Cellphones, Fitness and SSDs: Updates On Recent Stories
Nokia’s recent Capital Market Day, as covered by Engadget, touched on many of the issues I raised in my recent critique of the company and its products. Bad news first; Nokia’s set to only introduce one new Maemo-based (v6, to be specific) handset next year, in the second half of 2010 to boot. Now for the good news; a substantial revamp of the company’s cornerstone Symbian O/S is underway. And more good news; Nokia is notably shrinking its new product payload next year as compared to recent-past history. If this new strategy means that the company will be focusing more on quality than quantity going forward, it’ll get a big thumbs-up from me. Speaking of new product introductions, the follow-on to the Nokia E71 (the E72 briefly mentioned in my writeup series) is finally shipping in the U.S. And speaking of Capital Market Day, Engadget claims that their writeup has a link to 51 MBytes’ worth of PDF presentation content…but I think they forgot to include the link. Keep checking the piece in case the link ever appears.
I’m running the California International Marathon on Sunday morning, so you’ll excuse me if I have fitness on my mind at the moment. As such, I thought I’d pass along some updates to my early July piece on fitness-related software for GPS-supportive cellular handsets, as an alternative to dedicated GPS exercise gear. Here’s some reading material you might find interesting, even if you’re not a marathoner, too (perhaps you just want to counterbalance last week’s Thanksgiving calorie intake?):
- New asthma app: Track your wheezing and coughing in Google Health (full disclosure: I tend towards exercise-induced asthma, which I manage with medication along with careful warm-ups prior to exertion)
- Five Apps for the cyclist
- Racevine Lets You Review Races You’ve Run, Lost
- Open Access To Exercise Data?
- Hands-on (and feet-on) with RunKeeper Pro
- iPhone Apps to keep you fit this Friday
- Reader favorites: fitness tech for the geeks in us
- Discover new running trails with the WalkJogRun app
- Get Off Your Lazy Ass - Using the iPhone to Better Yourself
Speaking of fitness, one bit of oddity accompanied Google’s Chrome O/S update briefing two weeks back. Check out the shoes Sergey Brin was wearing (thanks to Crunchgear for the image):
They’re Vibram Five Fingers (or as I tend to call them, Monkey Shoes). An athletically inclined friend of mine swears by them on all surfaces, and lots of folks who run on the beaches nearby her place also use Monkey Shoes (or just go barefoot) on the sand, but to date I’ve not mustered the guts (and dedicated the funds) to try them out for myself. Here are some related links for your perusal, if your curiosity is piqued:
- Expensive Running Shoes Aren’t a Necessity
- To Run Better, Start by Ditching Your Nikes
- Identify Your Foot Type Before Choosing Running Shoes
- Review: Vibram Five Fingers Classic
- Run Like a Hunter For Injury-Free Workouts
- More Vibram Five Fingers information than you particularly require
Now for SSDs. Yesterday, right after I posted the additional-research addendum to my recent cover story, Maximum PC published a nice, consise piece on the TRIM command. Yesterday was also the day that Micron introduced a third-generation SSD product line which is the first (to my knowledge) to incorporate a 6 Gbps SATA interface, and which leverages the same 34 nm silicon found in Intel’s second-generation drives. As my recent article pointed out, SSDs with their extremely fast random read latencies will be much more likely to exploit 6 Gbps SATA’s bandwidth potential as compared to slower rotating media such as HDDs. I unfortunately think some caution is in order, however.
Micron hasn’t yet released pricing, for one thing. And although I’m somewhat reassured to see that "Micron is currently sampling the C300 SSD in limited quantities", the subsequent comment "and expects to enter production in the first quarter of calendar 2010" (emphasis is mine) gives me pause. This is because, to the best of my knowledge, neither the company’s first-generation SSDs unveiled in November 2007 nor the second-generation designs introduced in October 2008 ever entered volume production. Nonetheless, regardless of whether Micron or someone else gets to market first, the pairing of SSDs and 6 Gbps SATA is sooner-or-later inevitable and welcomed.
Speaking of SSD speed, check out a writeup on Last.FM recently showcased at Slashdot. My cover story talked about solid-state storage advantages in enterprise applications, prices vs comparably huge HDDs nonwithstanding, and the CNET interview reiterates the positives I pointed out:
We stream all music directly off our servers in London. We have a cluster of streaming nodes including a bunch of powerful machines with solid-state hard drives. We have a process that runs daily which finds the hottest music and pushes those tracks on to the SSDs streamers that sit in front of our regular platter-based streaming machines. That way, if someone is listening to one of our more popular stations, the chances are really good that these songs are coming off our high-speed SSD machines. They’re fast because every song is sitting in memory instead of being on a slow, spinning platter.
Unfortunately, Engadget can’t recommend SSDs for home media servers, due both to a point I raised in my writeup (SSDs’ substantial cost/bit disadvantage in high capacity storage applications) and to a nebulous-at-best performance advantage with the Windows Home Server O/S (I suspect due to its comparative write-heavy nature, coupled with the fact that it’s based on an archaic Windows Server 2003 code base). And for a mixed-results HDD-to-SDD migration post-mortem, check out this series from Microsoft’s John Mullanix:
- An SSD Odyssey, Part 1: The Quest for Extreme Windows 7 Speed
- Part 2: The SSD I chose, and how to migrate to an SSD
- Part 3: Problems, Resolutions, and Performance Results
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do one final short-and-slow jog-with-dog to keep loose, before Sunday morning’s 26.2-miler. My race companion and I are shooting for a 3:20-or-faster finishing time. Wish us luck!