Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Bigger Increment This Time...

I've lost count of how many times, over the years, that I've migrated my development environment to a new machine.  My very first development environment (I'm using the term very loosely to describe that environment!) was in a Univac 1230B “mainframe”, back in 1971, over forty years ago.  My latest one is in a 17" Macbook Pro laptop.

Generally speaking, the migration puts me into an environment that's incrementally better than the last one.  The size of that increment varies, but it's usually not all that large.  The last time I can remember the increment being large was way back in the late '70s, when I migrated from a floppy disk based system to one that had a hard drive.  That made a huge difference in how my development environment worked.

This past weekend I migrated my development environment from a three year old Macbook Pro to a brand new one.  You wouldn't think that would make a huge difference, but it did – but other factors were at work.  The biggest other factor was moving from a hard disk to a solid state disk (SSD), a 512 GB model.  In addition to that, my new Macbook has a 750 GB conventional hard disk, 16 GB of RAM, and a 2.4 GHz quad core processor.  My old Macbook took about 50 seconds from powerup to a functional desktop; my new one is well under 10 seconds.  My old Macbook used to run out of usable memory (resulting in thrash and the notorious spinning disk of death) many times a day, especially when running Firefox or VMWare Fusion; my new Macbook handles these with ease. My old Macbook took several minutes to search for arbitrary strings through our entire code base; my new Macbook does this in under a second.  I could go on, but you get the idea: this migration was quite a large incremental jump in performance and general usability of my development environment.

Where is this all heading?

Tape is the new trash.
Hard disks are the new tape.
SSDs are the new hard disks.
Cheap RAM and ridiculously fast processors are enablers, both for crappy software and for entirely new possibilities (like useful VMs in a laptop)...

1 comment:

  1. We didn't need all of that for crappy software. Crappy software has been available on every platform since the clay tablet. :)