nullstream weblog - July 2009

Suspend Firefox


July 30, 2009 10:08 PM PST

Firefox 3.5 does a bit better on memory usage with a lot of (50+) tabs. Still, the various Javascripts, Java and Flash animations all use CPU, and Firefox for me typically runs at 20% CPU or so on my Macbook Pro. There are a couple things you can do to reduce the CPU usage, and then the ultimate solution to quickly suspend Firefox.

Initially, you can install the Adblock Plus extension, which will block all ads, with the side effect of using less CPU loading and displaying flashing gifs, etc. Flashblock is another good extension that shows all flash objects as a blank rectangle with a play button in the center. The flash object will only load when the play button is pressed. You'd be surprised how many tiny flash objects are embedded pages, using CPU.

Finally, you can suspend the Firefox process and effectively move its CPU usage to 0%. I typically hit <command>-h to hide all Firefox windows, and then type the following to susupend and resume in

killall -STOP firefox-bin
killall -CONT firefox-bin

It would be nice to integrate these commands when an app is hidden or shown, but for now this hack is good for saving battery life, or keeping your CPU cooler in hot weather!

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Amazon and Netflix


July 14, 2009 08:32 PM PST

Netflix's stock is up following rumors that Amazon was in talks to acquire them.

As long as I can still stream unlimited amounts of crap movies from the 80's and 90's to my Xbox, I don't care.

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Apple Netbook This Fall?


July 14, 2009 08:29 PM PST

There have been some rumors lately about Apple releasing a netbook.

This would be an interesting device, if they did it, and I wonder what model they'd use for software? Would all Mac OS X applications just run, or would they try to use an AppStore model with a new SDK designed specifically for it? After all, a device like that would have limited screen real estate, an accelerometer and a virtual keyboard... not many main stream Mac applications would be pleasantly shoe-horned into it. iPhone applications might assume a specific screen size, and might not look so great on a much larger screen.

Apple doesn't seem to make many niche products these days (Apple TV seems to be the exception), with their very clearly segmented Mac products, iPods and iPhones.

Still, I'd buy one just for web access at home while watching TV or lying in bed. Imagine if it could read Kindle books, too... could be cool.

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