…and having the same problems. I had/have the same problem…

Origin: Tech Reflect – How I almost worked directly for Steve Jobs vía FAQ-Mac – Recuerdos de un miembro del equipo de Aperture

…Unsurprisingly, Steve was a very heavy Mail user and also used Address Book (which I worked on as well) to keep notes for every phone call he made. It was this habit that started a chain of events that led to my life almost being very different.

Back to Address Book. Steve had a very, very large address book because of all the notes he kept from phone calls. At that time in Apple history, two things conspired to make this a problematic practice on Steve’s part:

  1. People used what were called “network home directories”. Essentially, the operating system and applications lived on your local hard drive but your own data lived on a network server somewhere. This would inevitably lead to things behaving more slowly, but provided the advantage of portability. Steve could log in from Apple, Pixar, and home and his data would be ready for him.
  2. Address Book was designed at the time to have a single database file that would save in its entirety every time a single change was made. Normally, this was not an issue as most people don’t have much data in their address books and networks that employees encountered were relatively fast.


The issue

So, here’s the issue that Steve faced. Every time he replied to a message in Mail, it would hang for a really, really long time. Many seconds. More than 10 seconds. A frustratingly long time. The reason this happened is this:

  1. Information about people you recently sent email to was stored in the Address Book. Whenever you hit reply, it would record the time you last wrote to the person to use that later for auto-completion
  2. Since Steve and many people used network home directories, the first thing that would happen would be the entire Address Book database would write to the network
  3. Due to the abnormally large address book Steve had, this significantly worsened the problem
  4. Finally, Mail was architected poorly such that this writing out of the Address Book database cause the application to hang

Not surprisingly, Steve was frustrated and let Robert and his admin know as often as possible that this needed to be fixed and soon. I started to get far too used to seeing “Office of the CEO” on my phone as Robert was calling me from Steve’s desk.…