January 20, 2013 [LINK / comment]

iMac memory upgrade: success!

For the last few months, it seems my iMac computer has been straining harder and harder to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of Facebook and other Web sites overloaded with Flash and user interactive functions. So, I finally decided to get a memory upgrade last week, and I'm happy to report that everything is working much more smoothly now.

In particular, I purchased a four-gigabyte dual inline memory module from Ramjet, based in Champaign, Illinois, and the little bundle of electronics arrived in just a few days via regular mail. ("RAM" stands for "random access memory" in computer lingo.) It was the second time I had purchased a memory module from them, the first being in January 2010, and I was better prepared this time. You have to avoid static buildup by holding onto copper plumbing pipes or similar metal grounding, or else the slightest spark can ruin the delicate circuitry in those RAM chips. As you can see in the photo below, all cables must be disconnected from the iMac first, and then it is laid face down on a flat surface with a towel. Then the covering plate is unscrewed and a little plastic tab is pulled to release one of the old memory modules. In this case, I replaced the original 1 GB memory module with the new 4 GB memory module, leaving the previous upgrade 2 GB memory module in place, for a net total of six gigabytes. It slid into place fairly easily, and before I knew it, everything was hooked up again, and the machine was booted up. Sure enough, choosing the "About This Mac" menu option yielded a window showing that 6 GB of memory were present. Ta - dahhh!

iMac memory upgrade

Carefully installing a 4 GB memory module into the slot on the underside of my iMac.

Apple recommends that memory upgrades be done by trained technicians, and doing it yourself may void all or part of the warranty. Since my iMac is nearly five years old (see my February 24, 2008 blog post), that is of little consequence in my case. I can tell you that the problems I have had with the Safari Web browser being slowed down to a snail's pace, and relying on hard disk access just to scroll up and down a graphics-laden Web page, have virtually disappeared. It's kind of like getting an oil change for one's car. Now that my computer is running much more quickly and smoothly, maybe I can start working more efficiently. In sum, I am one happy Mac camper! smile

Science & Technology page new features

My Science & Technology blog page, which like some of my other topical blog pages has not been updated for several months, has two new features. First, there is a tabular representation of the planets in our solar system, showing their respective distances from the sun (mean orbital radius) and their approximate relative sizes. Some basic information on each planet is displayed when you roll the mouse over them. Just some cute infotainment, if you will.

Of perhaps more immediate practical use is a new table of HTML standard colors, along with the three-character codes for each one; e.g., "ff0" (yellow) is equivalent to "ffff00." (Those are hexadecimal numbers, i.e., base 16.) The three primary and three secondary colors, and four shades of gray (not 50) are indicated by underlines, with rollover effects for good measure.

And finally, I have begun upgrading the Periodic Table of the Elements on that page, which will eventually display information about each element when you roll the mouse over the appropriate table cell. At present, only the names are displayed.