Friday, January 4, 2019

Throwing Storage at the Problem

Andy Ihnatko:

Someday, you’re going to spot on online deal for an external drive at a time when you happen to be flush with cash and with no financial perils on the horizon. You should buy that drive. When it arrives, stick it in a closet. Don’t even open the box.

Why? Because having a fresh, empty drive empowers so many solutions to PC problems.

Fully endorsed: you should have an extra drive—not one you are relying on for backups—that you have no hesitation in erasing so that you can use it to solve whatever problem crops up. But don’t leave it unopened. First, you want to make sure that it works, didn’t come with bad sectors, etc. Second, you can periodically prime it with a clone your boot drive. Depending on your emergency need, you can always quickly erase it if necessary. But if it turns out that you need to use it as a replacement boot drive, having even a month-old clone means you’re just a quick SuperDuper Smart Update away from being back in business.

Option 2: Skip the stopgap solution and replace the internal SSD straight away. This would have been the obvious answer if this were any other $2000 laptop. Alas, I am blessed with an Apple product. This blessing is accompanied by the unavailability of standard upgrade and replacement components.

How I miss that iBook (Dual USB), where you could literally swap in your backup drive.

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"How I miss that iBook (Dual USB), where you could literally swap in your backup drive"

Didn;t know about that but for me the ultimate Apple laptop was the Powerbook G3 (Pismo etc) where you could pull a lever on the CD Drive to pop it out and replace with a variety of things Zip Drives, Hard Drives - even a 2nd battery!!

God knows how much skeletal framework there was inside the PBG3's to accommodate potential modules but I still think it was beyond what we have available today.

Design is how something works - not just how thin it is ;

I had (and loved!) one of those Powerbook G3s as well. Had the CD (DVD?) drive, the floppy drive, the extra battery IIRC. Yes, that was great modularity that started with the Quadras (?) and that I kept relying on until the Mac Pro - and now, ultimately, with thru "Hack Pro". I don't need thin Macbooks, either. I carry them in a backpack when I'm on the road, and a pound and an extra inch in thockness would not bother me - especially if I wouldn't have to carry extra adapters, chargers and portable docks that are needed to accomodate the thin MacBook now.

Jeez, where's the edit button? :)

Also, I have now two practically unused 1 TB SSD drives laying around here, after I installed m.2 NVMe drives in my MacPro (via PCI card) and HackPro (right on the motherboard). Only using them for testing and booting alternatives macOS versions from, now. Wouldn't have dreamt of doing that 2 years ago.

I agree fully with this topic, though - the main rule for me has always been: Keep an extra "scratch" drive around that has space enough to save all your files, in case you need to quickly make a backup, or even just help a friend to transfer their system to a new system. Or as a replacement drive when one of your NAS drives (RAID) breaks down, and then order a replacement drive right away.

BTW, having lost work in the early 80s due to bad tapes or unreliable floppy disks soon taught me to never rely on a single piece of storage equipment. In fact, my first serious piece of software I wrote was a backup program - only that it was quickly abused as the most efficient way for copying all kinds of copy-protected software.

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