out the memory ? Whilst making these devices swappable may well make the laptop just a bit bigger and a bit heavier, it won’t be enough to ruin the portability, and will be a lot greener.

There is of course the usual criticism of Apple that their UK prices are over inflated compared to their US prices. To do a fair comparison, lets take a look :-

Cheapest Air on the US Apple Store $999
Cheapest Air on the UK Apple Store £849
US price in pounds where exchange rate is according to Wolfram Alpha £636.89
Plus UK “sales tax” (VAT) at 20% (to start in January 2011) £764.27
Penalty to UK purchasers for buying Apple £85

So why are we paying that extra £85 ?

We all know that laptop batteries fade over time to eventually give such a short running time to make the laptop unusable as a portable device. And of course circumstances change so you may suddenly need more than 64Gbytes of storage to get your work done on the move – or you just have to run a virtual machine because work has come up with the Ultimate Application that only runs under Windows, so you need a touch more memory.

Or heck, perhaps you just want to give your laptop a midlife upgrade to make it a bit quicker.

Apple want us all to throw away our old products and buy new ones – very capitalistic, but not very green.

And for all those pro-Apple and anti-Apple people out there who get so wound up by product announcements by Apple, please grow up and get a life! It’s a laptop; not a revolutionary change in the way that humanity exists.

Jul 242010

This is not so much a review, as a collection of random thoughts that occur to me as I get used to my iPhone4. As such, you may well see it change over the month ahead as I get used to it.

Firstly, the shiny glass back cover means I cannot just put the new iPhone on the arm of my chair. The old iPhone (a 3G) sits quite happily there, but the new one is far too keen to slide off. Worth bearing in mind if you’re used to a “sticky” iPhone – wouldn’t want you to have an accident with a brand new phone!

Next is the special coating the glass gets to prevent fingerprints. Nice try, but they can still appear. Of course today my fingers are especially sweaty and greasy so although some prints are showing up, the screen is a good deal better than older iPhones would have been.

Finally (for now), and this one is hardly Apple’s faulty, but there are some applications out there that lose data when you go through a backup old phone and restore to new phone. This is definitely a bug in those applications, and I’m sure they know who they are, because better written applications didn’t lose a bit of data. Apple itself does in fact lose passwords, but I would guess this is a security measure to ensure that stored passwords can’t be “hacked” by restoring a stolen phone backup onto another phone.

The new iPhone does not give an initial impression of being significantly smaller than the old iPhone – even though for the first weekend I was shuffling between old and new phones. But it does seem a lot smaller as soon as you start carrying it around – it feels quite a bit smaller in the pocket.

The known problems with the aerial are obviously a serious issue for those effected, but I suspect the number of sufferers is smaller than the impression given online. After all complaints are louder than the sounds of satisfaction. Certainly I have not seen the issue myself.

Jul 242010

When the iPhone was first introduced, it was available on “unlimited” data plans although in reality “unlimited” meant “as much as we think is reasonable” with no indication of how much was reasonable. The first iPhone was also not capable of being “tethered” to a computer so the computer could use the phone as an Internet router – which was kind of odd as all other smart phones allowed that.

And then the iPhone acquired the tethering ability and the carriers insisted that customers pay extra for tethering. Which was sort of odd as no other smart phone required that. But it was sort of understandable as the iPhone had an “unlimited” data plan, and the ease of use had encouraged customers to make use of that “unlimited” data plan to the extent that many mobile networks suffered from a lack of bandwidth. The extra cost of tethering was a means of rationing how much bandwidth an iPhone customer could use.

But now with the iPhone4, all those “unlimited” data plans have mysteriously disappeared to be replaced with plans that limit you to 500Mb-1Gb per month. And yes you still have to pay extra for tethering. Why ?

Now that the data plan is no longer unlimited, why is there an extra charge for tethering ? Surely we are now in a situation where it does not matter what you use the data bandwidth for, but merely how much and whether you exceed the default limit. Those who want to exceed that limit pay more; those who want to tether only in an emergency don’t need to pay extra for something they do not need every day.

And yes I am one of those who would only use tethering in what to me are unusual circumstances – I don’t travel frequently and when I do travel, I have no great urge to ensure that I’m online. But just occasionally it may be useful – say if I’m contacted by work, as a laptop is far better to run an ssh client than an iPhone.

Apr 012010

Apologies to those arriving here looking for information relating to U***tu and the use of this ExpressCard SSD. There is nothing relating to it here – Google has taken you on a wrong turn.

So after a false start with the wrong product I end up with a Wintec Filemate SolidGo 48GB ExpressCard 34 Ultra SSD (which is specifically a PCI-based ExpressCard rather than a USB-based one which tend to be a lot slower). The specs on this thing claim 115MB/s read and 65MB/s write which compares to my hard disk with tested scores of 80MB/s read and 78MB/s write – so a lot quicker for reads and marginally slower for writes.

How does this translate into how quickly the Macbook operates ?

Well after quickly duplicating my “OSXBOOT” partition onto the new “disk” using carbon copy cloner onto the new disk (“SSDBOOT”) I can run a few benchmarks :-

Test Result for SSD Result for Spinning Metal
Menu -> Login 31s 27s
Word startup 5s 16s
du of MacPorts 34s 109s

Well apart from the slightly surprising result of the time taken to get from the Refit menu until the login screen being actually quicker for the spinning metal disk, the SSD is approximately 3.2 times quicker! Certainly a worthwhile performance boost … and presumably a suitably chosen SATA SSD would be quicker again.

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