Those Finicky SSDs

In more news along the solid state drive front, I got a fascinating conundrum from a loyal reader about issues with what we first wondered to be a failing motherboard or overheating.

After installing a new SSD and using it as the main drive, he reported beachballs and crashes after waking from sleep, forcing a shutdown. Sometimes, the G5 worked like a charm. Sometimes, everything ground to a halt. It didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason, kind of a random thing, which makes it difficult to track down.

I typed out my standard line of troubleshooting, starting with what changed. Did you install RAM recently? Put in a new hard drive? Install a new video card? Fiddle with something that you shouldn’t have? Then, go down the checklist of cleaning out the case, testing temperatures, double checking cables, switching RAM in and out, and so on until you figure it out. And if all of that fails, then flailing your arms in frustration because it might or might not be your motherboard.

But good news – the reader reinstalled the system on to a main hybrid drive, and things seem to be back to normal. It might be a faulty SATA cable, but it could be the G5’s implementation of the SATA standard which causes weird things with solid state drives. I’ve had an experience or two with such weird behavior. I would love to get hold of an engineer who helped make these G5s and could tell us more about the quirks and challenges of their hardware and where limitations lie. Maybe someday?

The moral of the story is to be cautious and careful with those SSDs. Your best bet is to go the OWC route, since they care about vintage computing. Or use the small list of suggested compatible drives on this website under “Hardware”.

— Nathan

SimpleMarkPCC updated to Version 1.2


Introducing SimpleMarkPPC Version 1.2

After some delay, I am tickled to release the newest version of SimpleMarkPPC. While the basic functionality remains the same, the app is greatly improved and a bit more configurable. Your preferences with font size, font type, and autosave features are now saved and restored. Autosave is indeed optional – if you like it, turn it on and adjust a little slider to control how quickly it kicks in. Or save manually, which might work better if you are conserving battery or prefer to get a preview of your work at your own pace.

I cleaned up a few other little bugs, though I’m sure something is going to crop up. I’d appreciate your feedback in the comments below.

You can grab it here.

— Nathan