Version 2.6.2 of App Tamer is available, fixing a couple of user interface bugs that could trip up new users. When newly installed, the size of App Tamer’s window was much smaller than it was supposed to be, making it hard to see the list of tamed processes. Compounding this was a change in version 2.6.1 that resulted in the mouse cursor not turning into a little arrow when you hovered over the edges of the window, so you couldn’t tell it’s resizable.
Another glitch, a result of changes that Apple made in Big Sur, could result in the names of processes being truncated in the process list. That’s been fixed as well.
An experimental feature for a very specific system problem:
And now for the geeky, experimental feature: It’s come to my attention that some people are living with bugs in macOS that can result in essential background processes (like lsd and pkd) suddenly consuming tons of CPU time and bringing their Mac to a standstill. Despite chasing around to try and find the culprit, they often can’t resolve the problem without completely reinstalling the system. And apparently, App Tamer’s process throttling can’t limit the CPU usage without effectively disabling whatever function those processes are supposed to be performing.
So I’ve added a “runaway process assassin” to App Tamer. You specify which processes to watch, and if the CPU usage of any of them stays above a specified limit for a certain amount of time, App Tamer just kills the process. This certainly isn’t ideal, but works fine for system daemons that macOS will automatically relaunch whenever they’re needed. This feature is probably only useful to a few people, but because it isn’t something that’s easy to code up with an AppleScript or shell script, I figured I’d just add it. App Tamer is already collecting the CPU statistics anyway.
To configure this, you have to use Terminal. Paste in these commands, hitting the Return key after each one:
The first command turns on the killRunawayProcesses feature.
The second sets runawayProcessCPULimit to 50. You can set that to whatever CPU percentage you want.
The third sets runawayProcessTimeLimit to 20. This is how long (in seconds) the process has to be above its limit before App Tamer kills it.
The fourth sets runawayProcessList to watch lsd and pkd. You can add as many processes as you want here, separated by spaces. For full-fledged applications, use the app’s bundle identifier.
When App Tamer kills a process, it will put up a notification to let you know. You’ll probably want to make sure you’ve allowed App Tamer to display notifications in System Preferences > Notifications.
WARNING: Don’t turn this on unless you have a real need for it! You could potentially kill a service that’s necessary for your Mac to operate correctly. However, if you do need and make use of this feature, I’d appreciate hearing from you in the comments or at email@example.com.
Version 1.8.2 of Jettison is now available. It brings a number of improvements, including several fixes for problems remounting disks after they’ve been ejected.
Jettison’s error reporting has also been improved so that it catches edge cases where a disk unmounts after Jettison has been told by the system that the unmount failed. This should prevent those error messages that said a problem had occurred, but then didn’t list any disks in the error details.
For several releases now, Jettison has been quietly quitting Photos, iTunes and Music before it ejects disks, then relaunching them when those disks are remounted. This prevents problems for the many people that keep their photos or music on external drives. In doing this, however, Jettison was a little too aggressive: It quit the apps when you chose “Eject External Disks Now” from its menu as well as when the machine went to sleep. That turned out to be a Bad Idea, so now it’s only done before ejecting disks when the machine is actually going to sleep.
In a similar vein, there are now some preference settings accessible via Terminal to tweak this behavior. You can turn off the auto-quit / relaunch behavior using this command in Terminal:
where a whitespace-separated list of process names goes in place of photoanalysisd.
And yes, if these options prove popular, they’ll get their own place in the preferences dialog so you no longer have to use Terminal to set them up.
So anyway, this is available in Jettison 1.8.2, with details and download links on the Jettison Release Page. Or if you’re already using Jettison, choose “Check for Updates” from its menu in your menu bar.
In Big Sur 11.1, Apple introduced an annoying system bug that made Open and Save dialogs revert to a very small size every time you used them. To see anything in the dialog, you pretty much had to resize them. Every. Single. Time. Default Folder X 5.5.4 brought a fix for this – forcing the dialogs back to your preferred, larger size whenever they came up.
Fast forward to Big Sur 11.2, and Apple has fixed the bug so dialogs now stay larger once you resize them – yay! Well, mostly yay anyway. The sidebar still bounces back to its narrow, “I can’t read the names of my folders” width of about 100 pixels every second time you use an Open or Save dialog. <sigh>
So here’s Default Folder X 5.5.6. If you resize the sidebar in an Open or Save dialog, Default Folder X will make sure it bounces back to that size the next time you use the same file dialog.
In addition, this release expands support for HoudahSpot so that you now get the “Search in HoudahSpot” menu item in Default Folder X’s utility menu if you’re using the version of HoudahSpot included in the Setapp subscription service. It previously only worked with copies of HoudahSpot bought directly from Houdah Software.
