A literally complete handbook on keeping your iOS devices running smoothly
Today's Pointers column was inspired by a real-life incident in which an acquaintance asked me for help in picking out a new iPad. Knowing that they had a fourth-generation iPad -- not far removed from the iPad Air 2 that I have -- I asked why. "Doesn't work anymore," they grumbled resentfully. "Lots of crashes, some apps don't even launch now." I asked if it had ever been turned off. "Every night," they said. I said, "no, not put to sleep -- turned off." "You can do that?!" they exclaimed.
Analytics portal to be taken offline for maintenance for six hours next Sunday
According to a brief notification sent to developers, Apple is planning to take iTunes Connect offline for approximately six hours starting at 6AM Pacific on Sunday, October 26. The portal is used by developers to submit, take down, update, adjust pricing and study analytics of apps submitted to the Mac and iOS App Stores. The modest maintenance downtime is unusual in light of Apple annual and longer downtime that usually happens in December.
Apple Online Store down for scheduled maintenance until 4AM ET
The online store from Apple has been listed on the company's System Status page as down for planned maintenance from approximately midnight Wednesday (eastern time) to 4AM ET. The downtime occurred just after a three-hour partial iCloud.com outage in which users could access most services, but the web Calendar and Reminders applications were nonfunctional. Most iCloud disruptions are brief and only affect a small portion of users, but both of the recent downtimes affected all users.
Beta version available for users running preview of Mavericks
Maintain, a Mac applications developer, has released version 7.0 Beta 1 of system utility Cocktail. Cocktail is a digital toolset with a variety of features that lets users repair and optimize their system. The application offers a combination of maintenance tools and interface 'tweaks'. Anticipating Apple's fall release of OS X Mavericks 10.9, the latest beta version of the software is intended for users running a developer preview. Cocktail for OS X 10.8 and earlier is available with a Single User License for $20.
Should affect only 0.5 percent of users' email
Apple has posted on its iCloud status update page that it will have a brief period of planned maintenance to its free iCloud service between the hours of 10 p.m. and midnight Tuesday (Pacific time, 1-3 a.m. Wednesday Eastern time). The company says that only one-half of one percent of users should be affected by the outage, which will cause some users to be unable to retrieve email.
Now creates bootable backup clone drives faster
Although Apple's own Time Machine is a good and easy-to-use solution for doing backups of user data, there are tasks it cannot do -- such as create a bootable external drive -- which are sometimes vital for troubleshooting, boot drive maintenance or other kinds of data restoration. Tri-Edre has timed the introduction its latest version of Clone X 4, which is now compatible with both Lion and Snow Leopard, to the introduction of Lion -- allowing users an easy way to clone their existing Snow Leopard installs before upgrading.
Also offers custom tasks, desktop archiving, more
Popular system-maintenance utility MainMenu has been updated to version 3, bringing with it a new overlay-style menu for quick task access from a configurable global hot key. The update also features customizable user-defined tasks, and a new "archive desktop" function to keep the desktop clean yet organize the files that tend to end up there. The program is now also available on the Mac App Store.
Combines many utilities in one package
Zeobit's MacKeeper positions itself as an all-around utility package, offering not just routine Mac maintenance but scheduled backups, data encryption, "undelete" options, an app "slimmer," anti-virus and anti-theft features, secure deletion of files, a duplicate finder, an automatic app updater, a login item and default app manager and even professional-grade tech support. Is it a jack of all trades, master of none -- or the one utility package to rule them all? Our review gives the program a workout and reports the results.
Librarian Pro 2 adds business optimizations
Koingo Software has launched updates of two of its software titles, MacPilot 4 and Librarian Pro 2. Mac Pilot enables hidden features and abilities in the MAC OS, and can optimize and run maintenance routines as well. It runs a user interface over more arcane UNIX scripts, allowing everyday users access to features like disabling menu-bar translucency, erasing recently used files, disabling system animations and changing winnow resizing speeds.
QiuckTime interface adjustments added to 4.6
Maintain has launched a new update to its maintenance utility, releasing Cocktail 4.6. The software runs maintenance scripts, such as Unix, with a user-friendly interface. It can run daily, weekly and monthly scripts, repair permissions, set journaling for disks and force empty the trash, among other features. Users can also clean cache files and clear Trojan horses.
BashFlash app released
atPurpose Technologies and Abracode have both announced the latest version of their applications are now compatible with the new Max OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. atPurpose’s atMonitor 2.1 application allows users to keep track of important system activity in real-time. It displays information such as disk reading and writing performance, network activity, memory specifications, and allows users to log all monitored values which are saved in an XML format. The program also offers three different ways for it to display information, via the menu-bar, a dock icon, or a floating window on the desktop.
MainMenu 2.0 update
Dare to be Creative has launched an update to its system maintenance application for the Mac, MainMenu 2.0. The software provides tools for cleaning caches and log files, removing corrupted preference files, and can help improve the computers performance. The latest version comes complete with new system and network tasks, added “growl” notifications which inform users that a task has been completed, and the addition of an animated system menu-icon that appears when tasks are running.
