The mds process was too greedy

Every now and then when my mac is slow, I take a peek in the Activity Monitor, to find out what is the culprit. Today I didn’t find any usual suspect and the only odd bit was the process mds. While it was using barely 10% of the CPU, the memory it used was outrageous. I remember having only 1MB free memory left, and that mds was using 14GB of the virtual memory (this figure stuck, while the real memory one didn’t).

I had learnt that mds is in use for Spotlight indexing. I have no use for Spotlight indexing, because I use other tools or tricks. So I searched for the way to disable Spotlight and did it in the Terminal:

sudo mdutil -a -i off
 	Indexing disabled.

All of a sudden the process mds jumped from using 14GB of virtual memory to 77MB of virtual memory, whee! And the system memory, of which 1MB was free, reached the comfortable level of 1.7GB, re-whee!

If I ever need Spotlight, the command above is reversed by using “on”.

You’re welcome!

Update of the day after:
It turns out I need that Spotlight indexing after all, if only to search in iCal. <sigh />
mds is on again! until it gets too greedy, that is.

sudo mdutil -a -i on
 	Indexing enabled.

Tip of the day: setting clock while irssi runs

I choose GMT/UTC for things such as my digital camera clock and IRC timestamp. I screw up the order of words when I last started irssi from the Terminal of my iPhone, because it’s something I do once a year on average (it was already something to remember the timezone command, it would have been a prowess to type the whole command in the right order ;)).

Here’s how to set the irssi clock without having to quit:

/script exec $ENV{'TZ'}='UTC';

Fixed iCal 24-hour input problem

Since the Leopard (OS 10.5) upgrade, and until yesterday, I was quite reluctant to use iCal, for at least two reasons. Adding a new event no longer made appear the box of options, and second, it was time-consuming, after double or triple clicking on the entry, to figure out how best to input a start and end time in the box of options. For example, typing 14 in the hour field would instantly transform into 16. The up and down arrows were what I ended up using most of the time, because extending the event box with the mouse was not exactly accurate.

The reason is that I’m using custom time and date settings, a recipe that is just right for me (living in France and using English as work language) and that I spent a fair amount of time crafting and refining several years ago. I was loathe to have to touch it so as to compensate that fact that Apple had coupled iCal with input from international/regions preferences.

How easy the solution was: Open the System Preferences, look for International, select the Formats tab, look for the Times section, click on the “customize…” button, click on the hour and select “0-23” from the drop down menu. OK. Quit System Preferences. That is it.