Safari 4: Caching Images of Every Page You Visit, Where it’s Hard For You To Find Them

Safari 4 beta leaves data, privacy trail in its wake – MAC.BLORGE.

Yesterday I decided to give Safari 4 Beta another try.  It’s supposed to be super fast and all, and I was thinking about those sites like Facebook and which seem to cause a ton of extra CPU usage when I leave them open… thinking maybe a more efficient Javascript engine would make them more pleasant to have around.

I tried it, and it was super fast, but if anything it achieved that speed by causing even worse CPU churn, so after a while oohing and aahing at its speed I toasted it, uninstalled and went back to Firefox 3.

Then I read this article, and the article it links to, and sure enough, in the short part of the evening I was using Safari 4 I had generated 170+ megs of data in a hidden, can’t-reach-without-command-line-fu location on my computer, not even in my personal user directory.  (I don’t think it’s hidden for nefarious reasons; Apple doesn’t roll like that.  I think it’s hidden because this cache is what the Apple engineers needed to achieve the effect they wanted, and they didn’t think you should have to worry your pretty little head about how they did it or how much of your disk space they used to do it.)

And darned if that hidden cache directory didn’t include full size image files of every site I’d visited during that time.  Which stayed behind after I uninstalled the beta.  How much data would there have been after a week of usage?  A month?

Lame, Apple.  Lame.

Finder Grinder: The CPU Syndrome

I’ve had a problem for a while on my macbook (running Leopard) that the Finder would just suck up CPU like crazy.  Restarting it often didn’t change anything.  I never found any useful information googling on it, until recently.

In this thread I hit on the idea of sampling the Finder process, and when I did so, I found that the biggest sucker of CPU was a function called “getdirentriesattr.”  Googling *that* up, I found reports that this function is used iterating through really big directories calculating folder sizes, and that in fact:

It looks like it is iterating some directory to get its total size. This happens on my machine when I either File Menu->Get Info on a very large folder, or view the folder in List View with Calculate Folder Sizes enabled. Its trying to get the total size of that directory. Apparently there is a bug where the Finder doesn’t stop trying to get the size after you have stopped viewing that folder, or even turned off Calculate Folder Sizes in List View (until you quit/relaunch the Finder).

I opened up a Finder window, pulled down View – Show View Options, and deselected “calculate all sizes.”  I made that the default, and then restarted Finder.

Suddenly my Finder’s at 0% CPU instead of a steady 20-80%.  And my fan isn’t on all the time.

SWEET.  Thank you Apple for having the tools that made it possible to dig down into the process and discover this, but nuts to you for that bug existing in the first place!

Creepiest Add-On Ever

Ghostery is a Firefox add-on with a Zen simplicity: it tells you who’s watching you, via ad networks and “web bugs.”  It doesn’t try to stop them from watching you, or do anything about it.  It just lets you know.  Which is somehow even creepier than doing something about it….  “Oh, Google Analytics knows you visited this page.  Quantcast is watching you visit this page.  Tacoda and WebTrends both know you visited this page.”

It’s an unassuming little box in the upper right hand corner of the web page.  It disappears after a few seconds.  No big deal.  Easy to miss it.

On this page, on, it tells you google adsense and doubleclick are both watching you.  Since I put the ads on these pages.  I don’t think I’ve ever made so much as a penny from them.  Checking… nope, never a penny.  Maybe it’s time to give up on that experiment.  Turn down the creep factor a notch.