Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Out of Memory

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Out of Memory

I always though the “Blue Screen of Death” was the message you never wanted to see on a PC. But there is another one – Out of Memory.

I’m not exactly sure how this message manifests itself in all circumstances, but I know how it affects website building. Website building programs have internal limits on how much space they need to function, meaning, the number of processes they use as they are being built, and as they run.

Those limits depend on whether they are 32-bit or 64-bit. If they are 32-bit, they can only use about 2 or 3 gigabytes of memory at most. I’m also not sure where that memory comes from. It doesn’t seem to be RAM and it doesn’t seem to be from the computer’s Hard drive. But once the program hits its limit, it crashes.

There is no fix for this except moving to a 64-bit version. It’s a physical barrier, like a wall. But there are options. One is to go to Task Manager and turn off other processes that might be using memory unnecessarily. I say “might” because this is tricky. You can’t always be sure if a process is necessary to the session you have open. Turning off the wrong one can shut down your current session, requiring a restart. Or, you can get rid of parts of the site you’re building that you don’t really need. With them gone, they won’t load and so that’s less memory you need.

Or, you can split the site into pieces. The problem seems to be that all of the site in one file, like a bunch of appliances plugged into the same circuit, can cause a crash. But putting different pieces of the site into different folders in the site’s directory tree, and linking to them from the root directory (don’t ask me what I just said) apparently divides the memory use so all of the site isn’t running at one time from the same place.

Anybody who has read my blog knows it’s not just about interviewing. It’s also about trying to have a web presence doing something I love, and dealing with problems along the way. I am chronicling what seem to me to be the minimum number of things somebody like me trying to do what I’m doing might expect to encounter. So I’m also offering them as a heads up.

I kind of like problems because they piss me off and make me prove to myself how committed I am to what I’m doing.

They make me think.

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Written by Interviewer

October 15, 2013 at 22:48

Posted in Scratchpad

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