Archive for March, 2012

App Tamer 1.2 : What’s in a menubar icon?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

It started as a request from a user who wanted a color App Tamer icon so he could pick it out more easily amongst all the icons in his menubar. But being an obsessive developer, I wondered if I couldn’t make that colored icon more useful too. Just last month, Adam Engst wrote an article in TidBITS detailing how iCloud had chewed up the battery in his MacBook Air before he could catch it. It was using 100% of one CPU trying to sync his bookmarks even though WiFi was turned off. If he’d known that the CPU usage was through the roof when it happened, he could have stopped it and had enough battery for his whole plane flight. Instead, he had to read the in-flight magazine and gaze out the window instead of finishing the book he was writing.

So what if I could blend those two purposes? I tweaked App Tamer to colorize its icon based on CPU usage, like this (I can’t believe I just uploaded an animated gif for this – talk about retro…):

It’s subtle for low CPU values – you might want to take note of it, but it’s no crisis you need to be alerted about. But as CPU load increases, it gets brighter until it really gets your attention at 100%. If there’s something that’s sucking down all of your processing power, you want to know.

It’s a fairly minor feature, but I now appreciate it being right there all the time. I hate having to plug in my MacBook Pro in the coffee shop just because something decided it had to do a bunch of useless work in the background while I was answering emails! So grab a copy of App Tamer 1.2 and check it out – I’m pretty pleased with it. Be aware that if it’s not your thing, you can easily turn it off with a trip to your App Tamer preferences.

Oh, and also new in version 1.2 is support for Firefox 11 and a fix for some troubles App Tamer was having when the system didn’t notify it about an application launching or quitting.

Details and download links are on the What’s New in App Tamer page.

Popping up Default Folder X’s menus with a hotkey

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

I’ve had requests from a number of people asking for a hotkey to pop up Default Folder X’s menus under the mouse. That way you don’t have to go all the way up to the menubar to get to your Favorite and Recent folders. Default Folder X doesn’t currently have a keyboard shortcut for this, but you can make one easily with any macro utility that supports AppleScript. Keyboard Maestro is one example.

Just configure your macro program to run this AppleScript:

    with timeout of 0 seconds
        ignoring application responses
            tell application "Default Folder X"
            end tell
        end ignoring
    end timeout

That’s all there is to it!  Thanks to Scott Mintzer for jogging my memory on this.

Update – Andrew Gara wrote to remind me: If you’re running Default Folder X with its “Show icons and menus in the Dock” setting turned off, the application target in the AppleScript should be “Default Folder X Helper” instead of “Default Folder X”. Thanks Andrew!

App Tamer in the MacLegion Spring Bundle: $49.99 for 10 applications

Monday, March 5th, 2012

App Tamer is being bundled with 9 other great applications in the MacLegion Spring Bundle!  Not only do you get App Tamer’s great performance enhancements, you get some exceptional (and expensive) applications for only $49.99.  That includes Billings Pro, Kinemac, MoneyWell, Hydra Pro, Circus Ponies Notebook, GarageSale, Home Inventory, My Living Desktop and WhatSize.  If you use even one of these apps it makes sense to buy the bundle.

Head over to and check out the deal.  They’ve got descriptions of all the applications, and a link to download them all at once so you can give them a try.