Make a Happy Mac User Happier Yet!

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by DavidOSuk, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. DavidOSuk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #1
    I Just bought a 12 inch Powerbook g4 867 with maxed out ram, 60 gig HD, combo drive, and 15 gig iPod.

    I like it. A lot.

    I do have a couple of concerns/problems though. Can you help me out?

    1. The Beach ball / frozen programs
    I normally have a few programs open at any given time. For example iTunes (playing and ripping), Safari (multiple windows and maybe downloading someting), Mail, ichat, stickies, and maybe even preview. I know that this is a lot of programs at one time, and that is why I maxed out my memory. But I still seem to get the beach ball quite a bit. At seemingly random times, tasks that normally are exicuted quickly (for example opening a folder in finder, checking for new mail, opening a program in the dock, or opening a new window in a program) sill for some reason take a min. or two to complete. The beach ball will spin, and sometimes other programs don't respond. If I choose, I can always force quit the program with no problem. My question is: Why? and how can I fix it? The main thing that strikes me as add is the funny timing of the whole thing. I will do an action 5 times with no problem, and then the 6th it gives me a hard time. It even seems to happen when I DON't have all those programs open. Just now, for example. I have only Safari, stickies, mail, and ichat open. But I just opened system pref. First there was no problem. It opened fine, then, though, after the operation seemed to have already compleated, the ball span for about 40 sec. for no apparent reason. What gives? It just happened again, I opened the disk utility and it froze right away! When I tried to force quit (it came up as not responding) It didn't even want to do that right away. I tried the whole thing over again with the same results! These problems are vexing!!

    2. My powerbook seems to run VERY hot in the lower left wrist rest. It is okay, as long as I am assured that this is normal.

    3. What is a good FTP program? Or, can I use the connect to server option in finder to connect to ftp?

    4. Is it possible to use the back up program to backup programs to my own webspace in my domain name instead of to the idisk?

    5. When something goes wrong in windows (anything from loss of internet connection, to freezing, to general slow performance, etc.) restarting the computer often helps to get things out on the right foot again. Is the same true for MAC? Is restarting the computer when I rin into trouble a good idea?

    6. Do Mac hard drives ever need to be defragmented? What app can I use for that?

    7. Do I need to worry about viruses? I am using Virex from my mom's idisk account. is that enough? It worries me that the new downloadable virus definitions have not been posted in more than a month!!

    9. What is better, while I am working at my computer to keep my mail app open and just switch to it from time to time when I want to check for new messages, or to open and close it every time?

    Thanks for the help!! I know there is a lot, but some answers would be nice! make me happier yet with my mac!



    David
     
  2. DavidOSuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #2
    a couple of additions: When I finished posting that problem Safari shut down on me. No reason that I know of. Apperently though the post still went through. Finally, my computer seems to take a long LONG time to shut down. As in a number of min. I guess I have to admit that I am slightly disappointed so far by the stability issue, My experiance has not been that of the people that I hear of not shutting down os x in months.
     
  3. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    #3
    Here are the best answers that I can give you, I am sure that there are loads of people that can help you answer these relatively common switcher questions. Welcome to Macintosh, DavidOSuck! You've got a community at your side.

    1) Applications like Safari are probably the most likely to freeze given their relative infancy. It shouldn't happen often, or you should report it. The minor glitches and incompatibilities that cause this are the sort of thing that usually get ironed out in the next update. It's really no big deal.
    As for delays during everyday tasks, what you are most likely experiencing is the spin up/spin down of your laptop hard drive. Because your computer is set to conserve energy and reduce heat, the energy saver in your system preferences is likely set to spin down the hard drive after so many minutes of inactivity. Whenever you do something that needs to read or write from the drive once the disk has spun down, it takes a little while to seek to the appropriate spot. This is a good thing if you're conserving battery power. If you're hooked up to a power source, you can turn this option off, and you should stop getting this "problem." Once again, that's the Energy Saver in the System Preferences.

    2) The 12-inch Powerbook is notorious for being a hot machine, and it is certainly one of the minor sacrifices you make for such a small, light, and comparatively powerful little package. This is completely normal, and if it bothers you or becomes too noticeable, there are pads and slips and things that you can use to help keep your wrist cool.

