Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Tiny Open and Save dialogs in Big Sur

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

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:

https://www.stclairsoft.com/download/DefaultFolderX-5.5.4.dmg

And for folks that care, version 5.5.4 also contains fixes for some other issues, like conflicts with NeoFinder and Notability, and better support for (tiny) Save dialogs in Photoshop.

Default Folder X 5.5.1: A fix for version 5.5’s failure to launch, and how to update if you’re stuck

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

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:

https://stclairsoft.s3.amazonaws.com/DefaultFolderX-5.5.3.dmg

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.

Again, my apologies for the hassle!

HistoryHound 2.3 for Big Sur and Apple Silicon

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
And it has a new icon too!

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.

Automatically prepending dates to the names of saved files

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

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:

2020-09-08 Filename.ext

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.

Default Folder X has the ability to run an AppleScript to determine the location of an application’s default folder. The script will be run whenever a new file dialog is displayed by an application, which is the perfect time to do our little filename modification. So I wrote an AppleScript that looks like this:

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
      SetSaveName theName
    end tell
  end if

  -- finally, don't give Default Folder X a default
  -- folder, so it just continues on normally 
  return ""
end getDefaultFolder

If you save this script in a file named “GetDefaultFolder.scpt” in this location:

~/Library/Application Support/com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5/Scripts/

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.

Jettison 1.8.1 fixes what broke in version 1.8

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

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:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.Jettison leaveAppsRunning 1

As usual, full release notes and download links are on the Jettison release page.

App Tamer 2.5.2 supports Big Sur and Do Not Disturb, gives insight into background processes

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

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.

Adding Default Folder X’s buttons to Path Finder’s toolbar

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Default Folder X can automatically add buttons to the toolbar in all Finder windows so that you can quickly get to its menus or drawer. I’ve had a number of inquiries from folks that use Path Finder as a replacement for the Finder, and they want those same buttons in their Path Finder toolbars.

Unfortunately, Default Folder X can’t automate this, so you’ll need to add the buttons manually. Here’s how to do it in Path Finder 9:

  • Locate the Default Folder X application in your Applications folder and Control-click on it. Choose “Show Package Contents” from the menu.
  • When the window shows the contents of the Default Folder X application, double-click on the Contents folder, and then within that double-click on the Resources folder.
  • Control-click on Path Finder’s toolbar and choose “Add Custom Items…”
  • Use Default Folder X’s Finder-click feature to go to the Resources folder you just opened in the second step.
  • Choose the “DFX” application to add to Path Finder’s toolbar.
  • Repeat the “Add Custom Items…” command and add the “DFX Drawer” application as well.

App Tamer 2.5.1 adds more AppleScript support, fixes issues

Monday, May 18th, 2020

Version 2.5.1 of App Tamer is available now. Among other things, it includes fixes for a couple of complaints with the “using too much CPU” notifications that App Tamer puts up when a process is – you guessed it – using too much CPU. It will no longer notify you if you’ve already throttled an app, even if the app is still over the warning threshold. It also provides a method of making the “Let it continue” button suppress the high-CPU notifications for longer. The default is now 10 minutes (instead of 5) before you see another warning, and you can change that by using this command in Terminal:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer notificationMuteTime XXX

where XXX is is the number of seconds to silence notifications.

And for those folks that want to automate control of their apps, a new “manage” verb in App Tamer’s AppleScript dictionary lets you create scripts so you can change settings on a schedule, change an app’s settings with a keyboard shortcut, or something AppleScript-y like that. Here’s an example:

tell application "App Tamer"
manage "Safari" slow yes slowCPU 2 hide yes hideDelay 10
end tell

That will slow Safari to 2% CPU usage when it’s in the background and will hide it after it’s been idle for 10 minutes. To see all of the options, open App Tamer’s dictionary in Script Editor.

This scripting ability is being used by some users to change settings for backups so they run with different CPU limits at night vs. during the day, and throttling background apps more aggressively during video calls. As they say, the possibilities are endless!

App Tamer 2.5.1 also includes a number of fixes for infrequently encountered bugs, such as incorrect behavior when the stats update frequency is set to “never”, and processes not appearing when they’re run from the Terminal using ‘sudo’ or ‘su’.

For a full list of changes and download links, visit the App Tamer release page.

Default Folder X 5.4.5 sorts menus on the fly, fixes performance issues and bugs

Monday, April 20th, 2020

Version 5.4.5 of Default Folder X is now available to enhance your Open and Save dialogs even more. Default Folder X has always provided hierarchical menus that let you very quickly navigate to a folder or file you want, but sometimes those menus aren’t sorted the way you want them. To switch between sort-by-name and sort-by-date, just hold down the Option key before mousing over a menu or submenu – that can make it much faster to find what you’re looking for.

This release also addresses some performance issues if you’re using ARCHICAD or if you’re using screen-sharing while working from home. And there are bug-fixes, including a fairly common one for folks who access files on a NAS or server.

For full release notes and download links, visit the Default Folder X Release page.

An Excellent Introduction to App Tamer on Podfeet Podcasts

Friday, December 6th, 2019

If you’re interested in App Tamer, Podfeet Podcasts just posted a great write-up about it. The article goes into more depth than our own App Tamer pages, and is a great introduction to its features and why you’d want them. It’s a few minutes’ read, and I highly recommend it if you’re interested in getting the CPU usage of your Mac under control!