HiTek Review

A tons of reviews and tips about technology product, software and hardware.

Getting back… In force!

SSD Benchmarks
I have a surprise for you. Ho well… It’s not really a surprise since I’ve put that in the title and google analytics told me that there is about 91.89% of chances that you got here by googling “Apple SSD Benchmark”. Anyway, I’ve run a couples of test and the results are just astonishing. Here they are:

And that’s it, they’re already gone! That’s just how fast it is. I think the only way it could get faster is to boot directly from RAM! (Ho! That’s giving me an idea…) No seriously here is some figures:

Boot time is just under 17 seconds on OS X 10.6.2 and under 25 for Windows 7. This is blazing fast. But that’s just uninteresting suff. You see, when you boot your computer, you can go get a coffee or anything while it work. So this is hardly a time saver. On the other side, that next one is going to be of big help.

Safari‘s startup time is so small that you don’t even care. In fact, I couldn’t time it by hand. So, I went lazy and just didn’t done it. You’ll have to do with some words. There is simply no differences between opening Safari 4 and opening a new tab. That’s how fast it is.

Photoshop CS 4, on the other side, is a bit slow. You have to count up to 4 before you can work in it. In fact, this is the slowest application that I’ve tested. There is just nothing slower than that. I think it pretty much guarantee a 4 seconds or less for just about anything.

Conclusion
If you can, get one… don’t. As fast as it look, the Apple SSD cost a lot and has not much to offer. It doesn’t support TRIM nor does it have a garbage collector. That means that it will keep on slowing as you use it down to half it’s original speed. That’s very bad for a $ 600 option (MacBook Pro 13″) or even a $ 200 one (MacBook Pro 17″).

By now, you’ve also realized that there is no way to get one in the Mac Pro without getting it out from a MacBook which mean it is now a $ 2000 upgrade. This is extremely costly, specially when you can get the Vertex for around $ 350.

That’s it! See you next week for some other great news.

I saw a snow flake

And it’s bad new
I have three very big project going on at school and the only thing I want to do next is kill myself. The bad new is not that I’ll die, it’s that I will not be able to write on my blog! I already switched to a 1-time-per-2-week schedule but it’s still not enough. So, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear about me for a while.

On the bright side
Do you remember, about 4 months ago I did some benchmarks of the samsung in my MacBook Pro? If you don’t, take a look here as it is like seeing the god of awesomeness. Anyway, here’s the big new: In that post, I said that I’d try to move the SSD in my Mac Pro to see how it stand aside the RAID. Well… It’s not going to happen today BUT… The SSD is now securely plugged in the Mac Pro with a handmade adapter built from the original Apple 320 GB HDD.

So as everything couldn’t get better, I’ll give you some early eyes-taken results that will make you lick your floor: safari open in half the time it was doing on the laptop and iTunes even faster. But wait! There’s more! My iTunes library is stored on my server which leverage the old RAID array and is connected using a gigabit link and it is STILL faster than the RAID alone!

Anyway, I’ll give some results when I’ll have some time to do the benchmarks. Now, I’ve go to go coding…

Snow Leopard, yes but…

.. it’s not that good
Hi everyone, I’m sorry if I let you in the dark for two weeks but I had a lot to do recently and didn’t had much time write. Who knows, it might even get worse as time goes on. Anyway, I’m here to talk about Apple recently released operating system. Snow Leopard, as it is called, is a very nice OS. It does have a lot more punch than his predecessor 10.5 but I’m not here to talk about stuff that you already know.

Core upgrade
Apple rewrote a very big part of the os with snow leopard and that’s nice for performances but, they also introduced an incalculable number of bugs. Nothing major but all of those things just keep on bothering you until you want to kill yourself. That’s what I’m going to talk about. The way Apple bunched 10.6 to release it before Windows 7.

