PSA: Macbook speed tips

Public Service Announcement – MacBook speed issues.  I found series of steps that actually fixed my computer speed problems and I thought I’d share what worked.  (Please note, I am not a Mac expert.  I just trusted what these people did and so far, it has worked nicely for me…exercise caution and only do these if you’re comfortable w/ it yourself.)

Got the advice from this forum:  http://community.livejournal.com/macintosh/3164116.html.  People there were nice enough to help some person out – and I happened to find the nuggets later:

Q:  MacBook is laggy, slow, sluggish, stuttering, etc.  Delays when I use mousepad, click around Firefox.  Frustrating.

A: You might do these things
(1) Try going to Accounts in System Preferences and seeing if your account is set to autorun any programs at login, and if it is, remove the ones that you didn’t know were autorunning and remove the ones that don’t need to.

(2) Then, restart the Mac and run Activity Monitor (it’s in /Applications/Utilities) and see what’s running – if there’s anything undesirable running in the background you might want to consider coming back and asking us how to stop it doing so.

(3) Secondly, verification/repair of a disk permission isn’t difficult – simply go to /Applications/Utilities again but this time run Disk Utility, select your hard drive and click ‘Verify Disk Permissions’. Mac OS X will check your drive and come back with a verdict as to how healthy the drive is, and if it isn’t healthy, should offer to ‘Repair Disk Permissions’. Try that, too.

(4) Run Activity Monitor (in /Apps/Utilities) to see what’s running on your Mac. You can sort processes by % CPU or Real Memory to see if anything is using abnormal amounts of system resources. I’ve had problems with Firefox leaking memory

(5) Run Leopard Cache Cleaner and see if that helps.  Run a deep cache cleaning, and all maintenance tasks.   Free download:  http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/system_disk_utilities/leopardcachecleaner.html.

MD: I think what really solved my problem was (5) the Leopard cleaner – I did like 5 different ‘cleaning’ operations using that thing and it even rehabilited my very old iMac, too.

Top Ecommerce Sites, Conversion Performance

Great chart, “Top 10 Online Retailers by Conversion Rate – October 2008” posted on www.marketingcharts.com, listing the sites with especially good sales conversion rates.

Matt (@tugglmatt) pointed this out and theorized a bit about why they exceeded the performance of the other gajillion websites out on the information superhighway.  He asked: “Top 10 web retailers by conv. rate. Is it traffic quality? site optimization? user intent? interesting chart…”

This got me wondering, so I checked out a sampling of three that I wasn’t intimately familiar with.  I suspect that conversion rates at a site like ‘OfficeDepot.com’ might partially be so strong because of their obvious brand leadership.  Along the same lines, I figured that a site from a company who was not the obvious industry leader might be more related to its layout and design quality…

ProFlowers.com
Blair.com
Roamans.com

I found ProFlowers.com (same company family as RedEnvelope.com and others) to be especially sharp and awesome.  Roaman’s is awesome too.  I find the actual product listings sub-pages to be more attractive than the index page on all 3 examples.

So here’s a quick hit list of my observations.  Clearly, this isn’t the whole story, but I noticed the following common threads:

First, they all have the obvious, clean layout, seo friendly text link navigation, nice buttons, sharp edges.

  • All have bright colors, either a pretty pastel or otherwise attractive coloring
  • Lot of white space, or clean space
  • All have trust signals clearly displayed…McAfee, plus Verisign or another
  • All have narrow page width, not 1000mpx, would fit horizontally on small-ish monitor
  • Product prices in red font
  • Large selection of relatively low cost products
  • Images’ prices displayed below the image, not to the side
  • Full secondary product pages always 4 columns wide, many rows tall,
  • Prices in red font in two of them
  • Attractive smiling women on index page of two
  • All have nav bar across top, not along side
  • All have a search box clearly displayed at the top
  • Order Status, Track My Order links at top of every one

So what do you all think?  What about these sites makes their per-visitor conversion so much higher?  Notice something in common among them that are unobvious?  Other examples of the finest sites you can think of?