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Sat, Aug. 16th, 2008, 11:03 am
Macintosh Smackintosh

I picked up a Mac Mini earlier this week, primarily for work related reasons. The user interface is indeed as shiny as people claim, but I'm amazed at how often the whole operating system seems to _completely_ block on some stupid application. The most recent offender is iTunes: when faced with the task of copying a bunch of files from my desktop folder into its "music library" folder, the whole thing ground to a halt, completely locking up my computer (even my mouse wouldn't work). WTF? First off, why would iTunes have trouble with such an apparently simple operation? Was it written by monkeys? I can copy the same files in a fraction of a second using the file manager. Second, why would one badly-behaved application bring down the whole system? Does the mac have a terrible scheduler, does the UI just run in one thread, what?

Sat, Aug. 16th, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)

monkeys on crack!

Sat, Aug. 16th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)

Weird. I don't think iTunes has ever done that to me. Usually when one app blocks, I can still use the rest of the system, and I can force-kill the offending app if necessary. Very, very rarely do I ever see the whole system block.

Although I presume you're running Leopard. :) I'm still on Tiger.

Sat, Aug. 16th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)

iTunes does that on Windows too, on Amanda's computer. But I've seen lots of things do that on Windows.

Sun, Aug. 17th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): works for me (tm)

This has never happened to me. However, it sounds like what Linux and Windows do when they encounter a bad sector on the disk, so I wouldn't be surprised if MacOS does the same.

The UI is *most definitely* not single-threaded. Try playing a few videos simultaneously and then activating Expose. Or for more fun, ssh in from another computer and start sending various processes SIGSTOP. iTunes would have no reason to do any weird UI grabs, either. If your mouse pointers stops, very serious things are afoot.


Fri, Aug. 22nd, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)

I think you're probably just hitting swap. Add more RAM. I have a Mac Mini too, and it sometimes gets slow to the point of the UI blocking and the mouse cursor stopping, but it's almost always after I switch from another account to my own account. I suspect it's just swapping out their stuff and swapping mine in, and after it does that, it's relatively happy.

Macs are known for being RAM-happy though, so if you can add RAM it will probably improve things significantly.

Wed, Sep. 3rd, 2008 12:37 am (UTC)

Strangely enough, it seems like the problem went away by itself. Still, I suspect your hypothesis has some truth to it: I'll try upping the RAM on this puppy to 2gig at the next opportunity.