Classic Dvorak



  • Ok, so it's not exactly new -- September 2003 -- but it's still classic.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1304348,00.asp

    Best quote:

    IDLE-TIME PROCESS. Once in a while the system will go into an
    idle mode, requiring from five minutes to half an hour to unwind. It's
    weird, and I almost always have to reboot. When I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete,
    I see that the System Idle Process is hogging all the resources and
    chewing up 95 percent of the processor's cycles. Doing what? Doing
    nothing?



  • I didn't get it. Especially regarding the title.

    But go visit the website, Its actually John C. Dvorak; not refering to
    the Dvorak keyboard layout (-; - it suddenly made much more sense.



  • I think you're correct with the swapping; Windows will swap its memory out to hard drive while its idle, even if nothing is actively going on -- I'm sure there's a reason for it, but I don't know what it is.  And then when the system wakes up again, it has to swap it all back into memory.  This, at least, happens to me every morning, and since it is I/O bound, the CPU does spend a lot of time idling.

    But, still: to claim that the system idle process is hogging up resources and chewing cycles?  You can't tell me that's not funny.  If Dvorak had simply claimed that Windows took a long time to come back alive after being left alone for awhile, that'd be one thing, but to claim that the system idle process is responsible for the slowdown is just classic.



  • @Colin McGuigan said:

    But, still: to claim that the system idle process is hogging up resources and chewing cycles?  You can't tell me that's not funny.  If Dvorak had simply claimed that Windows took a long time to come back alive after being left alone for awhile, that'd be one thing, but to claim that the system idle process is responsible for the slowdown is just classic.


    In defence of Dvorak: He's a journalist. He's something of a Windows power user, but you can't blame him entirely for this.

    A typical Windows user might discover the Task Manager dialog box by right-clicking on the taskbar, and then he might be thoroughly comfused by what he finds here. The dialog has many usability issues, one of the most prominent being that it doesn't do anything to explain that "System Idle Process" is actually anything special. It doesn't explain that "Memory Usage" is more of a measure of "total amount of code and data this task can access" than "amount of memory BELONGING to this task"--this point seems to confuse a lot of newbies.

    I don't think this is necessarily a PBKC error.



  • @Colin McGuigan said:

    But, still: to claim that the system idle process is hogging up resources and chewing cycles?  You can't tell me that's not funny.  If Dvorak had simply claimed that Windows took a long time to come back alive after being left alone for awhile, that'd be one thing, but to claim that the system idle process is responsible for the slowdown is just classic.

    Unless he meant the whole article as a joke.......

    Nah.



  • @AlpineR said:

    I've seen this text quoted many times, but I don't think it is as foolish as it seems.

    Dvorak is not complaining that the System Idle Process is running. Anyone who knows enough to hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete knows that it's presence is normal and good.

    The rest of that paragraph says: "Once in a while, after you've clicked all over the screen trying to get the system to do something other than idle, all your clicks suddenly ignite and the screen goes crazy with activity. This is not right."

    Dvorak is complaining that his system is slow. It's unresponsive -- there is a long delay before it responds to mouse clicks. He's probably hearing the hard drive churn while the system "unwinds". So he looks to see why it won't respond, and all he finds is the idle process!

    One possible reason for this behavior is that the system is swapping data between memory and disk. That is hardware-limited, so the processor could be mostly idle while the operating system is unresponsive. I've felt the agony of waiting for Windows to swap and it can be annoying.

    Another possibility is that the processor really is doing something but it's true activity is hidden. I know that some malware hides itself from diagnostic tools, especially with hidden filenames. Is it possible that Dvorak (who surely downloads and tries lots of untrusted software) has spyware bogging down the system and hiding behind System Idle Process?

    AlpineR

    Unusually, Linux is actually less confusing than Windows in terms of this information - idle time isn't accounted to any listed process, and time waiting for data to be read in from the hard disk is counted seperately from time spent truly idle (on modern versions, anyway).



  • Sometimes I feel that Windows is a bit too technical for most. Putting your Task Manager in such a locatio... Great for me, but what's my dad going to do with it?

    OSX got it right, mostly.

    Then again, the paranoid hiding of anything advanced isn't cheerful either.

    s it possible that Dvorak (who surely
    downloads and tries lots of untrusted software) has spyware bogging
    down the system and hiding behind System Idle Process?


    Sounds that way!

    My machine has no trouble at all "coming back alive" after being put to sleep. Though granted, it's only a few months old and the HD isn't polluted fom usage yet. I hope to keep it that way for as long as possible.



