Archive for the ‘Sierra’ Category

Geek time: An excellent look into APFS

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

This talk by Tim Standing (one of the developers behind SoftRAID) is an excellent analysis of APFS:

http://docs.macsysadmin.se/2017/video/Day3Session4.mp4

He has some very interesting points and conclusions – one of which is to never install APFS onto non-SSD (traditional spinning-platter) drives. The revelation that a major change was made to APFS very shortly before its release is also a little troubling, but at least that explains the current lack of documentation :-/

Thanks to Ronald Leroux for bringing this to my attention.

Default Folder X 5.1.5 makes minimized Save dialogs less confusing and fixes some significant bugs

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

TLDR; Get Default Folder X 5.1.5 here. Default Folder X now shows its bezel around minimized Save dialogs and fixes crashes and compatibility problems, especially with old Carbon apps like Office 2011 and Adobe Creative Suite 6. It also addresses issues with particular shortcut key combinations and works better with Spaces.

For Those That Want Details: ‘Minimized’ Save As dialogs have been a problem for Default Folder X for some time. Because of the way macOS El Capitan and Sierra work, DFX can’t provide all of its features in a Save dialog if there’s no list of files and folders. Up until now, Default Folder X would simply not appear next to minimized Save dialogs. This caused confusion, with some people thinking that DFX wasn’t working at all, when in fact it just couldn’t do anything in that particular situation.

I kept revisiting this issue over and over again to see if I could find some sort of technical solution that’d let me get Default Folder X working in this configuration. Alas, it’s not to be – there are some fundamental limitations that prevent Default Folder X from working. So in version 5.1.5 I’ve put together a simple bezel that comes up around minimized Save dialogs and offers a single option: expanding the dialog so that Default Folder X can provide all of its features. It isn’t ideal, but it’s less confusing than just having Default Folder X missing in action when you click the minimize button in a Save dialog.

In addition to this change, Default Folder X 5.1.5 addresses a number of compatibility and stability issues (ie. bugs). I’m actually very happy to have found the source of a recurring crash that I’ve never been able to reproduce. Crash logs have been trickling in, but none of them actually pointed to the underlying problem. I’ve now found a bug that appears to be the cause of those crashes, and have also addressed bunch of other issues that have come up since the last release.

A change list and download links are available at  http://www.stclairsoft.com/DefaultFolderX/release.html

 

App Tamer 2.3.2 throttles processes more reliably and offers a resizable process window

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

With today’s release of App Tamer 2.3.2, you can now resize App Tamer’s window to display more processes on larger monitors. This version also fixes a couple of nagging bugs that could cause App Tamer to think it was slowing down a background process when it actually wasn’t. If you’ve ever looked at the process list and seen a background daemon pegged at 100% even though App Tamer shows its yellow “slowed down” icon next to it, this release will fix that 🙂

The 2.3.2 update is free for licensed users of App Tamer 2.x. You can see the detailed release notes and download it on the App Tamer release page.

App Tamer 2.3.1 improves Spotify support and fixes bugs

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Version 2.3.1 of App Tamer fixes several bugs in our CPU- and battery-saving application, as well as more smoothly supporting Spotify. If you’ve got App Tamer set up to manage Spotify’s CPU usage, it will not slow it down or stop it while Spotify is playing music. This prevents your music from stuttering or going completely silent – generally a good thing 🙂

You can find more details and download links on the App Tamer Release page. We recommend that all App Tamer users update even if you don’t use Spotify because the bug fixes are important.

And on the topic of App Tamer, I was remiss in my duties – I didn’t blog about the release of version 2.3, even though it delivered a couple of very significant changes. The most obvious one is a user interface overhaul that brings App Tamer up to snuff with the flat, white look that’s all the rage (check it out over on the right there). The preferences have also been split among multiple tabs to better organize them, and hopefully make all the settings a little less intimidating.

A more interesting, though much less visible addition is App Tamer’s new “CPU hog detection” feature. In the “Detection” tab of the preferences, you can set a limit to how much CPU any application should use. If any app uses that much CPU for longer than a time you specify, App Tamer will pop up a warning to let you know that something’s amiss, and will give you several options. If you’re on a laptop, this is great because it lets you know before the CPU hogging app drains your battery down to nothing and you realize that you left your power adapter under the couch at home.

