The Blog of Ian Mercer.

It's all about disk speed

Recently I upgraded to a 10,000 rpm drive in my desktop and a 7,200 rpm drive in my laptop. Quite frankly this is the most cost effective way to improve performance on any machine. CPU speeds have grown dramatically over the last few years, so has memory capacity and CPU to memory bandwidth, but disk seek speeds and disk transfer rates have grown much more slowly. Chances are your CPU spends most of its time either idle or waiting for the disk drive now.

Windows Vista was designed with assumptions about us all having faster computers, more memory and bigger disk drives but without faster seek speeds and higher disk to memory performance, any move towards 'bloat' is going to result in a more sluggish computer with worse battery life.

Personally I run Windows 2003 Server on all my computers including the laptop - it's the most stable OS Microsoft has ever shipped and, to me, stability beats features and flashy UI.

Related Stories

Cover Image for Digital Twins are never identical

Digital Twins are never identical

Digital Twin are an online representation of a real world object, a copy of its properties in the digital world and a way to send updated and commands to it. In effect I've been making them for years but now they have a trendy name.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for Why smarthomes are hard

Why smarthomes are hard

Why automated learning is hard for a smart home. The perils of over-fitting, under-fitting and how the general unpredictable nature of life makes it hard to build a system that learns your behavior.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for Event blocks

Event blocks

Home automation systems need to respond to events in the real world. Sometimes it's an analog value, sometimes it's binary, rarely is it clean and not susceptible to problems. Let's discuss some of the ways to convert these inputs into actions.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for Logistic function - convert values to probabilities

Logistic function - convert values to probabilities

Another super useful function for handling sensor data and converting to probabilities is the logistic function 1/(1+e^-x). Using this you can easily map values onto a 0.0-1.0 probability range.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for ATAN curve for probabilities

ATAN curve for probabilities

In a home automation system we often want to convert a measurement into a probability. The ATAN curve is one of my favorite curves for this as it's easy to map overything onto a 0.0-1.0 range.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for Home Construction Advice

Home Construction Advice

Several years ago we did a major remodel. I did all of the finish electrical myself and supervised all of the rough-in electrical. I also put in all of the electrical system and water in our barn. I have opinions ...

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for T-Mobile home internet

T-Mobile home internet

I'm testing a T-Mobile Home Internet device as a backup to XFinity and a way to offload half our monthly traffic to avoid the XFinity 1.2TB cap

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for iBeacon meetup in Seattle - January 2015

iBeacon meetup in Seattle - January 2015

My notes on the iBeacon meetup in Seattle held in January 2015

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for Home Automation Systems as a Graph

Home Automation Systems as a Graph

Using nodes and links to represent a home and all the devices in it

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for Showing home status with just a single RGB LED

Showing home status with just a single RGB LED

Multicolored LEDs can convey a lot of information in a small space

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for A wireless sensor network using Moteino boards

A wireless sensor network using Moteino boards

The diminutive Arduino boards include a powerful transmitter/receiver

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

JSON Patch - a C# implementation

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for A Quantified House - My Talk to the Seattle Quantified Self Meetup

A Quantified House - My Talk to the Seattle Quantified Self Meetup

My talk to the Seattle Quantified Self meetup

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Integrating an Android phone into my home automation system

Some new features for my home automation using an Android phone

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Before there was the web there was BeebTel

Just thought I should mention that I built a web-like system before the web existed

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

My first programme [sic]

At the risk of looking seriously old, here's something found on a paper tape

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for The Internet of Dogs

The Internet of Dogs

Connecting our dog into the home automation

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Finally got the 1U Atom Server racked up

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Timelapse video using the GoPro HD Hero

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Web site crawler and link checker (free)

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Smart home energy savings - update for 2010

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

I should have created Four Square ...

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for How can I tell if my house is smart?

How can I tell if my house is smart?

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Asian Gadgets

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

A great video explaining the Semantic Web

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Interesting Twitter Posts March 15th-

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Twitter links for Week beginning March 8th

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Elliott 803 - An Early Computer

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Facebook, social gaming and points

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Useful Twitter links Feb 8-Feb 15 2010

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Looking forward to the new year and our new datacenter

Historical note about moving my servers into a datacenter

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

When will people learn to backup?

A rant about RAID

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Future proof your home with a new conduit system?

Running conduit can be expensive but maybe you don't need one to every room

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Balloon Boy was much ado about nothing - Twitter

Some of the more witty comments on Twitter about the Balloon Boy hoax

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Shortened URLs should be treated like a Codec ...

Expanding URLs would help users decide whether or not to click a link

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Tagging File Systems

Isn't it time we stopped knowing which drive our file is on?

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

WMPnetwk.exe started using 50% of my CPU

Uninstalling Windows Media Player - the end of an era

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Introducing Jigsaw menus

A novel UI for menus that combines a breadcrumb and a menu in one visual metaphor

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Amazon Instance vs Dedicated Server comparison

Some benchmark performance for Amazon vs a dedicated server

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Agile Software Development is Like Sailing

You cannot tack too often when sailing or you get nowhere. Agile is a bit like that.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

AntiVirus Software is the Worst Software!

When your anti-virus software starts stealing your personal data, it's time to remove it!

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Second Drobo Update

At this point things were looking up for my Drobo

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Comcast woes and a new monitoring utility

Monitoring a cable modem using its HTML management interface

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Core duo desktop machine runs cool

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for Giving up on Internet Explorer

Giving up on Internet Explorer

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer
Cover Image for New Home Automation Server

New Home Automation Server

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Dell upgrades - a pricey way to go

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer