Enable TRIM Support for 3rd Party SSDs in OSX El Capitan


There can be no doubt that the easiest way to increase the performance of an old Mac is to replace it’s hard disk with a shiny new Solid State Drive (SSD). The problem with this is that officially Apple only supports TRIM on Apple’s SSDs, effectively removing TRIM support from 3rd party SSDs. TRIM is a system-level command that allows the operating system and the drive to communicate about which areas of the drive are considered unused and thus ready to be erased and rewritten to. In the absence of TRIM, users can see significantly slower drive writes as the drive begins to fill up.

There are tolls people have written to try and get TRIM working for 3rd Party drives, but luckily, with El Capitan, Apple is relaxing the reins and allowing TRIM to be re-enabled for 3rd party SSDs.

To do this, simply open Terminal and execute the command:

sudo trimforce enable

Apple does give you a warning:

This tool force-enables TRIM for all relevant attached devices, even though they have not been validated for data integrity while using that functionality. By using this tool to enable TRIM, you agree that Apple is not liable for any consequences that may result, including but not limited to data loss or corruption.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 1.21.06 AM

…but after a reboot (the utility will prompt you) TRIM should be enabled and you’ll be good to go.

As always: Proceed at your own risk. Enjoy.

APML 1.0 Initial Draft

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

The APML community has been itching for the APML 1.0 Specification for a little while now, and Paul, our resident genius; has spec’d out the initial draft for community discussion.  You can find the intial draft, at http://groups.google.com/group/apml-public/web/apml-1-0-draft-1

From the Public Google Group:

This comes with a very large fore note: This is a very early draft only, and nothing is set in stone. Given that the community is obviously itching to start seeing APML 1.0 progress, I felt that it would be an appropriate time to release this and assist in structuring the discussion. I intend to follow this with a few more emails that detail individual sections I believe need substantial addressing.

APML version 1.0 proposes a number of substantial changes over the previous 0.6 version, with some of the changes including, but not limited to;

  • The Addition of an ‘Entity’ node to describe (People, Businesses and other non-metaphysical interests.
  • The Addition of a ‘Location’ node to outline places of interest.
  • The inclusion of an rdf:about node attribute to allow for richer RDF-type ontologies without reducing the “simple” nature of APML.

APML has come a long way since its inital conception a little over 2 years ago.  And I am very proud to be involved with a community of people all dedicated to creating an open format to give attention back to the people who own it.

The APML Workgroup is committed to ratifying this standard as soon as public commenting is evalutated, and is tasked to provide a smooth transition to the new version; so please feel free to head over to the public Google Group and put in your 2c.

Dissolution of Social Networks

Cross-posted from the Particls blog:

My lovely wife (who is an Economics and Business teacher coincidentally) sent me a Podcast today which really blew me away. It’s an interview with Andreas Kluth (San Francisco correspondent for The Economist) talking about real and virtual campfires, and predicts the dissolution of standalone social networks as we know them.

Anyone interested in the next generation of internet technology really needs to listen to this podcast. Its clear, concise and really gets at the heart of many social graph issues and human behaviour.

From Russia with Love

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

With some hilarity, I present: Russian computer program fakes chat room flirting.

Internet chat room romantics beware: your next chat may be with a clinical computer trying to win your personal data and not your heart, an online security firm says.I find this both hilarious on a number of levels, but it illustrates so perfectly about how valuable (as users of the interwebs) our attention data is. It’s so valuable that some smart people have written what can really only be described as a Trojan horse for attention data!

PC Tools senior malware analyst Sergei Shevchenko says the program has a “terrifyingly well-organised” interaction that could fool users into giving up personal details and could easily be converted to work in other languages. “As a tool that can be used by hackers to conduct identity fraud, CyberLover demonstrates an unprecedented level of social engineering,” he said in a statement. “It employs highly intelligent and customised dialogue to target users of social networking systems.”This is not some script kiddy. Or some backyard Javascript peddler. This is some serious hardcore natural language processing prodigy who has the temerity and the wits to make a quick buck by collecting social and personal attention metrics. I can’t condone his actions; as I do find it highly immoral (and unethical) but I can definitely see why someone would do such a thing.

This also highlights the need for the general public to be more conscious and aware of their attention data, how to obtain it, how to control it and how to move it. It clearly demonstrates the value of the data we allow companies and products to collect about us with little or no hesitation. We allow these companies to collect whatever they like, without even letting us have a glimpse of what inside their walled gardens.

It’s long past due that we all stood up and asked them to open the doors.

It’s time we all started demanding Data Portability.

Walking the Walk

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Creating a profile of a person’s attention is something Touchstone has been doing for some time now. Since we have launched the APML specification, we have had a lot of positive feedback about it, which has been both inspiring and reassuring. Additionally, APML addresses something I have felt for a while now; that I have grown weary of the constant “banter” about solving the Attention Deficit Problem.

One thing that we feel will make the difference, is the implementation of the APML specification into real-world (and value added) user scenarios.

Having an attention profile specification is all well and good, but if nothing useful uses it, there isn’t much point in having it. At some point, the talking has to stop, and action must (and should) always take place. In order to facilitate the widespread use of the APML specification, we have charged Michael (a member of the Touchstone Development team), to building an APML library which will consume and process APML data so other developers do not have to worry about designing/programming their own to process the format we have suggested. We understand the pressures of supporting a standard like this, so this library and it’s source is going to be free for whomever wants to use APML in their applications.

While APML is still a young format that is being discussed by the community it it will continue to change and grow – we are committed to making it the right kind of solution for storing an Attention Profile (so that end users don’t get 400 different ways of describing and profiling a person’s interests) and taking the first step by releasing these types of contributions. We will be releasing another build very soon, but we hope that within the week we will have the initial APML library ready to go for anyone who is interested in joining the “less talk, more action“ bandwagon, with Attention Meta-Data consumption.

