Various and Sundry Observations On, Well, Important Stuff

First of all, lets talk about advertising from the electronics companies over the holidays. My degrees are not in advertising, they are not even in business. When I see advertising I respond to it as a consumer and nothing more.

Due to some health issues, I watched way more TV over the holidays than I ever do on an ongoing basis. I was astonished at some of the ads I saw. “Our tablet is better than the iPad”, “Our tablet is cheaper than the iPad” and “Our phone does things that the iPhone can’t do.” What all these ads had in common was to make me think about the iPad and iPhone. Most of the ads tended to be frantic and had a desperation about them that was a real turnoff. Yelling and bright colors don’t make me decide what product to buy. I can’t believe advertising companies get paid for this stuff.

And that doesn’t even cover all the tablet ads that offered to give the purchaser something free if they would just buy. I’m sure that sales stats will show what worked and what didn’t, but I found most of these ads laughable. 


Next, may I discuss solid state drives (SSD) for our Macs? I didn’t know what an SSD was or why my Mac needed one. Well, it doesn’t exactly need one. I can continue to use my Mac without it, but with it I have several advantages. Foremost being that information on my Mac pertaining to other people’s work is better protected, physically. Yes, of course I back up my computer every day, but as any long term computer user knows, backups fail. I have a friend who had seven back up devices and he backed up to a different one every day. A power surge knocked out all seven at the same time.

With an SSD installed on your Mac, you automatically have drive stability and ruggedness. You also get faster speed. Since I installed an SSD, my Mac boots faster, my system responds quicker and applications load almost instantly. An SSD has no rotating platters or drive heads that can be damaged if your Mac is dropped or bumped during operation. I’ll explain more about that shortly.

When I decided to get an SSD for my 13-inch MacBook Pro, I checked out several companies. Making a choice turned out to be easy. Other World Computing sells their own drives and almost everything related to those drives are manufactured in the U.S. Their products are also reasonably priced and OWC offers awesome tech support.

I had the opportunity to speak with Larry O’Connor who is President and CEO of OWC. I wanted to know, in layman’s terms, just why SSDs were better than conventional drives. Larry explained to me that SSDs don’t have a spinning disk like traditional hard disk drives, therefore there is no spindle that retracts and no opportunities to scratch the physical disk which is how most data is lost and hard drives fail.

When I decided to buy a SSD, I spoke to one of the sales people at OWC. Once they had the specs for my particular Mac they told me exactly which options I had. I selected the DIY Upgrade Bundle, 240 GB SSD with USB 3.0.  The drives sells for US$207.99 and has a three year warranty. I selected the DIY kit because it includes the drive, and external drive case, and a set of tools necessary to install the drive.

DIY kit 

If I had wanted to install the new drive myself, I had access to video’s on the OWC site that would walk me through it. Fortunately, I had access to someone who would do it for me. I chose to remove the optical drive, replace it with the original drive, and then install the SSD in the original drive spot. Frankly, there is no way I would have tried to do this myself. I don’t want my fingers and the inside of my Mac to ever become familiar with each other.

One last observation. In some ways this relates back to the ads I discussed at the beginning of this column. Have you ever spent time with an Android phone user who makes a big deal out of trying to explain to you why his/her phone is better that your iPhone? It happened to me three times over the holidays, and I found it to be an interesting experience.

I don’t feel the need to justify my purchase of an iPhone, but all three of these folks felt the need to justify the purchase of their Android phone. And, they really seemed to want me to argue with them about it. As one final, ironic twist, one of them needed to know where to get gas, and they had to ask me to look it up for them.

Which, of course, I was happy to do.


Teaser image via Shutterstock.