101: the course beginning college students take, the first check from a new checking account, a highway along the west coast, and the results of a famous dalmatian population survey.
Today, though, I see 101 as a measure of reliability. It’s been 101 days since my MacBook Pro’s last restart. Initially, I needed to run my computer for 30 days without restarting it, but at the end of 30 days, I decided to see how long the computer could go. I discovered that Mac OS 10.8 is a pretty stable OS.
Computer test 101 started with a school project. November 11th I opened up Dreamweaver to finish a website rough draft for school. A troubling message greeted me. “Your 30 Day trial has expired, but we’ll let you use Dreamweaver one last time.” It was 30 days until my class was over, and I didn’t want to buy Dreamweaver, so I decided not to quit Dreamweaver, or restart my computer, until the end of the semester. Honestly, I wasn’t sure my machine would run error free for 30 days. Restarts often have a refreshing effect.
The whole trial was ultimately pointless, as I’ve been given a Dreamweaver license and no longer need to worry about keeping the application running on my machine. But the effects of 101 days without a restart have been interesting. Ultimately, there’s nothing majorly wrong with my computer. Spotlight is buggy, often taking a few seconds to open the “show all in finder” command refuses to work, and the stock ticker widget in dashboard got stuck for an hour loading a chart one morning. Overall, my system is running a bit slow – applications take longer to launch, UI effects can be a tad jerky, and applications occasionally freeze. All things considered, though, the computer is still 100% usable and productivity has been affected only minimally. In the last 30 days, I’ve given Keynote presentations, edited hours of video, mastered DVDs, done copious online research, downloaded hundreds of photos from my DSLR, in short, used all aspects of my system.
But aside from being pointless, running a computer for a super long time can pose security risks, as software updates and security patches often require restarts. After
the recent flash player insecurities and java hacks, I’m feeling pretty nervous. Time for a restart.