First, Exposé. They did a lot with it and the new version is gorgeous; if you don’t have a MacBook. If, like me, you do, well, you’ll want to punch yourself in the face each time you use those wonderful 4 finger gestures. There’s a glitch with them that cause Exposé to stick and render it unproductive. If you bring Exposé and close it using your trackpad without lifting your hand of it first, shit will happen. It will get stuck in the mode you activated and the only way to get your windows back is to do the inverse gesture! It’s a very easy thing to solve and could take about ten minutes to fix but it look like it didn’t make it in 10.6.1 released just one week after the official release.

Next, Stacks. Finally, we can walkthrough a folder hierarchy without open a finder window. This was a long awaited feature but… It’s buggy too! It work very well until you have a stack of a network volume. Here’s what happen. First if the volume is not available and you click on it, it will display a transparent interrogation mark which is great but, if you click on it a second time, they stack up! Indefinitely! If the volume finally came online, they’ll stick there! They don’t even go away! Well that’s most of a graphical problem and is indeed pretty minor. But still, it’s just the start. As you’ll use this stack, you’ll realize that some obvious feature doesn’t work. Deleting a file for instance. Yup, you can’t delete a file from a network volume stack. Don’t ask me why but dropping them in the Trash Can does nothing.

Finally, Upgrade. OS X was always stated for it’s upgrade capability. I decided to test it, just for fun. I installed 10.5 and then upgraded to 10.6. No change in the settings, no app installed. And guess what. After one week, half of my icons doesn’t appear, VMware fusion icon display as 512×512 pixel of garbage, spotlight sometimes refuse to listen to my keyboard, and I’ll pass over random freeze (not kernel panic, just complete computer lockup) and random application crash.

Ho, I just forgot! There’s also a keychain issue with the clean install that can get you locked up from your own computer. The only solution, if it is a solution, is to make your way to the keychain application and reset your keychain password.

Moral
OS X 10.6 is a great operating system. It does work faster and has some new interesting stuff. On the other side, don’t, ABSOLUTELY DON’T try to install it as an upgrade. You’ll want to punch yourself so bad that you’ll actually do it before doing a clean install.

I’m sorry but we have to ban money. That’s just the way it is.

A call for help
I decided to wrote this post, even if it goes out of the range of what this blog should talk about, after reading the enclosed article (click on the title) which propose a “poor” solution about the problem that appeared recently with 30 sec music preview that are on various online music store. Everyone talk about it since one week and I think it’s the perfect time to reply.

The “poor” solution
The solution proposed by CrunchGeer is to simply ban music. As it is a solution, it is more temporary and risky than anything else. But still, Nickolas Deleon did risked to propose a solution and that’s what important. Unfortunately, this ban would only cause the same thing to happen with the movie industry where previews would need to be bought. I don’t even want to talk about software demos and other kind of consumable that could be “previewed”.

One people did offered a more realistic solution. You can see his comment on the same post under the name “Mika” where he say: “[…] promotion of music for commercial purposes by anyone other than the performers themselves is banned […]”. It is a better solution than the total ban as it will not create what I call the “Fahrenheit 451 Effect”. If you know the book, you know what I’m talking about. You can resume it by “banning any form of expression is bad and might get the humanity to it’s end”.

The good solution
What can be banned to solve this problem that is not considered as a form of expression? To answer this question, you must know why you need to banish something. It’s not the fact that people want stuff that cause this issue. It’s not the fact that people want it to be free. It’s not the fact that creators want a reward for their product that cause the issue. It’s the fact that people NEED a reward to live.

In this case, the reward is money but it could be anything else. I’d like to quote a talk between two fictional characters that live in a world where this issue doesn’t exist :

– How much does this thing cost?
– The economic of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century.
– No money? You meen you don’t get paid?
– The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in ours live. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.

You might have recognized Lili and Jean-Luc Picard from the “Star Trek – First Contact” movie that was released about 13 years ago. Believe it or not, this is the only solution to those issues. It will not only solve music issues but poverty and starvation too. That’s without saying that it would rectify our justice system and could prevent many wars.

I know, I know, everyone can dream but. Isn’t there a saying that if many people have the same dream, it will come true? Well if there is, that make at least two: Me and Gene Roddenberry.

