Instant On: Making the Rise of the Machines Spool Up a Thousand Times Faster

Our Lord will come in the clouds with a multitude of all his saints with power and great glory.

Want more speed? 

Longer battery life?

Eternal life?

How about all the good things? No compromise. Everything you want with nothing you don't.

Technology makes fantasy a reality.

Your phone, laptop, PC and mobile devices have lots of things in common. Computer science is the same for all of them.

So what I say here affects all of them.

Remember when everyone put SSD (solid state storage) technology in computers and phones because it was blazing fast, actually survived the real bumps and jostles of constantly dropping the damn things, and allowed you to boot up any machine in 20 seconds instead of two minutes?

That was one hell of a breakthrough. (And I've got an even better one for you today.)

As soon as this technology shift happened, you could actually turn the damn thing off during the day.

You don't have to leave these infernal machines turned on all the time. You can hit the power button and it's back up and running in seconds.

It was beautiful. Our machines had a hibernate mode that doesn't kill 5 minutes of our day every time you turn it off.

Want your battery to last longer? No problem.

You can also power down parts of the machine you're not using. This happens automatically for us.

We're all familiar with airplane mode and screen time-out. One is manual. One is automatic.

It turns off parts of your phone you don't need, giving you hours more useful service each day, and preventing Tom Hanks from crashing on an island with only a volleyball to keep him company.

Airplane mode, guys. Only you can prevent forest fires and plane crashes. And climate change. And the Holocaust. And Martin Luther King, Jr. And white supremacy. And whiteness. And heterosexuality. Breeding is white supremacy you guys.

And longer battery life is the #1 feature of the latest iPhone marketing campaign.

You asked for it. You got it. (10 years later.)

No-compromise technology gives you more speed, bigger screens on a light-weight device that runs all your favorite apps and software securely, ensuring your privacy except when there's leaks, hacks, and phishing, and operates the same across all your devices, whether you like Googling "Jennifer Lawrence naked" on Chrome or Firefox.

I prefer to let the enemy supply me. Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake.

It just works everywhere, works faster, easier, and does really smart things for you without you ever having to stop and think about it. It's really beautiful.

Welcome to the future.

That brings us to one of the biggest forgotten speed-ups you've never heard of, and it's only for rich kids.

It's for people who actually value their time and need to GET IT DONE right now.

So don't expect your Philippino Virtual Assistant to use it.

You see, in the old days, RAM (computer memory) used to be really expensive. It still is, but we finally started putting so much RAM in our machines, it's big enough to use as a hard drive.

And some people have taken this to the extreme and built peripherals that maximize that RAM disk size.

And they do clever things with automatic caching to speed up the whole pipeline to make sure your computer gets everything it wants before it knows it wants it.

In fact, the internet can be thought of as an extension of your hard drive, storing things out there on the cloud for you and synchronizing it in the background.

This is even more important on mobile devices because we keep breaking them, losing them, and selling our stolen Obama phones for a hit of crack or meth. By "us" I mean the kind of people who get free Obama phones.

As an aside, it occurs to me that the main reason why I didn't become a meth-addicted transexual kernel developer is because I was way too busy banging sluts who put out on the first date. Which I regret, but I didn't know any better, probably because people like you didn't tell me.

So it's mostly your fault. Anyway...

RAM delivers a meaningfully faster experience than the alternative. You should care about what it does for you, what it does for others, and TELL THEM.

"For God's sake. STOP using SOLID STATE! It's killing people!" - Possible topics of conversation to bring  up at Planned Parenthood.

Sluggishly slow 9 second bootups are first world problems, I know. But you don't have to suffer anymore. Dry those tears. There's an answer.

And if RAM won't fix it, the L2 cache is there for you.

You see, RAM isn't always the answer. It can't do everything for you. It's like life.

It's infinitely better than the crack-heads, but makes less money than some high-functioning meth addicts working at Microsoft. Like Goldilocks.

Not too expensive. Not to slow. It's just right. And Goldilocks also needs to learn to properly value what she's selling instead of being fast, cheap, and just right.

Our machines can't access RAM nearly as fast as the memory on the CPU (central processor) chips. It's something like hundreds or thousands of times slower.

Much like our patience, the speed of light also has its limits.

Requesting information from 6 inches away takes FOREVER. OMG.

But come on, guys. You'll never fit an operating system inside a CPU. Right, guys? Guys? Where are you going?

Come on. Don't put an operating system on a CPU. Dude. I'm not done with the blog post!

If you want something fast today, (or any time in the last 10 or 15 years), enter the RAM disk. A virtual drive that lives inside your memory.

And you don't need to run out and buy one. You can. But you don't need to. You can download a tiny app that does it. You can have a small RAM disk right now. And I'll even show you some really neat things you can do with it.

Like booting Ubuntu in a Windows or a Mac in a few seconds without even installing Ubuntu.

