Monday, October 12, 2009

Hitch Hiking to 64 bit

I am regretting that when I purchased this 64 bit dual core machine two and a half years ago, I did not specify 64 bit Vista. A 32 bit system is constrained arithmetically to an address space of 232 = 4 294 967 295, which we geekily call 4GB (4000 MB). That is, both the virtual memory of a process and the real memory of my 64 bit system is limited by its 32 bit OS to addressing on 4GB.

Of that 4GB, Windows architecture limits us to using only half of the max virtual memory for our processes, reserving the other 2GB for kernel virtual space. That is not a problem really, because the max size of any one of my processes (due to Eclipse or Netbeans) is only 1GB. The real problem is the RAM available for use, which brings us back to reminisce on the 640KB limit on a 1MB address space. IBM and Microsoft was using the upper memory space for device addresses.

I should remember the exciting IBM PC days when I was still writing Cobol and C on IBM mainframes and DEC miniframes. Those days, 45 MIPS by IBM's newly released Sierras were considered such a breakthrough.

So, a normal off-the-shelf non-server non-specialty 32 bit Vista is actually limited by Microsoft to using 3.12 GB RAM? That makes it really difficult for me as my superficially multitasking habit of normally having two Eclipse instances, a Chrome browser full of tabs of javadocs, a Firefox window to GMail and my various blogs, plus an IE window to my various Google Apps accounts. In addition, I normally switch between doing Java and C#, and so I have to turn on Visual Studio. But I cannot close my Eclipse windows or the browsers displaying the Javadocs because they are a cursor for me to quickly switch back to Java when I'd had enough of .NET.

Moreover, unlike Eclipse or Netbeans, A Visual Studio instance does not allow more than one solution open. I need to refer to my previous solutions,and therefore, I would need to open another two instances of Visual Studio. And then I need to open another set of browser tabs and this time Safari to search for C#/C++ answers and then I would be able to find a few .NET solutions for which I would have to yet open another Visual Studio instance to try them. And worse of all, the Visual Studio help browser is more clunky than the IDE itself and of course, I need the help browser open too.

Then recently, I had been trying out some animation software like Alice and a couple others. To run Alice or JavaFx, I needed to close all my other windows.

In short, I need lots of windows and processes running to function efficiently. Eclipse and Netbeans simply struggled along so I started having only one Eclipse instance without Visual Studio, vice versa. Closing windows is slowing me down not just because of the process startup latency of the system, but my mental switchover latency because I cannot remember which Javadoc page I had been on and which pile of Java classes I was working on.

I even go as far as terminating the processes due to the icons on the taskbar. All those little icons are slowing me down. Google Desktop and Taskbar is slowing me down. The evidence is, those little icons on the taskbar adds in a delay by holding my keyboard and mouse at ransom for three minutes everytime I reboot the system.

Why do I allow those icons to be installed in the first place? What a good question. Adobe insists on doing it, otherwise I won't have access to Flash and PDF. No Flash, no Youtube, which is unacceptable. Open Office insists on doing it. Real player insists on doing it. MSN Live insists on it, etc, etc. So I would use Windows Defender to disable those icons and associated services. But, for some reasons, Windows Defender greys out the disable button for some of these taskbar icons. I am itching to know how much those companies pay Microsoft to disable the disable button for their parasitic taskbar iconised background noise from being disabled through Windows Defender. Okay, I won't be defeated by these parasitic icons. I search the Windows Registry for them or disable their services through the Control Panel.

This is wasting my time. I need a solution to better my situation. I am going 64 bit.

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