Apple iBook G4, Learning the OS X Ropes

April 27, 2006

A few days ago I told you about buying the iBook G4 and some of the problems with the airport extreme wireless system. Yesterday, I found myself reconfiguring the iBook as I felt like it was running way too slow!

Activity MonitorI found the program activity monitor (click picture on the left), for those of us still using PC's that would be the TaskManager, it showed all the different attributes of programmes taking up system resources such as CPU, System Memory, Disk Activity, Disk Usage, and Network Traffic. I was checking the programmes that were running and I discovered to my horror that the Dashboard widgets actually take up absolutely huge amounts of system memory and resources even if your dashboard is not being displayed at the time! If your dashboard looks like, this, this article applies to you.

I did some hunting around on Google and I came across several people who were talking about ways to optimise the speed of OS X Tiger. The obvious such as turning off animations and turning off the minimise “genie” effect, freeing up Hard Drive space, and the not so obvious such as removing the dashboard from active running and taking all the widgets out. Once I removed the widgets I freed up over 150 meg of system memory and instead of 100 meg free ram at idle the iBook now has 339 Meg free.

I continued to explore the settings of OS X and as new MAC user I was pleased when I found I could change the system colours such as the highlight colour, which is now a brilliant orange, and the menus to a lovely chromy grey. There are also settings that you can alter the “warmness” of the display so that colours appear more true, or to more suit your personal preference of how you like to see the colours. Just because it is an accessibility function doesn't mean you have to be disabledSpotlight to use it.

One last thing I want to talk a little about its the Spotlight feature (picture click picture on the right), spotlight allows you to search for things on the MAC from options and settings in the OS to actual files hanging around on the disk. It was really helpful yesterday to find PC only files and remove them as they are superfluous. The spotlight worked perfectly for this!

As a result of actually reading and exploring my new iBook I now understand more fully how it does and doesn't work and can use it more effectively as a tool for business which is its sole purpose in life.

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