Matt Connolly's Blog

my brain dumps here…

Monthly Archives: May 2009

Gmail spam filter broken

Spam has been a problem for many years now. Thankfully the problem seems to be decreasing in general. Check out the google-trend on searches for “spam filter

I’ve gone through various spam filtering options, and the one I have been most happy with is Gmail’s built in spam filtering. I’ve set up my other email addresses to forward to my Gmail account, where I can check with Mac Mail or  iPhone by IMAP, and, of course, from anywhere with the web.

But in the last week, several spam messages per day have been slipping through. A quick search on the web seems to show that there were problems with GMail spam filtering back in 2007, but not so much recently. Grrrr…

Mac OS X free memory

A while back, I was having some trouble with the Mac OS not freeing up enough memory. The result was that many programs were running really slow. Essentially, the CPU was sitting there doing nothing while virtual memory was giving the poor hard disk a flogging.

After a bit more reading on the topic, I found this Apple Tech Note, which explains that inactive memory will be paged out to disk. That doesn’t make sense to me, at least for cached files on disk – why duplicate the data off disk? Surely there’s got to be a difference between inactive, as in not been used for a while, and inactive, as in unnecessary. It seems to me that there’s no distinction, and a lot of time is wasted by paging out inactive memory.

I tried iFreeMem which seemed to improve the situation. And then someone followed up on a forum post, which I thought was interesting: to use the Terminal command “purge“.

I gave that a go – pretty fast and easy – and poof! All the inactive memory is gone, and it’s all now free memory. No more spinning beach balls, and programs are running faster! Yay!

Downloading Youtube videos

Quite a few times I’ve wanted to watch a youtube video and been caught without an internet connection…

Here’s a great trick for users of Safari, thanks to a this page. Also thanks to a wikipedia article, you can append &fmt=22 to the end of the URL to force youtube to go straight to the HD version of the video.

So, here’s my steps:

  1. Find a youtube video.
  2. Add &fmt=22 to the end of the URL and reload the page – if it’s not already in HD.
  3. Wait a moment for the video to start playing.
  4. Press Cmd+Option+A to bring up the Activity window.
  5. Look for the biggest file there in the list…. something like this:



    Safari Activity window

    Safari Activity window

  6. Double click that entry.
  7. Voila. It’s downloading into Safari’s Downloads folder.

If you get the HD version, it will download automatically as a .mp4 file, which is great because Quicktime can play it out of the box without needing any silly FLV addons.

Oh… and Youtube HD videos actually are HD: 1280 x 720 resolution!!


Samford Velos House and Garden Ride

Here’s a map of last Saturday morning’s “House and Garden” ride with the Samford Velos:

It’s really refreshing to be out riding in the hills where there’s fresh air and a lot less city traffic!