Argh! Are Beach Balls Driving You Mad?

Argh! Are Beach Balls Driving You Mad?



18. Build a Better Clipboard (Speed Demons) - Want to stop clicking from your browser to Word and back again to paste information culled from websites as you research a topic? We’ll bet you do. Try Inventive’s iClip ($29), a Mac clipboard the likes of which you’ve never seen. It can store up to 99 clippings (text, images, and more) all neatly sorted into bins. Or try iClip Lite, the free Dashboard version.


iClip is the manly muscled version of your Mac’s clipboard.


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19. Don't Retype Passwords (Speed Demons) - Typing the same password over and over is so three years ago. If you’re forever forgetting usernames and passwords, or frequently lose software serial numbers, account information, digital sales receipts, and warranties, you need a safe and accessible place to stash this sensitive information. Install KeePassX (free), an encrypted, searchable database that lives on your Desktop. KeePassX even includes a built-in utility that will generate - and then store - secure passwords.


20. Keep it Free and Easy (Your Hard Drive, That is) (KIC) - OS X uses free hard drive space as virtual memory, and a stuffed drive will clog up your Mac’s performance. The OS wants at least 5GB of free space all to itself on your primary hard drive—the one where the operating system is installed - and more free space will make things run more smoothly. A good rule of thumb: Leave a minimum of 5 percent of the primary drive open for the system’s use. So if you want to leave 5 percent of a 150GB hard drive free, your magic number is 7.5GB (that’s 150 times 0.05, math genius). Here are a few tips for quickly taking back some of the wasted space on your hard drive. Each one should take you no more than 5 minutes.


1. Get rid of all the printer drivers that you don’t use from the /Library/Printers folder at your hard drive level (not your user level). If you can’t figure out which drivers to delete, download a copy of Printer Setup Repair ($30).


2. Purge your system of all unused language and localization files. Just set Monolingual (free) running and start your next project.


3. Dump the files in your user folder’s Library/Caches folder if OS X is still cramped. It’s not unusual to reclaim a gigabyte or two of space when you clear the caches. If you don’t want to risk dumping necessary bits and pieces, grab a copy of Tiger Cache Cleaner or Leopard Cache Cleaner ($9).


4. In a pinch just use Spotlight to find all the files over, say, 30MB on your drive and cautiously delete the ones you know you don’t need. Your threshold may vary depending on your line of work and thus the typical sizes of your files.


5. Move your older files off your primary drive to discs or another hard drive. Ruthlessly delete all the stuff you’ll never use again (if you’re undecided, burn it to an optical disc, then delete it from your drive). And don’t forget to empty the trash.


Removing the non-English localization and language files on our hard drive freed up almost 2GB of space.


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The Top 5: If You Do Nothing Else...

1. Drag your most frequently visited folders into the Finder’s sidebar for easy access and quick navigation. (5 minutes)

2. Clean off your resource-hogging Desktop clutter, ya slob. (10 minutes)

3. Make sure your Unix actions run using Maintidget, Cocktail, or OnyX. (5 minutes)

4. Give Quicksilver a try. It only takes a few minutes to download, but the more time you spend learning its capabilities, the more powerful it is. (5 minutes to install)

5. Keep your hard drive 5 percent empty for the system to have some leeway.




+ Add a Comment


You probably should use a Disk Utility for the Mac. If you optimize your hard drive, it should help speed up your Mac and stop the rainbow beach ball from re-appearing. See here:  



If you need to be wild on the beach with printed graphic suits, then <a href="">Swim Suits</a> Will easily do that for you. Colorful cultures are all in one at the beach.



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Focus, people. Is this a semantics committee?


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Monolingual is a good idea, but needs refining to avoid deep cleaning of essential files needed for the system & English language.



What do you mean it's not a beachball it's a pinwheel??

Not so. It is commonly referred to as the "Spinning Beachball of Death" or when it's behaving as just "The Beachball" in the Mac community for as long as it came on the scene. And I've used Mac's since 1985.




"16. Stop Annoying Websites (Safari) - Quite a few websites play annoying New Age music or flashing ads whenever they load (we’re not naming them here…lucky for them). Pretty soon we’re rooting around for a “pause” or “skip intro” button - a huge time waster. Safari Stand (donationware) lets you do things like turn off flashing ads and control which images, scripts, and other “features” load. Safari Stand can also stack open tabs in a vertical format, which is great if you like to open a lot of pages at once."

Funny, every time I visit an article link at I have to click a "Skip Ad" link, but "we're not naming names..."


G Force

Be VERY careful using Monolingual or don't use it at all! After running this seemly harmless program & gaining 2 GB of space, I lost important characters needed for MS Word & other programs. Eventually, my keyboard stopped reacting when pressing the keys! I've heard other horror stories from others using this program so I'm not alone. I was fortunate that my MacBookPro was able to reboot with the startup disk & regained full operation my system with a "archive & install" (more than an hour later). Monolingual is a good idea, but needs refining to avoid deep cleaning of essential files needed for the system & English language. Ideally, the extra languages not needed should be unchecked during the installation of Mac OS X to save the extra space - which is what I ended up doing.



It's not a beachball, it's a pinwheel.



Very nice



we always called it the spinning pizza wheel of death....


Ernest Phillips

MacLife editors, try OmniWeb! Forgot that silly Google bar, by default you can just type "google puppies" into the location bar and it searches puppies. I've even shortened mine to just g. So Command-L to get to the location bar, then type "g speed up my Mac", and I get to see if Google found this article (it wasn't the first hit).

And you can set up as many as you want. So i can "g puppies" to search google for puppies, "weather San Francisco, CA" to search for SF weather, "imdb The Golden Compass" to search imdb, "movies 99999" to get movie listings in the 99999 zip code, or "tb Frozen Shadowweave" to search for frozen shadowweave on thottbot.



In Firefox, you can use the mentioned keywords to do this.

In Safari, you can use one of several third party add-ons to get this functionality, such as Sogudi or SafariStand.

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