Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stop build_hd_index from hogging your CPU

I was getting sick with my PowerMac G5 running at 100% CPU (and consequently fans at full throttle) every night. I discovered all was due to a process called build_hd_index, which I first I thought was related to spotlight. However, and according to some forum posts, I found it is related to Apple Remote Desktop.

Unless you really need reporting from all your computers in your local network, and unless you love the sound of roaring fans at night, I would definitely recommend turning build_hd_index off. One of the most straightforward solutions can be found in Get rid of build_hd_index:

sudo chmod a-x /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/
sudo rm /Library/Preferences/
sudo rm /var/db/RemoteManagement/caches/filesystem.cache
There is also an official Apple Knowledge Base entry.

I hope it helps!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

iTunes U

While I already knew some universities in the US are making available some of their lectures and pedagogic materials in an iPod/podcast friendly format, I did not know all this information is being centralised in a specific section of the iTunes Store. This section is called iTunes U. It features free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks and all sorts of learning materials. You can watch the videos and hear the audios using the iTunes software or just download them to your iPod or iPhone. Furthermore, you can subscribe to a specific channel and receive all the updates, like if you were subscribing a podcast. You can watch an introductory video about iTunes U at Apple.

I find this whole idea simply great. First of all, the fact that most major universities in the US decided to put this information online, free for everyone, not just their students. Second, Apple providing them with the tools to do it, and providing users with the tools to use it. YouTube is a great source of information, but it lacks some sort of categorisation. I am still surprised no one has tried yet to build a directory-like version of YouTube.

If you do not feel like opening iTunes (I clearly recommend it, though!), a simple Google search for iTunes U reveals a list of universities that post content to this section of the iTunes Store: Berkeley on iTunes U, Stanford on iTunes U, MIT on iTunes U, The Open University on iTunes U.

UK Universities (The Open University of the UK, Oxford, Cambridge) are the only European universities I have found which post content to iTunes U. Would not it be great if we could have content from all over Europe the World, in every language, about every topic? Universities have the opportunity in their hands to write (yet another) redefinition of the term Encyclopaedia.

Update 04/03/2009: Vanessa tells me she already wrote about iTunes U in Universidad, Youtube y iTunes a year and a half ago. Thank you! :)