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swappable drives

Bert Bates
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
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    5
If I was king of the world, Apple (this would also apply to PCs), would make all of their computers with swap-out-able hard drives. The idea would be that when I'm "in the office" I would have my big honking machine (huge monitors, extra DASD, peripherals, etc.), and when it was time to travel, I'd pop out the hard drive and slide it into my ultra-portable - but my entire data world would go with me.

Why don't we have that possibility?


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Gregg Bolinger
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    6

We do. They are called External USB drives.


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Peter Rooke
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Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 802

I recall things called 'travel disks' way back in the day when I was hacking about in Turbo Basic and MS-DOS! The alternative then was to carry a heavy brick like portable computer (or get someone else to carry it - junior programmers :-) )

Today, I guess it is eaiser to just use a laptop. But it would be nice to have a set of swapable drives (in a laptop) then you could have all sorts of environments on each (different operating systems / tools / databases [etc]) - and swap them quickly.


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Peter Rooke
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Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 802

Oh - yeah - I forgot virtualization is the thing now.

Man I need to get up to date!

I always suspect that Apple tries to use vender lock in to make sure that you only use their equipment. And swappable drives would be a move away from that idea.
Marc Peabody
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Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

This would be awesome for training classes because I could easily guarantee everyone has EXACTLY the same environment by copying the same machine setup to each portable drive.

I think we're not too far off from seeing this. I think we just need a little more space on cheap tiny storage to make it worth pursuing.

Here's an example of Ubuntu on a 2GB Compact Flash card.


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Paul Clapham
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Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541
    
    8

It would be a lot easier to have swappable drives if the drives actually had only data on them. As it is they also have control information like the operating system and device drivers which are tied to the hardware. So we're stuck with manually keeping our data separate on Gregg's external USB drives.
marc weber
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Bert Bates:
...my entire data world would go with me.

Why don't we have that possibility?

You're not just talking about data, right? You also want to carry your OS and all the other software with you, right?


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Gregg Bolinger
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    6

Originally posted by Paul Clapham:
It would be a lot easier to have swappable drives if the drives actually had only data on them. As it is they also have control information like the operating system and device drivers which are tied to the hardware. So we're stuck with manually keeping our data separate on Gregg's external USB drives.


How is a swappable drive different from an external USB drive aside from the cable?
Paul Clapham
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Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541
    
    8

Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:
How is a swappable drive different from an external USB drive aside from the cable?
From the hardware point of view, it wouldn't be different. My point was that from the software point of view, normally your computer's primary drive contains a lot of information that is directly related to your computer, and that wouldn't make sense if you put that hard drive into a different computer. Secondary drives, like external USB drives, don't have that problem.
Gregg Bolinger
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    6

Originally posted by Paul Clapham:
From the hardware point of view, it wouldn't be different. My point was that from the software point of view, normally your computer's primary drive contains a lot of information that is directly related to your computer, and that wouldn't make sense if you put that hard drive into a different computer. Secondary drives, like external USB drives, don't have that problem.


True, and I don't think Bert implied he wanted that.

but my entire data world would go with me.

I assumed non-computer specific data. Obviously I could be wrong there. Although even if you wanted to take your OS around, I've done that before with linux on a flash drive. Works great. You can also install linux on USB drives. As long as the computer's BIOS supports booting from USB devices, you are good to go.
[ January 04, 2008: Message edited by: Gregg Bolinger ]
Abhinav Srivastava
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Joined: Nov 19, 2002
Posts: 349

U3 drives go in that direction, to some extent. U3
[ January 04, 2008: Message edited by: Abhinav Srivastava ]
Bert Bates
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Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
to clarify, I'm thinking of the idea that my whole software / os / data environment would be on the swappable drive. So it would be one place to update software. one place to maintain the os, and one place to maintain data and correspondence.
marc weber
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

I'm not knowledgeable about hardware, so maybe this is just plain wrong, but...

Instead of using established settings for hardware components, I expect the OS would need to run some sort of diagnostic, which would "dynamically" identify the hardware components and then "plug in" the correct drivers, etc. This would fit with Apple's practice of pre-installing hordes of drivers with the OS, so you're ready to go with whatever you connect to. But it would also be nice to have a one-stop "warehouse" on the internet, to rapidly supply any missing software.

For efficiency, maybe the OS would maintain a small database of "known" computers, which would save all these configurations. So when you plug the drive into one of your regular machines, it would skip the diagnostic and use the stored configuration.

Imagine "public processors" at places like coffee shops, where you simply plug in your drive, and have your computer, with all the software and data you carry with you.
Joe Harry
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Joined: Sep 26, 2006
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    2

Something like this


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marc weber
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Jothi Shankar Kumar Sankararaj:
Something like this

Kind of. That person seems to be advocating a swappable, non-rewritable OS as a security measure.
 
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