Archive for the 'hardware' category

High CPU usage caused by fontd on OS X

Some time ago I realised that the fontd process was chewing up my CPU cores. In my case this seemed to coincide with using the final Presto Opera build (v12.16) but font related issues can be caused by just about any application.

OS X uses the Apple Type Server process, which stores commonly used fonts in a cache for quick access. These files can become corrupted and may affect system performance and stability. So sometimes it may be advisable to do a little maintenance. Here are two simple steps that may help sort font related issues.

Clear the font cache

Clearing the database is done by opening a terminal session and issuing the following command:
sudo atsutil databases -remove; atsutil server -shutdown

Apple Type Server will be restarted immediately by launchd after running the command, so there’s no need to ping the server with
atsutil server -ping

Restart your computer immediately after performing this action.

Validate your fonts

To look for and delete any conflicting fonts, open Font Book, select all your fonts, right click and select “validate fonts” from the context menu. The result will show whether any fonts are giving you grief. You can delete the conflicting fonts but ensure that you don’t delete any required system fonts (which could make your system unstable.)

For more info, make sure you check out Kurt Lang’s very comprehensive article about OS X font management.

Dual Screen Calibration with Eye One on MBP Running OS X

As graphic professionals we need to regularly calibrate our computer screens to ensure they’re performing optimally. Of course that doesn’t mean we always do. Just like we ALWAYS make multiple back-ups of ALL our files and keep some of these back ups off site. Right?

Calibrating one screen is fairly straight forward with the right tools. Just follow the software wizard and you’re done in about 10 minutes. Calibrating two screens can be a little bit more tricky—especially if one of those screens is a laptop display.

I use the latest version of Eye-One Match (v3.6.3 as of this writing). Once figured out how to make the magic happen, it’s really a breeze. Follow these steps and you should be fine…

My Set Up

  • 15” MacBook Pro (late 2010) runs OS X (Snow Leopard, v10.6.6)
  • 20” XL20 Samsung SyncMaster external display
  • laptop screen has been arranged to be the secondary display whenever the XL20 is plugged in
  • XL20 contains my menu bar

Let’s Calibrate!

These steps work for me. I’m not saying it’s the only way to accomplish this, but it sure works for me.

Calibrate the laptop display first

  • ensure you DO NOT have your external display plugged into your laptop
  • start Eye-One Match and follow the steps to calibrate your screen
  • save your profile with a meaningful name (such as “MPB-24-03-2011”)

Calibrate the external display next

  • plug the secondary display into your laptop
  • you may need to ensure that it is set as your main display (not sure about this step)
  • start Eye-One Match and follow the steps to calibrate your screen
  • save your profile with a meaningful name (such as “XL20-24-03-2011”)

Ensure that you now have two displays with their own ICC profile

  • go into “System Preferences” > “Displays”
  • click on “Color” tab
  • ensure the “Show profiles for this display only” option is checked
  • click on “Gather Windows”
  • compare the settings

If all is well, you should now have two displays with their own profiles, and your profile settings should look similar to this:

Note the two different profiles.

Note the two different profiles.

Case Instability No More

Back in the saddle again with my desktop. It seems that the power supply was either faulty or not putting out enough power (perhaps even a combination of the two). With a new power supply the box has been stable so far.

This could have been such a simple issue to resolve were it not for the odd combination of symptoms.

In any case, I am glad to be able to run my desktop as trusty old workhorse again.

What a couple of weeks…

Geez, what a couple of weeks they have been. Non-stop desktop instability issues whilst migrating numerous hosting accounts and juggling an assortment of deadlines. A great combination.

Gamers Of The World: Thank You!

Recently I purchased two new computers. It struck me that the prices had come down considerably since buying the last one. At the same time the specs had gone up to very impressive levels.

Not long ago, we were pushing our computers to the max running photoshop: it just couldn’t handle the complex mix of styled vector data and bitmap imagery. Much to my delight these latest computers are just ripping through the stuff, while at the same time running Dreamweaver, Illustrator, VOIP software and various other applications.