Web Developer turned stay-at-home dad turned Web Developer
10 stories

Testing the Limits of 16 GB of RAM on a MacBook Pro


Jonathan Zdziarski, pushing back on the notion that “pro” users need more than 16 GB of RAM:

I fired up a bunch of apps and projects (more than I’d ever work on at one time) in every app I could possibly think of on my MacBook Pro. These included apps you’d find professional photographers, designers, software engineers, penetration testers, reverse engineers, and other types running — and I ran them all at once, and switched between them, making “professionally-type-stuff” happen as I go.

Here’s a list of everything I ran at once:

  • VMware Fusion: Two running virtual machines (Windows 10, macOS Sierra)
  • Adobe Photoshop CC: Four 1+gb 36 MP professional, multi-layer photos
  • Adobe InDesign CC: A 22 page photography-intensive project
  • Xcode: Four production Objective-C projects, all cleaned and rebuilt
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: A slide deck presentation
  • Microsoft Word: A 20* page document with graphics
  • MachOView: Analyzing a daemon binary
  • Mozilla FireFox: Viewing a website
  • Safari: viewing a different website
  • Preview: Three PDF books
  • Hopper Disassembler: Performing an analysis on a binary
  • WireShark: Performing a live network capture as I do all of this
  • IDA Pro 64-bit: Analyzing a 64-bit intel binary
  • Apple Mail: Viewing four mailboxes
  • Tweetbot: Reading all the flames and trolls in my mentions
  • iBooks: Currently viewing an ebook I paid for
  • Skype: Logged in and idling
  • Terminal: A few sessions idling
  • iTunes
  • Little Flocker
  • Little Snitch
  • OverSight
  • Finder
  • Messages
  • Veracrypt
  • Activity Monitor
  • Path Finder
  • Console
  • Probably a lot I’ve missed

The result? I ran out of things to do before I ever ran out of RAM. I only ever made it to 14.5GB before the system decided to start paging out, so I didn’t even have the change to burn up all that delicious RAM.

I think it’s a legitimate complaint that you can’t get a new MacBook Pro with 32 GB of RAM, but agree with Zdziarski that the practical effects of having “only” 16 GB are overblown for most typical use cases, even with “pro” software.

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4 public comments
1074 days ago
After Effects or C4D with 4K comps will bring 16 gigs to a crawl. Of course, you should be using a Mac Pro, but...
1074 days ago
"I only made it to 14.5GB before the system decided to start paging out" - um... so the system decided you were out of memory, and any additional tasks would have been pagingly slow. Lucky he "ran out" of things to do...
1074 days ago
You can ran an MBP out of memory quickly, just open a bunch of tabs in Chrome.
Houston, Texas
1061 days ago
Not to mention battery.
1075 days ago
One word: Docker.
1075 days ago
640K ought to be enough for anybody.
Fort Collins, Colorado

Image copy/paste

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Project Naptha is a browser extension that lets you copy text from images on the web.

Project Naptha automatically applies state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms on every image you see while browsing the web. The result is a seamless and intuitive experience, where you can highlight as well as copy and paste and even edit and translate the text formerly trapped within an image.

I was skeptical of this actually working, but it totally does...try it on xkcd or Frank Sinatra's "loosen up" letter to George Michael for example. The translation and editing features aren't enabled yet, but the project's creator is working on them. (via @tcarmody)

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1990 days ago
2003 days ago
How badly does this slow down the browsing experience?
New York, NY
2004 days ago

The hardest tongue-twister


MIT scientists have determined the hardest twingtuster.

Try and say “pad kid poured curd pulled cod” 10 times fast.

Man, I can't even say it once.


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Atheist mega-non-churches

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The Sunday Assembly is a 501(c)3 charity that is creating massive Sunday events that are similar to church services, though they are atheist in approach (they don't insist that you be atheist in order to attend, but there are no supernatural beliefs espoused at the event). Atheists gather to sing, hear speeches about ethics, make friends, and organize community work. They call themselves "A godless congregation," and they've launched a 40 city roadshow along with a crowdfunding campaign to spread the non-gospel. There are already Assemblies in London, Bristol, Brighton, Melbourne, New York and many other cities, and there's instructions for starting your own..

The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrate life. Our motto: live better, help often, wonder more. Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfill their full potential. Our vision: a godless congregation in every town, city and village that wants one.

We are here for everyone who wants to:

* Live Better. We aim to provide inspiring, thought-provoking and practical ideas that help people to live the lives they want to lead and be the people they want to be

* Help Often. Assemblies are communities of action building lives of purpose, encouraging us all to help anyone who needs it to support each other

* Wonder More. Hearing talks, singing as one, listening to readings and even playing games helps us to connect with each other and the awesome world we live in.

Sunday Assembly


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2 public comments
2166 days ago
aka Unitarian Universalists.
Fort Collins, Colorado
2166 days ago
"Atheist church" is a huge misnomer.

Our dream library: Unlimited e-books for less than $10 a month

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Oyster has already established a compelling elevator pitch: “Netflix for books.” Pay a monthly fee, get access to an unlimited number of 100,000 titles available in Oyster’s app. The app is beautifully designed and certainly rivals that of Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iBooks version. But whether its business model is as much of a threat, and whether it lives up to the Netflix legacy it’s brought on itself, is another matter.

Right now, the Oyster app is limited to an iPhone-oriented version, though iPad and Android versions are in the works. The app already adopts the iOS 7 design touches, with flat, delicately drawn icons and plenty of white space. When users first open the app, it asks them to pick five books to drive the first batch of recommendations.

