Even though my Macbook Pro is getting a little long in the tooth, I was surprised at how much it was starting to slow down. I won't be using this computer for much longer and didn't want to invest in any hardware, so I've already ruled out increasing the RAM or the hard drive beyond the 4GB/500GB I'd upgraded to a few years back.
Beyond hardware upgrades and assuming you're not part of a botnet, one of the best things you do to improve your computer's performance is to free up some hard drive space. While investigating this I was surprised to see that the majority of my hard drive was full - I don't keep my music and movies on my hard drive and I thought I had at least 100GB free, but it turned out I had much less.
I decided I needed to clear up some space and went looking for unneeded files, preferably big ones. I could have started browsing through my file system, diving into directories seeking items to purge. However, I thought this would be a good time to fire up DaisyDisk. From their home page:
DaisyDisk scans your disks and presents their content as interactive maps where you can easily spot unusually large files and remove them to get more free space. The map gives you an overview of your data, so you always know what your hard disks are filled with.
And that's exactly what DaisyDisk did. When I launched the app I almost immediately found a curiously huge file.
An 87 GB PHP log file. What's a PHP log file? Well, when I work on my Web site on my local machine, every time I make a programming error it records the error message in a text file. I make a lot of mistakes. In fact, I probably do 100 things wrong for every one I do right (It's a good thing I'm not writing software for the space shuttle).
Anyway, deleting this and a few movies I hadn't realized were still on my hard drive freed up nearly 100GB of space. Wahoo!