Now here's a guy with a serious love of All Things Apple!
Over 100 Apple computers from the classics to today in his basement!
A technology company I regularly talk to told me about this cool little tool that can really help keep your Mac Pro cooler by increasing the Fan RPM's inside the box. What's really nice is that the change in RPM is completely silent.
It's freeware called SMS FanControl and it's up to version 2.1.2. After installation you simply set the RPM you want for the various regions of the machine. In the case of the Mac Pro there are four regions and the default for these regions are 500 - 600 RPM. The folks suggested I set everything to 1100 RPM and within 5 minutes, my Mac Pro dropped from 95 degrees internal temp to 76 degrees internal temp. I know this because the tool also displays the current temperature at all times in the Mac toolbar along with actual RPM of the fans. As the day goes on my machine seems to hover between 76 and 82 degrees.
As we all know, heat is a killer of computers and I wonder if excessive heat is causing some of the unexplained crashes and problems some folks seem to experience with the Mac Pro. According to the website this also works on MacBook Pro's but I'm only running it on the desktop machine. Very neat little tool and wanted to pass it along.
So I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a fan of the Blackberry. Really don't need that thing strapped to my waist at all times so I can answer an email at a moment's notice. Don't want to deal with that little tiny keyboard and besides, better than half the emails I recieve require some sort of document to be sent back to the recipient, which resides on my laptop.
My wife convinced me to take some needed time off and we traveled to the Pittsburgh area for a great visit with her grandparents. They live in a small, very rural town outside the city and have absolutely no internet connectivity. Connection to the internet and email is critical to my business success and even being away, I had to be able to connect with the office, vendors and clients.
Now in researching wireless broadband for my spiffy MacBook Pro laptop, I quickly learned that almost nobody supports the Mac platform with the express 34 cards. Sure the cards were out there, but no carrier was accepting it. Least of all the company I've used since 1999, Cingular / AT&T.
Enter Sprint and the Novatel Wireless Merlin EX720. In my research, Sprint is the only major carrier (actually the ONLY carrier I found) supporting the Mac OS platform and I have to say it performs brilliantly. Download speeds are in the neighborhood of 1.5mbps which is about half of my current cable modem speed at the office. But for email, it's plenty fast enough and even the internet surfing is just fine with this card.
But there is a major catch with this card. Even the Sprint Technical Advisor laughed at this one when we found out. The card must be activated in a Windows PC. So you don't want to purchase this card online via the Sprint store if you don't have access to a Windows laptop with an Express 34 slot. I purchased the card and the internet plan through a local Sprint Nextel dealer and she used her own personal Windows laptop to activate the card for me. The Technical Advisor said to give it some time and we should be able to activate the cards directly in the Mac in the near future.
Other than that little glitch, I have to say I've been extremely pleased with the connectivity of the device. I simply click on the Modem icon next to my Airport icon and say "Connect". It's that easy. I have found that if I'm connected for longer than 30 minutes it can sometimes lose the signal, but I simply disconnect / reconnect and keep going. A minor annoyance for connectivity pretty much anywhere I want it. Heck we stopped at a Wendy's in the middle of nowhere Virginia and were able to check emails no problem. From what I saw on the Sprint coverage map, the Data coverage area is much larger than the voice coverage area.
If you have an older G4 PowerBook with a PCMIA slot, Sprint has you covered there too with the Merlin S720.
So now I have the connectivity I desire, without a Blackberry hanging on my waist, and I have total control of when I retrieve my messages along with my entire hard drive full of documents, graphics and even movie clips. Can't recommend this service enough if you're in need of internet connectivity pretty much anywhere with your Mac laptop. In fact, this entire blog was written while connected to Sprint.
Here's a link to download a PDF on how simple it is to install the Novatel software.
Simply select Mac OS in the drop down box.
We've arrived in Sunny Las Vegas! Checked in to the fabulous Flamingo hotel which we really used to enjoy for the penquins in the outdoor habitat, but they checked out last year so it's not quite the same. Still gotta love staying in the "original" strip hotel that started it all.
As you can see from the photo we're staying in the top of the line penthouse suite with a classic Strip view, only the best for Cow members!
Tonight will be a little rest and relaxation as we'll be taking in the Jay Leno show at the Mirage and then tomorrow it's straight over to North Hall to get my Speaker Badge.
I'm really looking forward to this show to see what Apple really has to announce for us on Sunday and then see how that stacks up with Adobe's impressive return to the Mac platform. Some things I'm most interested in this year for myself are storage, color correction and special effects / plug-ins. Though I'm going to be quite busy working this year, I hope to be able to at least get out and see what everybody is offering in these areas.
I'll give you guys daily updates (hopefully multiple updates per day) and be sure to watch out for my inaugural "All Things Apple" Podcast on Sunday shortly after Apple's event!
Ta ta for now!
So a recent thread in the Creative Cow Final Cut Pro forum about Internal vs. External RAID's got me thinking more about the subject. I'm a firm believer in external RAID's and really don't have any desire to install 3 or 4 drives inside my Mac Pro tower.
Let's think about this. Companies like LaCie, Ciprico, Medéa, CalDigit, Facilis and others spend a lot of time in research and development to produce storage solutions that are not only fast, but reliable. Every board, every drive, every switch, everything about that storage solution has been drawn up, assembled and tested by engineers who know a heckuva lot more than me about the inner workings of computer storage.
The hard drive units themselves are rigorously tested and "beat up" to figure out which manufacturer and model should be installed in a particular RAID unit. Drive reliability is different among manufacturers and even among individual models of the same manufacturer. Company X may have a killer 500GB model but the 750GB model may have issues. RAID companies will discover this issue much faster than I ever will and adjust their products accordingly.
RAID companies that I've dealt with have had very good tech support teams both for generaly questions and in the event of a failure. This is invaluable because when something goes wrong and a deadline is looming, the last thing I want to do is become a hardware engineer and try to figure out exactly where something might be wrong. I have enough trouble just keeping up with all the formats and software we run, I really don't care to become a computer engineer too.
Expansion is so much easier with an external RAID than internal. I mean, what do you do if you have maxed out your internal RAID and now you need another 2TB of storage? I guess you're going to connect an external RAID device? So now you're working with internal AND external media storage, at the same time? That doesn't sound like a very stable solution in my book. Start external, expand external. Keep everything coming down one or two pipes from the outside.
Speed is very limiting when it comes to internal RAID. Four drives striped together are going to be slower than say a 10 drive Ciprico Fibre Array, or maybe two arrays striped together. Heck stripe four of the new CalDigit 4:4:4 arrays together and you're pushing upwards of 900MB/s. You're not going to touch that with and internal RAID and you're certainly not going to stripe and internal AND external RAID together to gain more speed.
Zero protection is had by current internal RAID's as RAID 0 and 1 are the only supported formats right now. With External RAID's you have a multitude of protection options which gives you real control over speed vs. protection. Granted, right now I run an external SATA Array in RAID 0, but I also run another external backup device. But that will change in the next few months and we migrate potentially back to Fibre Channel.
I figured I'd ask an engineer I know about this debate and he said external is always the preferred way to go when working with high volume media storage. It's generally faster, more stable and a much more proven technology.
There you go, my reasoning for working with and recommending external RAID storage. You're free to do what you want, but this is where I stand on all this.