thu 13 nov 2008 09:22:05 witte de withstraat
messages that mean something else
about my new configuration.
when i got back to amsterdam after working seven weeks on my macbook pro, i started using it as my main computer, instead of the big G5 desktop machine. the macbook is a faster more modern machine, and it's where i've got all my newer design and editing software.
but the macbook can't connect directly to my RAID box -- it needs a special card installed in the G5. so when i'm doing design work, the G5 is always running, just to read/write media data from/to the RAID.
sometimes the read/write action on the RAID gets wiggy, especially if the machines have been running a long time. the weirdest error is when i try to copy a file to the RAID, but the computer says it can't copy that file *because its filename is too long* -- i'm like, huh? -- then i rename the file "x" and it still thinks that name is too long. so i get suspicious that the computer is lying to me. i restart the G5 via remote desktop, and everything's fine again.
it's about messages that tell you one thing but mean something else.
in general this version of aftereffects running on my macbook works well. some of the limitations and flaws of earlier versions have been fixed. for example, i no longer get those z-axis "vanishings" on the path text tool, which used to be pesky and a half (1,5*pesky).
but i am having more frequent problems with RAM previews. a RAM preview is when you select part of the timeline of a visual composition, and ask aftereffects to render that bit without writing anything to disk, just so you can have a look. this week i'm getting hangups while RAM previewing. the error i get says aftereffects is *having trouble reading a certain file*. at first this error message scared the daylights out of me, cuz i thought it was saying there was a problem with the file on the RAID. but what it really means is just that the computer ran out of memory. the message tells you one thing but means something else.
usually this happens when it's trying to read a physically large file, like my trusty 3000x3000 grainy gradient that i've been using for years. and it *only* happens after i've already been doing some RAM previews. never the first time. so that means some RAM is getting stuck.
of course you're supposed to be able to free up all available RAM by telling aftereffects to purge the image caches. that's what the purge command is for, and sometimes it works. but sometimes it doesn't -- the RAM you had moments ago just can't be freed up for the render. so i restart the macbook, and everything's fine.
but i must admit it's a bit of a time sink.
since i very rarely had this problem when i was working on the G5 alone, i'm wondering if either [a] my macbook has less RAM than my G5, or [b] more memory is being squatted by overgrown software and system overhead.
remember when it used to take only a few seconds to launch microsoft word, on a computer 1/50th as powerful as the one you have now? if you do, then you're probably getting old. have your bone density tested for signs of osteoporosis, and check to see if you have any kids graduating from college.
something else that's a bit strange:
on my old G5, i got occasional notices that new software was available from apple, and did i want to download and install it? now on my macbook, i get those notices *every day*. literally. every day i turn on my computer and apple tells me i should update my software again. i'm beginning to get suspicious. apple doesn't disclose the nature of its "security updates". i used to assume they were meant to protect *my* security, but i don't know any more. maybe it's another message that means something else.
sheesh, that stupid blue ball is bouncing on my dock again right now, i'd better go click on the damn thing.