Monday, November 13, 2006

Update on Painter IX.5

Last month, I mentioned some niggles I'd been having with Painter 9.5, notably a potentially serious problem involving files being corrupted during saving.

Soon after, I located what looked like the cause of the problem, and after a month of steady use, it does seem to be sorted. What I'd done was to allow my hard disk to fill beyond the 85% limit recommended by Apple. Mac OS X uses the remaining 15% of the disk as "scratch space" - a place to temporarily store stuff when the RAM is full (Windows uses the same strategy*, and it's why computers slow right down when dealing with very big files - they're writing data to and from the hard disk, which is much slower than doing everything in RAM). To cut a long story short, I dumped a few gigs of data and not only has the corruption problem not recurred, but the big files are saving a wee bit quicker too.

It's worth making sure you don't overfill your hard disk, as the consequences can be more drastic than a few corrupted files - I found out about this problem the hard way when I overfilled the hard disk of one of the PowerBooks to such an extent that a scratch file encroached on the hard disk catalogue and effectively wiped the contents of the hard disk. Be warned.

*The proportion of the hard disk needed for scratch space isn't the same though - check your manual.

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