Aug 17

Buffalo LinkStation Live NAS Okay, so while this is my first official tip for saving space on an SSD MacBook Air, my post about shutting off Safe Sleep will count as tip #1.  Moving on…

I have years of data on my desktop – a couple of terabytes – but my laptop never stored that much in the way of long-term, space-hogging files.  A portable, for me, is all about apps, tools and content creation rather than a file dump.  That said, I still want to keep my MacBook Air’s 128GB SSD as freed-up as possible.

To that end, I’ve been looking for a way to keep the most storage-hungry mobile data, my iTunes Library, from eating up my SSD space.  With music, videos, iOS apps and audiobooks, my iTunes library has grown to over 60GB; if I were to store that on the Air, it would leave me about 20GB of free space to work with, which is not acceptable.

There are really only three solutions I could use to offload my iTunes library from my SSD and still have access to it from my MacBook.  1) I could buy a 64GB SD card to store the data, but then the card would always be sticking out of the reader slot.  2)  I could keep the library on a USB HDD or flash drive, but again – same problem, only moreso.  Or 3) I can use a NAS, or Network Attached Storage, drive on my home network to store and access my iTunes library. 

I suppose I could also delete audiobooks – the largest portion of my library – once the books were transferred to my iPhone or iPod, but that’s a lot of trouble and I’d rather have them at hand.

So, can you guess which solution I’ve settled on?  Hint: It’s not 1 or 2.

Aug 02

MacBook Air - Mid 2011 ModelI have a new Core i5 13-inch MacBook Air – which I absolutely love.  The only downside as far as I can tell is its proprietary SSD, which offers a maximum of 256GB of internal storage (less with formatting, the operating system, and other pre-installed apps like iLife, iTunes, etc.).  My Air, though, has the smaller 128GB SSD, so I’ve been working on ways to keep free space maximized.

One way of freeing up 4GB of used SSD space (if you have 4GB of RAM) is to disable Safe Sleep, a feature of the Mac OS that writes the contents of the RAM to a file called sleepimage on the SSD to protect active data in the event the MacBook loses all power.  I suppose total power loss might be a worry for some, but I’ve had a MacBook for years and have never been away from a charger so long that the battery died altogether, so this feature isn’t worth the price of 4GB of used SSD space – particularly when considering the new Air’s impressive standby time (up to 30 days).

So I decided to disable Safe Sleep and leave that 4GB free and available for use. Here’s how to do it:

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Apr 15

Solid State DiskYou’ve decided to upgrade your PC’s boot drive from a hard drive to an SSD (Solid State Disk).  Before you begin the upgrade process, there are two important steps you should take prior to installing Windows for the first time – and they’re not at all obvious.  Skipping these steps can hobble the performance of your SSD, and in some cases even keep the new drive from performing appreciably better than a quality hard drive.

1. Update the SSD Firmware

Before you install the Windows OS (and you should choose Windows 7 if you’re using an SSD since the operating system has been optimized for their use), check to see if your SSD model has a firmware update.  Updating to the latest firmware can help you squeeze more performance from an SSD, but wipes the stored data (if any), so it’s best to do this before installing the OS. 

Visit your SSD manufacturer’s web site to check for newer firmware.  I recently upgraded my office PC to the Crucial C300 128GB SSD, so before installing Windows 7 I pulled up Crucial’s support page to see if there was an update to the firmware.  There wasn’t; the SSD shipped with version 006, which was the latest available: 

Check for newer SSD firmware...

If your SSD is a new model that hasn’t been sitting on a shelf for months, it likely has already  been flashed with the latest firmware, too.  If there’s an update available, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  The process usually involves burning a boot disc, connecting the SSD via SATA, and performing the upgrade.  

Once the update has been performed, or you’ve confirmed that you’re already running the latest firmware, you’re ready to install the OS.

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Apr 01

Crucial 128GB SATA III SSD

NewEgg.com has a special coupon code for the Crucial Technology 128 GB Crucial RealSSD C300 Series Solid State Drive (Model CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1) that takes off $55.  Total price $199.99.

This is the best deal I’ve seen on a high performance SSD with 128GB of storage. The normal NewEgg price is $254.99.

If you’re interested, grab this SSD; this price won’t last. 

NewEgg Coupon Code EMCKFKJ22.

Product Description:

If you’re looking for unhindered speed, Crucial’s RealSSD C300 series solid-state drive is here! The new 2.5" Crucial RealSSD C300 drive offers mobile and desktop users scorching-fast read speeds of up to 355MB/s. Designed with high-speed MLC NAND, advanced controller technology, optimized NAND management, and the SATA 6Gb/s interface, these drives dramatically improve data transfers for bandwidth-demanding applications like audio and video.

Update April 6, 2011: The coupon code above seems to still be valid, but some are reporting that it’s not being accepted (perhaps multiple orders by the same person?).  Amazon has this same SSD for $229 with no coupon.

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