    3) Rumor has it that CuteFTP, which you may be familiar with, is being ported to MacOS X. My favorite, however, is CaptainFTP. There are many alternatives available.

    4) I am not sure about the Macintosh backup program that comes with .mac, personally, but I know that virtually every other backup software package for MacOS X has this functionality. Here's one that I am familiar with.

    5) MacOS X is designed as a network-friendly terminal for many different functions, and it's UNIX and NeXT core lend itself very well to stability and consistent reliability. However, when you update this core through the Software Update, or if something happens to confuse it, restarting will often solve the problem. Thankfully, you won't find this to be a typical exercise. In contrast, Windows computers are truly "personal computers" that will often require you (as you have no doubt discovered) to reboot to change things like preferences in the system control panel. All of MacOS X's services operate very independently of each other, hence their stability even during periods of significant change.

    In other words, yes. It might help.

    6) There are defragmentation applications for MacOS X, but there has been significant debate about whether or not these applications actually do anything useful. Generally, it depends a lot on the type of work you do. I owned a 450mhz Sawtooth G4 for three years and never experienced any slowdown besides the eventual feeling of its age compared to the new stuff. The file system is relatively good at staying organized in its proper place. As a casual user, I don't know if I would waste money on a defragmentation program, personally, though one might come with a bigger system maintenance package worth your cash.
    If you do lots of video or audio work with large files that you are consistently deleting, editing, and recaching, you might want to look into it.
    My personal opinion is that disk defragmentation is a thing of the ancient past, like the floppy drive. And like the floppy drive, Windows users are still condemned to it. I don't know as much as many others on these boards, though.

    7) There are a number of virus discussions right now that you might want to look into, but this is, once again, something you shouldn't ever have to worry about, especially if you have Apple's .mac software. No one i know has ever experienced a MacOS X virus or worm, and UNIX is very proofed against both. The fact that the virus directory hasn't been updated in so long is simply because there hasn't been a problem. I think you will find that most users on this forum have no virus protection and simply don't care because a convincing MacOS X virus hasn't been identified - knock on wood.

    8) A big juicy mango will help you with this one. Often times, MacOS software will benefit from a light, healthy snack.

    9) If you close and reopen your mail program, you might find that it frees some RAM for other applications, but it doesn't use much, and if it's maxed already, it's unlikely that you will notice any difference. I usually keep my mail program on, but hidden, so that I know the instant I receive an important message. This one is really, seriously, up to you.

    Once again, welcome to our community. You've certainly come to the right place. Just watch as tens of Macintosh users jump at you instantly with the kind of fervent help and assistance that can only come from cultish zealots like myself!
     
  4. Balin64 macrumors 6502a

    Balin64

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    In a Mauve Dream
    #4
    Interesting...

    The problems you describe only happen to me while either connected to a server, or when an external FireWire drive is acting up. How much "tinkering" have you done to the system? Have you actually installed third party apps from CD or have you copied them (i.e. from Mom's computer?) Be aware that although OS X id very reliable, a lot of problems often result from user error. I would suggest you run the hardware diagnostic CD that came with your Mac as well as taking out the estra RAM, and see if the problem persists. Good Luck.
     
  5. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    #5
    Also, MacOS X saves a lot of the information in RAM to the disk during shut down to help speed start up times. I don't know if you can toggle this somewhere (I bet you could with a working knowledge of the terminal, but you may not want to muck about in there), but I hear that MacOS X Panther addresses this particular thing specifically. I also notice the longish shutdown and startup times on my 15" PB.

    Is Safari the only application that you are disappointed with the stability of? That is perhaps understandable, considering that a number of people have complained about the slightly unfinished feel of the 1.0 release. But, remember, it is a 1.0 release and is like most things slated for being updated with MacOS 10.3 Panther.
     
  6. xpormac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    #6
    We are not :D


    Congratz on your new laptop. Wish I could help you :(
     
  7. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    #7
    About FTP: Don't bother with any of the currently available FTP clients for OS X. Learn how to use the Terminal and its FTP program. The third-party clients suck.

