June 4th, 2013 by Sharky

Living without an SSD

Two years ago I switched from using a MacBook Pro with a regular hard-drive to a MacBook Air with an SSD drive. Last week, due to the flat above mine flooding, my MacBook Air no longer exists and I've had to switch back to the Pro. I've now spent 7 days using a machine that doesn't have an SSD drive.

The downgrade has been hard. Not because of any lost data - thanks to automated backups, I've been able to get back up and running surprisingly quickly. The challenge has been learning to adapt again to a machine that no longer feels responsive.

A computer without an SSD drive feels a lot like the older Android phones when they first came out. They'd be able to do the job well enough, but they felt sluggish. The slight delay between swiping on a screen and the display reacting was noticeable - and the non-SSD machine feels the same.

The delay with this machine - now that I'm atuned to how it feels with an SSD - is painfully noticeable. I can feel the machine trying to catch up to me, and more often than not I have to wait for it to open a new folder, or create a new document, or load a file. It's not a major hindrance to getting work done, but it no longer feels fluid, and it's no longer enjoyable.

The one lesson I've learned from this is that any web app I build - Hoverboard included - will now have a much stronger focus on speed. It's hard to put into words why it's so important (actually, Fred Wilson has explained it better than I could), but once you're used to software that's fast, that'll be the new standard for which you judge everything else.

Flickr image from Marissa Strniste.

Read more from Sharky