Long silence, a lot of good stuff

News
Sorry for the long silence. You might have been wondering what where happening here since the release of Snow Leopard. If you where, the answer is “A LOT”. If you weren’t, the answer is still the same! Take a look at what is coming and you’ll certainly like it.

Snow Leopard
I’m pretty sure that you can’t take anything more about this new release of OS X but still, I want to add my word to it. I’ll try to work out a new screen-cast to compare Windows 7 and OS X 10.6 file management systems. I think it will be a nice follow up to the last one which was about networking. It should be on YouTube in about one or two weeks.

Server
As some of you might have heard, I decided to build a nice file server for my home. But, if you follow this blog since its beginning, you know that I can’t stand cheep stuff. So… I might have overkilled it a bit. Look forward to a little how to build your own core i7 based enterprise class server! I’ll also stitch to that my little 4 days adventure to build mine.

School
I hear you already. YES! I’m STILL going to school. College to be exact. My 5th session in software development started about a month ago and I’m starting to have less and less time so you should expect that the 1-week-1-post formula could be a bit… stretched?

For those interested, my current classes are “Advanced C++ Programming”, “Software Testing Basics”, “Advance Database Programming” and “Advance Computer Network”. If you ever have questions about any computer subject, I should be able to answer them.

Company
That one is a bigger subject. It’s been about two years that the idea first popup with my friends. We finally decided to go on with it and it’s now official: We’re working for an early 2010 opening. We are posted in Québec/Canada, more precisely in the Saint-Jérôme City, and we’re aiming big. The company is named “Centre de Solutions Informatiques” (or “Computer Solution Center” for all of you non-french reader) and we’re doing exactly what the name says. We’re building all-in-one solutions for people and enterprises from low end hardware running Windows up to custom made high end hardware running custom made softwares.

More to come
I know that this is more of a teaser than a real post but, it’s not like I have much time to write right now. You should expect the server story in about a week if nothing goes into my plans.

See you next week!

Flash News: Snow Leopard shipped!

Did you received your copy yet?
I did not… But hey, the package got shipped yesterday (August 27) and with express shipping, I might even get it today! If I do, count on me to do a review of it this weekend. So for those of you how where unsure about if it will ship ON August 28 or FOR August 28, I think you have an answer and it’s the one you where dreaming for 😀

As a side note, the screen cast series will now be about windows 7 vs OS X Snow Leopard since I wont have 10.5 anymore. I’m not sure I’ll have the time to make a new screen cast this weekend but if I do, I’ll keep you posted.

Screen Cast the first

I’ve started a series of screen-cast on youtube that compare some basic features of Windows 7 and OS X Leopard from an end-user point of view. I try to keep a humoristic tone (specially when something goes wrong like in this first video :P). I do one take per OS unless something preventing me from publishing the video happen. The idea is to show how each OS react on a first try. The settings related to the tests where also rested to assure the authenticity of the video.

For the editing part, I try to keep it very close to the original. I will never cut a shot unless it’s preventing me from publishing the video. In that case, there will be a notice in the video. Everything is shot in HD to help you see what I’m doing during the screen-cast.

You can take a look on Youtube if you’re interested. The first part is about some basic file and screen sharing over different network type. Which one is easier to use and what kind of features are to be expected with the DEFAULT OS configuration.

Flash News: Apple released Snow Leopard

Apple unleashed the beast… not quite…
You can already pre-order your copy of snow leopard from the Apple web site. It cost $29 for one license and $59 for the family pack (3 licenses). There’s also a version sold for $169 that include iLife ’09 and iWork ’09, if you want them. It will be shipped on August 28. If you want to be the first to get your hands on it, you might want to say good by to free shipping and pay for the express shipping option.

Get your copy now at www.apple.com and have a good day!

IPREDator

A TPB company
The Pirate Bay announced a while ago a new service called IPREDator. It’s a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service for the rest of us. VPN’s are generally used by big company to help away workers keep in touch with their work documents. By using a VPN connection, they can have the same access as they normally have in house but kilometers away. IPREDator is the same kind of service but not for managing your home documents. It was designed to give you an private and 100% secure internet access. It uses industry-grade 128bit encryption to assure you that no one, not even your IPS, will be able to peek in your data transfers.

