Swapping out my brain

Recently my hard drive on my old MacBook Pro started to make very ominous grinding noises, particularly if I did anything with a lot of disk access (such as watching YouTube videos). Add in the general age of the computer and the fact the tab key has been intermittent for a while, and it was time for a change. 

Eventually, I purchased a MacBook Pro with a Retina display, because how can I keep my credentials as a designer if I don’t spend time fretting about displaying graphics for a high-density screen? Moving machines forced me to rethink what I had lying around my hard drive and why.

Moving stuff over

Now, one could argue that instead of transferring files over via an Ethernet cable, I could have just started anew. And that works for some people, but I do enjoy having familiar desktop patterns, files, and the accumulation of years of dragging that machine around to coffee shops and conferences. So I brought over everything.

There were a few obstacles to this: music and applications that fit fine on a hard drive were a bit much to fit on a standard SSD.

Music library

The first to complain was iTunes. Since I am a bit of a packrat, I had every episode of every podcast I’ve ever listened to, so there were gigabytes of old episodes, like episodes of The Bugle and Walking the Room. In addition, the default settings in iTunes kept podcasts that were months old and I hadn't planned on listening to again.

I reset the defaults to only keep unplayed podcasts while still downloading new episodes. That saved some room and everything transferred over.


Another place to prune were the applications that I've accumulated over the years. Some of the apps were old enough that they were for PowerPC processors and wouldn''t work on Intel-based Macs or were just versions ago. Of course, why did I have PPC apps on an Intel hard drive, and that is a very good question that I will answer as soon as I think of a good reason.

However, there were unexpected sources of bloat. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that the Google Chrome was over 5GB in size. I mean, applications become larger over time, but that's a bit ridiculous! The key is that Chrome silently archives old versions. If you go the application in the Finder and view package contents, you can prune them--I had dozens of versions of Chrome, taking up hard drive space.

This man saved gigs of data with one simple step, SSD manufacturers hate him!

Doug Hanke