8/01/2008

08-01-08 - 4

I'm trying to clean up my hard disk a bit, and keep finding evil nonsense. There are a lot of programs out there that keep disk caches themselves and don't limit their size. ACDSee is one, it keeps a file metadata cache which just grows and grows. Visual Assist is a huge culprit. It keeps a history of your edits to help you get unsaved backups, which is cool and all, but there doesn't seem to be a size limit, so that thing was like 2 G. iTunes is keeping a ton of crud in "Application Data" that's worthless. The other big thing is there various "tmp" dirs scattered around, fucking people don't use the standard "%tmp" which I periodically wipe.

It's sort of a constant problem that as computers get bigger and more powerful, programmers get lazier. Programs are a gas, they expand to fill whatever space is available. To some extent that's reasonable, as computers are more powerful it's not wise to spend so much time on micro optimization, you should use that power to get your program done faster and with more features. However, people usually do this the wrong way.

Just because the computer is bigger and faster doesn't mean it's okay to use systems with bad asymptotic behavior. That is, your O() should still be right, but you can just be a bit more sloppy about the constant factor in front of that. Bad programmers instead get lazy and do things like use O(N^2) systems instead of O(NlogN). Similarly, just because you can use more disk space or more memory doesn't mean its okay to keep growing your disk cache without limit, or to have a memory leak and just never free things. Yes, you can be more bloated, but you can't be just plain wrong.

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