Macs and fast hibernation

Tim Bray talks about the compelling nature of the fast hibernation feature of Mac laptops:

I remember like yesterday, sometime in early 2002, watching Rohit Khare at a conference, popping open his Mac every little while to take a note, then shutting it again. I was still a Windows victim at that point, and I was flabbergasted; that was the single feature that weighed most heavily in my decision to switch.

This resonates with me. When I bought my first Mac laptop, a 12" G4 iBook in 2004/5 it was because I wanted a unix-based machine with a decent user-interface and some good productivity software. I had previously run various distros of Linux on my laptops - in 2004 this still meant dealing with gnarly hardware driver problems and clunky desktop tools.

However, when I started using the iBook at home, I realised quickly that the killer feature for me was the fast-hibernation. For months I didn't even shut the machine down. The always available nature of the laptop - just open the lid and you're immediately good-to-go - quickly became indispensable to me. No more lengthy 'booting-up' for me!

As Tim points out, this fast-hibernate feature seemed to be diluted in recent versions of MacOSX. Happily, he points to Mike DePetrillo who has supplied an excellent guide to configuring this feature and restoring the original speed - essentially by hibernating to RAM rather than disk. I recommend reading the post but for the impatient:

sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0

With my current laptop, a MacBook Air, this allows me to use it as a rapidly-deployable communications and note-taking device once again.

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