And because someone asked for it, holding down the Option key while selecting a Folder Set from Default Folder X’s menu in your menu bar will open all of your Favorite folders in the Finder. So if you’ve got multiple Folder Sets for different projects or workflows, you can now instantly open all of those folders in the Finder when you’re starting work. (A few of you old-timers might remember that this was actually a feature in version 4 that didn’t make the jump to v5 – now it’s back!)
There are also a few bug fixes in version 5.5.6, as I’m still chasing after the elusive problem of the cursor sporadically disappearing on some Macs (but not others). Full release notes and download links are on the Default Folder X Release Page. Or just choose “Check for Updates” from Default Folder X’s menu if you’re already running it.
Yes, the Open and Save dialogs keep appearing at their smallest possible sizes in Big Sur 11.1. It’s not just you, and it’s not something you’ve done wrong – it’s a bug in Big Sur.
The problem is worst in Save dialogs that offer additional options, like the one below from the “Save as PDF” menu when printing. You’re left with just 2.5 items showing in the list of files!
First, to resize one of these tiny file dialogs, just click on the bottom, right corner and drag the window to a larger size. Note that if you’re running Default Folder X, you need to grab the corner of the file dialog, not the corner of Default Folder X’s bezel around it.
Sadly, resizing the dialog so it’s larger only works on the current one. Every time you’re presented with an Open or Save dialog, it’ll be back to its uselessly small size again because Big Sur doesn’t remember the past size like it’s supposed to.
To work around this problem until Apple fixes it (hopefully in Big Sur 11.2), you can set Default Folder X to force dialogs back to the size you dragged them to. To do that, hold down the Option key and choose Preferences from Default Folder X’s menu in your menu bar. You’ll be presented with an “Additional Settings” window with a whole slew of options. Just turn on the “Remember file dialog sizes” checkbox and then click OK.
With this enabled, Default Folder X will resize every file dialog after it opens. It’s a bit ugly, as the dialog can only be resized after it shows up on screen (so you’ll see an almost comical “here you go… oh wait, let me make that bigger… ok, how’s that?” dance) but it gets the job done. And that ugliness is why the checkbox isn’t part of DFX’s regular preferences – it’s only meant to be used when things have really gone sideways and you have no other choice. Like in Big Sur 11.1 🙄
Note that the current Default Folder X release doesn’t resize the sidebar after it fixes the dialog size (cuz macOS was supposed to take care of that, too). You can grab this pre-release build of Default Folder X 5.5.4, which takes care of the sidebar as well:
TL;DR: There was a bug in Default Folder X 5.5 that resulted in it failing to launch correctly. Version 5.5.1 delivers a fix. If you’ve been affected and are having trouble updating to version 5.5.1, read on.
What Happened: First, my apologies. Default Folder X 5.5 introduced a new feature that tracks changes to files and folders synced via the cloud. Part of the startup process is to look at your current cloud settings to determine which folders need to be watched. In the case of Google Drive File Stream, Default Folder X didn’t properly read old settings files, resulting in the launch process being disrupted and leaving it running, but with no user interface (no icon in the menu bar, no toolbar in Open and Save dialogs, etc). This also breaks the auto-update mechanism, so you have to update to version 5.5.1 manually.
So yeah, big oops. In retrospect, I should have coded that even more defensively than I did so that the error would have been caught. I’m sorry.
How to Fix It: If you’ve been bitten by this bug, you have to manually download and install Default Folder X 5.5.1. Ostensibly, that’s not hard – just download 5.5.1 5.5.3 from this link:
Once the download completes, double-click on the .dmg file and drag the Default Folder X app to your Applications folder.
Now here’s the rub: If you ran the old, broken version 5.5, you may get an error message saying that you can’t replace it.
It’s still invisibly running, but there’s no clear way to quit it. The regular macOS “Force Quit” procedure – accessed by pressing Command-Option-Esc on your keyboard – won’t show Default Folder X even though it’s running. Here’s what to do instead:
1. Run Activity Monitor. It’s located in /Applications/Utilities.
2. Use the search field in Activity Monitor’s toolbar to locate Default Folder X in the process list.
3. Click on the (x) icon in Activity Monitor’s toolbar.
4. Choose Force Quit when prompted.
Now you’ll be able to drag the new copy of Default Folder X 5.5.3 to your Applications folder. Once it’s there, just open your Applications folder and double-click Default Folder X to launch it.
HistoryHound 2.3 is now available, bringing support for macOS 11.0 Big Sur. It’s a universal app, running natively on Macs powered by either Intel or Apple Silicon processors, so if you’re lucky enough to have a “Developer Transition Kit” Mac or will be buying whatever Apple’s rumored to be announcing on November 17, HistoryHound is ready!
