Saturday, June 20, 2009

FileVault performance on OS X, Leopard (10.5)

fv.pngA couple of data points on FileVault performance on a new 17" MacBook Pro with Leopard (10.5.7):

Write speeds (4 tests):
  • 1 GB (from /dev/zero) write to non-FileVault space: 16.43s, 15.97s (about 60 MB/s)
  • 1 GB (from /dev/zero) write to FileVault space: 39.18s, 39.03s (about 28 MB/s)
Read speeds (6 tests)
  • 1 GB read from non-FileVault, write to non-FileVault: 16.52s, 14.60s
  • 1 GB read from FileVault, write to non-FileVault: 16.32s, 14.25s
  • 1 GB read from FileVault, write to FileVault: 36.3s, 35.41s

It's possible that disk caching might be affecting the results -- anybody know how to tell??

Bottom line:

It looks like there's a nearly-2.5x penalty in write speeds when writing to a FileVault-ed account, 27 megabytes/sec vs. 60 megabytes/sec. You do pay a price for some peace of mind. On the plus side the read speeds appear to be about the same.

Don't forget, if there's a chance someone's going to walk off with your machine, make sure you power it down. =)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What's new with the iPhone 3G S?

People keep asking me this... Well, here's the answer, from MacWorld. This is a list of all the hardware improvements in the latest version, coming out next Friday (bracketed comments are mine):
  • The faster processor, more RAM, and new video circuitry
  • Improved battery life
  • The improved camera hardware [autofocus, tap to focus, 3 MP instead of 2]
  • Video recording, trimming, and sharing
  • The digital compass [also maps will rotate based on which way you're facing]
  • Voice Control [dial and/or control the iPod-part with your voice]
  • Accessibility improvements
  • Built-in Nike + iPod support [no dongle required, just the sensor in your shoe -- why doesn't it just use GPS?? maybe for people who run on treadmills or inside...]
  • HSPA7.2 compatibility
  • Open GL ES 2.0
  • Hardware encryption
  • Environmental improvements
The new iPhone OS 3.0 supports a bunch of new stuff too, including whatever was keeping the TomTom folks from releasing their software. The TomTom offering looks awesome -- though I wonder how hard it is to answer the phone when it rings... Or if you're on the phone if you'll miss a turn??

See the MacWorld article for more info on the new OS.

"... and why don't you have an iPhone yet?"

The lack of TomTom software was one thing keeping me from buying one. The other two are (1) having to switch to AT&T, and (2) the cost.

All my family (and my wife's family) is on Verizon, so a switch would mean going back to counting minutes (yuck).

As for #2, a pair of $200 phones plus $89 (1400 minutes on 2 lines (or $199 for unlimited)) + $30 data plan (required) + $30 unlimited messaging = $149 per month still feels a little pricey -- that's about twice what we're paying now for cellphones. It would save me from having to cart around a TomTom and an iPod, but I could buy new iPods and TomToms pretty often with an $80/mo. savings.

I figure our time's coming, just not yet.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hostnames with Airport Extreme

Just a quick tip for a narrow segment of the population.

If you have an Airport Extreme* (APX), and you want to refer to the other machines on your network by name instead of by IP address, set the "Computer name" in System Preferences -> Sharing. That computer will then be available at "(computer name).local".

The APX may need to restart to recognize the new name, which is done by going to "Base Station" menu -> "Restart..." in the Airport Utilities tool (in the /Applications/Utilities folder).

If you don't want to add ".local" on the end, go into System Preferences -> Network, Airport, Advanced..., DNS tab, then add "local" to the search domains. Looks like this has to be done on each computer.

* One sidenote -- the APX is a $179 wireless 802.11 dual-band (g and n) router. I absolutely refused to pay $179 for a device that I can get from Linksys or Belkin for $59. Until, that is, after 3 years of irritating reboots (and trying to talk my wife through reboots), painful setups, and irregular behavior, I finally had enough and bought the APX. I had always figured I just wasn't a networking guy, but the manual setup of the Apple router required understanding of all the same concepts and it worked consistently right out of the box. Sorry Linksys and Belkin, try again.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

File templating on the Mac

Have you ever been looking at a folder in the Finder and thought, "Now, what I want to do is make a new Word document here..."

It's not easy. Without this, that is: New File Here (AppleScript)


Download this file, double-click it to decompress it, then drag it into your home directory -> Library -> Scripts. (Create the Scripts folder if it doesn't exist.)

Then you should be able to select "New File Here" from the scripts menu when you're in the Finder:


If you don't see that icon, go to Applications -> AppleScript and run the AppleScript Utility, and select "Show script menu in menu bar".

I use Keyboard Maestro to link that script to ctrl-n.

Now what do I do?

Step 1: Go ahead and run the script. It'll offer to create a templates folder in your library directory, and then it'll open it for you.

Step 2: Copy whatever templates you'd like to use into that folder. I went into Word, Excel, etc., and created blank files that looked exactly like I want new/empty files to look when I start one, and dragged those into that folder. Or you can use templates like envelopes, letterheads, etc.

Make sure you use the right extensions on the filenames. That's how the script knows what type of file you're wanting to create. (If you don't specify an extension when it asks for the new filename, it makes BBEdit text files.)


Update: Now the file's actually readable! - BH, 4 June 2009

Does anyone read this thing?

views since Feb. 9, 2008