December 21, 2007
All I want for Christmas is my dang RAM back
I’ve recently become fascinated–fixated, maybe–by watching my Mac’s resource usage numbers. I’ve got a pretty cherried-out MacBook Pro (top of the line a year ago), and yet more often than not the system lags as I hear my hard disk thrashing.
I’ve traced the problem, I think, to Microsoft Entourage and Rosetta. I can boot up my system & see a nice big swath of unused memory (all green) ready to rock. Almost immediately, however, the blue "inactive" memory slice starts ticking upwards, at a rate of several megabytes per second. I rebooted my machine this week, then took a shower; when I was done, here’s what I saw (note the blue). I’m running just a Web browser on a system with 3GB of RAM, and yet I’m down to 16MB free? Super!
The problem seems to be that the invisible Entourage "Database Daemon" app bleeds memory like a stuck pig. Killing the process arrests the inexorable growth of the blue inactive memory. I don’t know whether the fault lies with Entourage or with the Apple Rosetta emulation technology on which it runs. Doesn’t matter much to me, though: my expensive computer bogs terribly as a result.
Facing this situation, some of my colleagues have given up and moved to Apple Mail. I’m sure Mail is great, but it doesn’t play well with our Outlook-centric calendar system, and I’ve got 8 years worth of mail organized in Entourage. Switching horses isn’t a small matter.
Now I’m drumming my fingers more than ever, waiting for Microsoft to release–at long last–their Intel-native upgrade to Office for the Mac. I couldn’t care less what other features it offers, as long as it stops bringin’ me down (ELO-style). It’s kind of sad to hit that point: I was once a great fan of Entourage (so much better than Outlook), and of its Mac Outlook Express forebear. It was thoughtfully designed, replete with useful shortcuts, and able to handle whatever I threw at it. Alas, the app hasn’t received much love in many years.
So come on, Office team: tell me to keep hope alive! The new year–and new software–can’t come soon enough.