Clipstart, Speed Download
Typinator 3.5 ($28) is a tool that will type out repeating texts and pictures. Users can set up a list of commonly used words and images, and then set up fragments that can be used trigger each phrase or image. Version 3.4 uses a new expansion technique which allows the software to operate faster than previous releases. The update also includes improved compatibility with XCode, BBEdit and TextWrangler, Eclipse and many Java applications. Additionally, several bugs have been fixed including one that could cause Typinator to forget its license information when synced with MobileMe. [Download - 2.7MB]
iBank Widget, iStat Pro
PDFClerk Pro 3.8 ($45) provides tools for performing a larger number of manipulations to existing PDF documents, as well as allowing the creating of PDF documents from non PDF files. In version 3.8 the annotation reordering feature now works for all supported annotation types and positioning, sizing and rotating objects now works on all selected objects. The update also features a new fullscreen option with an optional Kiosk mode. [Download - 7.9MB]
DMG Wiz, CleanMyMac
EasyWMA 3.0 ($10) is a tool for converting wma, asf, flv/wmv audio, real media, and ogg vorbis files to aiff, mp3, m4a, or wav so that they can be used in iTunes. The application has a simple interface that feature drag-and-drop support and is also capable of performing batch conversions. The update has added support for the flac audio file format. [Download - 4MB]
In brief: TidBITS publishing has released two new e-books, authored by Joe Kissell, which provide tips on maintaining and fixing Mac computers. The e-books can help Mac users achieve peak performance from their computers and are available for $10 each of $16 as a bundle. CourseForum Technologies has announced a new two-for-one promotion on all of its license sales. Any customer who purchases licenses for one of its products before June 30th will instantly receive double the order for free. Meanwhile, new details on the upcoming iPhone game Circuit Strike.One have been released. The game takes place inside a computer network where players are trying to hack all of the nodes in a network.
Mac Restart X, Eddy Timer
TrailRunner 2.0 (free) is an outdoor oriented route-planning and journaling application. The software offers automatic route calculation for a given distance, a workout diary, workout histograms and analysis tools for measured data like speed, ascent, heart-rate, and personal aerobic zone. The new release includes a new routing feature that is based on openStreetMap. This allows users to create routes with the openStreetMap routing editor and then upload the corse to a GPS device or share it with GPSies. [Download - 4.3MB]
Dream Capture 3.0 ($10) is a video recording utility that includes simple recording features and sharing options. The software can capture video from almost any camera connected to a Mac. The software also includes the ability to capture audio and video from different devices simultaneously. The 3.0 update now includes the ability to record 1080i and 1080p high definition video. The update also includes a new interface, a Preview function, and a higher quality audio capture function. [Download - 3.5MB]
DupScan, Smart Scroll
Now Boarding 1.2 ($15) is an airport management game that places gamers in charge of a major airport. The players challenge is to reorganize a poorly managed airport and get passengers to their desired locations. Players can enhance their airports by purchasing larger and exotic aircraft, renovating the terminal, adding shops and restaurants, and changing their employees. If they are successful with their first airport they can expand to new cites to try and manage multiple airports to increase overall profits. The latest release has introduced a new map, The Caribbean, which features several large cites, a few small island villages and hurricane threats. The game also now provides feedback at the end of each month on which cites are expanding and which are shrinking. [Download - 12.9MB]
Dash Monitors, CropaRatio
ProteMac Meter 2.3 ($30) is a network-traffic logging application that allows users to monitor all Internet and network activity. A stopwatch function can be used to time downloads and calculate average transfer rates. Users can also set alarms that will sound if the bandwidth or time limits have been exceeded by a particular application, or if a desired traffic volume has been reached. The update has added a new notification engine and improved the user interface. Overall stability has also been improved and several bugs have been addressed. [Download - 5.2MB]
Task Timer, Tico
CleanApp 3 ($13) is an uninstaller and system management tool that allows users to delete cache files, applications and other items wasting drive space. The software looks for all of the files associated with an application, including the caches and .plists that are missed when deleting through the Trash. Version 3.1 comes with a new graphical view that displays disk usage for folders or the whole hard drive along. The update also has improved overall performance and includes new safeguards to protect system files from being deleted. [Download - 8.3MB]
Encrypt Mail, Size Up
iSubtitle 1.2 ($19) is a tool that adds non-destructive subtitles to movies on the iPhone/iPod touch and Apple TV. The software enables people to use the interface of the device or application to turn on or off subtitles synced in real-time, and to watch the subtitled movies in full screen. Version 1.2 allows users to add chapters to videos automatically or manually. The update also includes options for changing the size of subtitles and fixes several bugs. [Download - 6.1MB]
Password Repository 2.8 ($30) allows users to save and manage all of their passwords inside an encrypted document. The information is all stored within a table that can be sorted. Passwords can also be labeled with custom sets of colors to help users sort out related passwords. The latest release has added a customizable background auto-lock mode and now always leaves the auto-recovery document feature on. [Download - 1MB]
iPod Converter 2.4 ($30) is a tool for converting video files to the mp4 format for use on an iPod. The software can covert most common video files including AVI, WMV, MOV, MPG, ASF, and DivX. Within iPod converter users can crop video area, the bit rate, frame rate and video resolution. The 2.4 update includes a new style rangebar and displays the range of time that is currently displayed. [Download - 10.4MB]
DiskTools Pro now shipping
Macware has launched DiskTools Pro, a collection of utilities for hard disk maintenance on the Mac platform. Developed by Intech for Macware, the main features of DiskTools Pro are bad sector detection and repair, file defragmentation, S.M.A.R.T. monitoring and analysis and bootable disk backup with automated scheduling. The utilities allow for scheduling defrags, back-ups and bad sector repairs. It can run on the start-up volume and test/repair multiple volumes concurrently.
