Archive for the ‘MacOS Utilities’ Category

Closing all windows quits app

Friday, October 14th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of RedQuits

Mom taught you that when you were done playing that you should put your toys away. That was good advice for the floor of the playroom when you were a kid, and it's still good advice now, even when a lot of your "toys" are programs running on your computer. You've been busy editing multiple documents with your favorite word processor and decide you're done, so you close them all. But does that mean that the application itself is closed? Depends; sometimes closing that last application window will kill the app itself, but often, it just sits there, still running–and taking up memory and other resources–but it's not benefitting you at all. Mom probably wouldn't be happy.

RedQuits is a tool that can help make sure that doesn't happen to you. Once it's up and running, closing that last application window automatically closes the application itself. No more "orphan" apps running and taking up resources when you think you've put all your toys away.

RedQuits is a free download. You can use it on your Mac (OS X 10.6 and later).

Download RedQuits

Monitor time in multiple locations

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of LoversClock

Your Mac comes with a built in clock, sitting there in the menubar at the top of your screen. You can change what it looks like and how it behaves, but you're pretty much stuck with displaying time for only one timezone, probably the one where you are right now. If you regularly interact with folks in another location, it might be handy to know that time it is there as well.

LoversClock is a menubar app that will display the current time for you. Since you've already got the local time, you can configure it to show the time on the other side of the country—or the other side of the world. Our preference is to show GMT so all those Unix timestamps make sense. If you like, you can display the time for multiple locations, so you can try figure out when the folks in North America, colleagues in the UK, and the people in Singapore can all be up and running at the same time, ready for that conference call (hint: there is no such time).

LoversClock is a free download. There are versions for OS X 10.5 (Leopard), as well as an older Tiger-compatible release.

Download LoversClock

Zip and encrypt files on your Mac

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of iZip

So many files, so little time. As you work away at your computer, you are no doubt generating a lot of new files: documents, images, notes, all kinds of goodies. You can keep cranking them out, but at some point you're going to have to stop and organize them. If you've got a bunch of files that all pertain to the same subject—maybe a new website you're designing, maybe a report you're putting together—it might be nice to have all those files travel together. Whether it's time to share your handiwork with others, or to file your accomplishment away for posterity, there's no substitute for a good archiving tool.

iZip can help bring order to the chaos that is your files. You can create archives in several popular formats—ZIP, RAR, TAR, and even 7ZIP—and of course you can use it to extract files from those archive files as well. For extra security, iZip uses 256-bit AES encryption, so your files stay your business and nobody else's. On top of that, it's integrated with the free Files.com file sharing service, so it's easy to share your files with others.

iZip is a Mac application. You need to be running an Intel-powered machine with Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) or above to use iZip.

Download iZip

File manager for Mac

Monday, August 29th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Xfolders

If you're up and running on a Mac, you know that Finder is your friend. And your enemy. Like Windows Explorer on a PC, Finder is the file manager and application manager you use to navigate around on your computer. There's lots of cool stuff you can do with it, but it does have its limitations as well.

Xfolders is a Mac file manager app that can work with or instead of Finder. Its main window has two panes, so you can look at two different folders—or volumes—at the same time. Drag and drop files, copy and paste them between panes. Compare files and folders to see what they have in common and where they differ. Show or hide hidden "dot" files and other system files. And it's got a built-in terminal for one-off Unix-y commands, as well as an internal image preview tool to let you see what's in the folder you're digging through.

Xfolders is a free download. It's a Mac application and runs on systems up through (at least) OS X 10.5 (Leopard), on both PowerPC and Intel-powered Macs.

Download Xfolders

Monitor files for changes

Friday, August 12th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of FileMonitor

It's important to know what's in your files. After all, if you don't know what's in there, it's probably not worth having. Sometimes, though, it's not just the contents of the file, but the fact that there's been a change to it. Take log files, for example. If you're interested in what's happening on your system, you might want to keep an eye on when big-deal events are written back to the system log. If you don't want to just sit there and wait until something happens—not your most productive use of time to be sure—maybe you should use a tool that can keep an eye on things for you.

FileMonitor is an app that sits there and just waits for things to happen. Point it at your system log file or any of the other status-y files on your system, and it will tell you when there's been a change; that is, some event has happened that warranted writing an entry back to that file. Or if you prefer, you can point it at a folder—maybe a dropbox on your FTP server—to let you know when files have been added to that folder. Either way, you can go about your business while this tool keeps an eye on things for you.

