Archive for the ‘App Tamer’ Category
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.
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Version 2.0.4 of App Tamer is ready, bringing its power-saving capabilities to Yosemite. Use it to automatically slow down or stop applications that are consuming too much CPU power – you’ll extend your battery runtime and reduce heat (and with it, fan noise).
If you’ve already purchased a license for App Tamer 2, this update is free! If you’re still running version 1.x, the upgrade is only $7.95 USD, and if you haven’t tried App Tamer yet, download it and see what you’re missing. You get a free 15 day demo period, so it’s easy to check it out for yourself.
Friday, June 13th, 2014
App Tamer 2.0.3 is available as a free update for users of version 2.x.
This release offers a small refinement in the display of application names in App Tamer’s window, showing the CPU limit for applications that you’ve chosen to manage with App Tamer. It also fixes several complex little bugs that have been identified since the last release. Oh, and this release has also been tested on the developer release of Yosemite and works fine.
Head over to the App Tamer Release page to download a copy!
Friday, March 28th, 2014
App Tamer 2.0.2 is available now, providing fixes for a couple of bugs, as well as some minor changes to the UI that help to show what’s going on.
First the fixes:
- In certain situations, App Tamer 2.0.1 could crash when you launched it. This was due to a bug in the way it tracked subprocesses. The common example was a command in Terminal that ran a couple of other commands which in turn spawned subprocesses themselves. A few simple checks were all that was needed to fix it.
- A more common problem was that App Tamer would occasionally stop limiting the CPU usage of an application it was supposed to be managing. This turned out to be a timing issue: If App Tamer stopped throttling a process and then immediately started again, the original CPU limiter would still be winding down and App Tamer would find it and use it rather than creating a new one. A few milliseconds later, that CPU limiter would finish shutting down and disappear, leaving the managed application free to use as much CPU as it wanted. App Tamer doesn’t do that anymore 🙂
The UI enhancements:
- Mark Mackay, an App Tamer user in New Zealand, pointed out that if App Tamer wasn’t limiting the CPU use of an application at the time (because that app wasn’t doing anything) he couldn’t tell if he’d configured App Tamer to slow it down. He suggested I enhance the status indicators that App Tamer puts next to each application to somehow show that running apps – the ones with blue squares – had settings attached to them. A little triangle of color in the bottom right corner now shows you if that app will be slowed down or stopped (with yellow or red corners, respectively).
- Version 2.0.2 also dims the icon and name of any application or process that can’t be stopped, so you know not to bother clicking on them.
Grab your copy from the App Tamer Release page. The update is free if you’ve bought App Tamer 2!
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
App Tamer 2.0 is finally available, and the changes are pretty exciting. The user interface is faster and easier to use, both for checking on the performance of your Mac and for managing applications that are sucking up too much CPU time.
And even more importantly, App Tamer can now slow down applications as well as stop them, so you can use it to reduce the CPU usage of some annoying applications even though those apps still need to work while they’re in the background. Think Spotlight, Mail, Time Machine – things that seem to randomly spike the processor usage on your computer, slowing down what you’re doing or making the fans suddenly roar like a Boeing 747. Tell App Tamer not to let Spotlight take more than 25% of your processor time and those CPU spikes magically go away!
If your Mac’s fans are driving you crazy or your battery life is suffering at the hands of some self-important app that thinks it needs to hog the processor, grab App Tamer 2.0 and let it take care of it.
Get it here: App Tamer 2.0
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Version 1.3.2 of App Tamer is out, sporting high resolution graphics for all you lucky Retina Display owners. It also lets you scroll the windows of applications that are stopped in the background. This lets you read web pages while Safari is in the background, for example, even if you have App Tamer’s AutoStop feature set to stop it so it doesn’t use extra CPU time.
I’m also excited about an upcoming feature I’m working on for App Tamer 2.0. It lets you set a maximum amount of CPU to give an application – it doesn’t stop the app, but just slows it down if the app starts sucking down too much processing power. I’ve found it very useful in keeping Spotlight from taking over my machine while I’m working, and limiting churn from other applications that inevitably spike the CPU right when I’m trying to get something done. It’s still in need of a lot of integration – the feature works but there isn’t any real UI for it yet (it currently just limits Mail, mds and the Finder to no more than 10% CPU as a proof of concept). It’s very cool to watch it do its thing, though!
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.
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 http://maclegion.com/ 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.
Friday, November 4th, 2011
I’ve been quiet for a while – a lot has been going on both within St. Clair Software and around it. For starters, we’ve had a number of updates:
App Tamer is up to version 1.1.1 now, addressing compatibility with Alien Skin’s Photoshop plug-ins as well as improving on App Tamer’s own miserly CPU usage. There was one problem in particular that was interesting: When people update to Lion, there are often background or helper applications that are no longer configured correctly (components installed in /System or /Library are missing, for instance). This can result in startup applications launching over and over again. As a user, you often never see this, but if you look in your Console log, there are heaps of messages documenting it. Because App Tamer does some work each time an application launches, customers were complaining that it was using lots of CPU time – an investigation turned up this repeated-launching problem on their machines. App Tamer has now been tweaked to minimize the impact on CPU usage, but the solution is really to fix whatever’s broken on your system.
Jettison was updated to version 1.1 in the Mac App Store, giving you the option to hide its menubar icon and working around a bug in Lion (a bug in OS X, not Jettison) that delayed Jettison’s “it’s ok to unplug” beep sound until the Mac woke back up from sleep. Which, yeah, made the beep totally useless…
Finally, there have been some compatibility issues with Default Folder X, the worst of which actually caused some applications to crash. Versions 4.4.4, 4.4.5 and 4.4.6 addressed various problems that resulted from architectural changes in Lion and the corresponding adaptations in Default Folder X. So things are once again right in the Default Folder X world. The latest beta (more on that in the next post) closes the last issue that I’m aware of.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
App Tamer 1.1 is now available! It reduces App Tamer’s own CPU usage to save even more battery and CPU power. It also corrects some compatibility issues with Lion to ensure that everything runs smoothly as you upgrade.
For more information, download links and an introductory screencast, go to the App Tamer page. The What’s New page lists the specific changes.