VMware or video slowed down on notebook? Try vacuuming it!


This has happened a few times in the last three years. Hence we are sure of this.

Because of dust buildup the CPU or GPU in some notebook computers gets hotter than usual.  E.g. the GPU could be around 72°C instead of around 59°C. You may hear the fan spin faster and louder.

Simple software runs just fine. But…

if you are doing something which uses the processing units, e.g. watching a video stream, everything on the computer becomes horribly slow, really slow, behaves as if less than 10% of the processor is all it has, almost not workable, video stutters, other virtual machines are very slow, may take a minute to close a window, and takes a long time to recover even if you finally can stop the video playback or close one virtual machine.

This apparently isn’t just the effect of the processor protecting itself from overheating, and slowing down from 2.5GHz to 1.6GHz.

We have observed it on Enterprise Linux 6.x to 6.3 versions hosting VMware Workstation 7.x to 9.0.1 versions running Windows XP SP3 virtual machines with current VMware Tools installed.

Last week it has happened, again, on a high-end Dell Precision M6400 with quad-core and an Nvidia Quadro FX 3700M.

The fix

The problem went away when using a vacuum cleaner to suck dust out of the notebook’s air intake slots at the bottom of the notebook computer, both on the left and on the right, while the computer was running.

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Why I started the Adj framework


I’d not have spent time making the Adj framework unless I badly wanted it – and couldn’t get it.

As a prerequisite, I’d not want it unless it were an essential communication tool for work I’m doing.

Here is a little exploration into whether this work is part of a tradition, how much I am building on the work of others, whether I am doing this to have means to express myself, whether this is about enabling others.

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Adj framework release


This is an informal announcement of the first public release of the open source Adj framework.

Adj commands modify SVG.

One significant feature is “relative constraints”.

The original purpose of the Adj framework has been to facilitate creation and long-term maintenance of system diagrams. Adj has been designed specifically for diagrams of large complexity. Because of its general nature, other uses may be possible.

There has been working code for some time and there is a user guide.

You could be using it. The only file you really need is adj.js. Free of charge, forever.

You could improve on it, if so inclined.

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