A Roundup of OSX Utilities
Not all users are au fait with the need for regular maintenance utilities for OSX. These clean up logs and file databases: the system runs less well if they are not done. It is a grouse of some that Apple never mentions these. If the computer is running 24 hours a day, they are not needed and activate automatically. If the Mac sleeps, or is off, they will not run.
My particular favourite is Macaroni: this week updated to version 2.0.4. It runs the daily, weekly and monthly scripts at startup (or activation from sleep) and also repairs permissions once a week. A recent addition is a routine to remove unwanted languages. The program, by Atomic Bird, runs for 35 days before you need to pay ($8.99 with discounts starting at 2 computers). It is unobtrusive: you can run it outside the schedules (via System Preferences).
One of the all-time favourites among Mac users is MacJanitor (1.2.1): freeware that runs the regular scripts when you click the buttons. That is it: no time-scheduling, no extras, and no problems. Like all the software here, nothing happens until you enter an Admin password. Each of these is a graphical interface for Unix commands. This, along with many other OSX applications, is available from VersionTracker.
A standby for OSX maintenance, Cocktail, has just been upgraded to version 3.5 for Panther (3.4.9 for Jaguar). An updated version for Jaguar (3.5) will be available in February.
System utilities, like MacJanitor or Macaroni, look after the important regular maintenance items, while an appplication like TinkerTool (below) will allow some system-tuning. Cocktail falls between the two types. It allows a user to schedule maintenance tasks, but adds to the tranche by allowing changes to to signficant system attributes, as well as cleaning out logs and caches.
Tinker Tool came to light a couple of years ago and was best known for the trick of allowing a user to put the Dock at the top of the screen, rather than the default bottom or sides. Like all of these, it accesses the Unix to save the user the heartache of working at the command line.
Note: this spoof does not work for all, particularly if .aspx pages are involved. Those whose sites keep out those who do not use IE (OSX, Linux et al) will lose sales.
The utilities here are no more than friendly interfaces to the Unix command line. The ability to access the underlying Unix is one of the beauties of OSX for me. Although some users are perfectly content (rightly so) to use the OSX interface, Terminal (and X11) are a lot quicker. I have some of the simple commands on a suggestions page.
Note: As is often the case, between writing and printing, updates of software are released. Onyx has now been updated to version 1.4.9. Updating was quick and clean, retaining all settings.
For further information, e-mail to Graham K. Rogers.
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