I get paranoid when it comes to data backup and anything that makes it easier and cheaper is always welcome. Currently I backup to external hard drive by simply syncing my home directory to the drive. This is great unless my house is burnt down or the drive is stolen and there is always the risk of it failing. I’ve looked into online backup but for any sort of reasonable space it will cost hundreds of £££ per year. Then Amazon launched s3, mainly meant as a development platform for web services it offered large amounts of cheap disk space and bandwidth. It didn’t take long for JungleDisk to start exploiting this as a data storage service.
As a price comparison each 1gig of data costs $.15 (8p)/month to store on S3 making it far cheaper then Xdrive, Box.net and .Mac (price comparison). Also unlike some other services JungleDisk allowed for unlimited storage. The client comes for Windows, Mac and Linux so it is easy to access your data and with it being online you can install the client as many machines as you want in order to access your data. JungleDisk currently makes no money from the service while they are developing it which does make u wonder how they intend to make it profitable in the future, I’m guessing either through charging for a premium client or somehow taking a cut of the disk space and bandwidth usage. I can see the service being popular but its uptake will be hampered because of slow Internet connections, while most of us in the UK can get between 8-10mb download our upload link has barely changed and still averages at 256kb. To upload 600mb of data it took 18hours, now just think if you say wanted to backup your mp3 collection and soon TV shows and films. Syncing to my external hard drive takes about 10minutes per week but a similar backup to S3 could take hours possibly even days. Online backup is affordable its just not quite accessible and it wont be until the ISPs start increasing upload bandwidth for ADSL and Cable users.
After Apple recently announced a delay to OS X 10.5 Leopard I had to delay my iMac upgrade until the Autumn. This led me to thinking about how to speed up Tiger to get the most out of my ageing G5. This is what I came up with:
1. Repair Disk Permissions Navigate to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. Select your Macintosh HD and select Verify Disk Permissions. If needed you can then Repair Disk Permissions.
2. Clear out login items Its good to check that unwanted programs are not starting up when you login to your Mac. This can be done from System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items.
3. Clear out unwanted applications Go through your applications folder and see if you can save yourself some disk space by removing any applications you no longer use.
4. Clear out unused system preferences Check in your system preferences if there are any unused system preferences tabs that can be removed. If you do find something you don't use you can either disable it within its menu or remove it from '~/Library/PreferencePanes'. You may have to reboot or do a force empty trash (see #38).
5. Clear Desktop Its been reported numerous times that having a clear desktop can increase the speed of your Mac. So either put your junk in folders or delete it!
6. Empty Trash (if it wont empty see #38) I'm always amazed when I'm looking on someone's Mac and they haven't ever emptied the trash! Check what's in there then save yourself some space and empty it.
7. Turn off Universal Access (if not used) Navigate to System Preferences > Universal Access and turn off anything you're not using.
8. Turn off Bluetooth (if not used) Navigate to System Preferences > Bluetooth.
9. Turn off speech recognition (if not used) Navigate to System Preferences > Speech Recognition.
10. Turn off internet sharing (if not used) Navigate to System Preferences > Sharing > Internet
11. Check there is plenty of disk space on the boot drive. Your Mac uses some of your hard drive space as virtual memory when there is not enough actual memory available. Its good to always keep 10% of your hard drive free for such activity.
12. Remove Unwanted Language Packs OS X contains hundreds of languages that you most likely wont use. Monolingual is a free program that can root out these languages and remove them saving you some extra disk space.
*Edit: Warning people have experienced problems with Monolingual so becareful what you remove. Only a reinstall will put the languages back so decide weather you really need the extra space by removing them.
13. Remove any desktop changing programs Until recently I had a nice program that would put a different babe on my desktop each month. It looked great but once I started looking in activity monitor it was taking up lots of memory and processor time.
14. Check dock for unwanted apps. Your dock should only contain your most used applications so take a look through to see if there is anything you can remove or uninstall.
15. Choose suitable applications for files Be sensible when choosing what applications open by default - think do you really need Photoshop to open just to view an image when preview will work fine? Right click on a file then select Get Info.
16. Check Software Build If you have an Intel Mac then check the build of the software is universal - it might be that the application is still running through Rosetta and that a universal update is available.
17. Remove dock animation Navigate to System Preferences > Dock then un-tick Animate Opening Applications.
18. Avoid animated desktops Navigate to System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver then un-tick Change picture.
19. Remove unused widgets. Each widget takes some memory and processor power even when you're not using the dashboard so only enable the ones you use. Alternatively you can disable the dashboard - see #23.
20. Check to see how much processing power and memory each widget uses. Some widgets are more intensive than others, if there is one that is particularly demanding see if there is one with similar functionality on the Apple website. To do this run Activity Monitor - Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.
As you can see the widgets I have running are all using an acceptable amount of Real Memory.
Tinkertool Tinkertool is a utility that gives you access to additional settings within OS X.
21. Remove animation effects. The animation effects are the eye candy that make OS X look nice but they are not really needed, you can turn them off from the Finder pane within Tinkertool.
