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This morning I took apart my mac mini (yep, with a putty knife) and swapped in 8 gig of RAM for the 4 that were in there. Wow. It's gone from "careful what you open" to "not a problem". I've got the Activity Monitor open, and free RAM appears to have stabilized at about 3 gig. Swap and pageouts are still firmly at 0.

I guess it was just a tipping-point thing -- if I still had 4 gig of RAM I'd be swapping every time I did anything (as I was). And modern bloatware does not swap prettily.

Makes me think that the next machine I get is really going to have way more RAM than I think I need.

And makes me cheerful that among all the messes and untimely death at least one thing is going right.