Ann Arbor Area Business Monthly
Small Business and the Internet

Bigger on the Inside

January 2017

By Mike Gould

Dimensional transcendentalism is the state wherein an object's interior is bigger than its exterior, an effect made possible by transdimensional engineering.
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Mikes Drives

… And, we’re back. Didja miss me?

Well, I missed you – how have you been? Still backing up? Flossing? My last article was written in August 2016, so it’s finally time to scrape off the dried digital ink from my cyber pen and welcome in the new year with more of that zesty zaniness you’ve gradually learned to tolerate hereabouts.

As I usually base these articles on recent personal experiences, here’s another tale from the tattered casebook of Mike Gould – Computer Guy.

You Can’t Have Everything, Where Would You Put it?
… as deeply-revered philosopher um, I forget his name, declared. (One quick Google search later: Steven Wright.) The answer is, of course, a big honking hard drive. Or better yet, two. They’re cheap, they’re physically tiny, and they pack some serious storage.

I’ve written about this before, but that was then (2008) and this is now (2017), and of course, everything you knew is wrong, so let’s update. The URL for the old article (Huge Hard Drives) is below, for you antiquarians out there. This article goes on and on about FireWire this and eSATA that, and how you should run out and buy USB 2.0 drives, and other way-obsolete advice.

As it is my custom to evaluate and update drives at year’s end, I just completed down-sizing (physically) my stable of storage devices. And you should too – read on.

As far as storage goes, I’m kind of an edge case – I have 6 drives attached to my Mac Pro. Because: photography. And laser biz, writing, consulting, and all the other little jobs I have, made possible by my experience and expertise with my little cylindrical buddy sitting on the shelf above my monitors. (Article about this, Mac For Pros, online at the URL below.)

Two of these drives do nothing but automatically back up the most important drives above. Older versions of these drives contain archived storage going back decades, and are taking up space on a shelf in my store room. Gotta clean those out sometime…

New Drives For Old
The photo above says it all: two old drives on the left (which I will be updating RSN) and three new jobbies on the right. Then there is the 500G solid state drive (SSD) in the computer itself, which brings us to six. I will spare you the detailed description of what is on which drive, other than to say that the internal drive contains the operating system (Currently macOS Sierra, 10.12.1) and my apps (currently 179 of them, taking up 27G). All the other drives contain files.

I had filled up my crucial Files drive, which had room for a mere 500G. The next step up is a 750G drive, so I went shopping for that. This drive, which gets the most use of any of my external drives, is an SSD. An SSD as it says, is not a spinning disk like conventional drives; it is a rather large RAM disk, a memory chip on steroids. Instead of a conventional drive where you have to wait for the read/write mechanism to physically find the right sector that contains your file, an SSD is all electronic cyber-nicity, and as such, is ever so much faster. My previous article about SSDs is at the URL below.

I already had an external case for the SSD, so I ordered the drive below as a replacement: Crucial MX300 750GB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT750MX300SSD1 I buy commodity items like this on Amazon, and this one being sort of an oddball size, I don’t think you will find this at a local brick and mortar store. It would be a good choice for a laptop update, as well.

My “Current Photos” hard drive is also SSD, to speed up uploads of the thousands of pix I capture each year. All my other drives used for back up and archiving are conventional spinning drives – these are way cheaper than SSDs and don’t need much in the way of throughput.

Cute Little Jobbies
For my other drive needs, I opted for the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0, Black (STDR2000100). This is a more common drive, which you should be able to find at your favorite office supply or computer store. These come in sizes from 1TB to 5TB and in a variety of colors. I didn’t notice the colors when I ordered, but when I get around to updating my other 2 drives, I’m going for a red one and a blue one. Prices range from ~$60 - $160.00.

As with anything else in the computer marketplace, there are other makers and models out there which are probably just fine. I bought these based on my previous experience with Seagate.

Why You Need One (or Two)
“But Mike, you uber Mac nerd, you – how does this relate to my little one computer/one drive situation?”, I hear you say. Glad you asked. This goes back to my query at the top of the page “Still backing up?”. Drives like this are ideal for quick backups. On a Mac, set one up with the built-in Time Machine app and it will copy your files every time you plug it in. (You may need to re-format the drive to Mac flavor for Time Machine to work – a simple procedure.) On a PC, most of these come with Windows backup apps, or you can use what you are already using.

And at these prices, you can afford to buy two: use them on alternate days/weeks to be doubly backed up. Belt and suspenders. Recommended.

Huge Hard Drives
http://mondodyne.com/b2b/smbiznet.119.shtml

Mac For Pros
http://mondodyne.com/b2b/smbiznet.196.shtml

SSDs
http://mondodyne.com/b2b/smbiznet.185.shtml

Mike Gould has a LOT of files, was a mouse wrangler for the U of M for 20 years, runs the MondoDyne Web Works/Macintosh Training/Digital Photography mega-mall, is a laser artist, performs with the Illuminatus 3.0 Laser Lightshow, and welcomes comments addressed to mgould@mondodyne.com.

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