FileMonitor is a free download for your Mac.

Download FileMonitor

Free system benchmarking tool

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

runs on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of NovaBench

So you've just gone out and spent a small fortune on a fancy new system. Or you've overhauled Old Reliable, hoping to improve speed and performance. So now that you're done with all this, the question is "did it really make any difference?" That's where you're going to need a benchmarking tool.

NovaBench can take a look at your system and let you know what it sees. In a quick test—generally only a couple of minutes—it takes a look at your CPU's speed, as well as checking out your system's memory, graphics performance, and even figuring the write speed for your hard drive. Once it's all done, you can take a look at those numbers, and even compare them with the results that other folks have gotten on their systems.

NovaBench is a free download. It's available for both Windows (XP and higher) and Mac (OS X 10.5 and later).

Download NovaBench

Check your disk space

Friday, July 29th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of GrandPerspective

How much disk space do you have left on your hard drive? You can run directory listings and you can look around with Finder, but if you're looking at more than a few files, those numbers representing file and folder sizes don't really have any meaning. This is a situation where the picture may be worth a thousand words.

GrandPerspective is a tool that graphically shows you the disk space that your applications, documents, and media files take up. Rather than long strings of numbers, it used colored rectangles, which are sized proportionally to show you the relative sizes of your files. Now it's easy to see that that movie file you downloaded is taking up much more space on your system than it really deserves. Go ahead and get rid of it, or archive it in some other location, and now you've put off having to get a bigger hard drive for at least a couple of months.

GrandPerspective is a Mac application. It runs under OS X version 10.3 and later, on both Intel and PowerPC machines.

Download GrandPerspective

Menubar app launcher for Mac

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of XMenu

If you're busy, then your Dock is probably bursting from the seams from all the application icons you've dragged into it, hoping that you can more easily find those apps that you use all the time. After a while, though, it gets almost impossible to see which apps all those little icons stand for, because they're just too darn small. So how do you keep those important apps close to you, but still be able to tell which ones you're clicking on?

XMenu can give you a hand with this. It lives in the menubar and gives you single location to pick your applications from. It groups apps into categories, and lets you unfold them as you drill down to find the one you're after. Application names show, so you're sure you're getting what you're after, and once you make your selection, the menu goes away and gets out of your way. Spend more time getting work done and less time trying to remember what that teeny tiny little Dock icon stands for.

XMenu is a free Mac application. It runs under OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and later.

Download XMenu

Run Terminal apps on multiple machines simultaneously

Friday, July 8th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of csshX

There's a certain satisfaction you can gain from doing a complicated job well. That satisfaction can turn into something else, however, you have to do that complicated job several times in rapid succession. Setting up a new workstation or fiddling with existing settings may be interesting the first time, but if you have to do it a dozen times in a row, it can lose its charm.

csshX is a tool that lets you run Terminal applications on several machines at once. With this app running, you log into the machines you want to work with, and each new system gets its own little window. Once you're logged into all those machines, you start entering commands into your system's master window, and those commands are automatically run in all those slave windows. Now instead of having to run each of those commands—or sets of commands—individually on each box, you just need to do things once and see them carried out on all those other systems.

A free download, csshX is a Mac application. The current release is compatible with systems running OS X 10.5 and later, but they do still have an older release for systems still running Tiger (10.4).

Download csshX

Turn your function keys into function keys

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of FunctionFlip

While it may be handy to put so many controls on the function keys of your Mac–brightness, mute, that kind of stuff–it's kind of a pain in the neck when you actually want to use your function keys as function keys. Hitting that "fn" key along with your key is a bit of a bother. So how about making a quickie change to that?

FunctionFlip is a slick little app that lets you invert the functionality of your function keys. Fire it up and now your function keys behave like function keys, and the other uses for those keys–changing volume, ejecting optical media–now require the "fn" key. You have basically flipped the function of the function keys. You can choose to filp individual keys, or go nuts and flip them all, it's all up to you.

You can grab a copy of FunctionFlip for free. It's a Mac application and runs under version 10.5 (Leopard) and later of OS X.

Download FunctionFlip