22. Disable Dock shadow. From the Dock pane un-tick Enable Dock shadow.
23. Disable Dashboard. If you don't use the Dashboard you can deactivate it from the General pane.
24. Skip checksum verifications when opening DMG files. This will speed up the loading of disk images when opening. This can be found in the Applications pane.
25. Remove or deactivate unwanted login items from the Login Items pane. You might already have done this in #2.
26. Reduce delay time for display of loading pages in Safari. This should speed up your web browsing experience, found within the Safari Pane.
OnyX OynX is similar to Tinkertool however has many more options and preferences.You may have already done some of these in previous tips. Parameters
27. Un-tick Graphic Effects (Finder tab). You may already have done this with Tinkertool #21.
28. Un-tick Animate 'Opening applications' and 'When alert in background' (Dock tab).
29. Disable Dashboard (Dashboard and Expose tab). You may already have done this with Tinkertool #23.
30. Set Safari speed of web page display to fast (Safari Tab). You may already have done this in #26. Maintenance
31. Repair Disk Permissions. You may already have done this in #1.
32. Run Maintenance Scripts.
33. Reset Spotlight Index (it may take over a day to rebuild the index afterwards).
34. Run complete system optimization. Cleaning
35. Clear Internet Settings.
36. Clear User and Font Caches.
37. Clear unused logs.
38. Force Empty Trash Automation
39. Check settings - The default settings should be fine here. Click Execute.
You can do some of the following by resetting Safari - click Safari > Reset Safari. *Edit: Resetting Safari does not clear Favicons.
40. Clear Cache. To speed up page loading Safari saves a copy of every page in its cache however if the cache gets too large it can actually slow down page loading so its best to empty it occasionally. To do so click Safari > Empty Cache.
41. Clear History. Safari can remember every single site you have visited which can have a negative effect on its performance. You can empty it be selecting History > Clear History.
42. Clear AutoFill. AutoFill is the data is saved in forms such as your username and password on websites. As with the cache and history the AutoFill can mount up over time. To empty select Safari > Preferences then select the AutoFill tab. From here you can go through the three AutoFill sections and clear out data that you no longer want stored.
43. Clear Favicons. Favicons are the little icons you see to the left of the URL in the address bar. These can be cleared by emptying user folder/Library/Safari/Icons.
44. If you use Firefox then you can get specially optimized versions of the browser based on your processor architecture - either G4, G5 or intel.
45. Extensions Firefox has some great extensions but they can slow down the browser so take a serious look to see weather you really need that extra toolbar!
46. Smart Playlists These can slow down the operation of iTunes as they reload the contents of the list every time the program loads. If you have a a smart play list that does not change very often then you can either deactivate live updating (by clicking file > edit smart play list) or copy of the contents of the smart play list in to a regular play list.
47. HP Printer drivers can often cause problems and use a lot of processor power so check in the activity monitor for HP Communicator, if it seems to be constantly running at 80% - 100% then try uninstalling it. I had problems on my Mac Mini for my HP PSC 1110 all in one with the HP software on OS X 10.3 maxing out the CPU after printing. I had to remove the software and just use the basic drivers rather than the full suite.
48. Check Classic is not running if not being used. Classic can be disabled from within System Preference.
49. Run Software Update. The latest updates sometimes provide speed increases as well as fix bugs and vulnerabilities.
51. Add More RAM. There is only so much you can do with software, the cheapest way to give you're Mac a speed boost is to upgrade the memory.
52. Reboot your Mac. After doing all this optimization it might be an idea to reboot your Mac. If your like me and use sleep mode for the majority of the time then a reboot once in a while often helps too!
Update: Interested in seeing how many hits this article has got and how to do it for your blog then read here?
This Friday is System Administrator Appreciation Day, and your going to have to finally give some appreciation to all those system administrators that get grief every other day of the year! The event is in its third year now and is gaining support. The founder Ted Kekatos is hoping for people around the world to appreciate system admins for once! Kekatos, a system administrator in Chicago, was inspired to create the special day by a Hewlett-Packard ad he saw a few years ago. In the ad, a system administrator is bombarded with presents from employees as thanks for installing new printers.
I tore that ad out and showed it to some of my co-workers and said, 'Look at what this guy's getting. Where?s mine'?? Kekatos joked. Ketatos has even come up with his own list of geek like gifts for fellow system admins, these include GPS units and home theatre systems. Kekatos hopes System Administrator Appreciation Day will become a bigger holiday along the lines of Secretary's Day, and he's even considering sending a little reminder to the CEO at his own company.
The following article is by a guest writer Martin Weatherall, an advocate in the harmful effects of electro magnetic radiation (EMR). This article comes from his work detailing sources of EMR from dangerous antennas in the area of Woodstock Ontario. Having being effected by EMR himself Martin put together the following list of cancer causing points.
