App Tamer 2.6.2: Quick UI Fixes and an Experimental Assassin for Runaway Processes

April 6th, 2021 by Jon

Version 2.6.2 of App Tamer is available, fixing a couple of user interface bugs that could trip up new users. When newly installed, the size of App Tamer’s window was much smaller than it was supposed to be, making it hard to see the list of tamed processes. Compounding this was a change in version 2.6.1 that resulted in the mouse cursor not turning into a little arrow when you hovered over the edges of the window, so you couldn’t tell it’s resizable.

Another glitch, a result of changes that Apple made in Big Sur, could result in the names of processes being truncated in the process list. That’s been fixed as well.

You can find the full release notes and download links to App Tamer 2.6.2 on the App Tamer Release Page.

An experimental feature for a very specific system problem:

And now for the geeky, experimental feature: It’s come to my attention that some people are living with bugs in macOS that can result in essential background processes (like lsd and pkd) suddenly consuming tons of CPU time and bringing their Mac to a standstill. Despite chasing around to try and find the culprit, they often can’t resolve the problem without completely reinstalling the system. And apparently, App Tamer’s process throttling can’t limit the CPU usage without effectively disabling whatever function those processes are supposed to be performing.

So I’ve added a “runaway process assassin” to App Tamer. You specify which processes to watch, and if the CPU usage of any of them stays above a specified limit for a certain amount of time, App Tamer just kills the process. This certainly isn’t ideal, but works fine for system daemons that macOS will automatically relaunch whenever they’re needed. This feature is probably only useful to a few people, but because it isn’t something that’s easy to code up with an AppleScript or shell script, I figured I’d just add it. App Tamer is already collecting the CPU statistics anyway.

To configure this, you have to use Terminal. Paste in these commands, hitting the Return key after each one:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer killRunawayProcesses 1
defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer runawayProcessCPULimit 50
defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer runawayProcessTimeLimit 20
defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer runawayProcessList "lsd pkd"

Here’s what’s going on with the commands:

  • The first command turns on the killRunawayProcesses feature. 
  • The second sets runawayProcessCPULimit to 50. You can set that to whatever CPU percentage you want.
  • The third sets runawayProcessTimeLimit to 20. This is how long (in seconds) the process has to be above its limit before App Tamer kills it.
  • The fourth sets runawayProcessList to watch lsd and pkd. You can add as many processes as you want here, separated by spaces. For full-fledged applications, use the app’s bundle identifier.

When App Tamer kills a process, it will put up a notification to let you know. You’ll probably want to make sure you’ve allowed App Tamer to display notifications in System Preferences > Notifications.

To turn the whole thing back off, just use:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer killRunawayProcesses 0

WARNING: Don’t turn this on unless you have a real need for it! You could potentially kill a service that’s necessary for your Mac to operate correctly. However, if you do need and make use of this feature, I’d appreciate hearing from you in the comments or at

Default Folder X 5.5.7 improves Path Finder integration, fixes disappearing cursors and more

March 26th, 2021 by Jon

Version 5.5.7 of Default Folder X is available!

For folks that use Path Finder (an excellent Power User’s alternative to the Finder), you’ll be happy to know that Path Finder is now a fully supported alternative when you’re using Default Folder X. Anywhere that DFX integrates with the Finder, it will now use Path Finder if it’s running.

New in this release is the ability to add Default Folder X’s shortcut buttons to Path Finder’s toolbars. This lets you quickly pop up Default Folder X’s menus or slide out its drag-and-drop drawer by clicking a button in the toolbar.

Default Folder X also now “sees” all of the tabs in Path Finder’s windows. Every folder that you have in a Path Finder window will be shown in Default Folder X’s “Finder Windows” menu and highlighted by it’s Finder-click feature in Open and Save dialogs.

For those of you that _don’t_ use Path Finder, this release delivers a bunch of important bug fixes, so please don’t pass it up. Chief among them are fixes for the occasional disappearing cursor in Open and Save dialogs (finally), better reliability when switching between folders, and the elimination of a hang that could occur as Default Folder X was launching.

Download links and a full list of changes are available on the Default Folder X Release Page, or if you’re already running Default Folder X, just choose “Check for Update” from its menu to get the update.

HistoryHound 2.3.2 adds multiple-item selection, fixes bugs

March 26th, 2021 by Jon

HistoryHound 2.3.2 is a small update that delivers bug fixes and introduces multiple-item selection to the search results list.

Multi-selection lets you act on multiple results at a time to:

  • copy their URLs as a list
  • open them all in your browser
  • create a filter to exclude them from future inclusion
  • remove them all from your search index

As a reminder, HistoryHound follows macOS’s standard method for selecting multiple items in a list:

  • Command-click an item to add it to the current selection
  • Shift-click to extend the selection from the currently selected item to the item you’re clicking on

Full release notes and download links are available on the HistoryHound Release Page, or if you’re already running an earlier version of HistoryHound, just choose “Check for Updates…” from its menu.

Jettison 1.8.2 is here!

March 12th, 2021 by Jon

Version 1.8.2 of Jettison is now available. It brings a number of improvements, including several fixes for problems remounting disks after they’ve been ejected.