And of course there are a whole bunch of little fixes and improvements rolled into versions 2.3 and 2.3.1 as well. It’s worth the trouble to download, especially if you’ve already bought a license for App Tamer 2 because these updates are free.

Repost: “Move Items” Finder contextual menu command

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

This is information I originally posted back in 2009, but here we are 6 macOS versions later and it’s still relevant – and people are still asking for it.

Below are details on how to create a “Move Items” contextual menu item in the Services menu in the Finder (see the picture below). It uses Default Folder X to specify the destination folder, giving you access to all of your Favorite and Recent folders.

TL;DR: If you just want to get things to work, there’s a link at the bottom to download an already-built Automator workflow.


Contextual menu items are added by making a Workflow in Automator and saving it as a Service. You start by running the Automator application (it’s in your /Applications folder), creating a new Workflow, and setting it up as shown in the (old) screenshots below:

If you’re experienced with Automator, you’re probably asking: Why go to the trouble of creating variables instead of just using the “Move Finder Items” action by itself?  I’m glad you asked!  The reason is that I want to bring up a file dialog to specify the folder where I want the items to go.  There’s not a clean way to have the “Move Finder Items” do that every time.  You can change its options to “Show this action when the workflow runs” but you still have to click on it every time you use it to ask it to show a file dialog.  If you use Default Folder X to enhance your Open dialogs, it’s faster to just have the dialog pop up and then go where you want to with DFX.

So in the image above, the workflow puts the current Finder selection into the “selection” variable.  Then it uses AppleScript to bring up a file dialog to ask for a folder, which it stores in the “path” variable.  And finally, it uses the Move Finder Items action to do the work.  Not too much more complicated, and it speeds up your workflow considerably if you’ve already got DFX installed so the Open dialogs are smart.

For you Automator programmers, note that some of the actions shown in the workflow do not take inputs.  I did this by control-clicking on the action (“Get Value of Variable”, for example) and choosing “Ignore Input” from the contextual menu.  If you don’t do this, Automator will actually add the input from the previous step to the next one, which is definitely not what you want in this case.

Oh, and if you just want the automator workflow file so you can add it to your own system, you can download it here:

https://www.stclairsoft.com/download/MoveItems.zip

If you need more help with Automator and Services, Sal Soghoian has some good information and tutorials here:

https://www.macosxautomation.com/services/learn/

(Once you’ve gotten through the first few steps of the tutorial, you should be able to just replicate the picture above to make the Move Items service yourself).

App Tamer and CPU-hog detection

Friday, December 30th, 2016

So I’ve noticed in Sierra that some of its “helper processes” (apps that run in the background to do various tasks) will occasionally start using 100% CPU for no reason. In particular, I’ve seen the com.apple.appkit.xpc.openAndSavePanelService process stay pegged after a file dialog is done – it just sits there and consumes CPU while doing nothing. Quitting the app that was showing the file dialog will stop the CPU-hogging, but it otherwise continues indefinitely.

I’ve been wondering if this might actually be the source of the much-talked about Consumer Reports findings that the new MacBook Pros have very inconsistent battery life. Their results varied widely from test to test (on the same computer) – maybe one of the WebKit helper processes was just flipping out once in a while due to some underlying bug in Sierra’s interprocess communication or process management services.

While that’s just my own random speculation, the issue of processes running amok seems to be a recurring annoyance to some folks. To help you detect this sort of stuff, I’m adding an option in App Tamer to notify you if a process starts consuming excessive CPU time. If it does, it gives you the options shown in the screenshot.

 Can’t hurt, right? Shoot me an email (AppTamer at stclairsoft dot com) if you’re interested in trying it out and doing a little testing for me.
 – Jon

Default Folder X 5.1 delivers more power in Open & Save dialogs

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Default Folder 5.1 is now available, and includes a long list of changes. Key among them are new commands that let you copy, move, and make aliases to files and folders right in your file dialogs. Want to save a copy of that file to your Desktop folder before you make changes to it? Just use the Copy command in Default Folder X’s toolbar and choose the Desktop as its destination.