  • Hmmm... they're using some very familiar-looking forum software. On the plus side, it looks like they've fixed the pager not to use POST anymore, unlike a certain other site.



  • @makomk said:

    Hmmm... they're using some very familiar-looking
    forum software. On the plus side, it looks like they've fixed the pager
    not to use POST anymore, unlike a certain other site.


    WTF?!?!?



  • My work computer will do this at times too, and it has nothing to do with putting it to sleep and then coming back to wake it up later.  I'll just be sitting there coding, reading email, or whatnot, and the thing will start slowing down unbearably.  I'll hit Windows Key + D to switch to the desktop, and I'll see the desktop (sans icons) being slowly painted on my screen for about 15 seconds.  When that finishes, the icons will pop up one by one.  None of my mouse clicks seem to register, but then after a little bit all the actions associated with those mouse clicks will happen all at once, and everything will be back to normal.

    When this happens, provided I'm even able to get the Task Manager to come up, I'll see that the System Idle process is taking up something like 95% in the CPU column.  I know that there's usually something strange going on and that the system isn't actually just being obstinate and refusing to do what I told it to do, but I can see how someone else might see the same thing and think, "Well, c'mon, Windows!  Quit fing being idle and do what I fing told you to do!"



  • @makomk said:

    Hmmm... they're using some very familiar-looking forum software. On the plus side, it looks like they've fixed the pager not to use POST anymore, unlike a certain other site.


    They are using some very familiar-looking forum software.  And interestingly, they have it configured slightly differently from our favourite forum, TDWTF:
    • Only ten posts per page (not a big deal, except for...)
    • Paging links at the top of the page
    Alex, maybe you can do the same thing.  Having those paging links at the bottom is very tedious when the pages are 50 posts long.  It's almost as bad as Hotmail's incredibly-difficult-to-find "Return-to-Inbox" link when viewing messages.  Navigation is the most common operation on a multi-page web site!  It should be possible to do it with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back!



  • @UncleMidriff said:

    My work computer will do this at times too, and it has nothing to do with putting it to sleep and then coming back to wake it up later.  I'll just be sitting there coding, reading email, or whatnot, and the thing will start slowing down unbearably.  I'll hit Windows Key + D to switch to the desktop, and I'll see the desktop (sans icons) being slowly painted on my screen for about 15 seconds.  When that finishes, the icons will pop up one by one.  None of my mouse clicks seem to register, but then after a little bit all the actions associated with those mouse clicks will happen all at once, and everything will be back to normal.

    When this happens, provided I'm even able to get the Task Manager to come up, I'll see that the System Idle process is taking up something like 95% in the CPU column.  I know that there's usually something strange going on and that the system isn't actually just being obstinate and refusing to do what I told it to do, but I can see how someone else might see the same thing and think, "Well, c'mon, Windows!  Quit fing being idle and do what I fing told you to do!"


    I innocently propose the following:
    - clean up your drive
    - defrag
    - get more memory



  • @dhromed said:


    I innocently propose the following:
    - clean up your drive
    - defrag
    - get more memory


    I have experienced this idling problem with XP. I increased the memory, I closed down running processes and excess services, and still it does it. TBH it doesn't look like it's "busy idling", but more like the message pump that drives the Win32 UI gets stuck, and then suddenly responds to all the messages that it's been queuing up since it stopped. This would certainly explain why the mouse clicks are responded to eventually, instead of ignored; the system is listening for events, but not doing anything about them. Not even redraw events are properly handled.

    On the subject of what Dvorak meant by "When I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete, I see that the System Idle Process is
    hogging all the resources and chewing up 95 percent of the processor's
    cycles. Doing what? Doing nothing?",
    it appears that he was simply being sarcastic. The implication is that, yes, the system really is doing nothing, not even responding to UI messages ...



  • I've never had what you experience.



  • Quite obviously Dvorak was being facetious.  Remember his 4-bit processor story? 

    --Jim



  • With some of the random, idiotic stuff he's spouted in the past, it certainly isn't "obvious" when (or if...) Dvorak is being facetious.



  • @HitScan said:

    With some of the random, idiotic stuff he's spouted in the past, it certainly isn't "obvious" when (or if...) Dvorak is being facetious.


    I think you pissmelt "Dvorak is an utter cock"

    HTH  HAND

    Simon



  • @Jevon said:

    Go IE7....

    Heh... apparently the forum software doesn't recognise IE7 as Internet Explorer for some reason. (It does that if you post with any web browser it doesn't recognise - not sure why, and it's more or less fixed in CS 2.0 anyway. I use Konqueror, and I have to set its user agent to IE6 in order to post here properly.)


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