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Speeding up Tinderbox (Read 29221 times)
Jim Delaney
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Speeding up Tinderbox
Mar 23rd, 2008, 8:45pm
 
Hi all,

I was wondering if anybody had any hints on how to speed up Tinderbox running on an Intel. I find it to be very sluggish with 1 Gig of RAM - when I have a number of programs open (say a browser, MS Word 2008 and Tinderbox), it can take 5 seconds or more to switch to a TB window. I had assumed that this is because my readings and notes file is very big, but I have recently noticed similar lags with a new small project file that I've created.

Thanks,

Jim D.
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Ioa Petra-ka
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #1 - Mar 23rd, 2008, 11:10pm
 
Oi. Blame Rosetta. Tinderbox is quite snappy on PowerPC computers. I have both an Intel and a PowerPC; the latter is about four years old now and the Intel computer is only a few months old. Tinderbox is sluggish even for extremely simple usages on the new computer. It's frustrating, but I don't know any way around it. Fortunately they are working on an Intel optimised version for the future. Until then, we just have to put up with it, I think. There really isn't that much of a difference between extremely complicated Tb files and extremely simple ones. This leads me to believe there is very little the user can do.
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« Last Edit: Mar 23rd, 2008, 11:11pm by Ioa Petra-ka »  

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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #2 - Mar 24th, 2008, 10:17am
 
Testing common Tinderbox tasks with both a MacBook and a MacBook Air -- that is, with comparatively slow Intel machines -- I find no noticeable "sluggishness" when performing typical tasks.


On the Air, switching from Safari to an empty Tinderbox file takes much less than a second.  Loading a 70-note weblog prototype takes approximately 4 second.  Loading the Tinderbox site (619 notes, 5 agents, 910 links) takes about 8 seconds; agent update time is 0.05sec.

I suspect Something Else is the culprit here.
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Jim Delaney
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #3 - Mar 24th, 2008, 10:30am
 
Thanks for the response and the details. I should clarify that when I am working in Tinderbox alone, it is fine. Likewise, when I simply have TB and a text editor I have no problems. Issues seem to arise when I have Tinderbox along side with any number of other resource intensive programs, such as Word 2008. My typical workflow would include having TB, a browser, Word (or Textmate) and BibDesk open much of the time. Using all of these at once does not seem to leave enough resources for Rosetta to run TB properly.

I expect that cranking up my memory would speed things up.

Thanks again.

Jim D.
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DerikBadman
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #4 - Mar 24th, 2008, 12:32pm
 
I see slowness on my Intel Macs when switching from another application to Tinderbox. Not every time, usually when I've not used Tinderbox in a little while. The main file I use is 1.8MB. I suspect its just from having too many apps open at once (Mail, Tinderbox, Yojimbo, iCal, iChat, Firefox, Textmate, iGTD, iTunes, and sometimes Word or Excel).
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Ioa Petra-ka
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #5 - Mar 24th, 2008, 12:48pm
 
I've got 2GB in my otherwise vanilla MacBook. The problem is not so much loading and application switching (though these are a touch slower) as simple redraw and window generation. On a PowerPC of nearly equivalent processor speed and RAM, Tinderbox is transparently responsive; no lag anywhere (if you press the spacebar on a note with 700 words in it, the window appears instantaneously with all components drawn before the eye can detect it. Intel on the other hand, there is a good half-second delay before the window even appears, and then another maybe quarter second while interior elements draw). On the MacBook it feels like running through an emulator (which it is, afterall). Also basic typing in notes takes up a disproportionate amount of CPU. The fan nearly always revs up to 2500-3000 rpms after typing around 500 words at 70-80wpm. Monitoring CPU usage on the PowerPC reveals no such strain. Also pasting can take quite a long while---sometimes up to 2 seconds, but I've had it take long enough that I've nearly force quit the application thinking it hung up.

Half-seconds here and quarter-seconds there might not seem like much---it isn't---but it does lend a definite feeling of sluggishness, especially when you are "in the zone" and working at speed with multiple notes being opened and closed, and most everything else on the system is operating at full Intel speed.

And further of note: This isn't necessarily specific to Tinderbox. There aren't many applications running under Rosetta anymore, but I do have a few, and they are all sluggish like this. That's why I say: Blame Rosetta. And yes, there definitely is a Rosetta "spool up" period (at least I assume that is what is going on) that happens if the application has not been used in a while. I'm guessing the emulation layer goes into sleep mode after a period of idleness.
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« Last Edit: Mar 24th, 2008, 12:54pm by Ioa Petra-ka »  

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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #6 - Mar 24th, 2008, 1:13pm
 
JIM:  Yes: if switching among applications is slow when you have a bunch of resource-intensive applications open, especially if you switch to an application you haven't used in a while....

... this IS an indication that you're short of memory.  More memory will help.  So will a a faster disk.


