Sunday, March 25, 2012

Techy tittle-tattle

I am finding that my machine is quickly grinding to a halt, slowly. As I prevaricate and kid myself that a bit of web-browsing before starting to do some work is a good thing various news items catch my eye. Either for later reading or because they might be something I want to mention in my Blog later. There are some non-techy links in the last paragraph

After a while pages of stuff builds up. I now use Session manager to store them away, so they don’t use up computer resource. Basically the more programs and data on screen the more memory is used. There comes a point in your computer’s life where it can hold no more – but rather than say no, it shuffles your stuff around storing some in memory and other bits onto your hard drive. (Virtual memory).

This works, but getting stuff off and on disk is much slower than getting it from memory. It is a bit like you desk is the computer’s memory and the Library is the disk drive. You can only keep a limited number of books on you desk and so you borrow them from your library.  The first time is a bit slow (like loading a program) but then they are all to hand. The trouble is if you don’t have the right book to hand you have to pop off to you library and swap less used book for one you want. It takes time…

One of the other things about computers is you can make programs faster by allowing them to hog more resources. So if your Browser stores lots of stuff in memory it can be much more responsive.  I have over thirty pages being displayed and between Google Chrome and Windows Live Writer 75% of my computer’s memory is tied up (of 3Gb – the maximum for Windows 32-bit – it has 4Gb but the extra 1Gb can only be used in certain circumstances.)

Not Chrome but Glass – London Waterloo Imax

Although I use Session manger most of the time at the moment I am checking out what is stored away and trying to make sense of it. To be honest I sometimes look at a web page and wonder why on earth I kept it.

There comes a time for Spring cleaning though. I have considered adding another screen to my computer (I have a spare, it is very easy to run out of display space when playing (and tweaking) pictures, whilst at the same time Blogging, checking the web and, oh yes, doing some work. I haven’t though because I’d probably just end up with even more programs running at the same time.  The more you computer can do, the more you do with it, until it gets just as slow as the old one it replaced (but on which you could do less.)

Spring is Springing and Bees are Buzzing

At least by mentioning Google Chrome (my web browser) I get a chance to link to this story – “Google Chrome beats Internet Explorer to become world’s top browser for first time ever”. I am not surprised, I find Internet Explorer (IE) is like using treacle compared with Google Chrome and almost never use IE. Very occasionally there are websites that don’t quite work properly. (I also have two other browsers on my computer.)

Cute Little Woolly Owl

I have installed Google Chrome on my wife’s laptop and am slowly moving her across. Quite reasonably Computers are tools to serve her needs and so is reluctant to spend time learning a different browser.

I was planning on writing a completely different Post, but there is too much already. Did you know though that the “world is running out of helium”, what we think of as a party-balloon gas has important uses in science. Cycling is for everyone (almost) even Prime Minister’s wives. I have yet to see the Northern Lights – they have been pretty spectacular over the Isle of Eigg though. NASA has published data on how Earth’s gravity is changing as our ice melts and the world is getting warmer. Records indicate it has risen by 0.75C since 1900.  Whilst this might not sound like a big deal it takes a lot more energy to melt ice than to warm water because of phase changes – we humans are effecting this planet whether we like it or not.

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