Disk storage sure has changed over the years

In 1956 the huge box being shipped in the first photo was a 5 MB hard drive. It rented for $28,000 a month in today’s dollars.

In the second photo, on the finger of my hand, is a 256 GB flash drive (51,500 times the capacity) designed to just fit into the SD slot of a MacBook Pro. Cost $150.

I got it so I could keep my entire Photos library of more than 35,000 photos and videos I’ve taken over the years on my Mac without needing to store them on an external drive. The 1956 hard drive could only hold about 5 photos like the one shown.

IBM 5 MB hard drive from 1956

IBM 5 MB hard drive from 1956

Monta and 256 GB flash drive from 2017

Monta and 256 GB flash drive from 2017

Followup on my new iPhone 7 Plus – and a cool photos sync feature I discovered

I just did a test with a friend’s AU SIM card to confirm that my new iPhone 7 Plus is not carrier locked. AU showed up right away and I was able to make a test phone call. (See screenshots)


Using a borrowed AU SIM card

Using a borrowed AU SIM card

Using my Softbank SIM card

Using my Softbank SIM card

While I have to admit to not being completely satisfied with the display (it isn’t as bright as Apple advertises), it does occur to me that the way it ended up is advantageous to me in the short and long run. In addition to the extra 9,000 yen refunded to me because of the price difference, the amount I will actually pay for the iPhone with the Softbank carrier discount is just a small fraction of list price  – just about 40,000 yen.

But even better, the phone I now have in hand is completely unrelated to the iPhone received from Softbank. So when a new model comes out, I should be able to sell this one at a good price since it is not carrier locked, and the iPhone itself is not under any contract. Plus it’s under AppleCare until February 2019.

If I sell it at some point, I can upgrade to another straight-from-Apple iPhone at my leisure, for net amounts that are like carrier discounts.

It seems like a reasonable way to go forward: no more phones from the carrier are needed, and I have freedom to move from carrier to carrier more easily.

I did casually look around over this last week at the latest Android models. The Samsung and Sony models are especially nice. But they are also pricey, and not attractive enough to lure me away yet. But the way I’m leaving it, I also leave myself open to being lured.

On the Apple ecosystem plus side, I discovered a new, cool thing about the iPhone today, if you also have a Mac. I went to sync photos from my iPhone to Mac Photos for backup (even though I mostly use Google Photos these days) and found they were already synced! It turns out that even if you don’t have iCloud Photo Library turned on, as long as you have My Photo Stream turned on everything gets put into your Mac Photos library until deleted there, making backups easier. You don’t have to physically connect to your Mac with a lightning cable anymore to do this. It’s all done via iCloud.

The post-final result of my iPhone 7 Plus display problem with Apple

Well, I’m sure the main thing on most of my friends’ minds these days is, “I wonder what Doug decided to do about his iPhone 7 Plus?”

So as not to keep you in suspense, this is what I decided:

Since Apple agreed to buy back my iPhone 7 Plus at the full Softbank contract list price of 129,000 yen I decided to take them up on it.

And I ordered a new iPhone 7 Plus from the Apple site today, to be delivered tomorrow morning. That cost 120,000 yen.*

So, not only am I making 9,000 yen on the deal, I’m getting a new phone and two more years of AppleCare coverage.

Plus since I’m getting it directly from Apple, the new iPhone will be unlocked to start with and I can use it on my scheduled U.S. trip for my mother’s birthday in April.

Will it be “as bright” as the iPhone 6 Plus. Probably not. But at this point this deal seems like a no-brainer to do for now. And who knows, maybe it will be brighter.

Also getting it directly from Apple means there is a 14 day return policy if I change my mind.

And I’m sticking with Apple, which I feel relieved and comfortable about for now.


* I don’t know why the Softbank list price (pre carrier discount for a two year contract) comes to 129,000 yen including tax and AppleCare, instead of the 120,000 yen you would pay when buying direct from Apple. That remains a mystery, but Apple is agreeable with paying the 129,000 list price on my Softbank contract. Probably to shut up a crackpot customer.

New MacBook Pros – sticker shock!

Sticker shock. 🙁

My late 2013 MBP retina’s AppleCare warranty ends in December and I was looking forward to maybe upgrading. But really, the only thing I currently feel is lacking is storage. My 512 GB SSD is just too small now, since my Photos library is like 140 GB. So I have all my Photos on an external USB drive. I was looking forward to integrating everything again.

Right now I have 16 GB RAM, so if I went for the 15″ with 16 GB of RAM and upgrade from the default 512 GB SSD to 1 TB it would be – $3,200!

There’s no way I can afford that – even after selling my current MBP. The 13″ models aren’t that much better, after you add in needed RAM and storage upgrades.

Plus all the funny business with the USB-C ports-only is annoying.

So, while it’s still under warranty, I’m going to get my current keyboard replaced (some letters are worn down and are illegible now) and I guess just continue using my current MBP for a few more years. Or maybe in a year this new 2016 models will come down in price and I might rethink then.

But right now, the new models are just too expensive for me. And my current MBP speed is basically fine.