Archive for the ‘App Tamer’ Category

App Tamer 2.3.5: Performance fixes and little tweaks

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Version 2.3.5 of App Tamer is available, bringing several improvements and fixes on the performance side, as well as showing you how much CPU time it has saved.

It gives a cumulative “CPU-hours saved,” where a CPU-hour is the amount of computing a single processor core can do in an hour when running at 100%. So if it says it’s saved 8.8 CPU-hours, as shown in the image on the right, that means one CPU would have been running full tilt for an additional 8.8 hours if I hadn’t been using App Tamer. Which means the fans in my MacBook Pro would have driven me crazy today without App Tamer ūüôā

Other changes include fixing a memory leak that would cause App Tamer to gradually use more and more RAM if left running for long periods of time, fixing some UI glitches and improving VoiceOver support.

Grab a copy of App Tamer 2.3.5 from the App Tamer Release page, or by selecting “Check for Updates” from its menu if you’re already running it.

App Tamer 2.3.4 adds Auto-Quit, improves CPU control

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

SettingsPanel 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!

App Tamer 2.3.3: speed up Time Machine, adjust process priorities and more

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.

 

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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.

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.
 РJon

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 ūüôā

Default Folder X 5.0.6b5 fixes some glitches with Sierra betas

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.

Auto-Update Vulnerability in Sparkle

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:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/02/huge-number-of-mac-apps-vulnerable-to-hijacking-and-a-fix-is-elusive/

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.

– Jon

App Tamer 2.1 for El Capitan

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.