Default Folder X will now also mirror all of your favorite folders, recent folders and recent files using aliases in your Library folder. If you use another file management utility like Path Finder, Alfred, LaunchBar, etc for quick access to files and folders, you can connect it with your Default Folder X data by pointing it to these folders:

HOME/Library/Favorites/
HOME/Library/Recent Folders/
HOME/Library/Recent Files/

There are other convenient additions as well, like the ability to change the creation and modification dates of files and folders, and Command-selecting an item from a Default Folder X menu to reveal it in the Finder.

And as usual, there are also compatibility improvements and bug fixes – quite a lot of them this time. While Default Folder X has been performing very well for nearly everyone, the automated crash logs have uncovered a handful of infrequent but persistent problems. I’ve done a lot of stress-testing and debugging to ferret them out, making this release more reliable – and thereby less annoying for both you and me 🙂

For a complete list of changes, bug fixes and download links, check out the Default Folder X Release page!

HistoryHound and Jettison Updates

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

128HistoryHound 1.9.12 and Jettison 1.5.2 both deliver stability improvements and bug fixes to make sure they run without issue on El Capitan and Sierra.

Icon.pngHistoryHound also includes better error handling and its indexing is more intelligent when it encounters web pages that redirect you to a new page. You can now click on status messages in the main window to show you the status of indexing and the contents of your search index, and HistoryHound 1.9.12 supports the Vivaldi browser as well as Safari, Chrome, Firefox, OmniWeb, iCab, Opera, NetNewsWire and URL Manager Pro.

Full lists of changes and download links are available on the HistoryHound release page and the Jettison release page.

Default Folder X 5.0.7 brings fixes for Sierra

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Default Folder X 5.0.7 is now available. It includes a couple of important compatibility fixes for Sierra, while also offering resizable preference windows for you folks that like to add a lot of Favorites or default folders.

The biggest deal is a fix for Default Folder X’s handling of Save dialogs. In version 5.0.6, if a Save dialog came up ‘minimized’ – meaning it wasn’t showing the file listing – then Default Folder X wouldn’t show up. And it wouldn’t even add its controls if you un-minimized the dialog with the little button next to the filename edit box. You had to un-minimize the dialog, then hit Cancel, then Save again to get everything to show up correctly – not helpful.

There’s a full list of the changes and links to download version 5.0.7 on the Default Folder X ‘What’s New’ page. Or you can just select “Check for Updates…” from Default Folder X’s menu in your menubar if you’re running an earlier version. Please update to get these latest fixes – they’re important.

More Updates! App Tamer 2.2 and Jettison 1.5.1

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Yes, I’ve been busy over here! There are Sierra-compatible updates for both App Tamer and Jettison today, with both offering additional fixes and enhancements as well as support for macOS 10.12.

circle_menuApp Tamer 2.2: While I’ll be the first to admit that App Tamer is a bit of a niche product (you’ve got to be a little geeky to like the details of what it does), I’m excited by the improvements in this release. It’s more intelligent about identifying which processes are “helpers” for others, and can therefore do a much better job at throttling all those Safari Web Content processes when it limits Safari’s CPU usage, for example, while still letting the Mail Web Content helpers run at full tilt for Mail (if that’s what you want).

App Tamer’s basic process management is also more efficient now, so it all adds up to it doing its job better. If you’ve got apps that are sucking down CPU (and battery!) while they’re sitting in the background, App Tamer can help you out. More details and download links are on the App Tamer What’s New page.

Icon.pngJettison 1.5.1: The Jettison update addresses issues with Sierra, and also gives you the option to unmount rather than eject drives when your Mac sleeps. “Why do I care?” you say? Well, I’m glad you asked (and you might be too)! Some SD cards and Flash drives won’t remount properly after being ejected, even when Jettison reloads their device drivers. That can result in you having to do a really inconvenient little dance of unplugging them and plugging them back in to get them to show up. Turning on this new option in your Jettison prefs avoids that.

There are also bug fixes for Jettison’s handling of network drives, removal of some logic that checked whether the display was going to sleep before ejecting disks (long story – it did solve a problem, but created even more in the end), and tweaks to better handle OS X’s propensity to report errors when there are none. Go visit the Jettison What’s New page for a list of changes and download links.

Now here’s hoping that Apple doesn’t make any major changes to Sierra before it comes out of beta that require me to update these Sierra-compatible updates 🙂