Jettison’s error reporting has also been improved so that it catches edge cases where a disk unmounts after Jettison has been told by the system that the unmount failed. This should prevent those error messages that said a problem had occurred, but then didn’t list any disks in the error details.

For several releases now, Jettison has been quietly quitting Photos, iTunes and Music before it ejects disks, then relaunching them when those disks are remounted. This prevents problems for the many people that keep their photos or music on external drives. In doing this, however, Jettison was a little too aggressive: It quit the apps when you chose “Eject External Disks Now” from its menu as well as when the machine went to sleep. That turned out to be a Bad Idea, so now it’s only done before ejecting disks when the machine is actually going to sleep.

In a similar vein, there are now some preference settings accessible via Terminal to tweak this behavior. You can turn off the auto-quit / relaunch behavior using this command in Terminal:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.Jettison leaveAppsRunning -bool TRUE

If you want to keep the behavior, but need to add other applications to the list of apps to quit, use:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.Jettison appsToQuit -array

where you substitute the bundle identifiers of the apps to quit where appears above.

Non-application processes (such as system background daemons) can be terminated before disks are ejected by using:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.Jettison processesToTerminate -array photoanalysisd

where a whitespace-separated list of process names goes in place of photoanalysisd.

And yes, if these options prove popular, they’ll get their own place in the preferences dialog so you no longer have to use Terminal to set them up.

So anyway, this is available in Jettison 1.8.2, with details and download links on the Jettison Release Page. Or if you’re already using Jettison, choose “Check for Updates” from its menu in your menu bar.

App Tamer 2.6.1 delivers compatibility and bug fixes

March 4th, 2021 by Jon

Version 2.6.1 of App Tamer is now available! This maintenance release of our app for taking control of your Mac’s CPU and battery delivers a number of bug-fixes. It works correctly with the Origin game launcher, as well as with processes that are launched using ‘sh’ and ‘tcsh’ shell scripts (which some ‘normal’ applications do under the hood).

App Tamer 2.6.1 also prevents you from completely stopping apps that are distributed via the Setapp subscription service because that can cause issues with Setapp. If you want to reduce the CPU usage of those apps, simply have App Tamer throttle them to 1% CPU rather than completely stopping them.

And finally, this release allows you to make App Tamer’s process window smaller than its default size and keep it that way. Previously, it’d insist on enlarging the window back to its default size when you closed it and opened it again. Oops πŸ™„

The full release notes and a download link are on the App Tamer Release Page.

Default Folder X 5.5.6: Helping Big Sur work correctly – again

February 12th, 2021 by Jon

In Big Sur 11.1, Apple introduced an annoying system bug that made Open and Save dialogs revert to a very small size every time you used them. To see anything in the dialog, you pretty much had to resize them. Every. Single. Time. Default Folder X 5.5.4 brought a fix for this – forcing the dialogs back to your preferred, larger size whenever they came up.

Fast forward to Big Sur 11.2, and Apple has fixed the bug so dialogs now stay larger once you resize them – yay! Well, mostly yay anyway. The sidebar still bounces back to its narrow, “I can’t read the names of my folders” width of about 100 pixels every second time you use an Open or Save dialog. <sigh>

So here’s Default Folder X 5.5.6. If you resize the sidebar in an Open or Save dialog, Default Folder X will make sure it bounces back to that size the next time you use the same file dialog.

In addition, this release expands support for HoudahSpot so that you now get the “Search in HoudahSpot” menu item in Default Folder X’s utility menu if you’re using the version of HoudahSpot included in the Setapp subscription service. It previously only worked with copies of HoudahSpot bought directly from Houdah Software.

And because someone asked for it, holding down the Option key while selecting a Folder Set from Default Folder X’s menu in your menu bar will open all of your Favorite folders in the Finder. So if you’ve got multiple Folder Sets for different projects or workflows, you can now instantly open all of those folders in the Finder when you’re starting work. (A few of you old-timers might remember that this was actually a feature in version 4 that didn’t make the jump to v5 – now it’s back!)

There are also a few bug fixes in version 5.5.6, as I’m still chasing after the elusive problem of the cursor sporadically disappearing on some Macs (but not others). Full release notes and download links are on the Default Folder X Release Page. Or just choose “Check for Updates” from Default Folder X’s menu if you’re already running it.

Default Folder X 5.5.5 fixes a few issues

January 28th, 2021 by Jon

Version 5.5.5 of Default Folder X is now available for download. This maintenance release corrects a number of problems that have been reported recently:

  • Items in the drag zone and Finder drawer now expand to show longer file and folder names. By default, they’ll get marginally larger when necessary. You can, however, use the defaults command in Terminal to make them really big if you want. Just set maxDrawerContentWidth and maxDragZoneContentWidth to 200 or so.
  • Problems with the cursor disappearing in file dialogs on Big Sur have been corrected – because this didn’t get completely fixed in the last release πŸ™„.
  • Resolved a problem that could crash JetBrains apps like IntelliJ and GoLand. This was actually not a bug in Default Folder X, but a result of most Java apps not handling the macOS Accessibility API correctly (and hanging or crashing). Default Folder X now correctly detects that JetBrains apps are indeed written in Java and doesn’t add its enhancements to them.
  • Eliminated errors that were occurring when the Finder relaunched.

