Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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Saturday, May 3, 2014


I moved from Internet Explorer to Firefox many years ago to get away from the annoying pop-up ads that were proliferating like mushrooms on cowpies after a rainstorm. A year or two ago I moved to Chrome. I'm not sure why, maybe because I was using a bunch of Google's stuff, and I thought sure, let's go all Google. Then all of a sudden (around January of this year) Chrome seemed to get a lot slower. I suspect Google decided that most of their customers were using new multi-core machines and they decided to exploit that for some of their look-ahead kind of services. If you were using an older single core machine like me, well, tough, you aren't part of Google's target demographic and you and I don't count. So I moved back to Firefox. 
    I don't really understand the urge to keep modifying a browser, or any software application for that matter. If it works, leave it alone. If something is broken, yes, go ahead and fix it, but this constant tweaking and adjusting and tacking of new features is like super annoying man. Just stop it. Which is why I eventually stop the automatic update service that seems to come with everything these days. I would turn it off to start with, but that general means reaching into the bowels of the thing to figure out where the stupid turn-off-the-updates control is, and ain't nobody got time for that.
    Actually, I do understand the urge to update. It's the same disease the American car industry has had since, well, forever. Back when I was a kid style was everything, and every year there was something newer and flashier. Longer, lower, wider and faster seemed to be the theme through "my formative years". It's just one of the things we have to put up with if we want to keep the lights on at night.
    Firefox has developed an annoying problem. It seems to be triggered by playing YouTube videos in two or more tabs. I'm not trying to play them simultaneously, even a special guy like myself can only watch one at a time, but watch one, and then open a tab to watch another and things go to hell in a handbasket. The frame rate drops to one every couple of seconds, none of the controls respond. Sometimes the only way to kill it is with the Windows task manager (Ctl-Alt-Del on an XP machine).
    At one point I'm looking for help with this problem on the internet and I find a comment about Firefox's memory leak problem, and I'm wondering how would this guy even know about something like this? A little background: a memory leak is when a program requests a block of memory from the OS (Operating System) and then forgets to return it when it's done. It's usually considered a bug and someone (someone!) should fix it. The few times I have run into it, it has usually been a slow growing problem that didn't impact usability for hours or maybe even days.
    Firefox has locked up again, and I pull up the Windows task manager, and where's Firefox? Oh, there it is. Oh look, the memory number is changing. Oh, look, it's getting bigger. It's getting bigger by 100's of K-bytes a second. Oh, that kind of memory leak, one that gushes like a firehose. That's how whoever-it-was noticed it.
    I just pulled up the task manager to check the magnitude of my numbers, and Firefox is leaking memory right now, even though I haven't started any videos this session. It's not growing by leaps and bounds like it does when it has locked up, but it's still there, marching ever onward towards obilivion. At this rate it might take it a few hours to get there.

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