SSD Equals New Tricks for Old MacBooks

Wondering how to revive the flagging spirits of your aging MacBook? Nothing will have more impact than swapping out your hard drive for a solid-state drive, more commonly known as SSD. No, really. People speak of the results in rapturous language. So set aside a little time and get a few tools for an easy upgrade that can be done on any Mac released in 2012 or before. Following is a quick overview of the process, but there are several reliable video resources online.

SSDs are quite a bit more expensive than a standard hard drive, so to replace a good-size HDD will cost you at least £100. It’s worth it if your alternative is purchasing a new MacBook.

What will you need? An internal SSD, a cable or dock for initially connecting the drive externally, a set of small Phillips-head and torx-head screwdrivers, and a utility that will back up your hard drive, such as SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner.

First, format and load up the SSD: Connect it via a SATA-to-USB cable or a dock, launch Disk Utility, and click Erase. Next, with your chosen utility, you’ll clone your Mac’s hard drive to the SSD. Eject the SSD and shut down your computer.

Remove the back cover on your Mac. Before touching anything inside the case, ground yourself to discharge static electricity; an optional safety step is to disconnect the battery. Unscrew and remove the bracket covering the hard drive. To disconnect the drive, don’t pull on the long attached ribbon, but instead gently wiggle the connector itself. Remove and set aside the four screws in the hard drive. Insert the SSD into the drive bay, attach the ribbon, put the screws back in, and work backwards to reseat the drive and close your computer back up. Now restart. It might take a few moments for your MacBook to make friends with the new drive, but when it does you will notice the difference.

What will you get in return for this effort? Speed, speed and speed. If you’ve come to that point in your Mac’s life when launching an application, saving a document, or starting up and shutting down are taking a painfully long time, converting to a solid-state drive will not only solve those problems, it will have you zipping around faster than you did when that laptop was new. In numerous benchmarking tests, SSDs perform much faster than HDDs in every measure – bandwidth, input-output, response time. If you’re a gamer, designer, illustrator, photographer, or videographer, you will wonder how you survived this long without an SSD.

Standard hard drives consist of spinning platters with motors that run a mechanism over the surface, writing and reading data. The whole operation uses battery life, causes heat, and is prone to damage by both accident and heavy use. SSDs have no moving parts and their design allows them to read data instantaneously, so they don’t generate heat, make no sound, won’t break if you drop your laptop, and are more energy efficient so they save battery life. In other words, there is no downside to this upgrade.

Revealed: The top Christmas gadgets of the last decade

Smart watches set to top tech-savvy Christmas lists … From games consoles to tablets and wearables, the top technology Christmas gifts of the last decade chart how the world has advanced. The way we game, read, track our fitness and work has been revolutionised since 2005. As Christmas approaches, what better way to celebrate trends in technology than to take a look at the most successful technology products of the past ten years?

2005
Back in 2005, 1.1 million of us sent Shane Ward to the Christmas top spot, and number one on everyone’s Christmas list was the brand new Xbox 360. Demand hugely outstripped supply, with hundreds of gamers queuing for hours in the rain to lay their hands on the console, which sold out in hours. The Xbox franchise has continued to delight gamers; 9 years later, Microsoft announced that Xbox 360 sales stood at 84 million units sold, with lifetime game sales for the platform at $37.7 billion. On last calculation, Xbox 360 gamers have logged more than 88 billion hours of gameplay, which is equivalent to more than 100,000 centuries.

2006
2006 saw Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond in ‘Casino Royale’, and Sony’s fight back against Microsoft, in the shape of the Play Station 3. First introduced in 1995, the Play Station and Play Station 2 are still the best-selling home game consoles in history. To date the four Play Station versions have sold a total of 344 million units.

2007
2007 was the year gaming got physical, with stocks of Nintendo’s Wii finally becoming widely available to buy. Named a ‘revolution’ by Forbes Magazine, which claimed that the Wii ‘has re-invented video gaming, making it more social, more intuitive and surprisingly physically engaging…it’s potentially the device that will make video gaming as widely enjoyed as board or card games.’ Since launch, it’s sold more than 100 million units.

