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Mac OS X Lion Essential Training
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Monitoring system performance


From:

Mac OS X Lion Essential Training

with Christopher Breen

Video: Monitoring system performance

Now let me take you on a short tour of the important elements of Activity Monitor. Activity Monitor as its name implies is a utility that allows you to peek into what your Mac is doing in the background. Let's see how that works. So we'll go to Spotlight > Activity and here it is, the Activity Monitor window. Here you can see a series of things called processes. These are things that your computer is doing. Some of these you're going to recognize. For example Finder, you know what that is, Dock, you know what that is, but there's a lot of other stuff that's going on the background that you have no idea what its purpose is.
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  1. 1m 26s
    1. Welcome
      53s
    2. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 4m 42s
    1. Installing Lion
      4m 42s
  3. 44m 44s
    1. Touring the Finder
      10m 19s
    2. Launching and working with apps
      4m 22s
    3. Sorting and starting apps with Launchpad
      3m 13s
    4. Organizing workspaces with Mission Control
      4m 35s
    5. Using trackpad gestures
      8m 22s
    6. Using mouse gestures
      2m 22s
    7. Understanding file saving in Lion
      4m 35s
    8. Using Text to Speech
      3m 9s
    9. Installing software
      3m 47s
  4. 26m 51s
    1. Personalizing the interface
      7m 31s
    2. Staying current with Software Update
      4m 13s
    3. Configuring Mail, Address Book, and iCal
      5m 2s
    4. Setting up printers
      3m 39s
    5. Backing up with Time Machine
      6m 26s
  5. 10m 49s
    1. Finding files with Spotlight
      5m 16s
    2. Digging deeper with Finder searches
      5m 33s
  6. 39m 6s
    1. Configuring basic personal preferences
      11m 14s
    2. Optimizing Mission Control preferences
      3m 42s
    3. Configuring basic Audio and Video preferences
      4m 34s
    4. Adjusting Input Device preferences
      7m 45s
    5. Configuring Bluetooth input devices
      2m 36s
    6. Modifying Date & Time Preferences
      2m 38s
    7. Getting on the internet
      3m 56s
    8. Using an alternate startup disk
      2m 41s
  7. 3m 22s
    1. Understanding Dashboard widgets
      3m 22s
  8. 23m 20s
    1. Navigating the interface
      6m 30s
    2. Filtering junk mail and sorting messages with rules
      4m 22s
    3. Scheduling appointments with iCal
      6m 38s
    4. Organizing contacts with Address Book
      5m 50s
  9. 37m 5s
    1. Basic word processing in TextEdit
      7m 56s
    2. Using Dictionary
      2m 51s
    3. Preview: Working with images
      6m 20s
    4. Preview: Working with PDFs
      6m 13s
    5. Installing and managing fonts
      5m 37s
    6. Creating quick notes using Stickies
      3m 24s
    7. Using Calculator
      4m 44s
  10. 34m 27s
    1. Navigating the web
      4m 49s
    2. Working with bookmarks
      7m 15s
    3. Adding and reading RSS feeds
      2m 38s
    4. Using Reading List
      3m 7s
    5. Saving web pages and creating web clips
      1m 15s
    6. Using Safari to search the web
      3m 13s
    7. Opening local files in Safari
      2m 33s
    8. Working with Safari's preferences
      4m 33s
    9. Configuring privacy settings
      5m 4s
  11. 13m 45s
    1. Playing media
      9m 3s
    2. Recording
      4m 42s
  12. 18m 26s
    1. Video chatting in FaceTime
      5m 26s
    2. Text and video messaging in iChat
      9m 6s
    3. Shooting videos and pictures in Photo Booth
      3m 54s
  13. 12m 46s
    1. Automating complex tasks
      12m 46s
  14. 13m 55s
    1. Monitoring system performance
      3m 20s
    2. Setting up a Windows installation in Boot Camp
      3m 49s
    3. Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices
      6m 46s
  15. 15m 55s
    1. Understanding sharing
      4m 59s
    2. Sharing files on a network
      3m 23s
    3. Screen sharing with a remote computer
      4m 7s
    4. Sending files with AirDrop
      3m 26s
  16. 38m 47s
    1. Modifying Language & Text settings
      6m 38s
    2. Optimizing Security & Privacy settings
      6m 24s
    3. Configuring access for for the disabled
      7m 23s
    4. Using Energy Saver
      4m 42s
    5. Adding and changing users
      6m 19s
    6. Configuring Parental Controls
      7m 21s
  17. 18m 33s
    1. Preventive measures: Creating a Lion boot drive
      7m 40s
    2. Understanding and configuring permissions
      3m 6s
    3. Troubleshooting techniques
      7m 47s
  18. 6m 11s
    1. Techniques for using the Mac efficiently
      5m 22s
    2. Next steps
      49s