I was surprised just how many I get exposed to on a daily basis. "Cancer is one of the most popular illnesses at present, why be left out? Why be one of the few that does not develop cancer? Here are a few tips and ideas to ensure that you are also included in the great cancer lottery! RADIATION, RADIATION, RADIATION, it is simple, find a good source of non ionizing radiation, (the so-called 'safe stuff' – not the nuclear) and you have a great chance of getting cancer. You and your family may be lucky enough to develop some of the bonus illnesses, the new designer radiation illnesses, such as: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autism, Fybromyalgia, Severe Allergies, Diabetes, Leukemia and Alzheimer's. You also may suffer old favorites such as Heart Attack, Stroke and Arthritis.
Here are some simple ideas to assist you to get cancer:
1. Use a CELL (mobile) PHONE, use it long and often, the high level of radiation being delivered to your head will provide you with a good chance of brain cancer.
2. Use a CORDLESS PHONE, another good source of radiation to cause brain cancer.
3. Get a DECT CORDLESS PHONE, this baby will not only radiate you when you are talking on it but will radiate your whole house twenty-four hours a day. This is a great way to get your entire family radiated. If you leave it next to your head while you are sleeping, it will be more effective. If you live in an apartment, you can radiate the people in the next unit. This is a real cheap way to do serious harm, no sign up fees, no monthly charges, and no charge for usage, just leave this in the charger; it will do the rest.
4. Attach a WiFi (wireless) system to your computer, it will radiate anyone using the computers in your home and may spread the radiation throughout the entire house. Just leave it turned on and forget about it, ill health should follow.
5. Cook with a MICROWAVE, you do not even have to stand close to the unit, it will cover the entire kitchen and a few other nearby rooms with radiation. You get the added bonus of destroying food nutrition at the same time, another help to cancer.
6. Drive a nice MODERN CAR with lots of gadgets and computerized equipment; drive it long distances for long periods of time. This will ensure that you are well covered in electro magnetic fields, another form of radiation that will harm your body. To make the car even more unhealthy, get a GPS system. If you then use a cell phone in the car, the radiation will bounce all around the interior and radiate you and the other occupants from all different directions. The cell phone will also power up to high power, in order to get transmission out of this 'metal box'.
7. When you sleep, have a CLOCK RADIO, BEDSIDE LIGHTS, TELEPHONE and EXTENSION CORDS near to the bed. This will ensure that you will be receiving a large amount of Electro Magnetic Radiation from the wiring and the appliances. This is a really good way of getting cancer because your body will not be able to recover and rejuvenate itself, as it should during sleep.
8. Use an ELECTRIC BLANKET, keep it turned on and plugged in. This radiates a very high source of Electro Magnetic Radiation through your entire body and should eventually cause some real damage.
9. Visit your MD, your doctor will probably advise you that there is no danger from these devices. You will probably be told that Health Canada and the World Health Organization think these devices are safe and there is more evidence that shows that they are safe than there is evidence, which shows those are causing cancer and very serious harm to health? This will give you a great false sense of security and you can get cancer without even worrying about it.
10. Get WIRELESS GAMES for the kids. This should keep them happy and radiated for many hours. They may even develop A.D.D. and you get the residue radiation.
11. Have a WIRELESS SECURITY SYSTEM. Radiate any burglars and your family.
12. Use a WIRELESS THERMOMETER and all kinds of other wireless devices.
13. Live near a LARGE TRANSMITTING ANTENNA. You will be well received.
14. If you have lots of property, invite cell phone companies to install a CELL PHONE MAST and antennas on your land, you get the house radiated, all your property and the neighbors too! Cancer and you get paid for it. Does it get any better?
15. Live near to HIGH POWER ELECTRICAL TRANSMISSION LINES, they should give you quite a great buzz.
16. Live near to a TRANSFORMER or an ELECTRICAL SUB-STATION, you can be the 'live-wire' of the area.
17. Work in an OFFICE ENVIRONMENT with WiFi, computers, electronic equipment wireless telephones and electrical wiring close to your body.
18. Work with POWER TOOLS such as power saws and electrical welding equipment. They cause very high electro magnetic fields. A new way of getting a 'buzz cut'.
19. Sleep near to a FUSE PANEL, DISTRIBUTION BOX. This is another great source of very high levels of EMFs. You will be empowered!
20. Spend lots of time at your KITCHEN SINK, you will probable get GROUND CURRENT ELECTRICITY. This may enter your house from the power utilities electrical distribution system and come in through the water pipes. It may pass through your body and deliver lots of dangerous high frequency radiation.
21 Get lots of X-RAYS and CT SCANS, this is the real heavy-duty radiation, known to cause serious damage in just seconds. Don't wait for your doctor to suggest x-rays.
There are lots more sources of Electro Magnetic Radiation that can help you to develop cancer. The best way is to combine several of these sources together. It is very easy to do because most modern homes have all or most of these serious pollutants easily available. Remember! - The more radiation the merrier and more chance of cancer!
You can also add to your chances of getting cancer by the old stand-byes, smoking, and air pollution and chemical pollution. Mixed with the radiation they should work great! Of course the opposite is also true! If you want to protect yourself from these dangers, start taking action to avoid exposure and tell others what they should avoid!" Relevant sites: www.powerwatch.org.uk www.electricalpollution.com www.mastsanity.org www.microwavenews.com www.healthharmemr.net