Archive for the ‘App Tamer’ Category
Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
Version 2.3.4 of App Tamer is now available, adding an extra checkbox to the settings for each application. You can now have App Tamer automatically quit an app after it’s been unused for a certain amount of time – handy for those one-shot utilities like password managers, image converters, Contacts, etc that you look at quickly and then accidentally leave open.
This version also improves App Tamer’s ability to control the CPU usage of applications that employ helper processes to do some of their work. This includes web browsers, Spotlight, virus scanners and backup utilities, among other apps. While App Tamer’s management of CPU usage is always going to be approximate (because it doesn’t know the inner workings of every app), it now keeps an app’s average usage much closer to the limit you’ve specified.
Head over to the App Tamer release page to see the full list of changes and to download a copy of version 2.3.4!
Friday, October 13th, 2017
App Tamer 2.3.3 is now available – it’s a free update for App Tamer 2 users, and a $7.95 upgrade for version 1.x users.
It adds a checkbox that speeds up Time Machine backups, something that’s really helpful if you only plug in your backup drive occasionally, resulting in Time Machine needing to copy lots of data. Time Machine is normally set up with a very low I/O priority, which means that macOS puts it at the back of the queue for disk access. This keeps it from interfering with anything else on your machine, but means that it copies data very slowly. Mac Kung Fu published an article last year detailing a geeky way to speed Time Machine up, but it requires a Terminal command and only stays in force until the next time you reboot your Mac. App Tamer now offers a checkbox in the prefs to take care of this for you, and will re-apply the setting whenever it’s running.
There are some caveats about this method, however. Because it prevents macOS from throttling processes that have low I/O priority, it can potentially cause other processes that are supposed to be slowly doing disk or network I/O in the background to run faster. This may not be what you want in some instances. It could cause those processes to consume more battery power, for instance, than they would otherwise – so keep an eye out if you turn this option on. We haven’t seen any negative effects from the Time Machine acceleration, but there may be instances where it burns your laptop battery faster.
App Tamer 2.3.3 also lets you change the priority of processes – the equivalent of the unix renice command. It’s not nearly as effective of a way to control CPU usage as App Tamer’s methods, but can be useful in some circumstances. Hold down the Option key while clicking on a process in App Tamer in order to get a Priority slider alongside App Tamer’s normal slow/stop options.
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.
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.
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.
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.
App 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.
Jettison 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 🙂
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016
There’s a new public beta of Default Folder X that addresses issues with the latest beta releases of macOS 10.12 Sierra. I’m also testing some changes to Default Folder X’s activation method that get rid of problems with it occasionally not loading in some applications, as well as fixing a hang that could occur under some circumstances. Oh, and there’s also improved support for LaunchBar.
You can see the full change history and download a copy from the Default Folder X Testing page.
If you’re running App Tamer, make sure you get a copy of the latest App Tamer Beta too.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
A security vulnerability has been found in Sparkle, the framework used by many Mac applications to check for and download software updates automatically. Full details are at:
While some of our applications (like HistoryHound) are using older versions of the Sparkle framework at the moment, they all use encrypted HTTPS connections to check for and download updates, so there’s no chance of a man-in-the-middle attack, as described in the report.
So you can safely leave automatic update checking turned on in all of our products – it’s being done safely.
Thursday, October 8th, 2015
In the midst of Default Folder X 5 development, I’ve taken a little time to update App Tamer, which also fell prey to El Capitan’s new System Integrity Protection restrictions.
App Tamer 2.1 now uses libproc internally to get CPU usage statistics, which means it plays nicely with El Capitan. This version also includes updated app configurations for compatibility with the latest versions of NetNewsWire, the App Store app, Go for Facebook, Leaf, Reeder and Fluid browsers.
The update is free if you’ve already got a license for App Tamer 2.x, and $7.95 if you’re still using App Tamer 1.x.
More information and download links are on the App Tamer Release page.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
App Tamer 2.0.5 just dropped, fixing a compatibility glitch with Safari that could cause App Tamer to mis-manage full-screen Flash playback (among other things). There are also a host of smaller fixes that will improve your user experience, like better error messages, fixing permissions problems automatically, etc.
This version also explicitly offers to switch to a logarithmic cpu graph on 8- and 16-core Macs to increase the amount of detail you can typically see on the graph (science and tech nerds nod here, while everyone else says “what the heck is a logarithmic cpu graph?”).
What’s logarithmic graph good for?
Basically, it changes the vertical scale of the graph so that data toward the bottom of the graph is magnified, while the top of the graph is squeezed together. Since most of the activity on the cpu graph is down below 50% on 8- and 16-core Macs (because you’re rarely actually using all 8 or 16 cores), this lets you see more details that you care about.
In the screenshot of App Tamer’s logarithmic cpu graph to the right, each horizontal gray line on the graph represents a 10% increment. As you can see, the bottom 10% increment takes up half of the vertical space, the next 10% takes up 15% of the space, and so on, with each successive 10% increment taking a smaller amount of screen real estate. This magnifies the bottom end of the graph, where most of the activity happens on Macs with lots of cpu power.
You can toggle between a regular linear graph and the logarithmic one by control-clicking (or right-clicking) on the graph. A little popup menu lets you choose which scale you want to use.
Back to your regularly scheduled program…
Sorry for the digression. You can see the full change history and download App Tamer 2.0.5 on the App Tamer Release Page.