For quite a while now DEVONagent has been seriously slow on my computer (Powerbook G4 1.67GHz, 10.4.8, 1GB RAM). I certainly put it through its paces: every morning a script downloads the day’s articles from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal into tabs. But its performance is not just sluggish; it is frequently hung up entirely, for up to 60 seconds at a time, when switching into or out of the application. Once the application is finally in the foreground, it generally behaves well, but when closing a window, minimizing or un-minimizing a window from the Dock, or opening a new window, it generally hangs for a minute or more. It is very rare for me to control-click on the application icon in the Dock and not get “Application not responding” repeatedly for up to 30 seconds.
This is not a general problem with applications on my system, though I have to say that DEVONthink Pro also is slow to “wake up” when control-clicking in the dock or bringing the application to the foreground, much more so than any other applications I use regularly.
Closing and restarting the application seems to work for a short time, but is not a viable option when there are lots of unread tabs waiting to be browsed through. Is there any hope of getting the application to respond more speedily?
This sounds like you’re running out of real memory and that the activity of virtual memory causes the slowdowns after switching applications/windows. You could try to run less applications/widgets concurrently to improve this.
I can give that a try, but my other applications work basically fine (with the occasional very brief slowdown), whereas my DEVON applications are notably less responsive.
If there’s anything I can do to give you a more accurate diagnosis of the problem, let me know.
ahc, as Christian noted, you/ve run out of free physical RAM and have gone into Apple’s Virtual Memory mode. While Virtual Memory is very efficient from the standpoint that it allows processes to run to completion after RAM has been exhausted, it is much slower than physical RAM, as it is disk-based.
You can examine the status of memory use using the utility Activity Monitor.app, which comes on your computer.
I use a little preferences pane utility called MenuMeters (Google it) that places information about CPU and memory usage in my menu bar.
I don’t know how many Web pages you are preloading into tabs in DEVONagent, but remember that each page takes some of your memory. Lots of pages loaded into tabs requires lots of memory, the more so with associated images and ads.
I check the Science and Technology sections of the New York Times every day of so, using a bookmark for each section. I scan the article titles and descriptions and load the interesting ones – one by one. As I’ve got a 15 Mbs broadband connection, the pages open immediately. That’s not using tabs, but the amount of physical RAM needed to browse by section/linked article is very small, rarely exceeding a few hundred KB even for a long article with images.
It’s not just DEVONagent. If you pre-load a number of pages into tabs in Safari or Firefox, that can burn up RAM rapidly and force the computer into using Virtual Memory, which is disk-intensive.
Add up the memory requirements of the operating system and open applications and what’s left over of your 1 GB RAM can get used up very quickly by tabbed articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Thanks very much for the detailed responses. Sounds like it’s time to get more RAM. :}