October 17th, 2008


Did you see where I put my memory?

A lot of people claim that their memory is terrible once they get older. Certainly I remember my parents complaining about it when I was a child. They seemed to attribute it to aging, as many people do. Lately I’ve discovered that I have my own issues, and I have some thoughts about that.

It’s pretty clear to me that the memory issue is not a direct function of getting older. I’d been getting older and older without any appreciable impact of my memory. In fact, my memory was great. What happened was that I had a baby, that’s when I started to lose track of things. Recently we got email from a local dance teacher letting us know that Warren had left his shoes behind at her dance. It used to be that I could not only keep track of my own possessions, but I could also make sure that Warren left places with his hat, gloves and dance shoes. It was after receiving this email that I realized that my memory problem wasn’t what I thought it was.

The truth is that I am like an aging computer. I have as much memory as I always did, it hasn’t gone anywhere. What has happened is that I’ve gotten a software upgrade without a corresponding hardware upgrade, and now the available resources are stretched thin, which makes it seem like I have less memory. I had loads of RAM when all I had to run was PersonalTracker; I always knew where my stuff was, when my appointments were, and I remembered all sorts of miscellany. Then I installed HusbandTracker, and I still had plenty or RAM to run that. I could keep track of his shoes, hat, gloves and even the occasional book he was reading a month ago and left somewhere in his huge piles of clutter. Things ran fine for years with hardly any errors. Then last June I installed BabyTracker, and that’s when the other applications started crashing. You see BabyTracker is much like an Oracle instance, and will allocate all the available memory to itself given half the chance. We had taken the baby to the dance in question, so the reason the shoes got left behind was that HusbandTracker was starved for resources because BabyTracker was busy making sure that we left the dance with the baby properly strapped into the carseat, and with the blanket, and the diaper bag, etc.

Now that I’ve properly diagnosed the problem, the solution is obvious. I need a hardware upgrade, especially since the long-term planning calls for running multiple instances of BabyTracker. Can anyone tell me how to order more RAM for my brain, or even how to allocate more swap space?