Review: Eidetic for iOS

Eidetic

Remembering stuff is hard. And a lot of things we have to remember come streaming in all day. Phone numbers, facts, contents of photos…it’s a lot to process. I realized the other day that if for some reason, I was stuck on the highway and my iPhone’s battery was dead, I wouldn’t be able to remember hardly anyone’s phone number to call for help. I rely so much on my iPhone to help me remember stuff that if I should happen to lose it, I’d be lost. Sure, if just my iPhone went missing I could look up the information on my Macs, iPad or iCloud, but if all that went away tomorrow, and I had to use a pay phone to call anyone but my parents or grandparents, I’d be totally unable to get ahold of anyone.

I stumbled across Eidetic for iPhone a couple months ago and it helped me memorize a handful of phone numbers that are important enough to remember them. Eidetic has a couple levels of intensity so you can either cram something in in a day or several days. It’s probably better for long-term memory to slowly remember information than to just cram for 24 hours but I’m no expert at this. I will say however, that having Eidetic remind me to remember the phone numbers every so often really did help me commit them to long-term memory.

My next goal is to commit greetings in various languages to long-term memory as part of my Agile Results sprint for September 2012. I’ve been looking up how to say “Hello” in a different language every day and I tried to recall one this morning and I had already forgotten it. I’m gonna start programming them into Eidetic each day and do the one day cram. I’m hoping that’ll be enough to remember each other.

Aside from numbers, Eidetic has settings to help you remember quotes, vocabulary and photos. I think the idea with the photos function is to load up a photo, and then you can type in an “answer”. I’m not sure how hard it is to remember a photo, but it’s nice it’s another option.

Kick Disks Out with Quick Disk

Screen Shot 2011 11 14 at 7 45 22 PM

Ejection

Quick Disk’s main selling point is that it sits in your menu bar and allows you to see all connected disks on your Mac and you can eject them individually or hit the big “Eject All” button and get rid of them all. Very handy if you want to see all the disks connected to your system if you don’t have them displayed on your desktop.

Free Space

Another cool thing Quick Disk does is display how much space is free on each drive and what percentage of each drive’s space is available. Could be useful to users who are always running out of disk space and will help them be aware of when they’re about to hit that wall. This info is of course displayed when you click the menu bar icon, but you can also set Quick Disk to display either the amount in bytes or the percentage of available space next to the menu bar icon. I’m not running low on space, so I’m simply displaying the icon.

Purchase

Quick Disk is a nifty little utility that a lot of people may not need but it’s nice to have and only $0.99. Buy it in the Mac App Store.

To Defrag or Not to Defrag…

Idefrag2 ss1

Do you need to defrag?

Well, it depends. Do you have an SSD? If so, no, you don’t. You’re not going to benefit from defragging. Do you have a regular spinning disk drive? Then yes, you’ll probably benefit from defragging. Contrary to what most Mac zealots will tell you, OS X doesn’t do all the defragging you need on the fly. If you write and delete lots of big files (videos?), you’re going to have a lot of fragmentation. I ran iDefrag and immediately found my 2009 MacBook Pro to have serious amounts of fragmentation. And it made sense, I download and delete large video files everyday. This creates huge holes in the table on the disk and thus it makes it harder for the OS to find the files I need even when doing simple tasks. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it contributes to the MacBook running hotter when playing HD video as well. Probably hurts gaming performance as well.

So you need to defrag…

So we’ve established you need to defrag. Is defragging going to help your two year old Mac that has put its HDD through the ringer with writing and deleting huge files? Well, it could…but you’d have to wait a very long time to defrag it. I ran iDefrag and let it run over night, and it only made its way through 3% of my drive. I don’t think it’s because iDefrag isn’t able to defrag quickly, but during the analysis iDefrag did on my drive it said my drive was over 90% fragmented. I eventually gave up on the idea of defragging the drive and came to the conclusion that backing up, formatting the drive and starting clean was my best option. At 90% fragmentation, it’s hopeless. Defragging would take days, it would be quite taxing on the drive, and after two years, I’d like to start fresh. My theory is, if you do periodical defrags on a freshly created OS X install, the defrags would go much faster and wouldn’t allow the drive to become as fragmented as mine did.

iDefrag has a few different modes of defragging. The more thorough the defrag process, the longer it takes. The biggest selling point that got me interested in iDefrag was its ability to defrag without a boot disk. Sadly, this isn’t currently possible under Lion. iDefrag works with Lion, but you’ll have to create a boot disk (which is easily created from within the app itself). Coriolis Systems, developer of iDefrag (as well as iPartition), have encountered a few problems due to Lion, and they said on their blog that they intend to issue fixes as soon as possible. These sorts of utilities are always going to have problems with major OS updates. Thankfully, you can still use iDefrag with Lion, you’ll just have to use a boot disk. You can download a demo here.