Why I Love Having 8 Gigs of RAM

I recently upgraded my primary computer from a 15″ MacBookPro with 4 GB of RAM to a 17″ MacBookPro with 8 GB of RAM. That probably sounds gratuitous. Here’s why it’s not:

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I’m currently running:

  • Mac OS 10.5.6
  • Adium (IM chat client)
  • Mail.app (e-mail client)
  • iCal (calendar application)
  • iTunes (music)
  • OmniFocus (GTD todo list)
  • TextMate (text editor)
  • Preview (image viewer – for looking at screenshots, scanned requirements docs)
  • PostgreSQL (CouponEngine database)
  • pgAdmin (postgreSQL client and admin app)
  • Terminal
  • Safari 4 (primary browser)
  • Firefox 3 (for testing look and feel)
  • Eclipse (development environment)
  • Windows XP (running in Parallels-for testing and Oracle)
  • Oracle 10G (ATG database)
  • JBoss 4.0 + ATG 2006.3 with full Commerce stack
  • JBoss 4.2 + Seam application
  • ANT JVMs for running builds

This is what I need to run to do my job, and it takes more than 4 GB of RAM.

Now that I have 8 GB, I’m not longer running into swapping and paging delays, and I’m much more productive.

Having close to twice the screen real estate (~70% more I think), a faster CPU, and 8 hours of battery life don’t hurt either. This is the perfect machine for me.

Huge Logs and OS X

Another reason that I love my mac: it can handle 1.3 GB log files easily with built in tools. I recently received a huge log file in zipped form from a co-worker with the warning “good luck opening it, textpad won’t open it.”

After unzipping it to the full 1.3 GB size I was able to open it using the built in Apple log viewer Console.

I ended up mostly using the terminal and tools like cat, less, grep, etc… to quickly find what I wanted and view the log lines surrounding the events I was interested in.

No problem.

Time Machine To The Rescue

I ran an ANT task to undeploy an ATG Module, but I had my build property module location set incorrectly. As a result, I inadvertently deleted my entire ATG 7.1 installation.

Whoops.

I opened the containing directly in the Finder, where my ATG 7.1 USED to be, and hit TimeMachine. My laptop connected to my Time Machine over wireless, and let me browse through the last month or so of folder states for that directory. I went to the previous backup (about half an hour ago), and clicked Restore. Like magic, my entire missing ATG installation reappeared.

Pretty sweet stuff. Thanks Apple.

How to Clean a Corrupt Event From iCal

On rare occasion, iCal under OS X will get really slow, or lock up. In this case the issue was caused by a repeating event which had gotten corrupted somehow and ended up creating over 12,000 instances within the calendar. It looked fine within iCal, however, when you export the calendar, it created a 4.5 MB file, with 12,000+ entries for the event. With that calendar deleted, iCal was fine.

I used TextMate and a regular expression (regex) to delete every instance of the offending event from the exported iCal file.

Step 1: Export each calendar from within iCal to their own .ics files.
Step 2: Quit iCal.
Step 3: Delete the contents from ~/Library/Calendars.
Step 4: Edit the offending .ics file. I used TextMate, but you can use a command line regex tool, BBEdit, Emacs, etc….
Step 5: Use a regex like this:

(?im)BEGIN:VEVENT([^ ]*)(?!END)(Forever)(.*?)END:VEVENT

where “Forever” is the part of the name of the event. It could be any string which only occurs within the bad event. Delete each matching instance. In TextMate I use search-and-replace. Save the file.
Step 6: Start iCal.
Step 7: Import each .ics file.
Step 8: Profit!

YouTube Gets Stuck After 2 Seconds

I recently started having an issue with YouTube playing a video without sound for 2 seconds, then stopping. This is a new laptop, so everything is fresh and new, leaving me with a ton of potential culprits: OS X, Safari 3.1.1, Flash, network, Perian, etc….

Googling showed that other people were having this issue across many OSes and browsers. Unfortunately, most of the advice was “reboot” or “change your network buffer” or “YouTube sucks!”. None of which helped me.

What did help, is downgrading from Flash Player 9.0.124.0 to 9.0.47.0 using the Adobe archive of Flash Players. I uninstalled the 9.0.124.0, and installed 9.0.47.0, and poof, no more problems with YouTube videos.

I hope this helps someone.