Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Jettison 1.8.8 opens disks when you mount them; fixes screen wakeups and issues with encrypted disks

Saturday, June 1st, 2024

Version 1.8.8 of Jettison was released today, adding a new option for mounting disks while also fixing some annoying issues.

When you hold down the Command key, the “Mount” command in Jettison’s menu becomes “Mount and Open.” As you’d expect from the name, selecting a disk will not only mount it so it’s available for use, but will also open a new Finder window showing its contents. This is a handy shortcut if you want to mount an offline disk and immediately get to work with it.

On the bug-fix side of things, this release fixes an issue that could wake up the display while Jettison ejected external disks. This didn’t cause problems with sleep, but could be confusing when manually putting a Mac to sleep. You’d invoke sleep, the screen would go dark and then would immediately wake back up, then it’d go black again and the machine would finish going to sleep. Just weird.

Version 1.8.8 also addresses a problem with disks not mounting properly if they’re encrypted but already unlocked, and improves error messages when failures occur while mounting encrypted disks. It also gives a more helpful error message when you try to manually mount an encrypted drive whose password isn’t in your keychain.

As always, full release notes and the downloadable update are available by choosing “Check for Updates” from Jettison’s menu in your menu bar, or from the Jettison – What’s New page.

Default Folder X 6.0.7 corrects file dialog issues and adds an option for Quick Search editing

Friday, May 17th, 2024

Version 6.0.7 of Default Folder X is available now. It fixes a number of issues that occurred when using Open and Save dialogs in certain situations and is recommended for all Default Folder X 6 users.

It also adds a new setting – currently only available via a Terminal command – to change the way arrow keys work in its Quick Search window. By default, the left and right arrows navigate into a folder when it’s selected in the Quick Search results.

This works well when navigating the results, where up and down arrows move the selection up and down the list, and the right arrow moves “into” a selected folder so you can search just within that folder. However, this means the arrow keys are not available for moving back and forth in the search field if you want to edit your search string.

If you’d like the left / right arrows to instead move the text cursor in the search field, run the Terminal application (you’ll find it in /Applications/Utilities), paste in the command below, then hit the Return key on your keyboard:

     defaults write com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5 quickSearchTraversesWithTabKey -bool YES

Once you’ve done that, you can move into and out of folders in the search results using Tab and Shift+Tab in place of the left and right arrow keys. To change the setting back to its default, just replace the “YES” in the command above with “NO”.

If you’re already running Default Folder X, choose Check for Update from Default Folder X’s menu in your menu bar to get the new version. If not, head to the What’s New page for download links, as well as detailed release notes.

App Tamer 2.7.6: New sorting options, UI tweaks and bug fixes

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

Version 2.7.6 of App Tamer is available for download, delivering a bunch of changes. Among them is the option to click on a column header to sort processes by name, CPU usage, or average CPU usage. Prior to this release, the list of running processes was always sorted by average CPU usage – you didn’t have a choice.

I’ve hesitated to add this because I worry that it may cause confusion for some people. If they accidentally click on a column header without realizing it, the list will no longer be showing the most CPU-hungry apps at the top. And they won’t know how to get it back to doing that.

Nevertheless, for those that understand it, sorting by something other than “% Avg” (average CPU usage) is helpful. It’s been a common request for quite a while, so I’m finally relenting – let’s hope my worries are unfounded and it doesn’t cause trouble for anyone.

In addition to this change, App Tamer 2.7.6 also improves its user interface in a number of little ways – everything from making buttons more obvious to smoothing out the animation used when its window opens.

And functionally, there are a couple of important fixes. App Tamer now correctly recognizes all battery-powered Macs. Prior to this release, it actually looked for “Book” in the model identifier of the machine to determine whether it should look for a battery. That was fine when the model identifiers were things like “MacBookAir10,1”, but then Apple released the 2022 MacBook Air with a model ID of “Mac14,2”. Whoops – now my “Book” shortcut looks pretty stupid 🙄.

In addition, the default throttling setting for common web browsers has been changed so that they’re allowed 10% CPU usage when they’re in the background, rather than 2%. This should reduce the possibility that audio or video will stutter when the browser’s not frontmost. If you still get choppy audio, try setting the limit for your browser even higher, or consider turning off “Slow down this app” in your App Tamer settings for it.

There a complete list of all the changes in version 2.7.6 on the App Tamer release page, along with links to download the new version.

MacGeekGab: A helpful podcast with a mention of Default Folder X

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

A mention of Default Folder X on episode 940 of MacGeekGab reminded me (yet again) about this useful podcast, hosted by Dave Hamilton and John F. Braun. Their goal with each episode is for everyone to learn at least 5 new things about working with their Mac, iPhone, or associated bits, and they almost always succeed. I highly recommend their podcast if you’re into Mac tips and tricks!

App Tamer 2.6.5: Refinements and Fixes, plus “hide everything”

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

Version 2.6.5 of App Tamer is available, sporting fixes for a few things that have come to my attention since the last release. Specifically, App Tamer’s Force Quit command, which you can get to by Control-clicking on any app in the process list, now ensures that the app is terminated even if it’s being very uncooperative.

