Version 2.4.5 of App Tamer is a fairly tame release – it corrects a few nagging bugs, and is now checked for malware by Apple and notarized to indicate so. The menu bar icon shows its disabled state more clearly when running in Dark Mode on Mojave, and some processes were mistakenly listed in the “Managed Processes” list even though App Tamer wasn’t managing them (ironically, because of bookkeeping error, they were included in the list because App Tamer never touched them at all).
Default Folder X 5.3.7 is now available, and it displays a couple of additional pieces of metadata in the Info panel below Open dialogs, most notably the “last opened” date. It also addresses a number of issues, including problems with LaunchBar, sub-par behavior when file dialogs are very large or lie partially off-screen, keyboard shortcuts not working after using a menu bar app, and drag-and-drop problems with the Finder drawer. A full list of changes is available on the Default Folder X Release page or in the Version History.
This version also works around bugs in Mojave that have been affecting Default Folder X’s ability to list open Finder windows when those windows contain multiple tabs. It will now list those windows reliably, but may still get confused and show some tabs as being in their own, separate windows – but hey, at least they’re all there, right? Unfortunately, a complete solution requires that Apple fix the bugs that I’ve submitted.
And one very important note about Finder windows: The behavior of Default Folder X’s Finder-click feature has changed a bit. Most people won’t be affected by this, but if you have been relying on the fact that Finder-click showed windows that weren’t actually visible (because they’re in another Space or because the Finder’s hidden), you’ll find that they’re no longer appearing. They’re still in the Finder Windows menu in Default Folder X’s toolbar, or you can revert to the old behavior by following these instructions.
Finally, on the truly geeky side, you can now create an AppleScript to supply Default Folder X with a default folder for an application on the fly. When a file dialog comes up, DFX will run your AppleScript, and if it returns a folder, that’ll be used as the default folder for that file dialog. It works seamlessly and can really simplify things if you work in a project-based manner with a consistent way of determining where your project folder is. Look for a blog post about this shortly.
Brent Simmons has a great post over at inessential.com on the genius of Apple events. As one of the people behind the ground-breaking Userland Frontier, Brent is uniquely qualified to espouse on the significance and power of Apple events. Frontier, and later AppleScript, leveraged Apple events to let Mac users tie together applications to make workflows that got real things done, even when no single application existed that would do what they needed. I used Frontier for years to automate the back-end of my software business – it was invaluable.
As Brent says:
Picture Jane in her office. She gets an email from Bob every month with the latest WidgetX numbers. With that email in front of her, she double-clicks a script (or chooses one from a scripts menu)… [which] updates and saves (on a shared folder) a Keynote presentation with the new numbers.
This used to take hours, and it was prone to errors. Now it takes a minute or less — and it’s error-free
With Marzipan reportedly coming in macOS 10.15 this year, Apple is further de-emphasizing the cooperative nature of macOS apps, and will most likely not support Apple events in the “iPad apps adapted to run on the Mac” context of Marzipan. Again, from Brent:
What happens to Jane if Mail is a Marzipan app that doesn’t respond to Apple events?
And as Brent says (and as I detailed in an earlier post), many Mac apps use Apple events to directly integrate with other applications. They tie everything together for you, taking your Mac experience from ‘good’ to ‘great’. Just in my own apps, Default Folder X communicates this way with the Finder, Path Finder, ForkLift, Terminal and iTerm2 to give you seamless access to folders no matter where you need them. App Tamer uses Apple events to make sure it doesn’t interrupt iTunes and Spotify when they’re streaming music for you. And there are numerous other examples throughout the Mac ecosystem (and probably on your Mac right now).
Losing Apple event support in Mac applications would be a bigger loss than a lot of people realize – and one I’m not sure Apple is completely cognizant of. My hope is that there’s someone back there minding the proverbial store, but my feeling is that Apple is rushing headlong to open up macOS to UIKit applications to get more apps on the Mac, without regard for some important underpinnings.
Version 5.3.6 of Default Folder X delivers fixes for a few problems that have cropped since the last release. The most significant is a bug that caused the mouse cursor to disappear when using an Open or Save dialog, resulting in things appearing “stuck”. This occurred if you were using SteerMouse or any other utility that modified mouse behavior on the fly.
A change that I made in 5.3.5 also resulted in Default Folder X’s Finder-click feature being disabled if there was a Keyboard Maestro floating palette showing anywhere on-screen. That’s now fixed in 5.3.6 – my apologies to all of you joint Default Folder X / Keyboard Maestro users out there!
This release also includes a number of bug fixes for crashes, startup hangs, user interface issues, and a problem with the Finder-click feature not switching its list of Finder windows when you switch Spaces.
You can see the release notes and grab the latest version from the Default Folder X Release Page, or by choosing “Check for Updates” from Default Folder X’s menu if you’re running it now.
Some users of App Tamer have noticed that version 2.4.3 unexpectedly disappeared from their menu bar. There was a library shared across all of St. Clair Software’s apps that didn’t work correctly in App Tamer, causing it to crash when it received certain system notifications. That’s now been fixed.
Equally important, App Tamer was using more CPU than it had to, which isn’t really what you want in an app that’s supposed to be saving CPU cycles. It primarily affected Google Chrome users, but was actually a problem with all web browsers. App Tamer periodically “rebalances” the CPU usage of browsers’ helper processes, and was actually re-checking to see if the browser was downloading anything every time it did that rebalancing. That was completely unnecessary, and the download check is one of the more CPU-intensive things that App Tamer does, so it really shouldn’t have been doing that more than it absolutely had to.
So, those two issues are fixed – my apologies for the problems. You can grab version 2.4.4 from the App Tamer Release Page.
