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Sean Beckett

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New MBA plus Migration Assistant can lead to runaway Dock process

With the power contained in the newest 13" MacBook Airs l was ready to give up my 27" iMac for a laptop plus Thunderbolt display. My new laptop arrived today and after a few false starts with Migration Assistant, we got everything moved over and I switched to using my new machine.

While browsing Google Reader during lunch, I was getting hangs just moving between articles. A quick check of iStat Menus showed that two of my four cores were chugging at a constant 70% load, even after I closed all applications. I ran top -o cpu in Terminal to see what processes were burning up the wires and it turned out to be Dock, an Apple OS X internal process. A few minutes Googling lead me to this helpful page on MacRumors and specifically this post. I did indeed have a custom desktop pic on my old machine so this seemed a likely culprit.

I checked the contents of the ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.desktop.plist and didn't see anything earth-shattering. It appears to contain only options related to the desktop pictures (if they change over time, where are they located, etc.) Removing the plist is highly unlikely to have any long-term negative consequences, but to be extra careful, you can use these steps that don't destroy your old plist:

Open Terminal and run

mv ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.desktop.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.desktop.plist.bad
killall Dock

This caused the desktop to refresh, loading the default Lion background, and my CPU usage instantly dropped to sane levels. I opened up System Preferences and went to the Desktop pane and was able to quickly restore my preferred background image.

LABS
New Tech Talk: Parse

Many mobile developers find themselves rewriting the same server code for every app. Co-founder Kevin Lacker talks about Parse, a service that helps you build mobile applications without writing any backend code.

See all our talks at http://pivotallabs.com/talks

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New Tech Talk: Travis

Erik Michaels-Ober, Fellow at Code for America, discusses Travis CI, a modern distributed open-source build system for continuous integration.

See all our talks at http://pivotallabs.com/talks

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New Tech Talk: Hadoop for Rubyists

Is your MySQL database groaning under the weight of too much data? Are you tired of waiting for analytics rake tasks in Rails that take hours to run? Loren Siebert discusses how you can leverage your existing Ruby codebase by building Hadoop Map/Reduce jobs using Hive and plugging in your own custom Ruby mappers/reducers. This is good for Rubyists who want to apply what they know to Hadoop, and good for Hadoop users who don't want to build MapReduce functionality in Java.

See all our talks at http://pivotallabs.com/talks

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New Tech Talk: Business Intelligence for Engineers

The analysts and engineers at ModCloth have spent the past year building business intelligence tools to measure their business. Evan Tahler, Jennifer Suit, and Kate Zimmerman describe their agile approach to BI problems and share their process and tools.

See all our talks at http://pivotallabs.com/talks

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New Tech Talk: Frank: Cucumber Tests for Native iOS Apps

Frank allows you to write automated acceptance tests for native iOS apps using cucumber. You could describe it as Selenium for iOS. Pete Hodgson from ThoughtWorks shows some Frank tests and demonstrates additional tools that Frank provides.

See all our talks at http://pivotallabs.com/talks

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New Tech Talk: Introduction to Go

Keith Rarick of Heroku introduces the Go programming language, including code examples and discussion of its motivation, design, and philosophy. He covers Go's syntax, type system, concurrency model, and fun features from its tool set and build system.

See all our talks at http://pivotallabs.com/talks

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New Tech Talk: MongoDB Redux

Chris Westin, a mongoDB developer from 10gen, discusses more in-depth uses of mongoDB, reveals some of the product roadmap, and answers questions from the audience.

See all our talks at http://pivotallabs.com/talks

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New Tech Talk: Remote Pair Programming: People and Technology

Long-time Pivot Joe Moore had to learn how to effectively remote pair with developers across the country. He shares the lessons he's learned about the technologies and personal interactions that allow him to remote pair 8 hours a day without going mad.

See all our talks at http://pivotallabs.com/talks

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New Tech Talk: SoundSeed.me

Jared Cosulich of Irrational Design recently started a new music site, SoundSeed.Me. He discusses the process and emotions he's experiencing as he launches a new product, getting it built, finding the first users, iterating, testing, trying to get the right market fit.

See all our talks at http://pivotallabs.com/talks