Some UI inconsistencies have also been fixed, including small changes to the text color and font size used in App Tamer’s icon in your menu bar. And there’s a fix to App Tamer’s high-cpu-usage-detection warnings so that if some helper process (like one of Safari’s web content renderers) uses lots of CPU, App Tamer tells you to limit Safari’s CPU usage to fix the problem, rather than complaining about the helper process itself.

This release also includes the “inverting” of an existing feature to fill the niche left by the demise of the app Hocus Focus. App Tamer already offered an option to hide particular apps after they’d been idle for a certain amount of time, but if you wanted that to apply to all applications, you had to turn the feature on for every app individually. Now you can set up all apps to be hidden after 5 minutes (or whatever) in one fell swoop by using these commands in Terminal:

  defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer hideWhenIdle 1

  defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer minutesUntilHide 5

The first command turns on the “hideWhenIdle” feature, while the second sets the “minutesUntilHide” time to 5. You can obviously use any delay you want for minutesUntilHide. To turn the feature off again, just set hideWhenIdle to zero:

  defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer hideWhenIdle 0

Also, if you want a few apps to wait longer to hide, you can override the time using App Tamer’s normal hide-when-idle feature, accessible in the settings popover that you get by clicking on an app in the process list. Or to prevent the app from being hidden regardless of how long it’s been idle, enter zero into the edit box next to the slider.

As usual, concise release notes and download links are available on the App Tamer Release page, or if you’re already running App Tamer, by choosing “Check for Update” from utility menu at the bottom of App Tamer’s window.

Default Folder X: Opening folders in Path Finder vs. Finder

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

With the recent focus on Default Folder X’s integration with Path Finder, I’ve been fielding a number of questions about how to make Default Folder X open folders in Path Finder instead of the Finder.

Using Path Finder instead of the Finder for all apps

The first, simplest answer is that Default Folder X uses your “default file browser” when opening folders. If you set your default file browser to be Path Finder, selecting a folder from Default Folder X’s menus will open it in Path Finder. This will also make all other apps on your Mac use Path Finder for their “Reveal in Finder” commands.

“But how the heck do I set Path Finder as my default file browser?” you say. Well, I’m glad you asked! It’s easy – there’s a setting in your Path Finder preferences:

Turn on this checkbox and you’re done.

Using Path Finder instead of the Finder – but just for Default Folder X

If you’d rather make this apply only to Default Folder X, you can set Default Folder X’s “fileViewer” preference in Terminal with this command:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5 fileViewer com.cocoatech.PathFinder

Note that if you’re using the Setapp version of Path Finder, you should replace ‘com.cocoatech.PathFinder’ with ‘com.cocoatech.PathFinder-setapp’. To tell Default Folder X to go back to using the Finder instead of Path Finder, just replace ‘com.cocoatech.PathFinder’ with ‘com.apple.finder’.

Toggling between Path Finder and Finder on the fly

And finally, if you want to get really fancy and sometimes have Default Folder X open folders in the Finder and sometimes in Path Finder, you can set up an AppleScript to toggle back and forth. Attaching a script like this to a keyboard shortcut using Peter Lewis’ amazing Keyboard Maestro app makes it super-easy:

-- set the 'currentViewer' variable to the current fileViewer setting
set currentViewer to do shell script "defaults read com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5 fileViewer"
-- now switch to whichever fileViewer is currently not in use
if currentViewer is "com.apple.finder" then
do shell script "defaults write com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5 fileViewer com.cocoatech.PathFinder"
else
do shell script "defaults write com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5 fileViewer com.apple.finder"
end if

App Tamer 2.6.2: Quick UI Fixes and an Experimental Assassin for Runaway Processes

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

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.

You can find the full release notes and download links to App Tamer 2.6.2 on the App Tamer Release Page.

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:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer killRunawayProcesses 1
defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer runawayProcessCPULimit 50
defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer runawayProcessTimeLimit 20
defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer runawayProcessList "lsd pkd"

Here’s what’s going on with the commands:

  • 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.

To turn the whole thing back off, just use:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer killRunawayProcesses 0

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 support@stclairsoft.com.

HistoryHound 2.3.2 adds multiple-item selection, fixes bugs

Friday, March 26th, 2021

HistoryHound 2.3.2 is a small update that delivers bug fixes and introduces multiple-item selection to the search results list.

Multi-selection lets you act on multiple results at a time to:

  • copy their URLs as a list
  • open them all in your browser
  • create a filter to exclude them from future inclusion
  • remove them all from your search index

As a reminder, HistoryHound follows macOS’s standard method for selecting multiple items in a list:

  • Command-click an item to add it to the current selection
  • Shift-click to extend the selection from the currently selected item to the item you’re clicking on

Full release notes and download links are available on the HistoryHound Release Page, or if you’re already running an earlier version of HistoryHound, just choose “Check for Updates…” from its menu.

Jettison 1.8.2 is here!

Friday, March 12th, 2021

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:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.Jettison leaveAppsRunning -bool TRUE

If you want to keep the behavior, but need to add other applications to the list of apps to quit, use:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.Jettison appsToQuit -array com.apple.TextEdit

where you substitute the bundle identifiers of the apps to quit where com.apple.TextEdit appears above.

Non-application processes (such as system background daemons) can be terminated before disks are ejected by using:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.Jettison processesToTerminate -array photoanalysisd

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.

Default Folder X 5.5.6: Helping Big Sur work correctly – again

Friday, February 12th, 2021

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.