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

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!┬áSo 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.

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