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Mac OS X Lion Essential Training
6h 4m Beginner Sep 13, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Macworld senior editor Christopher Breen provides a comprehensive overview of Mac OS X Lion, complete with insider tips for getting the most out of the operating system. The course shows how to configure system preferences, personalize the interface, and master gestures, as well as achieve fluency with applications such as Mail, iCal, and Preview. The course also includes tutorials on browsing the web with Safari, automating complex tasks with Automator, sharing over a network, and performing maintenance operations using the disk utility, along with timesaving techniques for using the Mac efficiently.

Topics include:
  • Migrating to Lion
  • Launching and working with applications
  • Organizing workspaces with Mission Control
  • Using Text-to-Speech
  • Searching with Spotlight
  • Backing up with Time Machine
  • Configuring wireless Bluetooth input devices
  • Staying current with Software Update
  • Understanding the Dashboard widgets
  • Filtering junk mail and sorting messages with rules in Mail
  • Playing and recording media with QuickTime
  • Video chatting with FaceTime
  • Monitoring system performance
  • Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices
  • Screen sharing with a remote computer
  • Optimizing Security & Privacy settings
  • Troubleshooting techniques
Subjects:
Business Operating Systems Computer Skills (Mac)
Software:
Mac OS X
Author:
Christopher Breen

Monitoring system performance

Now let me take you on a short tour of the important elements of Activity Monitor. Activity Monitor as its name implies is a utility that allows you to peek into what your Mac is doing in the background. Let's see how that works. So we'll go to Spotlight > Activity and here it is, the Activity Monitor window. Here you can see a series of things called processes. These are things that your computer is doing. Some of these you're going to recognize. For example Finder, you know what that is, Dock, you know what that is, but there's a lot of other stuff that's going on the background that you have no idea what its purpose is.

Now this is great for looking at minutia but what you really want to do is find out what's taking up your processor's time. That's why we're in Activity Monitor. If there's an application that's eating up your processor that could cause your Mac to slow down, so we want to check in Activity Monitor and if there's a problem we can quit the problem application and then put your Mac back in good working order. So how do you tell us something's eating up your processor? Well, one way to that is to go the %CPU column, click so that the most active processes are at the top of the list.

Right now there's nothing much going on that's a problem for Mac. However, let's give this a shot. I'll choose process name, I'll organize alphabetically, and now I'm going to plug my digital camera into my Mac. When I do that iPhoto launches and it finds my camera. Now let's find iPhoto in Activity Monitor and let's see what it does with the %CPU column. Now check this out. It's using 85% of the processes currently. It's also using 15 threads, which you don't need to be too concerned about. Also the amount of RAM that it's using.

These all indicate that iPhoto is taking up a lot of my Mac's attention. Now that's not a big problem because we know that iPhoto is going to finish the job pretty soon and once it does then the CPU is going to calm down again and operate at a normal level for iPhoto. But suppose you have an application that keeps hitting the processor and won't let go? Then you seem to have a problem. Let's see how you deal with that. So I'm going to launch Safari, which I'm not saying is a problem application but I just want to show you how to quit a process that may be a problem.

So go to Safari, make this window smaller, so we can see Activity Monitor and we'll find Safari in Activity Monitor, here it is. See it's not doing very much, but if I wanted to quit Safari all I have to do is go to Quit Process and click on it. The option you should choose is Quit. However if you do that and you notice that the item turns red it means it's stuck, it can't quit. In that case you choose Force Quit. That will force it to quit and then the process will disappear and hopefully your problems clear up.

So now we'll just quit Safari by clicking on Quit. Indeed it's gone. It disappears from Activity Monitor and we're set. You can do lots of other stuff with Activity Monitor. You can check out your memory, and your disk activity, your disk usage and also your network throughput. But for our purposes we're really here to look to see what you can do with Activity Monitor to help your Mac run better, and that's Activity Monitor.

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