Monday, July 9, 2018

Pro tip: sleep's good for your Power Mac

Now that I'm alternating between two daily drivers (my Quad G5 and my Talos II), the Quad G5 sleeps fairly reliably with the Sonnet USB-FireWire combo card out once I move the KVM focus off it. If I don't do that, the KVM detects the G5 has slept and moves the focus automatically away from it, which the G5 detects as USB activity, and exits sleep. The solution is a little AppleScript that waits a few seconds for me to switch the KVM and then tells the Finder to snooze. The Talos II doesn't sleep yet but I'll be interested to see if later firmware updates support that.

But sleeping the G5 has unquestionably been a good thing. Not only does it prolong its life by reducing heat (another plus in summer) as well as saving a substantial amount of energy (around 20W sleeping versus 200-250W running), but sleeping also can speed up TenFourFox. If you have lots of tabs open and those tabs are refreshing their data or otherwise running active content, then this contributes to a greater need for garbage collection and this will slow down your user experience as this overhead accumulates. (This is why running TenFourFox from a "fresh" start is much faster than when it's been chugging away for awhile.) It's possible to "pause" TenFourFox to a certain extent but the browser really isn't tested this way and may not behave properly when this is done. Sleeping the Power Mac pauses everything, so the cruft in memory that garbage collection has to clean out doesn't pile up while you're not using the machine, and everything comes back up in sync.

A whole lot of stuff has landed for TenFourFox FPR9. More about that when the beta is out, which I'm hoping to do by the middle-end of July.

14 comments:

  1. Cameron, sleeping the G5 is a great suggestion. I have used that time in the past for mounting external storage and backing up both internal drives - plus some routine maintenance functions. But I have shifted to a weekend schedule now for the above and have set my G5 to sleep at night. I suspected the browser garbage collection was stealing the performance of TFF. Now I can test this and confirm. Many thanks!

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  2. Testing the recommended sleep of my G5 DP 1.8 for a couple of nights consistently locks up the machine. Morning reboot and all is well. Not sleeping it anymore and going back to the evening backup scheduling I had in place previously. My G5 doesn't like to sleep apparently. Leopard 10.5x installed and clean otherwise.

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    1. Unfortunate. I wonder if some of your devices don't like the wakeup cycle, though I'd think they would be more likely to interfere with it even entering sleep.

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  3. I usually disable tab activity until switching to them - helps a lot. About sleep, if you have a LOT of PCI/USB and other devices attached, it does seem to force more PRAM-Zapping. My MDD only needed it every month or so, until I added a few cards and now it needs it pretty much each week, or after anytime it's been sleeping for a few hours. The battery is good, so am assuming there must be an excessive-load condition at work.

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  4. You are correct - I have two external drives connected to the G5. One is a Firewire 800 and the other USB 1.1 I'll try your suggestion of zapping PRAM. I hardly ever perform that on this particular computer.

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    1. USB in particular really seem to tax the Firmware. On some machines like the Digital Audio, you will see the mouse sputtering and skipping by adding a flash card. One of the best reasons to get a late-model PowerBook or G5 is the USB works WAY better than in a G4.

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  5. Hello! Last year, or maybe two years ago, you wrote a post on why a TenSixFox was not feasable.

    Personally I still use the Powerbook G4 12 with TenFourFox, but the screen .. is now not large enough for many sites.

    I also have a couple of BlackMacBook (core2duo) at 10.6 and 10.7 (and I suspect many people have simlar machines they love).

    So we're in a situation where an older machine has an up-to-date secure browser, but we cannot find a single browser that is updated for these younger Intel macs..
    All else work beautifully under 10.7 (Office, Photoshop etc) but no browser is up to date!

    I understand you might not be interested in coming to our rescue there, but maybe you know of some project going on somewhere .. ?

    Any ideas ?
    Thanks!

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  6. Here is an up to date browser for snow leopard, enjoy!

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/snow-leopard-mini-apps.2110486/#post-26076242

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    1. Sure, I also forgot about “Roccat” which is another browser that works from Mac os 10.5 and up. Here you go...

      https://runecats.com/roccat-browser-for-mac/

      That’s two up to date browsers for Snow Leopard that are continuing to be updated regularly.

      :-)

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    2. Roccat browser seems to suffer with the same issue Webkit has in regards to "can't connect due to an insecure website". Same websites load perfectly OK in TFF. Very odd behavior.

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    3. I've tried both: Roccat seems more flexible than NewMoon, and Javascript is faster. I've experienced the "insecure" issue only once.

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    4. Probably advisable to avoid doing anything security-sensitive with roccat. True, it's updated regularly and feels faster, but it relies on the system frameworks for rendering, javascript and secure connections. It uses essentially the same backend as safari 5.1.10. It makes it just as bad as the safari version you have on you system(albeit, definitely not in every aspect).

      That's not the case for PaleMoon.

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    5. You should be able to update at least the system root certificates with the ones from LeopardWebKit dmg.

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