Monday, October 11, 2004


Disk space

I was down to 10 Gigabytes on my Macintosh today, so I thought I'd see if I could find some space from somewhere. As it's a Unix box, there is an easy way to find out what is using all the space and that is the du command. You change directory to the root and do a du -ks as shown below. Note that the below example hasn't completed traversing the file system - Users and System are missing and some other minor stuff.

jeremyp@titania:/$ sudo du -ks *
4515532 Applications
440264 Applications (Mac OS 9)
0 Cleanup At Startup
8 CyberViewX Installer Log File
4 Desktop (Mac OS 9)
900 Desktop DB
1944 Desktop DF
24 Desktop Folder
957128 Developer
47796 Documents
31260 IBM
1649684 Library
16 MAU 1.1.1 Update Log
60 Macintosh HD
7 Network
8 Office X 10.1.2 Update Log
4 Office X 10.1.3 Update Log
8 Office X 10.1.4 Update Log
4 Office X 10.1.5 Update Log
8 Previous Systems
188 Requirements checklist.doc
0 Shutdown Check

and then you repeat for the biggest directories until you find some large useless files. Using this method I found a folder called "Previous Systems" which I had totally forgotten about. When you reinstall the OS the old one is saved in a special folder under this directory. I had two "previous systems", one from an occasion when I accidentally made my OS non bootable and one from the upgrade to 10.3. Deleting both of these gave me 7 Gigabytes back.


I've been a bit concerned recently about the amount of memory the Mac is using. I have 512 Megabytes and quite often I'm close to the limit. This doesn't usually cause problems, just swapping to disk which obviously slows stuff down.

Last night I was right on the limit even though I didn't have more than my normal quota of applications open. I was wondering if something I run regularly had a memory leak, so I closed everything and it made no difference. Hmmmm... it was late, so I didn't bother with a reboot.

This morning, I had the idea of moving the dock to the side of the screen. My Mac has a widescreen, so I thought it'd be better use of screen real estate. Soon after moving the dock to the side, the memory usage fell to less than 250 Megabytes. Even now, with Safari running, my memory is still more than half empty. Does the dock grab loads of RAM? I'll have to monitor it and find out.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Spam the spammer

This wonderful piece of spam was delivered to my webmaster address today - well actually, it was delivered three times.

From Sun Oct 10 15:43:18 2004
Delivered-To: me
Received: (qmail 5629 invoked from network); 10 Oct 2004 12:37:51 -0000
Received: from (
by 0 with SMTP; 10 Oct 2004 12:37:51 -0000
Message-ID: <22fd01c4aec3$1df1bdeb$>
From: Tom Theroux
To: me
Subject: Students email list
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 12:17:18 +0000
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Are you targeting the student sector? Do you want students to buy your product or visit your website?

Our company has carefully collected an email database, which allows to advertise your product or
service to the audience of 1.7 million US college & university students! This is the most comprehensive
students email database available on the Internet.

All addresses on the database belong to students (18-24 years old), are verified and as a proof of
their origin end with '.edu', which stands for educational institutions.

The database will be delivered to you in a ZIP archive of a 34MB TXT file.
All addresses were collected in September, 2004.

The price we are asking is $370.00. To place an order please proceed to:

Mirror 1:
Mirror 2:

Tom Theroux

To change your mail preferences, go here:

So now, I'm being spammed by people trying to push spamming products on me. This stuff probably isn't any good judging by the fact that he's spamming a non commercial site and seems to have a lot of duplicates in his list.

Note that the originating server has a host name that looks like a DSL or cable subscriber. It's probably some poor idiot with a trojan infested PC. If the provider was one I had heard of I would write a letter to the abuse address asking them to alert their subscriber of the problem. I've done it several times before and coincidentally, the subscriber's PC has always stopped spamming me.

By the way I removed all the e-mail addresses to stop e-mail address harvesters - at least I removed all the addresses I care about.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

A Fishy business

Well, it seems that Michael Fish is retiring from being a weather man. Michael Fish is the weather man who famously told us there wouldn't be a hurricane in 1987 just before the Great Storm. Ha, ha what a loser!

But no! Wait! I've always been a defender of Mr Fish in this respect. I mean, technically what hit us was not a hurricane in two respects. Firstly, only storms in and around the Carribean are known as hurricanes. Secondly, the storm we had wasn't powerful enough to be a hurricane. The wind only gusted up to hurricane force occasionally. In a hurricane it's hurricane force on average.

Apart from that, it turns out that Mr Fish is the victim of selective reporting. He made the famous quote:

Earlier on today apparently a lady rang the BBC and said she heard that there was a hurricane on the way. Well don't worry if you're watching, there isn't.

Pretty damning, huh? Well, no. He was actually talking about a news story about a real hurricane in the Carribean. The mother of one of his coworkers was going out to Florida on holiday and he was reassuring her on air, so to speak.

The same broadcast also included

Batten down the hatches there's some really stormy weather on the way.

This bit never gets broadcast for some reason.

So I say "no more victimisation of Michael Fish. He has suffered long enough.

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