You can read more about APML at the APML website.

I Simply Can’t Wait Any Longer

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

I am supposed to be in my box coding but I can’t wait anymore. I have to show something off to you patient folks.

I think it’s a fair assumption to say that everyone involved in Touchstone (Chris, Mike, Me and our dedicated testers) is simply splitting at the seams anxious to release the next build.

Here is a little glimpse at what the I-AM keyword bias screen looks like so far (minus Chris’ polishing).

As you can see, we have made a conscious effort to blend the standard windows look with something that Mac users might even be happy with. It’s always a fine line between beauty and delivering what people expect from a standard windows app (beast).

While it’s been a little while since our last published build, we have taken great pains (just ask Chris) to adopt user feedback and advance the underlining technology. We have also revised parts of the framework to take advantage of .NET 2.0.Now, we just have to get it to compile ;)… Just Kidding.

This new approach has simplified the entire user experience (yes Chris, “You told me so”) and it has made for a more solid Touchstone.

Chris just MSN’ed me: “Chris: dude stop posting and code!” So I guess its back in the box I go. ‘Till next time.

iAM on my way!

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Up until now Chris and I have been in the nuts-and-bolts part of the project. As a consequence the app “seems” stable (/me touches wood) and we are now free to do more interesting things. So far we have been doing LOADS (and I mean LOADS!) of planning and design behind what I consider to be at the very heart TouchStone – The Attention Engine.

Now we can begin focusing on the ‘Visible Innovation’ part. Breaking down the things you care about into a single and intrinsic number. The iAM Rating.

But ranking items based on stuff I like isn’t enough! Because, for most people, just subscribing to a feed is an indication of interest. So, we have to consider other factors.

To be honest, programmatically, I have been a little frightened of the iAM binary. It’s so important to nail it! So far our plans are pretty ambitious and the basic core of iAM (processing items as they are injected into the Attention Engine based on source and keywords defined within an XML file) is functioning already – what’s been lacking has been the interface and the more advanced bias calculations. This lack of any interface has worked extremely well for me, because while there is no way to configure the XML file, I don’t have to code it!

Chris recently upset this delicate balance by actually developing the iAM interface mockups for the release of the Limited Alpha!

‘iAM’ is so exciting though, because it isn’t JUST a keyword scanner and ranking system. It’s a whole system to scrutinize the items based on:

Content (keywords and source)
Source (where it came from)
Author (who generated the item)
History of past items that got your attention (by scanning items for similarities to items marked as read in the cache file)
Buzz value (how popular is the item on the internet and to other people)
The publishers recommended importance (so publishers and bloggers could distinguish the variable importance of items they generate)
..and more.
All this is very exciting, but it’s STILL not enough. TouchStone is also about allowing the user to configure the DELIVERY of items based on the iAM determined value. So we will work on those “visualization widgets” as well.

It’s great to see all these things finally start to come together. While we are quite proud of our ticker, it’s time to move forward and finally uncomment the code that fires off the other alerts. Soon guys and gals – soon we shall be firing off SysTray, Cursor, Centre Screen Modal, and (my personal favorite) Compact SysTray alerts based on things you deem important.

Enjoy the Limited Alpha (those that have it) and those that don’t – email chris@touchstonegadget.com already!

I Think Therefore "I-AM"

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

“I-AM” who I know.
“I-AM” what I read.
“I-AM” where I am.
“I-AM” how I work.
“I-AM” me.

During a huge Australian Summer Storm on the 8th (and the subsequent black-out), Chris and I took the down-time to fine tune and clarify some of the details about the TouchStone Attention Engine. It wasn’t like we were going to code anything.During this conversation, Chris mentioned that TouchStone embodied Intuitive Attention Management or “I-AM”. This initially was just a rather fancy nickname for the “How-Important-Is-It-Parser”, but the trouble is (despite my previous directives about what he was and wasn’t allowed to call the parsers) – I loved the name.After arguing/talking about ways of defining and encapsulating the essence of what a user does and doesn’t want to be notified about, we settled on the idea that each and every item generated by a source (be it RSS or other), has a given relevance to the user at any given time. This relevance is based on a number of internal and external factors.

By defining, naming and weighting these sources it’s possible to give each item an ‘importance value’ and then allow the user to define alert types based on value thresholds.Further, we decided, we could encapsulate this functionality its own library so that other developers and their software can tap into its power. The result is we take a source item, it’s content, it’s source, the author/publisher, key concepts/tags and apply pre-defined global and user defined “rules”. By biasing (positively or negatively) the final importance value, we can begin tuning the user experience based on relevancy.After we fleshed out the specific details on how we would accomplish this, I-AM was born. An external class library with the methods by which we should be able to determine, intuitively, the value of a piece of content to a given user. The result of this calculation should be an ‘importance’ value that is attached to an item moving through the Touchstone system. This value is then used to determine the way in which an alert is presented (i.e. level of user interruption).

I love diagrams!All values involved (we decided) should be from -5 to 5. A negative value being a vote against the relevancy of that item for the user. 1 being the least import, and 5 being the most. With a growing number of Meme Engines out there, it is clear that there is an ongoing effort to try and reduce the RSS Overload and help content rise to the top.

In essence, I-AM might be a personalized Meme engine that any feed reader could use to place a value of importance on content coming in from a user’s OPML file (for example). It is then up to the news reader to determine how to act on that value for a great user experience.I-AM is not intended to replace the existing attention ranking and suggesting methodologies, but merely to enhance the user’s ability to sort and control the flow of syndicated content on the client side.

Plus it has an awesome name – don’t you agree?