mac tech question

Mac heads –

My shiny new Powerbook is a delight, but it does something that I hadn’t noticed previously. I’ll be working along typing or browsing and suddenly it will just grind to a halt doing something like updating articles in netnewswire or starting a program or copying files. I get the beach ball in that app, whatever it is, and nothing happens for quite a while, maybe 15 to 30 seconds. If I can see load it’s normal, and the machine has enough RAM, and doesn’t appear to be obviously I/O bound (no disk grinding).

Any ideas what’s causing this periodic hangup? It’s so frustrating, especially since the machine itself is so fast and everything else about it is great.

5 thoughts on “mac tech question

  1. I had a similar problem for a while, since Tiger came out; I disabled spotlight and it *seemed* to be better. I didn’t really have a solid way of measuring it, but subjectively it didn’t bother me as much. I’ve since turned it back on, though (for mail), and not noticed too much pain.
    I realize the above text isn’t a terribly persuasive suggestion, but if you want to give it a go,
    sudo mdutil -i off / /Volumes/*
    You can also erase the indexes with:
    sudo mdutil -E / /Volumes/*
    Turning it back on is obviously the reverse of the first line. It’s not a painful experiment in any case.

    1. I had actually tried that; I should have been more complete about what I’d been through. I too have Spotlight on but only for mail.
      As I posted to the other response in this thread, removing the Acrobat plugins seems to be working so far. Fingers are crossed.

  2. Run the Activity Monitor (it’s basically a fancy version of top(1)). Sort by %CPU. Perhaps that will find the culprit. As another poster mentioned, the Spotlight indexer can be quite a hog.
    Here’s a tip: install MenuMeters and turn on the CPU meter. You’ll be able to spot runaway procs quite easily when the normally jagged mini-graph turns into a brick.

    1. per for mints
      I actually did both of those things without finding any good data. The CPU never was pegged during these episodes, nor was there a balloon in memory usage. I was trying to hunt down I/O hogs which I don’t know how to do on this OS.
      After reading this Macfixit article, I got rid of the Adobe plugins, and for the last few hours I have had no problems. I hope that was my particular variant of this mess.

  3. Could it possibly be the shock sensor faulting, forceing the HD to park and halting all apps on the laptop? The fact that proc usage is not spiking would make you think that it is some sort of wait state.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.