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#868: The Gradual Implementation of Solid State Storage, Automatic.com, No more SMS?

 
     
 

Hello Readers,

At long last, it seems like we are finally heading into some consistent good weather! It was a pretty great weekend and should be a good week. With the changes in weather over the last few years, I have been trying to make sure I grab the good weather when it hits instead of just assuming that since summer is here, I will have plenty more to enjoy.

This week, David has a great app if you happen to be driving around enjoying the nice weather, and we have some other interesting news from RJ and Shawn as well.

Thanks for reading,

Liam
liam@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  The Gradual Implementation of Solid State Storage  
   
 

Hard drive manufacturer Seagate has recently announced that they will no longer produce 7200 RPM laptop-sized hard drives after 2013. I have to say, considering the rate at which solid state technology is progressing, I’m not too surprised.

For those who don’t know, when people talk about 7200 versus 5400 drives they are talking about the rotational speed of the platters. 5400 is the standard laptop drive speed. 7200 RPM (revolutions per minute) is the rate at which most desktop drives and some laptop drives spin. There isn’t much difference between the two, however, a faster speed drive means a little more access speed from your computer, which is the reason some prefer 7200 RPM drives. The trade-off is increased heat, vibration, and battery drain.

Editor’s note — Apple laptops have always shipped with 5400 RPM drives for these reasons. In desktops, these factors mean little. It’s only recently that they have offered some 7200 RPM options on the 15-inch machines.

You can almost watch the prices of solid-state drives drop in real-time. It is overly apparent that they are the future of computer storage, and will at some point be just as affordable per gigabyte as regular spinning drives. Seagate will still be producing 5400 RPM hard drives indefinitely, but I suspect complete solid state implementation is not too far off in the future of laptops.

 
   
     
  Automatic.com  
   
 

As an Apple Consultant in Vermont, I travel thousands of miles a month to visit far flung clients in the Northeast. I use my iPhone to listen to podcasts, and sometimes I break out the calculator app to divide the miles I’ve driven since the last fill-up by the gallons I’ve just entered in the tank. And until last month, I didn’t think there was much more my smartphone could do for my car.

Enter Automatic, a hardware link that plugs into your car’s OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) port that automatically connects to an app on your iPhone when you drive. It provides information about fuel economy, driving-style efficiency, vehicle health, and even where you parked. It can even call 911 after a crash.

Automatic resonated with me as a passionate car and computer technology aficionado. Growing up, I would digest car buyer’s guides and pride myself in being able to identify every car on the road. As I grew older, I became more aware of the serious environmental impact of our global desire for personal transportation. While vehicles such as the Tesla Model S represent an ideal future, I think the smartest economic and environmentally conscious decision for most drivers is to prolong the usable life of existing vehicles and drive them as efficiently as possible.

Automatic, I believe, has the possibility to encourage drivers to be better, more efficient users of the technology at their disposal and to do so in such a way that provides a positive user experience. They start shipping in May, so I’d recommend pre-ordering it as soon as possible. Look for a follow-up review this summer after using it for a month.

 
   
     
  No more SMS?  
   
 

The beloved SMS messaging service for mobile carriers will turn 21 this December, but will people celebrate?

SMS stands for “Short Message Service” which is used as the standard by mobile carriers for text messaging. A European media firm called Informa has conducted a study comparing SMS messages and free messaging apps like Apple iMessage, Blackberry Messenger, WhatApp and Samsung ChatON. These services combined have surpassed text messages sent from mobile devices.

Informa’s research states that an estimated 19 billion messages were sent world-wide last year via free messaging apps versus 17.6 billon SMS text messages. The free messaging versus SMS messages send ratio is expected to grow to 50 billion free messages to 21 billion SMS messages by 2014.

One benefit of free messaging in the world wide stage (beside being free) is that messages are sent over the internet which will not create international messaging fees. Of course, carriers don’t like this idea and are striving to keep SMS messaging alive. This is not surprising considering that over the next decade, 5 billion more users are expected to join the 2 billion already online, and most of them will be using smartphones as their only internet access point. They are looking at potentially losing billions of dollars, but I feel pretty confident they will figure out something. Maybe a fee for not using SMS?

Here is a related article that inspired mine: http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2013/04/29/free-mobile-messaging-apps-will-be-the-death-of-sms-eventually/

 
   
     
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