There's some magic that makes it happen.

Add in some virtualized disk images, (no trip to the hardware store required) and you've taken all the steps to eliminate installing or booting an operating system.

That's right. You just download a pre-installed operating system, flip it on and it works.*

* On any platform that runs Virtual Box or VMware, anyway.

Ok. Well, there are a couple of settings and a few apps that make this possible.

You'll need to turn your computer memory into a hard drive. It's not permanent. Not difficult. There's no partition management or anything complicated.

You just configure it, run it and you're instantly inside a blazing fast operating system running in a little sandbox on your computer, all ready to go.

What's this useful for?

Pretty much nothing you're going to do with it. Except for one thing.

I hate taking 20 to 30 minutes to install Ubuntu or Mint before trying out its features. What if I want to take something on a test drive before I commit?

And what if, while using it, I mess everything up? Where's the do-over button?

Well, that's where virtualization works just like magic. You get do-overs. Lots of them.

You can corrupt the hell out of your system, download all kinds of malware from inside the sandbox, run it inside your walled off safe zone, and you get all these benefits:


1) It starts almost instantly.

2) No install time.

3) Instant do-overs without any re-installs. You can screw up and be back online about as fast as respawning inside a Super Mario game. (Wish we could respawn that fast after naming the yahoos on Twitter)

4) OS versions. You can test different packages, options, kernels, do a little science and see which one you like better.

5) Cloning. Like the way your system is set up? No problem. Set it up however you want and bring it to another machine. Probably the fastest set-up ever.


1) RAM is expensive. You have infinite cosmic powers, but an itty bitty living space. You probably want to write out changes to the disk, since that's not automatic.

2) RAM is volatile. If the power blinks out, you will lose data. I promise. This is true of other things, but it's especially true of RAM. You want frequent auto-saves enabled in your favorite software.

3) RAM isn't perfect. Stability is not going to be perfect. Neither is anything else, but it's possible to have errors on a stick of RAM, and it's easier to track down the devil himself than to find the errors in a defective stick of RAM.

Presumably you could fix this with expensive, redundant RAM and do parity checks, which is what mission-critical systems probably have to do to prevent database corruption.

I don't really know, though. Why would you expect me to know this stuff? I'm no computer scientist. I work for a living. Ostensibly.

Legitimate Uses: Bug Fixes

The fact of the matter is that a software developers need to be able to do this stuff. And they want to do it quickly. There might be a user complaining "This feature isn't working on Windows 98."

You can just pull up a virtual device and operating system in seconds and try to reproduce the user's bug, apply a patch and see if it's still broken, or if anything else is broken.

Making this step faster is pretty important when 90% of software development involves fixing bugs.

Legitimate Use #2: Scaling

We're also living in a time when you can easily spool up a thousand virtual machines to solve a wide range of problems. It's not cheap, but you can do it.

The ability to fire up ten times more servers to meet demand in seconds ensures your end users get a lot more utility and a lot fewer "fail whales".

"Fail Whale-ure Is Not An Option. We haven't lost a fail whale on my watch and we're not going to start now, babycakes." - Live at the Apollo 13
Legitimate Use #3: White supremacy is also more scalable.

Enough said.

Legitimate Use #4: Games

Games do lots of read/write cycles, resulting in lots of wear and tear on the slow SSDs or even slower hard drives.

Legitimate Use #5: Genetic Programming

When you're trying lots of things, it helps to be able to spool up your tests quickly. Tests which could, in theory, set a CPU on fire. Anything could happen. You want to be able to easily kill Frankenstein if it gets loose.

The "mother ship" (the parent program running on the host OS) can kill off the drunken, rebellious mutant babies [as should we all... see Deut 13] if they start tossing SCUD missiles inside their little sandboxes.

If a CPU semiconductor rod exceeds safe thresholds, you can automatically power down, return it to its lead-shielded cases, and cool it with heavy water. (Or something. Nuclear energy isn't really my area.)

The mother ship can just nuke it from oribit and turn the sandbox into a parking lot quicker than you can say "Format Drive C:"

Come to think of it, there are lots of mutants who should die. Don't listen to the X-Men movies. They're made by Hollywood yahoos.

Listen to our Father in heaven and kill all mutant babies like the Spartans did, and in some religions, you'll have 72 virgins in heaven.

And really, if you think about it, why should other religions have all the fun? We could obey Moses, too. What's stopping us?

Just because Arabs ride camels doesn't mean you can't ride camels.

And with modern technology, unattended mass-murdering of all the mutant babies is fully automatic. No bump stock needed, allowing you to confidently deploy software to all mission-critical areas such as ethnically diverse maternity wards, waiting for a signal from that final trumpet.

For Jesus.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer. Mass murdering mutant babies and other activities may be prohibited in some jurisdictions, so consult your criminal attorney for legal advice. Don't try this at home. Use at your own risk.


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