Archive for October, 2014

When I got my MacBook Pro Retina, I naively thought that 250GB was enough on-board space. In my defence, it was 2012 and I didn’t realise how many cool games were available for the Mac platform… (and we’ll just write The Witcher 2 off as a really big mistake and not count that… I still have no idea where that one went wrong).

What do you mean, 'Yosemite' broke it?... Want me to bite him?

What do you mean, ‘Yosemite’ broke it?… Want me to bite him?

Now, I have quite a few games with their add ons, DLCs, whatnots and what have you, and they’ve stuffed pretty much nearly half of my available space (more, if you include other things like screenshots and stuff). Clogged it right up. CPU got sluggish (and we’ll just pretend not to count the upgrade to OS X Yosemite – that’s a whole other rant… or two…!). I got some of it back when I got really annoyed with Witcher 2 and dumped all 22GB of it. But the fact of the matter was that at least 80GB of my space was taken up by games and their extra watsits – and that’s a bit more than my Macbook can handle, given what else is stuffed in there too…

In the last two years since I bought my two shiny-new Apple products (iPad [4] Retina & Macbook Pro Retina), Techland has changed a lot. It’s changing faster and faster as the weeks go by. Not years or months. It takes just weeks. Two years ago, 250GB of HDD was enough for a laptop and 16 GB was enough for a tablet. But that was before everything went digital and was required to be downloaded. Now, thanks to all that downloading, hard drive space is being measured in terabytes. iMacs are coming with 1TB of space as standard (apart from the one cheaper option which has “just” 500GB on board – it practically screams “I am only for the download-phobic outliers out there”…). They also come with NVIDIA GTX 775M graphics cards with 1 or 2GB of graphics space. They’re really cool… but then about five minutes after I thought my 650M was pretty cool, it was already out of date (but that’s a whole other rant…).

Meh. 

I love Apple, but they can also be such a pain in the arse.

 

Enough is Never Enough…


Hmmmm…

Maybe this will be big enough to manage all my Mac games –

MyMemory 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

For now, at least... 👾🎮💻 😋

 


So… The space issue is really bugging me. For anything Apple to be mobile and useable you need shedloads of both on board data and cloud data. And thanks to the irritatingly incompetent networks/cable/phone companies, we do require both – since the internet can’t always be accessed to rely solely on cloud connection for storage/gameplay/etc, and then you need that shedload of hard drive space so to access what you can’t either get on the cloud or generally via the internet – and usually because the internet access just isn’t there.

The tech is there, but there’s nothing – or, or rather, no one – really supporting it. Not here in the UK, anyway. So, at best, we end up with either 128GB iPads with best-option wifi and 4G access, or a laptop/desktop with an external HDD hanging off it, also with the best-option wifi, in the hope that either one or both storage and access options will suffice for what we require of it.

[I will never understand why the tech and hardware firms haven’t already come to some sort of mutual arrangement with the networks and internet firms – it would obviously benefit them both. Is it only obvious to everyone who doesn’t work for these companies or something…?]

I need a lot right now...

And I need a lot right now…

Currently, I have neither of these options – and a growing abundance of “lack of space” pop-ups whenever I try to shoehorn anything else in. I’m looking into something to hold more space for my games… I hardly have enough to justify an external hard drive measured in terabytes – I have a Mac after all (now, it would be a very different conversation if I had a high-end PC, and ergo access to the entire Steam toy box…!). I have, though, found a lovely little USB key that holds quite a nice little total of 128GB, and that made me smile. Not the price, though… Not until I went to My Memory… They have nice prices. This, at least, may be a half-decent temporary solution. I can’t imagine 128GB will take that long to fill.

I can’t wait for terabytes to be stuffed into something smaller than a flash drive. Most external HDDs are annoying, and the ones that aren’t too annoying (the really light, small, shiny ones they have the gall to call “portable”… They all should be “portable”…) cost too much. And even then, they tend to gear towards the whole Time Machine thing when it comes to using it with OS X – something that is a nice idea in theory, but a stupid one in reality, and entirely impractical. So I’m not a big fan. The 128GB flash keys were a relief to see when they finally turned up – at least they hold a fairly decent amount of stuff, and it’s all that I really need. For now.

Obviously, if the networks on internet companies can get themselves together, then space wouldn’t be that much of an ongoing issue – most things will be directly available from cloud servers; we would be able to continuously stream content, and easily save our own content back onto them. Downloading wouldn’t even be required, and ergo, neither would space.