This is specially useful if your ISP is using a proxy or if it’s limiting peer to peer transfer speed. The idea is to tunnel every internet communication through the VPN and access the internet from a unlimited internet access in Sweden. And it work quite well actually! I’ve been beta testing the IPREDator service for three days now and I think this service as a great potential.

What does beta means?
It means that if you try IPREDator, you’ll experiment everything that a beta is. Slow, buggy and somewhat limited. I had a lot of issue accessing some websites and very slow speed. In fact, it literally split my internet access in half. But, on the other side, I can’t complain since it do it’s job. My IPS normally limit P2P traffic at 25 KBps between 18h and 2h30. When I enabled the IPREDator service, I got a lot of speed back. I jump from 25 KB to 250 KB witch is pretty good.

As I said, this service is currently in private beta and with reasons, I doubt that it wouldn’t blow up if everybody could try test it right now. If it don’t it will just be slower and slower. Let’s give TPB some time to make it work well before starting to use it every day.

iPhone 3G S Review – Software

When 1 + 1 = 3
Many people think that software is not that important. Well, on the iPhone, it is so important that it would probably never had shined as much as it did. iPhone OS 3.0 is what every iPhone users consider the first feature complete iPhone operating system. It bring to the end user every thing that they need and was long promise. Seriously, all that I can think of now is minors upgrades. If Apple release iPhone OS 4, it will be as long standing as OS X which will celebrate it’s 9th year of existence soon.

Cut-copy-paste, undo-redo, push notifications, accessibility features, spotlight, youtube uploading, compass, full-fledged AGPS. What would you want more? Space to store your medias? Is 32GB enough? Space to store you documents? Is 20 GB enough? What do you really need more?

The iPhone as a PDA
Apple want you to see the iPhone as a simple yet powerful PDA. The software was also made accordingly. The first version had only simple and yet very useful features that about every phone has today, unless you found a phone that can’t call, off-course. The second revision showed how much it can really do, by letting third parties play with it. Finally, the third and current revision was designed in response to the users and developers who wanted Apple to let them do more.

Apple want you to see the iPhone as a PDA; With powerful calendar, contacts, media and internet capability. Under this perspective, you will always get limited potential. Even then, this limited potential is still very far away.

What it can do
In OS 3.0, Apple added support for more than 1 000 APIs which bring many more possibilities with them. Right now, you can see augmented reality app emerging, ways to know what’s going on instantly on the world with push notifications, record wonderful videos and publish them directly to youtube and that’s over the already possible stuff. I must say, those features work very well and are functional up to the very detail. Just try to tap the microphone in the Voice Memos app and you’ll see the VU meters peek. Even if it’s not very useful, it show you that it work so well that those who created it even think it’s time to relax and have some fun!

What you can’t do
The limited vision of PDA’s give the iPhone a great knock-back. There’s so much it can do and so little that it does. Ho yes, the app store is full of surprise but no one ever released an app that’s on every single iPhone. An app that could really make that 800$ device do something other than enjoyable. That’s something that would certainly interest business which is not the iPhone’s specialty right now. That something is a fully fledged iWork or Office for the iPhone. There is very much you can do right now with web apps like Google Docs and Office 2010 web services but they where not designed for this. We need a real, official, office suite for the iPhone. We also need it to be used like a USB drive. And I’m not talking about getting root access to everything. Even if it’s just a sandboxed app that work like the iDisk or Air Sharing, it would be perfect. It will let you use those 32 GB of space. And with this come the ability to download any file to the phone, directly to the storage app if there’s no other application that can do something with the file.

Review
There’s not really something to review about the iPhone OS that wasn’t already discussed. The only thing I can add is that the iPhone is now very mature, people and business ready and just wait for a user to download some apps and get it to do it’s job; As the best smartphone on the market yet.