2008
It’s hard to imagine life before the smart phone, but 2008 was the year the 3G iPhone hit our shores. Now in its 12th incarnation, over 500 million iPhones have been sold, currently making it the best-selling smartphone of all time.

2009
The Amazon Kindle took technology into a new realm, revolutionising the way we consume new and enduring classic literature. The Kindle 2 was launched in 2009 and by early the next year the founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, stated that "millions of people now own Kindles” and that “six Kindle books were being sold for every 10 physical books". Kindle remains the undisputed leader of the e-reader. The company is famously secretive about sales figures but 2013 estimates put sales of all Kindle devices at roughly 44 million.

2010
Pre-2010, the thought of receiving a tablet for Christmas was understandably unlikely to be anywhere near the top of anyone’s list. That all changed with the unveiling of the iPad in January 2010 by then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In contrast to earlier tablet PCs, the iPad was marketed as a consumer device that would fill the gap between smartphones and laptop computers. Over 292 million have been sold to date.

2011
2011 was a momentous year for Brits, with the union of Prince William and Kate Middleton. In the world of technology, all eyes were on the launch of the first commercially successful ‘phablet’, the Samsung Galaxy Note. Whilst some media outlets questioned the viability of the device due to its 5.3-inch (135-mm) screen, the Note received a positive reception, selling 1 million units in two months.

2012
2012 was the year that London was Olympics-obsessed, Facebook debuted on the stock market, Felix Baumgartner jumped from space and the iPad went mini. Lighter and thinner than its predecessor, the iPad Mini reportedly sold three million units in the three days post launch.

2013
Sony’s next generation console, the Playstation 4, launched in November 2013. Six months later, 7 million homes world-wide owned a PS4. Having lost several previous battles to Nintendo’s Wii, Sony was finally winning the games console war.

2014
To 2014 and wearable technology; namely the fitness tracker. Sales have risen 250% year-on-year and from mid-2014 to mid-2015, the wearable industry grew by a massive 223%. At this rate, it’s possible that the market will actually reach the predicted $74 billion mark by 2025.

2015
2015 is undoubtedly the year of the smartwatch, combining fitness tracking, time keeping and connectivity in one package. The global smartwatch market has the potential to reach $32.9 billion by 2020, registering a compound annual growth rate of 68% between 2014 and 2020. It’s thought that 135 million wearable devices will be sold by 2018 – 68 million of them smart watches. Few other industries have such growth perspectives, and the potential to revolutionise how people communicate, monitor their health, work, and interact with their surroundings.

James Jie, Managing Director of Huawei UK and Ireland says, “It’s fascinating to see the impact that technology has had upon our lives during the past decade. In the recent past we saw technology as either fitting in with our work life – for instance PCs – or play, in the shape of games consoles. Now those boundaries no longer exist as technology is embedded within our daily lives. This is no more evident than in the rise of wearable technologies such as the Huawei Watch, which combines connectivity with style.”

Jie continues, “At Huawei, we invest 10% of our sales income into research and development to ensure that we are driving new technology forwards. In 2014 alone, we invested $1.2 billion into R&D. The Huawei Watch embodies our unfailing ambition to deliver an all-connected future across wearables, vehicles and smart phones. Looking back at the past ten years, it’s amazing how far technology has advanced and we look forward to being at the forefront of new advancements for years to come.”

For more information, please visit: http://consumer.huawei.com/minisite/worldwide/huawei-watch/

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B: This post was sponsored by Huawei.

A Look at the Origins of Casino Games

Casinos have been around for centuries in one form or another and since the advancements in technology; the industry has changed from the way we play games through to how we play them. There is a primal instinct in all of us that enjoys gambling and the excitement quickly gets the adrenaline running and online casino gaming is now a huge industry, ensuring that any games is available at our fingertips 24/7. 