I am lucky enough to have a good broadband service at home and I take advantage of it. However, I have rubbish access over 3G outside (and don’t get me started about the lack of even half-decent wifi out there too), and since content streaming when it comes to games is still not available anyway, that therefore still means I have to forgo most of the things I would like to download onto my iPad, including games. Saying goodbye to Blizzard’s Hearthstone and Capcom’s Ace Attorney to make room for other things, including iOS 8, was painful to say the least.

Not Enough Disk Space

… I feel his pain

I make as much space as I can: All the data that is on my iPad that can be backed up and exported from the local drive is, via the various cloud apps that I have installed (backup of backups is always a good idea). They are then deleted from the iPad and makes more space – however, there are some things like particular pictures I’d rather keep directly on the local drive (as well as being backed up over cloud, of course), and they do help clog it all up. Unfortunately, we’re also still in the era where games have to be downloaded to be played, and they’re pretty big these days. So I’m still out of space on the 12.5GB that’s left after iOS 8 took over. I’m still waiting for that future to turn up – where the downloads aren’t necessary at all… then maybe I could play the games and have my locally-saved pictures at the same time, as well as listen to music as well. Right now there’s nowhere near enough room to even think about having my iTunes or Audible downloads on it as well as everything else. There’s an option to stream iTunes from their iCloud server… but that’s obviously not helpful when it takes up so much data when out and about, and you’re stuck to listening to it over wifi at home, which is unhelpful as the point of having it on a mobile platform is that it’s, well, mobile. Restricted to listening to it over home wifi rather negates that point.

It rather feels like we’re stuck in tech-limbo – we have available to us cloud storage and streaming on one side, and the option of mass on board storage on devices on the other, yet we would require hardly any storage at all (except just enough for the system) if the cloud services we’ve been supposedly promised about a millennium ago would actually turn up, along with the online access and support for them. The problem, of course, is that it can’t turn up until internet/network providers actually provide sufficient internet access to do so. Everywhere. Nationwide. Even in the tiniest corners of the country. Not just in the home, but wandering about outside, everywhere and anywhere. Without proper constant access, we can never be rid of the need for a large local hard drive.

The other thing is that most people don’t even have large local hard drives on their mobile devices – certainly not their Apple ones. Most have the lowest priced option – no surprise given Apple’s price ranges. And just 8 or 16GB is never going to be enough.

Decent and low-priced 4G access would be a great answer, at least for now. But it’s not being offered here. It’s hardly available to use at all, and even then the price plans are generally eye-watering for a realistic amount of data to stream everything you want. But if it was more readily available at a decent price, it would probably solve a lot of these problems outlined here.

 

Solutions?

... the dream

… It’s the dream!

The best solution? Get the internet working. Everywhere. In all places, in all areas of the country. Wifi or 4G…. As long as it works well at well above 100mbps in every corner there is, nationwide. Idealistically, I imagine this is what Apple imagines also, given the way they have designed their hardware. This idealism, however, is not something that has been acknowledged by BT, Virgin Media, or the countless mobile networks there are out there.

There are places on this planet who are lightyears ahead of us here in the UK – places where even 100mbps is probably a laughably low bit-rate. But here, we get a nationwide average of – what? – 8mbps, realistically speaking? And that’s at home, from our home broadband routers. Outside your modem’s ping range, you’re screwed. There’s nothing out there to rely on except your awful 3G service, and if it does actually work at all, you can probably barely use it for more than a few hundred MBs as a part of your contract/bundle plan. Don’t mention 4G… for all the “4GEE” adverts around, it exists in about 12 hotspots nationwide and costs a small fortune to access on particularly awful data plans. Mr/Ms Average Jo outside of central London isn’t really going to get much of a chance with that option, and you might as well say it doesn’t exist until the mobile networks sort themselves out and offer it to everyone at a sensible price.

who loves living in the dark ages...?

Who loves living in the dark ages…?

At my parent’s home in rural north Wales, they barely pass the 2mbps mark on a good day. We should be able to expect a norm of above 1000mbps… but the infrastructure and investment is virtually non-existent. Without it in place, sophisticated cloud servers and streaming options aren’t really viable, and we’re back to practical hardware matters. How very… turn of the century (21st Century, naturally).

So… we’re left with only “turn of the century” solutions for more space, the most practical solution being some kind of internally-located external memory, like on mobile phones. SD cards clearly didn’t catch on… Apple certainly has no intention of going down that route anymore and using them. Even my 2012 Macbook doesn’t have an SD port. I imagined they would come up with something that was an alternate, but none has come to light. They seem intent on sticking to USBs, “upgrading” USB slots to 3.0 ports, so we can transfer bigger files at a faster rate between flash drives and the computer. Up to 128GB of data apparently…

Phone companies have managed to overcome burdensome on board memory issues and offer even lower-end Smartphones with the capacity to upgrade their on board memory with SD cards, most commonly up to 64GB – some even 128GB. The card is obviously unobtrusive and sits inside the phone itself. It’s a great compromise: Put less hard drive in the unit, yet allow the buyer the option for more. Simple enough. Easy enough.