This release also delivers new inline search filters, similar to what you may already be using in your Google searches if you’re cool like that 😎. Specifying a phrase like “ipad case site:apple.com” will search your browsing history and bookmarks for the terms “ipad” and “case”, but only on pages at apple.com. Similarly, using “carbon wheel url:mtbr” will return only matching pages that you’ve visited that have “mtbr” in their URL.
The filters that HistoryHound currently understands are:
site – the website host
url – the full URL of the page
title – the title of the page, shown in the tab or title bar of your browser
source – HistoryHound’s source, such as “Firefox Bookmarks”
Note that these are all simple searches that look for the specified term within the relevant attribute. So “site:apple” will match pages from apple.com or appleinsider.com, since they both contain “apple”.
In addition, HistoryHound 2.3 understands custom URLs that let you save clickable searches for later use. Going to the link historyhound:apple will start a search for “apple” in HistoryHound. This can be handy when you want to repeatedly perform the same searches – just save the links in a document somewhere and click on one when you want to start a search.
As usual, there are some bug fixes and little improvements as well. A full change history and download links are available on the HistoryHound release page.
So a Default Folder X user just emailed and asked this:
I have been a Mac user for 30 years and would love to find a tool that allows me to click a button (or make this the default filename) while in the “Save…” dialog box that will prepend a formatted date to the beginning of the filename. like so:
Now, you can set up an AppleScript to do this using Default Folder X’s GetSaveName and SetSaveName verbs. However, that would require that you run the AppleScript whenever you want the date prepended, which is a bit of a pain if you want all of your filenames formatted this way. But I realized as I was replying that you can actually automate this by using (or rather, slightly abusing) an existing feature in Default Folder X.
on getDefaultFolder(appName, dialogType, firstTime)
-- only do this for save dialogs
if dialogType is "save" then
-- get the current date
set dateObj to (current date)
-- then format it as YYYY-MM-DD
set theMonth to text -1 thru -2 of ("0" & (month of dateObj as number))
set theDay to text -1 thru -2 of ("0" & day of dateObj)
set theYear to year of dateObj
set dateStamp to "" & theYear & "-" & theMonth & "-" & theDay
-- then prepend that to the name in the save dialog
tell application "Default Folder X"
set theName to GetSaveName
set theName to dateStamp & " " & theName
-- finally, don't give Default Folder X a default
-- folder, so it just continues on normally
If you save this script in a file named “GetDefaultFolder.scpt” in this location:
It will magically prepend the date in the format ‘2020-09-15’ to the beginning of all of your filenames in Save As dialogs. Note that you can still edit the name afterwards if the default filename (like “Untitled 4”) needs to be modified.
Well, Jettison 1.8 didn’t go quite as planned. It adopted a different system API to get power notifications so that it could better handle “dark wake” events, where macOS wakes up briefly to perform backups and network maintenance while it’s sleeping. While the dark wake stuff all worked as expected, it ended up causing issues with some external drives not getting ejected before sleep because sleep notifications were delivered slightly later in the going-to-sleep sequence. It didn’t make a difference on test machines here or with our beta testers, but impacted some users out in the real world once version 1.8 was released. If you’re one of those folks, I’m sorry for the trouble 🙁
Version 1.8.1 was released today, and takes a hybrid approach, using both the old and new API’s to ensure that it gets sleep notifications as early as possible. This restores the reliability of Jettison’s eject-on-sleep capabilities.
This release also allows you to turn off the feature introduced in version 1.8 that quits Music, iTunes and Photos before sleep (to allow ejection of external media containing music and photo libraries). Apparently iTunes doesn’t correctly return to the same location in audiobooks when Jettison relaunches it after waking up, which can be really annoying. So you can disable the feature by using this command in Terminal:
Version 2.5.2 of App Tamer is now available. It smooths out a few rough edges on Big Sur. It also respects the Do Not Disturb setting in Notification Center when it comes to warning you about apps using too much CPU.
Of interest to the curious: This release offers a new “Get Info” icon in the settings popup for many macOS system processes like WindowServer, trustd, iconservicesagent and bluetoothd.
Clicking the icon will show a system-supplied description of the process, which may help you understand what that process does, why it might be using a lot of CPU, and whether it’s safe to slow it down. Or it might not, since some of the descriptions themselves are pretty cryptic. Please remember that this information is supplied by the system, not by App Tamer, so I probably can’t help explain what an “SDP transaction” is 🙂
App Tamer 2.5.2 also contains a few bug fixes and some changes in terminology that make it clearer which processes are displayed in App Tamer’s process lists. Full details and download links are on the App Tamer release page.