The crazy thing I did to fix Yosemite performance

Michael Crawford mdcrawford at
Mon Nov 3 13:53:56 PST 2014

IBM made the first hard drives out of red paint.  I mean like the
paint they use on the golden gate bridge.  I Am Absolutely Serious.

But that kind of paint tends to clump up, so they were filtering it
through ladies' nylon stockings.  (Facepalm).

It didn't occur to me until just recently that they could have used
Jeweler's Rouge.  It's the same Ferrous Oxide (Fe2O3) as used for red
primer paint, but the particles are very very fine.  It's used for
polishing optical glass, and is quite cheap.  It's made by baking a
chemical preparation of Oxalic Acid and a few other things in a
low-temperature oven.

Quite likely whoever made those first drives for IBM wasn't familiar
with making telescopes so he just bought a can of paint at his local
hardware store.

Al Shugart's first disk drive business didn't work out, so he put his
company under then, for a few years, operated a liquor bar in Santa
Cruz, California.  Eventually he founded Seagate.  I'm not clear
whether he figured out a better way to make the drives, or perhaps the
introduction of the IBM PC made it easier to sell them.

The Navy was all over me like a cheap suit to accept the Naval Reserve
Officer's Training Corps scholarship when I graduated high school in
1982.  Some jackass enlisted man rang me up at home one day to say
"How can you know what the Navy is like if you've never tried it?"

"Listen I grew up in the Navy I know more about it than you do."

I did interview for the scholarship, but the Captain who conducted my
interview said that my interest in Physics suggested that I'd make a
great nuclear submarine reactor.  I am quite claustrophobic so I
turned it down.

But had he suggested I run aircraft carrier reactors, I likely would
have accepted the scholarship.  On the surface of the ocean, one has
the chance of survival by swimming through burning jet fuel, you see.

I often wonder how life would have been different for me, had I been a
Naval officer like my father.  He would have been quite proud of me.

I gave the eulogy at his funeral.  He's at rest in Willamette National
Cemetery now, just south of Portland Oregon.  That's one of the
reasons I moved here, so I could be near my father, and honor his
service to our country, and to the world.

Just one last off-topic word:

My father felt that the entire American military was a whole bunch of
total slackers.  He really did.  He had quite a lot of respect for the
Soviet military.  He wanted very much for them to be our friends, and
wanted very, very much to avoid ever having to shoot at them.

One day while standing watch, my father looked through his binoculars
to see a Soviet sailor looking right back at him, as their ships
passed in the Mediterranean.  Dad waved at the sailor.  The Soviet
seaman put down his binoculars, carefully looked to the left and to
the right, stepped into a doorway so as not to be seen by his

... and waved back!
Michael David Crawford
mdcrawford at

   Available for Software Development in the Portland, Oregon Metropolitan

On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 1:40 PM, Jeff Singleton <gvibe06 at> wrote:
> Wow Michael.. we should talk.
> VAX/VMS and Fortran is what I worked with in the Navy for 8 years. Ah yes,
> back in the day when hard drives were the size of truck tires.
> Jeff
> On 11/3/14 2:22 PM, Michael Crawford wrote:
>>> I'm a frothing Unix geek (for about 40 years)
>> Heh.
>> I'm a frothing VAX/VMS Geek myself.  I actually scored a FORTRAN
>> contract in 2006.
>> There _are_ some advantages to OS X over UNIX.  One thing that has
>> always gotten me down about UNIX is that when one "installs" a new
>> program, it's likely to spew files all over G-d Almighty's Own
>> Creation.  OS X GUI applications, and many other programs are all in
>> these newfangled "packages" - small directory heirarchies.
>> However, very few UNIX distros will permit the adoption of GnuStep - a
>> Free Software Cocoa Clone - for the specific reason that these
>> packages violate the Linux Standards Base.
>> I myself regard these packages as solving the Linux filesystem layout
>> problem, not screwing it up.
>> Apple has lots of mailing lists that you'd find useful, all at
>>  Stuff like darwin-kernel, darwin-drivers.
>> Everyone there is friendly to the UNIX folk.
>> Michael David Crawford
>> mdcrawford at
>>     Available for Software Development in the Portland, Oregon
>> Metropolitan
>> Area.
>> On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 12:12 PM, Dave Horsfall <dave at> wrote:
>>> On Mon, 3 Nov 2014, Michael Crawford wrote:
>>>> There's lots of good stuff for developers.
>>> [...]
>>> Thanks; that's pretty much what I'm after.
>>> I'm a frothing Unix geek (for about 40 years) who was attracted to the
>>> Mac
>>> precisely because it ran FreeBSD (sort of), but I never ceased to be
>>> amazed at how they've basically broken things that worked just fine, such
>>> as /etc/fstab, /etc/inetd.conf, /etc/crontab, etc.  They all seem to be
>>> merged into one monolithic program that I find difficult to trust, yet
>>> alone understand.
>>> I'm very much a command-line freak, not a Gooey-freak.
>>> --
>>> Dave Horsfall (VK2KFU)  "Bliss is a MacBook with a FreeBSD server."
>>> (and check the home page whilst you're
>>> there)
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> macports-users mailing list
>>> macports-users at
>> _______________________________________________
>> macports-users mailing list
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