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t seem to believe in this. Their hardware designers have failed to take inspiration from this, which is rather a mystery to me. They continue to be narrowly-focused on using the Cloud, but at the same time they continue to push online downloads, mainly via iTunes. Granted, they continue to add extra on board space for their new hardware, but there is no “top up” solution to adding space to older models, except to offer overpriced external hard drives.

Adding the ability to use internal extra memory space seems like such an obvious solution to “external” memory options. But, no… it was just Cloud. And 3.0 USB flash drives. The latter are annoying, can be lost and broken, and stick out the machine about a mile. The former is great in theory, but pointless without constant and accessible internet access.

Apple used to be trailblazers in all areas. They trailblazed the Cloud, but given the fact that online access isn’t yet universal, I had imagined they would have also invented something for the interim, until online access was better and more readily available (and much, much cheaper…). Something better than SD cards, but not as obtrusive as external HDDs or USB drives. Until that “someday eventually” when constant wifi and/or 4G access is available throughout every square meter of every country, it seems like a better solution than what we already have to struggle with. However, with Apple trailblazing blindly ahead with cloud-based everything, no one is going to be looking at anything else, either. Whatever Apple does, you can guarantee everyone else is going to be following closely behind. And they’re only interested in online-only when it comes to extra storage.

 

Cloudy With Little Chance of Space…

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t live in rural north Wales. If they did, they would realise just how the other half live, and it would be a whole different story… And I probably wouldn’t be writing this.

... Fact!

Fact!

Up in the hills, valleys, and mountains of Snowdonia, there is barely any internet access for homes, let alone – and even less when relying on mobile networks. There’s barely even any 2G.. let alone any 3G. 4G is out of the question. Ergo, so is Cloud. I can’t imagine it’s very different in other places here in the UK as well. Outside the main cities, and certainly outside of London, there is very little online access over basic 8mbps broadband, and barely-there 3G. Even in the centre London there are a mass of black holes, even on the best mobile networks.

So… we must continue to endure with archaic solutions. The very ones we have used for years… Decades. External hard drives and USB flash drives are really no different to the external floppy disk drives we used to have to plug into old computers like the Amiga. They’re also no less annoying and cumbersome.

The fact you also have to carry around anything from a huge, black brick-shaped thing that also requires another plug just for itself, to a USB flash drive that always seems to somehow get knocked as it sticks out obtrusively, is ridiculous to the point of absurd. Laptops and what have you are supposed to be mobile and convenient – but there’s nothing convenient about having virtually no battery life, or any decent storage space… yes, one terabyte may have seemed like a lot back a year or so ago, but with HD, 4K, 30GB games plus extra DLCs, etc, it means very little now. Especially when you download everything and want to keep them. Therefore a whole bunch of other stuff ends up having to be carted along for the ride, wherever your going. It’s how many years since laptops/notebooks/netbooks have been the norm for people? Yet very little has actually changed. More on board HDD space is useless if it’s still less than you need, and have to buy some stupid add-on that you have to lug around, plug in, and have it hanging around, taking up even more space.

Again, it’s annoying.

 

Thanks to the fact that downloading things is still the norm, I will be getting that 128GB 3.0 USB flash drive. That way I can store my games on there, not clog up the hard drive and screw up the CPU (the “brain”). I still rather resent having to pay that extra money for it to do so, though. I paid for the laptop, paid for the games, paid all that extra for my laptop to be a damned Macbook (as opposed to buying a cheaper, even more annoying Microsoft product)… I don’t see why I should have to pay extra for more storage on top of it. It’s almost as bas as having a Wii U… (lordy, Nintendo screwed up with the hardware and storage on that one!).

I can’t help thinking that surely, by now, the supposed trailblazers of tech would have worked out a way to store downloadable games on the Cloud too.

But no. The future of such things now lie with Sony PlayStation, it seems, who are working on pioneering streaming games right now.

Maybe this time it will be Apple who are doing the following…

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I H8 iOS 8…

New operating systems have glitches. When that company then brings out a patch, you expect it to fix those glitches.

Well… Apparently not. Not for iOS 8 anyway.

