Saturday, November 28, 2020
My old 4TB external hard drive is the size of a brick. It is also heavy. It started to have problems where it sometimes won't let me access the hard drive. The hard drive seems to work, but maybe there is an electronics problem. Power cycling seems to fix it.
I replaced it with a 5 TB "portable" hard drive for $100. This seems like a great deal. I was amazed by the size. It is like 2 decks of cards side by side and lightweight. It also doesn't require a separate power supply.
It took 2 days to copy all the data. The new drive is somewhat slow on write speed because of SMR (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shingled_magnetic_recording). Also, I had to power cycle the old hard drive at least a couple of times.
People are all excited at how powerful the new M1 chip Macs are, but non-upgradability is the Achilles heel of these products. There are a bunch of videos showing that you can do just fine with just 8 gigs of RAM, but that is just for running one task. These machines are designed to multitask, so 8 GB is really not enough.
An adequate amount of RAM today probably won't be an adequate amount of RAM five years from now. I upgraded my iMac from 8 GB to 40 GB, which is twice as much as I really need, but the difference in cost wasn't that much.
Because you can't upgrade the RAM on M1 computers, this chip really should just be used on tablets and phones. Instead, it is being used on the Mac Mini, which is a desktop, and laptops that are desktop replacements.
When Apple comes out with the next generation of iMacs, I hope that the RAM will be user upgradeable.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Last year I was watching the rave reviews for this $150 Amazon tablet. When they had it on sale for $100 during Black Friday week, I figured that was a great deal, but I also figured that I didn't really need another tablet. This year it is only $80 for the Black Friday sale, so I decided that for that price I could use it to test Android apps that I want to write.
Instead of spending $100 for a 5 TB hard drive, which arrived today, I could have bought this ...
I didn't know that such sizes were possible.
Monday, November 23, 2020
Sunday, November 22, 2020
I don't think that most people need a tablet, but I do find this one interesting since it just went on sale. It is listed for the same price on the Target Black Friday sale. This is $20 less than the Black Friday sale from last year.
From the reviews I have seen, this is an excellent tablet for the price.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Apple has performed a minor miracle with its new M1 chip. It has 8 CPU cores, 8 graphics cores, and RAM all on one chip. It has a 5-nanometer process, which is better than the current Intel and AMD processors. It might not be possible to make smaller circuits without developing new materials. So far, there isn't much progress in this area.
What is surprising is that this same chip can run on the Macbook Air, which has no active cooling. This is essentially a mobile processor.
You can buy high-end desktop processors that are more powerful, but this System On a Chip is at least 22% faster than my 2017 (14 nanometer Intel quad-core I-5) iMac desktop according to a benchmark that I saw. That is not a reason for me to replace my desktop, but compared to their previous mobile processors, this thing is pretty impressive.
Reportedly Apple is going to come out with something better for their desktop computers. It would make sense that a desktop processor would be more powerful.
The only downside is that they can't run Intel-based programs natively, but have a software solution for running those programs. I'm not sure about Windows compatibility, but I heard something about being able to run some Windows programs through emulation.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
At 3:50 they have a benchmark for the new Apple M1 chip in the Macbook Air, and it is about 22% faster than my iMac desktop computer. That is with no active cooling. Apple is making mobile processors and getting desktop performance out of them.
There is a rumor that there will be an M2 chip for the future desktop iMac computers. Maybe eventually. The M1 was supposed to target mobile devices.
Monday, November 16, 2020
I'm not sure that people need tablets when they have smartphones, but I think that this is interesting.
Last year, Amazon discounted their $150 10.1" tablet down to $99 during Black Friday. During Prime Days a month or two ago it was $80. For the money, this is an extremely nice tablet. I might even get one if I can get a good deal.
Monday, November 2, 2020
At the end of this video, he compares the Raspberry PI 400 to the ZX81. Seems like a fair comparison, although the Timex Sinclair 2068, which is a computer that Ioved, might be a closer comparison.
I couldn't find a CPU benchmark, but I have a refurbished laptop that I got for $80 that probably outperforms it. Still, this seems like much computer for the money. I wonder if one could get a used PC for $100?