No Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

My enthusiasm for the the Mac operating system has been tempered since I last wrote on Tuesday. I actually had great blog posts planned for the past two days, but on Wednesday I realized that iPhoto wasn't loading the pictures from my iPhone that I planned to post. Trying to figure out why my iDevices weren't iConnecting turned into an "If you give a Mouse a Cookie"-type headache that lasted 24 hours. 

To make a long story short, I realized that I needed to upgrade my operating system to OS X Yosemite* if I wanted my photos to continue syncing to my MacBook Pro. In order to install the upgrade, however, I had to do a lot of maintenance and backup on my laptop. I do try to stay on top of these things, but I try to be extra cautious right before sending my hard drive under the knife. As a result I got no work done yesterday. My laptop was in a constant state of loading, downloading, or spinning the rainbow pinwheel of death.

One good thing did come out of the process. I now have a great app to recommend: Memory Clean. It's an unobtrusive little icon that sits at the top of your screen and monitors how much free memory you have. When it runs low, you can ask it to clean out file caches and app memory stuff (I don't really get what that is, to be honest) so your computer can process faster. For a free (!) app, it's stupid easy to use and I've been pleased with what its done for my tired old laptop. 

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I'm choosing, resignedly, to think of yesterday's upgrades as an investment in the health and future well-being of my laptop. What's one day of work if it means that I have a more efficient system for the next few months? It's just been a strange week and an unproductive few days, between grant deadlines, events, and the computer situation.

For example, on Wednesday I co-coordinated a Tu B'svhat event for graduate students. We fed everyone a free falafel lunch and provided terra cotta pots and succulents so that grads could honor the holiday by planting a little aloe for their office. Most of grad students don't really have the space to plant a tree, which is the traditional observance, so we decided to be figurative and have some fun with it. Over 15 students came during their lunch hour and it was lovely to spend time with Carnegie Mellon's Jewish Masters and Doctoral candidates. 

On Sunday I'm heading back to New York for a longer research trip, and I'm looking forward to the quiet studiousness of the archive. 

*My current assessment of Yosemite: My first impression is that the only major difference between Yosemite and Maverick--besides the cartoonish design--is that Safari and iPhoto are now more connected to my iPad and iPhone and it's easier to continue browsing the web/photos from one device to another. I'm not experiencing WiFi connectivity issues (which are widely reported in the App store reviews). When I upgraded to Maverick I saw a dramatic decline in the speed at which my apps loaded, but so far Yosemite hasn't seemed to make it any worse.