The home screen consists of rows of categorized recommendations, entirely like Netflix. There’s space for books that are “new and noteworthy” or “popular on Oyster” as well as different subjects: “sports stories,” “business essentials,” and “book to blockbuster” (books that became movies) are some of mine.

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2 public comments
2230 days ago
Now, if Kobo or something had this, it would be great.
Roseville, CA
2231 days ago
Hope the selection makes this worth it.
Fort Collins, Colorado

The Broadcast Clock

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There’s a term that epitomizes what we radio producers aspire to create: the “driveway moment.” It’s when a story is so good that you literally can’t get out of your car. Inside of a driveway moment, time becomes elastic–you could be staring straight at a clock for the entire duration of the story, but for that length of time, the clock has no power over you.

But ironically, inside the machinery of public radio–the industry that creates driveway moments–the clock rules all.


At NPR’s studios in Washington, DC, there are clocks everywhere. Big red digital clocks, huge round analog clocks. There’s even special software and time calculators, where 60 + 60 = 2’00.

(All Things Considered director Monika Evstatieva Evstitieva during a live broadcast in NPR’s Studio 2A. Credit: Julia Barton)

Each show has a ‘clock’, a set template, from which the show almost never varies. Every show that broadcasts—or aspires to broadcast—in the public radio system has a clock. This is the All Things Consideredbroadcast clock, which NPR and stations across the country refer to on a daily basis:


It’s actually a pretty cool piece of visual design, but one which functions best when it is never seen. This template is used twice every weekday: ATC Hour 1, from 4:00:00pm through 4:59:59pm ET; and then for ATC Hour 2, from 5:00:00 through 5:59:59pm ET.

Here’s how it works: at the ‘top’ of the hour, there is a 59 second “billboard,” which announces what’s going up in the program. Then there’s five minutes for the newscast, which is itself divided into two segments (“Newscast I” and “Newscast II”). Then there are the “blocks”–A, B, C, and D–which is where the stories and interviews (or “two-ways”) live.

Segments can’t run long by even a second, because most of the local stations are automated to cut off the national program where the clock says they can. These times–the dividers between the sections on the clock–are called posts. You have to hit the post. Nothing can go wrong.

Though, of course, things go wrong every day.


(When Julia visitedATC,a live interview segment accidentally got wrapped up 35 seconds early. Then it was on Monika, the director, to figure out what to do. Credit: Julia Barton)

Taking care of the clock is so ingrained in the director’s psyche that a common side effect of the job is waking up in the middle of the night fearing that you’ve blown the post–these are called “director’s dreams.” To cope with the anxiety, ATCdirectors make their own cheat sheets to help them memorize every queue of every hour of broadcast.Visit any studio that does a regular live feed with a broadcast clock and you’ll likely find a cheat sheet one somewhere in the studio.

TOTN sheet

The director’s cheat sheets atATChave been used so much that they’re in tatters. They have since been laminated.

ATC sheet

(Note the correction in the “Top Cast” Credit” in the upper right. It’s not “1:00″, it’s “:59″)

When NPR began in the early 1970s, show clocks were much less regimented–or they didn’t have clocks at all.

One of the early champions against the fixed clock wasBill Siemering, a founder of NPR who helped design the network’s overall sound. He came up with the name All Things

Considered (original title: A Daily Identifiable Product). Siemering wrote the mission statement of NPR, which is enshrined in the halls of NPR (note the text on the walls).


(Credit: Interior Design)

Siemering liked a clock that was more free-form, because it allowed for spontaneity and unpredictability. But spontaneous and unpredictable does not always make for compelling radio. Done wrong, and you wind up with laughably bad “Schweddy Balls”-grade public radio.

When Siemering left NPR in the early 1970s, NPR chose to have more subdivided clocks. The constraints forced the shows to get tighter, which some say makes NPR stronger. One person is Neal Conan, former host of Talk of the Nation, who maintains that the earlier, freer days of NPR were not as halcyon as some may remember them.

These days, podcasting allows for shows such as this one to be free of a post, and go on for as long or short as is fitting for any given story.

me clock with 99

Reporter-producer-editor (triple threat!) Julia Barton visited NPR’s old headquarters at Washington, DC, where she spoke with ATC directors Monika Evstatieva Estativia and Greg Dixon, and former Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan. Julia also spoke with public radio’s patron saint, Bill Siemering.

Many thanks to All Things Considered Executive Producer Chris Turpin and the other powers-that-be at NPR who gave us unfettered access to the shop during Julia’s visit.

(Note: Julia visited NPR while they were still at 635 Massachusetts Ave, NW. They have since moved to 1111 N. Capitol St.)

More network clocks!And more! And more!

Music: ”Io, Apollo, And The Veil”- Metavari, ”The Wind Up Bird”- Tunng, ”Standard Error”- Orcas, ”Paintchart”- ISAN, ”Snow Tip Cap Mountain”- The Octopus Project, ”Black Blizzard/Red Umbrella”- The Octopus Project

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2233 days ago
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2228 days ago
listeners start to pick up on this structure, but i'd never seen it so explicitly dissected. fascinating
2234 days ago
Very interesting look at the traffic control in NPR. Much deeper than we did at QAX...
Chicago, IL, US
2233 days ago
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2235 days ago
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2233 days ago
2235 days ago
h/t textfiles
northampton ma
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