mamamusings: December 12, 2004

elizabeth lane lawley's thoughts on technology, academia, family, and tangential topics

Sunday, 12 December 2004

painfully slow powerbook

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my 17” Powerbook was starting to slow down significantly. I was also seeing more unexpected application quits than usual—mostly with iChat, Mail, and Firefox (the three applications I use most often).

While I was in DC last week, I stopped in to the Clarendon Apple Store, and chatted with the “geniuses” there. They didn’t strike as particularly knowledgeable, alas, and only suggested running Norton Disk Doctor and Speed Disk, which I did that night. NDD found a number of “major errors,” which it fixed, and SD said the disk was severely fragmented, and spent 8 hours repairing that. When it was done, the computer seemed to run well again—for about four hours. Then it slowed back down.

After scouring the net for suggestions, I ran Disk Utility (it found no problems), updated the prebinding (which gave a number of “unable to prebind” errors for iPhoto, GarageBand, and other apps), ran all the periodic maintenance tasks, and used Preferential Treatment to check all the .plist files (no problems there). I’m running the most recent version of OS X (10.3.6) with all software updates installed, and Virex running. Running top in the Terminal doesn’t seem to show any problematic processes eating up cycles.

But still no significant improvements.

So, I’m thinking the next step is to reinstall OS X. Are there other options I should try first? And if I do reinstall, what’s the best way to go about it? I hate the idea of having to totally reinstall all my applications (there are a lot of them), but I’m concerned that if I just back them up, I may end up with the same problems when I copy them back.

Help! I want my reliable, responsive computer back!

Update: Thanks to jeremy hunsinger and Randall Kelly’s suggestions, the problem is solved. It was Virex 7.5.1 that was the culprit. When I launched Activity Monitor and sorted processes by CPU usage, the Virex processes were clearly hogging cycles. I downloaded the Virex package from RIT again, and ran the uninstaller. Already everything’s moving along at a snappy pace. Hallelujah!

Posted at 10:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0)
more like this: technology

first trip to the middle east!

It looks like I’m going to be taking my first trip to the Middle East next year. In early March, I’ll be traveling to Dubai to speak at the 7th Woibex Women in Business Conference.

I’ve waited to say anything about this until I was relatively sure it was going to happen; now that they’ve put my photo and bio up on the site, however, I think it’s safe.

The conference is being held at the spectacular Burj Al Arab hotel—I haven’t gotten details yet, but I’m hoping that’s where they’ll be putting me up while I’m there.

When I was first contacted by the organizers, I was a little concerned about traveling to the Middle East, but from what I’ve read since then about Dubai, it’s a remarkably progressive and technologically forward-looking country. Wired Magazine did a feature article on Dubai in July, and it really piqued my interest in the country—not just in its commitment to technology and business development, but also in the status of women there:

Dubai also stands in contrast to the Saudi kingdom in another Arab-world indicator, the role of women. Where Saudi women are still waiting for the right to drive, Dubai women play a pivotal role in society. “My success means success for other women here,” says Sheikha Lubna al Qasimi, the CEO of Tejari, an Internet business-to-business procurement firm, noting that women form 65 percent of Internet City’s workforce.

The fact that they’re running a conference on women in business is a pretty strong indication of the importance and value of women in their culture and economy, and I’m looking forward to having an opportunity to talk with from the area about their experiences and their uses of technology.

Posted at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
more like this: gender | technology | travel

more free wifi @ panera

I showed up this afternoon at Panera Bread to do some more grading, sat down at my favorite table near the fireplace, and fired up my laptop. Much to my surprise, there were two access points—the regular “Panera” SSID, and a brand new “SurfThing” SSID to accompany it.

Out of curiousity I selected the second, and was able to get online instantly—no login necessary (Panera requires a login, which is free but annoying, every two hours). Even better, there’s no SonicWall filtering, which means I can even occasionally check blogs like Dooce and, both of which are blocked by SonicWall.

I’m somewhat baffled by the appearance of the SurfThing access point, since there are no other locations in this plaza that would be likely to offer access, and seems to indicate that they’re a midwestern (minn/wisc) provider. (Their shockwave-based site won’t work in Firefox, it seems…I had to load it in Safari.) But I’m certainly not complaining!

Posted at 5:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
more like this: Rochester | technology
Liz sipping melange at Cafe Central in Vienna