In terms of new functionality, users of HoudahSpot (and those of you that don’t use it and should go try it now) will be happy to see that you can start a search directly from an Open or Save dialog. This helps overcome the weak search functionality that macOS offers by default in file dialogs. And with the upcoming release of HoudahSpot 5, you’ll be able to make “round-trip” searches, sending results back to the waiting file dialog after you’ve found what you want.
Compatibility fixes for LaunchBar and CopyPaste Pro are also in version 5.3.5, as well as a fix so that Default Folder X works in the Save dialogs used by Mojave’s new screenshot utility. The latter was an interesting (and understandable) situation: Mojave’s screen capture app basically covers the entire screen with a big, semi-transparent window to let you rubber-band select an area and whatnot. If you then choose “Other Location…” to select a folder, the attendant file dialog has to come up on top of the giant window so you can use it. Since the big window is covering everything else, including Default Folder X, DFX didn’t work because mouse and keyboard clicks couldn’t get through. It just wasn’t something I’d planned for – so now I have 🙂
Version 5.3.5 also offers a bunch of improvements for Default Folder X’s drawer in the Finder, fixes for bugs involving its selection of recent files and folders in Open and Save dialogs, a problem with file dialog sheets when they’re the full width of the screen, and issues with some many-button mice.
Oh, and the secret settings dialog now lets you turn on “view-matching” for the Finder-click feature, making Default Folder X apply whatever view mode (Icon / List / Column) is used in the Finder window to the file dialog. And you can specify a minimum width and height for file dialogs, preventing them from coming up in a uselessly-small default size. Hold down the Option key while choosing Preferences from Default Folder X’s menu to get there.
Version 2.4.3 of App Tamer is available, offering a new option to turn off its AutoStop feature when you’ve been away from your Mac for a specified period of time.
This allows you to stop or slow down background processes so they don’t impact your work, but let them run at full speed when you’re not otherwise using your Mac.
This release also corrects a number of issues, including several crashes that occur in exceptional circumstances and a bug that could prevent apps from returning to full speed when you click on their icons in the Dock. In addition, App Tamer’s ‘wake’ AppleScript command now supports waking up all stopped and slowed apps at once.
So I learned an important lesson in user interface design: There are times when you DON’T want a consistent look and feel. The user-confusion resulting from my mistake in Default Folder X 5.3.3 necessitated the release of Default version 5.3.4 yesterday.
First a little background: Due to the increased Privacy controls in Mojave, when you first launch it, Default Folder X has to lead you through several steps to give it permission to access necessary information and API’s. It does so by opening System Preferences and presenting a couple of dialogs that provide steps that you need to follow. Easy, right? These are the dialogs from version 5.3.3.
See a problem there? Well, I didn’t, and neither did my testers. But the dialogs are very similar – same heading text, same buttons – the fine print is different and the Default Folder X icons are in different places, but they’re a lot alike. The first dialog pops up, and after you follow its instructions, it is automatically replaced by the second one. Because they look alike, a lot of people thought that the instructions hadn’t changed and that they were stuck, with no option but to hit the “Quit Without Authorizing” button. And send me a freakin’ email… I got lots of email.
So here are the fixed dialogs. Different overall look, different boldfaced heading, and different buttons. And an important lesson learned: People are busy, and are not necessarily giving your app 100% of their attention. Make sure that when the state changes, the change is noticeable to them. Especially when their only option if they don’t notice the change is to quit your app.
Sooo – get Default Folder X 5.3.4. In addition to the updated Privacy prompts, it contains several bug fixes. You can get it from the Default Folder X release page, where you’ll also find release notes describing the changes.
Version 5.3.3 of Default Folder X is now available! I’ve been resistant to adding labels to the icons in the toolbar, but have finally been convinced – the improved usability for some people (especially casual users) trumps the aesthetic “messiness” of having the text there. The icon names are now turned on by default, but you can easily turn them off in the prefs, or just by Control-clicking above the “D” icon and choosing “Icon Only”.
This release also lets you set keyboard shortcuts to quickly hop to the Tags or Comments field below a Save dialog. And if you hold down the Option key while clicking the “Save” button to dismiss a Save dialog, Default Folder X will automatically open the folder you just saved your file to, letting you do whatever you need to do with it in the Finder.
There are also bug fixes to resolve several crashes that have been reported, tweaks to clean up the user interface in the Preferences window, and a compatibility fix so that the Finder Windows feature now works with the version of ForkLift distributed through the SetApp subscription service.
Check out the Default Folder X release page for a complete list of changes, as well as download links. Or if you’re already a Default Folder X user, just choose “Check for Updates” from its menu in your menu bar.
Version 2.4.2 of App Tamer is available! There’s an exclamation point there because it offers a fix for an annoying problem that cropped up in Mojave, where Core Graphics Event Taps no longer deliver events to applications when they’re in the background (Radar #45934966 if you’re listening, Apple). While that may sound cryptic, the end result was that App Tamer never saw mouse scrolling events when you used a scroll wheel or gesture to scroll the contents of a background window. If the background window belonged to an app that App Tamer had slowed or stopped, that meant that the window would scroll slowly or not at all. This drove me crazy ALL THE TIME because I apparently scroll through web pages and other background windows very frequently.
Anyway, in addition to that issue, this release improves the ability to move through App Tamer’s process list using the keyboard, and lets you keep App Tamer’s window floating on top of all other windows if want to use it to diagnose a problem or keep an eye on CPU-gobbling processes. A number of little interface issues have also been addressed, and a bug fixed for App Tamer waiting too long to slow or stop background processes when they were also set to be hidden after a certain amount of time.
As usual, this update is free for users who’ve already purchased a license for App Tamer 2.x. You can head over to the App Tamer Release Page to see more details or to download the new version (or just hit “Check for Updates” in App Tamer’s utility menu if you’re already running it).