Let’s look at the top three casino games that have changed throughout the years.

Slot Machines

Slot machines have always been one of the most popular types of games available in casinos and they are just as user-friendly online as they are in an actual casino. From basic beginnings as one-arm bandits that were first invented in the 1800s up to the online slots that are widely available nowadays, slot machines now have more reels and pay lines than ever before to ensure they remain one of the most exciting games on the market. It’s not all about luck, and maths plays a part in the outcome of every spin. The themes and symbols used have also evolved and the technology used is now more sophisticated, as the once mechanical reels are now operated by a random computer number generator.

Roulette & Craps

Table games have changed massively throughout history. Games such as roulette became a huge hit in the mid-19th century. Roulette was derived from a famous mathematician called Blaise Pascal who created the roulette wheel as he experimented with perpetual motion. The wheel is now one of the most easily recognised symbols in the world of gambling and casinos and as such, is also one of the favourite games choices for avid gamblers. Found online and in casinos worldwide, it is one of the more exciting games available and big wins in roulette are common. 

Craps is a simple game that involves throwing dice but it has an interesting history, which dates back to when ancient Egyptian witch doctors used to throw stones marked with numbers together with bones to determine who lived and died when people were sick. It has come a long way since its terrifying and dangerous early days and there are now three versions of the game available namely: casino craps, street craps and online craps. Players must wager a bet on the outcome of the number that will be rolled by the dice, and while largely a game of chance, it proves to be a hugely popular once. 

Card Games

The history of card games is a long one with many of today’s games dating back to games that were played back in the 1300s. The original decks of cards used very different symbols and images on them and they used to be carved from wood rather than paper. Poker and Blackjack were among the first card games invented by the French and the latter began with players attempting to get as close as possible to the total of 31 rather than what we play nowadays where 21 is the target. Poker has become a worldwide gaming phenomenon and is one of the most popular casino games today, whether played online or in a casino. 

Casino games are always evolving to ensure players have something new and exciting to focus on and as technology continues to move forward at a fast pace, who knows what lays in store for the new generation of avid gamblers.

Must-have apps for your phone

Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Whilst we are all aware of the amazing possibilities offered by our smartphones, most people don't take full advantage of the great range of apps that are currently out there.

But with over 700 apps being developed each day, it can present an overwhelming choice to the modern gadget fan. So here's a quick run-down of some of the must-have apps that you might have missed out on.

Communication

Whilst we may all be aware of headline-dominating social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter, there are many other communication apps that can offer some eye-opening possibilities.

If you're looking to share some personal thoughts amongst friends anonymously, then the Whisper app is great fun. Rather than traditional social media sites that invariably result in people aiming to fit in with their peers, this app can provide some surprising yet entertaining discussions between you and your friends.

Entertainment

The digital revolution has completely transformed the way in which we keep ourselves entertained. Now you can watch entire films on your phone thanks to streaming sites such as Netflix, or even listen to radio stations from across the globe in real-time thanks to apps like Simple Radio.

Gaming has also been completely transformed through smartphone technology. There's even been a boom in online casino sites such as LadyLucks who offer some lucrative slots games via their user-friendly app which can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

Commerce

There has also be a revolution in online shopping experiences with major retailers such as Amazon providing their own apps which allow for a much easier way in which to browse and purchase products. And new apps such as Wanelo allow its eleven million users to share and rate their shopping experiences in a social way that adds a much greater sense of fun and discovery in browsing the huge range of products available in the new online domain.

Connectivity

Whilst we can all enjoy the powers offered by our smartphones' apps, most of these apps are reliant upon a decent Wi-Fi signal to work properly. Thankfully the We-Fi app provides the world's most comprehensive list of internet hotspots, so that even if you're out and about, you can still take full advantage of the amazing possibilities presented from the power of your mobile device. And once you've found a hotspot, the Hotspotio app even allows you to simply share the Wi-Fi connection amongst your friends.