AMBER: I don't see it, even on a less powerful machine.  A 2000-word text window set in Lucida Grande opens instantly; I can't detect a delay.  Setting it in a more difficult font (Zapfino) is also instant.   Opening the window out to the whole screen and choosing a really difficult font (9pt Florencia, with tons of ligatures while squeezing about 1500 words into the display) does delay window opening perceptibly, but it's still way under a second.  

It's possible that you're a more acute observer of sub-second delays than I, but I suspect something else is going on here. I'd look at possible issues with Rosetta -- if you used any of the 10.5 developer seed releases, a clean install has been known to ameliorate some strange issues.  I'd also check for bad fonts, console messages, and such.


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Xavier
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #7 - Mar 1st, 2009, 2:59am
 
The variations in performance certainly are odd. I find Tinderbox is fastest on a PPC G5 running OS 10.3+, a touch slower on same but OS 10.4+ and easily the slowest on Intel Core Duo 2.0 ghz 10.5.5, where there is noticeable delay just in loading the program.
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Sumner Gerard
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #8 - Mar 1st, 2009, 6:12pm
 
TB sometimes is noticably sluggish on 2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MBP with 4GB memory when several other programs are running. The dependence on Rosetta (plus the lack of Unicode support--for Chinese and other languages) is a real pity.  Hope remedies promised quite some time ago as coming "soon" are in fact on the way.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #9 - Mar 1st, 2009, 7:52pm
 
Reiterating the previous discussions:

* There is no reason to believe that Rosetta is involved
* There is absolutely no reason to believe that Unicode is involved

Using the slowest Intel laptop Apple currently sells, with lots of programs open, my context switching time from Safari to a large Tinderbox document (4700 notes, 6000 words) is well under 1sec.

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Hugh Akston
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #10 - Mar 2nd, 2009, 6:13pm
 
I don't notice any sluggishness when switching applications.   Tinderbox screens redraw instantly on my MacBook Pro C2D.  

I get the spinning beach ball when I fire up Tinderbox and wait for my file to load (about 100 notes with 10 agents).  Once the file is open, it takes probably 1/2 second to open a note.  The screen draws in two increments.  The left hand column and a few lines of text appear instantly, then the attributes appear about a 1/2 second later.  Not much lag, but noticeable.  Opening a container in map view takes a second or two.  I suspect that's by design because its a cool drill down effect.  The most sluggish thing for me is going up a container level in map view after hitting the up arrow.  About 3/4 of the window appears instantly (with a noticeable white column on the left side of the window).  It takes about a second to fill in.  Again, not much of a lag but noticeable.

It doesn't seem to matter how many applications I have open.  Same responsiveness.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #11 - Mar 3rd, 2009, 7:56am
 
@Hugh, the 'delay' with maps is the 'enactment' feature(on by default) - see here. Turn it off if you don't want that 'delay'.

The OP was referring to a RAM-constrained scenario where I'd expect some fall off as less RAM equates to worse performance for most apps and I'm sure TB is no different. Meanwhile, others are reporting slower inter-app switching don't indicate the size of their TBX, number windows open, number of other apps/windows open, RAM/CPU so the comparisons aren't that helpful. Indeed, they (doubtless unintentionally) give the impression that TB has an overall performance issue - which I don't really think is what is being suggested.

I'd suggest that if individual users have speed issues they'd do best to contact Eastgate support directly so more detailed contextual info can be gathered; they can't fix a problem they don't see and which the thread thus far hasn't really diagnosed (and I suspect can't).

Lastly, I think I can say that TBX open/save speeds will increase soon (v4.6 has already been trailed in Mark B's blog); not having an app-switching speed issue I can't say if users will see a difference with the latter issue.
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peter lindsay
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #12 - Mar 4th, 2009, 4:57pm
 
drop msword; its a mess.
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peter lindsay
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #13 - Mar 4th, 2009, 5:15pm
 
tinderbox isn't the problem, its concurrent running of bloat-ware that causes slowdown IMHO. Also, I don't think 1GB RAM is viable. You need 2GB minimum; not for tinderbox specifically but for the mac generally. Leopard is one mighty OS. Amongst other Apple fan-ware, I use macbook [ black not vanilla Wink ] with 2GB and it copes with a tbx file ~18Mb. Don't ask how it got that big.
best wishes,
Peter
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Sumner Gerard
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Re: Speeding up Tinderbox
Reply #14 - Mar 6th, 2009, 5:36pm
 
It's amusing to note the great certainty in the statements that TB/Rosetta cannot possibly be sluggish on other people's setups unless the setups themselves are somehow lacking. On mine (2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MBP with 4GB memory) TB/Rosetta may not technically be the cause of the problem. But they sure are closely associated with it. Close down TB and restart MBP without it: all goes well with multiple other apps open.  Start TB up and sometimes (not always) there's an obvious problem.  

Not sure blaming "Something Else" and also (it seems) further delaying other ways of bringing TB up to date for modern Macs (including long promised Unicode support) is the way to go.


We always strive to amuse our readers. -- Mark Bernstein

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« Last Edit: Mar 7th, 2009, 11:59am by Mark Bernstein »  
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