There’s also a fix to an unofficial feature: If you’ve got “Finder-click changes view mode” turned on in the hidden prefs window (Option-click on Preferences in DFX’s menu to get to it), clicking on a Finder window would sometimes set the wrong view mode. This was because Default Folder X would occasionally miss the fact that you’d changed the view mode of a Finder window. This has been fixed.

Download links for the new version and a less complete list of changes are on the Default Folder X Release Page. Or if you’re already running Default Folder X (thank you!), just select “Check for Update” from its menu in your menu bar.

Go64 1.3 adds controls for showing Universal apps and now offers a German localization

January 15th, 2021 by Jon

Version 1.3 of Go64 is now available, adding some convenient controls for sorting through Intel vs Universal apps in addition to displaying which of your apps are 64-bit compatible (and which aren’t).

There’s also a new German localization, courtesy of Eberhard Woentz. Thanks Eberhard! πŸ‘‹πŸΌ And a couple of bug fixes which may impact you if you use the contextual menus within Go64 or have backups of old iPhone apps laying around (I’m looking at you, Thomas Tempelmann). Thanks, Thomas, for bringing the problems to my attention.

I also changed the text in the UI to read “Not 64-bit ready” and “64-bit ready” rather than “32-bit” and “64-bit”. It better reflects the purpose of Go64, and also takes care of that gray area where really old stuff like PowerPC apps were being listed as “32-bit” – which wasn’t really technically true, but served the purpose of letting you know they wouldn’t run on Catalina or Big Sur.

Default Folder X 5.5.4 delivers an automatic fix for macOS 11.1’s too-small file dialogs, plus other improvements

January 8th, 2021 by Jon

Version 5.5.4 of Default Folder X, our utility for speeding your navigation in file dialogs and the Finder, is now available. It automatically restores the size of Open and Save dialogs that you’ve resized before, as well as ensuring that they’re at least large enough that the file list is visible. Yes, the system is supposed to handle those details for you, but Big Sur 11.1 doesn’t do it’s job there.

And yes, Default Folder X’s forced resizing is a “hack” – it looks ugly because the file dialog comes up, then resizes after it has appeared. But given the number of emails I’ve received about the dialogs being too small, I figure an ugly solution is better than no solution πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Oh, and it restores the width of the left sidebar too.

In other news, this release also remedies a number of issues that people have reported over the last month. This includes Default Folder X failing to launch properly at startup, issues with Photoshop, Notability and NeoFinder, and problems with the cursor disappearing in Open and Save dialogs. I’ve also cleaned up some details in how DFX shows and hides its controls as you click around in a file dialog, so operation is now smoother and more coordinated.

Full release notes are on the Default Folder X release page, along with links to download the new version. Or if you’re already running an earlier revision of Default Folder X, just choose “Check for Update” from its menu in your menu bar.

Tiny Open and Save dialogs in Big Sur

December 30th, 2020 by Jon

Yes, the Open and Save dialogs keep appearing at their smallest possible sizes in Big Sur 11.1. It’s not just you, and it’s not something you’ve done wrong – it’s a bug in Big Sur.

The problem is worst in Save dialogs that offer additional options, like the one below from the “Save as PDF” menu when printing. You’re left with just 2.5 items showing in the list of files!

First, to resize one of these tiny file dialogs, just click on the bottom, right corner and drag the window to a larger size. Note that if you’re running Default Folder X, you need to grab the corner of the file dialog, not the corner of Default Folder X’s bezel around it.

Sadly, resizing the dialog so it’s larger only works on the current one. Every time you’re presented with an Open or Save dialog, it’ll be back to its uselessly small size again because Big Sur doesn’t remember the past size like it’s supposed to.

To work around this problem until Apple fixes it (hopefully in Big Sur 11.2), you can set Default Folder X to force dialogs back to the size you dragged them to. To do that, hold down the Option key and choose Preferences from Default Folder X’s menu in your menu bar. You’ll be presented with an “Additional Settings” window with a whole slew of options. Just turn on the “Remember file dialog sizes” checkbox and then click OK.

With this enabled, Default Folder X will resize every file dialog after it opens. It’s a bit ugly, as the dialog can only be resized after it shows up on screen (so you’ll see an almost comical “here you go… oh wait, let me make that bigger… ok, how’s that?” dance) but it gets the job done. And that ugliness is why the checkbox isn’t part of DFX’s regular preferences – it’s only meant to be used when things have really gone sideways and you have no other choice. Like in Big Sur 11.1 πŸ™„

Note that the current Default Folder X release doesn’t resize the sidebar after it fixes the dialog size (cuz macOS was supposed to take care of that, too). You can grab this pre-release build of Default Folder X 5.5.4, which takes care of the sidebar as well:

And for folks that care, version 5.5.4 also contains fixes for some other issues, like conflicts with NeoFinder and Notability, and better support for (tiny) Save dialogs in Photoshop.


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