Better than rm -rf /.Spotlight-V100

My MacBook Pro (10.9.2) was running slowly. I saw frequent spinning beach balls, systemstats was consuming 100% of the CPU on a regular basis, Apple Mail was grinding away indexing files, etc.

The forums at discussions.apple.com contain all kinds of dicey recommendations about rm -rf /.Spotlight-V100 followed by “Works for me!” and “Didn’t work for me!” I’m not averse to wading in with Terminal, but I’d rather get advice from a trusted source.

One of the advantages of having AppleCare (you get it for 90 days after you’ve upgraded to a new OS, such as Mavericks) is that you can call 800-275-2273 and speak to a knowledgeable person. They recommended that I do three things:

  • Boot into safe mode, and let the computer perform a thorough disk and permissions check. (See the Apple “What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode?” article for more info.)

  • Force Spotlight to blow away and rebuild its index.

  • Then let Apple Mail re-index.

To do this:

  1. Boot into Safe Boot mode. Restart your computer and hold down Shift until you see the Apple and the progress bar that indicates that the hard drive is being checked/repaired. When the OS starts up (probably many minutes later), you’ll see “Safe Mode” in red text at the upper right corner of the screen. Restart your computer.

  2. To force Spotlight to rebuild its index, simply open System Preferences, click Spotlight, then the Privacy tab. Add your hard drive (hit the “+” and select the hard drive). Then close System Preferences. Re-open System Preferences, and remove the hard drive from the Privacy tab. This is the cue for Spotlight to begin re-indexing. In a moment, you can click on the Spotlight magnifying glass to see that it’s rebuilding the index. (Rebuilding took about three hours on my system.)

  3. Leave Apple Mail closed during all this. (You don’t want to have them both indexing at the same time – it hammers the processor and prolongs the agony.) When Spotlight finishes its indexing, open Apple Mail to allow it to re-index its cached files. You can continue to work in Apple Mail while this happens.

My system has been much more responsive since I did this, and I didn’t have to try any odd suggestions.

And the H@ckfest results…

What a great weekend! What interesting ideas came from the H@ckfest!

My team, the inforMED project, presented an idea for helping first responders (EMTs, ED triage) to get relevant data on their cell phone/tablet when they first encounter a patient. If the patient has one, the EMT would scan the token (RFID, QR code, NFC, etc) and this would immediately bring up a face sheet that give contact information, current medications, allergies, and advance directives to that they could initiate appropriate treatment.

We won an honorable mention for the CIO Track of the entire competition, and also won a $1,000 prize from Intel. The team members were:

  • Rich Brown
  • Adrian Gropper
  • Jake Mooney
  • Susan Katz Sliski
  • Jessica Wang
  • Joyce Zhang
  • Alice Zielinski
  • Patrick Zummo

What a great team!

Rink Rat – A Great Essay on Hockey (not for the kids)

While chatting with people who play hockey just for the pure fun of it, especially those who are no longer whippersnappers, I am amazed that hardly anyone knows about this essay from the New Yorker magazine. Charles McGrath wrote this gem for the Shouts & Murmurs column of the 4 October 1993 issue.

“Rink Rat” from the 4 Oct 1993 issue of New Yorker magazine

Link to the original article

Winning Team, Boston BlueButton Innovation Challenge

I was a member of the team that won the “Most Likely to Succeed” award at the MedStart Hackathon at Tufts Medical School (http://tuftsmedstart.com/) Our four-member team (Bryan Bordeaux, Michelle Qi, Elaine Wu, and I) produced a tool that helps a primary care physician by listing recommended screenings for patients.

This was a great event. It was well organized by the MD/MBA program at Tufts. It pulled together about a hundred people – entrepreneurs, software developers, physicians, designers, mentors – to think about issues of exchanging medical records (securely) so that patients can be more in charge of their care.

There’s more…

“Hang on a minute…”

I just ended a call from a telemarketer who was pitching some vacation deal. I just don’t do these things over the phone, so when she paused to take another breath, I said in a kind way, “Thanks for calling, but I’m not interested.”

Of course, they’re (well) trained to answer objections, but I broke in and said, “No, I’m really not interested.” This, of course, led to another question to find out my objection.

So I interrupted and said, “Hang on a minute…” and set the phone down in the other room. About four minutes later, I heard the off-hook tone indicating she had finally hung up.

I’m a nice guy, so I don’t like to swear or slam down the phone. I realize that these callers have a tough job, and I respect that they’re working hard to make a living. But saying, “Hang on a minute…” is actually the worst thing you can do to telemarketers – simply wasting their time when they could be making the next call.┬áIf they don’t respect a polite “no”, then I have no qualms about wasting their time.