It’s definitely annoying enough to hate. I thought it was a good idea to upgrade from iOS 7. It may have been a really, really dumb move. I should have waited. Definitely should have waited.

My poor iPad hasn’t been the same since… She’s been struggling with processing anything. Freezing. Crashing. Sluggish. Slow to close (closing apps in slow-motion…literally). Has difficulty with wifi connections – sluggish online despite other devices being fine. Slow to wake up. Has required more reboots than she’s probably ever had before in her life. And worse of all, my Messages no longer sync between Macbook and iPad.

Now that really makes me annoyed.

I missed messages. I’m not a happy bunny. About as happy as this one…

 

unhappy bunny

A Very Unhappy Bunny…

And, yes, I have updated to v8.0.2.

It’s still rubbish.

The OS seems to make my iPad clumsy, glitchy, irritatingly slow, and difficult to use. It ran smoothly and seamlessly on iOS 7 – I miss that.

 

Old vs New…

I cannot even imagine any issues is because my girl can’t handle it. My iPad not exactly geriatric, but she is getting on the “mature” side of Apple products. She’s coming up to 2 years old – I got her in 2012, shortly after iPad (4) Retina. But she’s absolutely no slouch. She’s got dual-core A6X chip with quad-core graphics… That’s more than enough to comfortably power basic operating system without a problem. I know she’s not quite as good as the new iPad Air, with her fancy-pants A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor. But she’s still more than good enough for iOS8 – and me.

I get the feeling the Messages thing will be addressed with OSX Yosemite… Or at least it better be. iOS 8 and Yosemite are supposed to be made to go hand-in-glove, so they say… This allows me to hope that in the near future, when my Macbook is updated, they will work as a Messaging partnership once again. If it isn’t… Well, I’ll really be miffed.

 

Then vs Now…

It’s unfortunate that right now the system is really slowing my iPad down. This isn’t doing itself any favours. The fact that it’s bigger than the last OS also means there’s less actual space left on my 16GB device. 12.5GB to be exact, meaning 3.5GB is somehow taken up by the system and whatever extra whatnots. I’ve had to delete things to get this OS onto the thing, but then I’ve had to keep some things deleted because there’s less space on it. My space is still sparse now, despite this – probably adding to making the CPU sluggish. It’s beginning to become painfully obvious that 16GB (or rather 12BG in real space) models are completely outdated now. Just put three avarege-sized games/films/shows on one of these and it’s completely stuffed, sitting alongside the usual things that everyone has on there too.

I can no longer fit a lot of photos, or games, on my iPad. Hearthfire had to go, as did Capcom’s Ace Attorney. That first one stung. A whole bunch of photos have to go as soon as they’ve been uploaded into Cloud drives. And I obviously can’t be the only one who suffers from this space loss. Given it’s the cheapest of their models, I imagine quite a high percentage of people have 16GB iPhones/Pads/Pods. I imagine they’re also facing the same annoying space issue. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder why they keep stocking them – they’re borderline useless these days. Especially now the system itself taking up so much space.

In the two years since iPad (4) Retina, Apple have gone from iOS 6, which it what iPad Retina shipped with in late 2012, to this. Two years ago the internet was ablaze with astounded fury when iOS 6.1 turned up with a 983MB update… Sounds a bit of a joke now, right – since these very same, now-mature devices have just been clobbered with a 5.8GB upgrade with iOS 8.

Two years down the line and we’re up from 983MB to 5.8GB for updates. It just goes to show the difference 24 months can make in TechLand.

 

Too Old?

And when you put it like that, it certainly seems that the 16GB devices are definitely playing outside their original parameters now – involved in a fight way above their weight class. Maybe I should expecting my girl to be a little sluggish. After all, iOS 8 was made with iPad Air in mind – and she’s got a lot of assets at her disposal… Much more than her big sister, now two years her senior.

The specs between iPhone 6 and iPad Air and their predecessors are pretty big, tech-wise. My poor girl just wasn’t designed for this kind of processing, hence the poorer performance with a stuffed local memory, and therefore probably ensuring she’s lacking in the extra oomph needed to run this new software. Deleting even more of my lovely precious photos has ensured she runs a little smoother… Proving that 16GB just isn’t enough to power the device as well as have anything of significance on it.

On the other hand, iOS 8 was designed to work with the “older” devices, and therefore all this should be taken into consideration. Hence, I’m still miffed that this system is making my iPad sluggish and continuously freezing and crashing apps. They should have worked these things out better before setting it loose, and it should be designed so it doesn’t cause all this trouble.

And I would still be able to get all my Messages on all my devices too.




Raise Hell and; Break Shit