    About stability: Search on shareware.com for System Optimizer X and run it once a week. Repair permissions (in Disk Utility) once a week as well.

    About heat: the hard disk is immediately below the left wrist rest. It is perfectly normal for this to get hot.
     
  8. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    1. Since 10.2 came out, I only get beachballs under one circumstance: when the Mac is looking for a network resource, like a mounted server on a machine that was powered down. Do you have machines on and off a network?

    (By the way, even with a lot of applications open, you might not have accessed the disk for a while and could get a beachball when the disk is spinning up. But in that case you'd hear the drive, and it doesn't take long.)

    3. There's also the command-line version of ftp, named ftp, that you can use in the Terminal application. It's the basic Unix FTP client. It ain't elegant, but at least you already have it.

    9. Leave Mail open. If you haven't used it in a while, the RAM it uses is swapped out by virtual memory anyway. And if you set it to check your mail every so often, you'd want it active anyway.
     
  9. DavidOSuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #9
    Thanks for the help everyone, especially Marble! That makes sense that the ball is caused by the HD spinning up. I will try turning off that feature when I am plugged in and see if it makes a dif. Someone else mentioned that it might happen when I am accessing network resources. That is also possible.

    SO thanks again



    by the way, it is DavidOSuk (as in my name, David O. Suk), not DavidOSuck. I am not sure if that was a mistake or an intentional joke, but either way, I got a kick out of it (although it would be a lie to say I had never heard it before...) :D

    David
     
  10. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
  11. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    #11
    Ok I've read all the above and If you don't feel like using terminal for FTP check out transmit its a sturdy program and I like it alot.

    As for your first beachball issue .... iTunes when ripping is a mem and cpu hog....if your playing something at the same time it jsut esacaltes that (also causes the obscene heat) Which is probably whats making oyur beach balls. I try to rip my cds when i have nothing else launch because it rips them faster and produces less heat. All the other apps can fun fine at the same time.

    Also Checkout CockTail for system maintenance....its like TweakUi + all windows system tools (except defrag because you don't need too). It can reapir permissions too.
     
  12. idea_hamster macrumors 65816

    idea_hamster

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    NYC, or thereabouts
    #12
    LOL! That's hysterical! Big juicy mango. Man, that's rich. :D

    Marble makes the hit list: 8-23-03
     
  13. DavidOSuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #13
     
  14. Delenn macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Location:
    Bozeman, Montana
    #14
    That's exactly it, Office can see other copies open on the same network.
     
  15. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    #15
    When launching an Office app, the app checks over the network to see if another copy is running on the network with the same serial number (I think it checks by serial number).
     
  16. Freg3000 macrumors 68000

    Freg3000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    New York
    #16
    It sure does. I was in shock the first time it happened. Speechless, really. Which is quite a rarity for me....:)
     
  17. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    Transferring data files is not a problem. They either work (a Mac application can open the files or import the data) or they don't, but the Mac won't mind either way. It's only copying applications from one computer to another, rather than installing them using their installer, that can lead to trouble. Not always, but sometimes.
     
  18. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #18
    I've tested this, and have never found the result you describe, but I know that many others have reported the same thing, so I'm sure you're right about it... just doesn't seem to happen to me. :shrugs:
     
  19. panphage macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    #19
    Okay, I don't know if the FTP issue is dead, but here's my $0.02:

    ftp on the command line works but it's a PITA and lacks some advanced features. It's great cuz it's always there for you and you can get your basic FTP needs done. Also knowing it gets you a leg up on pretty much any Gnu or Unix system. But I wouldn't use it if you ftp a lot and it might not have the features you need. Like I always say, if it has what you need, it's great. If you need something it doesn't have, it sucks.

    Lots and lots of people seem to love Transmit. I haven't used it.

    I have used and love Vicomsoft FTP client. It's damn good, and I'm a heavy ftp user.

    Basically, you are going to get as many answers to the FTP question as there are members in these forums. Everyone likes their favorite for their reasons. I recommend downloading Vicomsoft FTP client, Transmit, Captain FTP, and whatever else you can find, and trying to get your work done with each one for a week. They pretty much all have a free trial period. Then pay for the one you like the most or the one that meets your feature needs.
     

Share This Page