Opacity 1.3 ($90) is a graphics creation utility that combines pixel and vector editors with Photoshop-like tools such as filters, layers and transforms. Version 1.3 adds an improved Pen Tool, improved Text editing, inside and outside stroke options, a new spiral tool and reduces the size of saved image .opacity files. [Download - 11.5MB]
iPresent It 2.4 ($18) allows users to convert PowerPoint, PDF or Keynote presentations into slideshows that can then be synced with an iPod. The software optimizes shows for viewing on an iPod or Apple TV and can automatically detect the presentation resolution and ensure that the resulting formation is formatted properly. Version 2.4 has added additional support for the new Keynote '09 presentation file format. [Download - 0.9MB]
Mac Restart, Schmierzettel
EasyFrame 2.3 ($15) is a simple utility for quickly creating basic frames around images. The application comes with a built-in library of frames and also allows users to build their own or download additional frames from the web. Version 2.3 has added a Photo Browser to make image selection easier and has also rearranged some menu items to be more consistent with other applications. [Download - 6.4MB]
CheckUp 2.1 ($25) is a tool designed to check and monitor the behavior of a Mac system, either locally or remotely. The software scans a computer and provides information on the systems functionality and overall performance and can also allow any unused applications to be removed. The latest update includes a revised interface, support for Raid disks, improved support for Spaces and a better memory test. [Download - 17.4MB]
XgridLite 1.1 ($15) is a preference pane that allows users to enable the Xgrid controller on standard desktop versions of Mac OS X. It allows users to turn on and off the built-in Xgrid controller with a single click, set passwords for client and agent authentication, reset the controller to default settings, and more. [Download - 0.17MB]
Drive Genius 2.1
Every hard drive will eventually fail. Backing up your data can protect you against a hard disk crash, but you can often prevent minor hard disk problems through proper maintenance with special disk utility programs such as DriveGenius 2.1.
Spring Cleaning 10
To run at maximum efficiency, every Mac needs periodic maintenance. While Mac OS X comes with built-in utilities that run automatically early every morning, your Mac needs to be running (not in Sleep mode) for these programs to work. You can always run the built-in Mac OS X utilities manually by typing in the proper commands, but a faster, more comprehensive solution is to use a separate utility program like Smith-Micro’s Spring Cleaning 10 instead.
Apple updates Pro Apps
Apple has released Final Cut Pro Server 1.1 (50.1MB) and Pro Applications Update 2008-02 (138MB). Both are available directly through Mac OS X's 'Software Update' feature, and also from the Apple website. Primarily a maintenance release, Final Cut Pro Server 1.1 packs in an impressive amount of bug fixes. Aiming to improve 'general reliability', it fixes specific issues when using multi-byte fonts, updating 'checked out' assets, and Project XML. A requirement for users to run QuickTime 7.5 has also been noted in the release notes. The Pro Applications Update is again primarily a maintenance release to 'improve reliability'. It includes point updates to Final Cut Pro, updating the application to 6.0.4, and Compressor 3.0.3. Other changes include enhanced support for Final Cut Pro Server, changes to XDCAM HD422 sequence presets, and a fix to HDV capture from QuickTime 7.5; the release notes document no other significant changes.
DEVONtechnologies has released Desktop Transporter 2.6 a new version of its remote maintenance and management solution for users who administrate multiple Macs across a network. The new release shows constantly updated thumbnails of all shared desktops on the local network. The update frequency can be adjusted and the list of shared desktops filtered. Desktop Transporter 2.6 also uses server-side scaling and clipping for reducing network load and for increasing responsiveness. Keychain support makes it unnecessary to remember all the passwords for the shared machines. Desktop Transporter 2.6 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 later and a fast LAN and/or Internet connection is strongly recommended. It is immediately available and is priced at $30.
The TeamViewer remote maintenance software, which until now has only been available for Windows PCs, is now available as a beta for Mac OS X. The new version runs from Mac OS X 10.4 and offers cross-platform support. This means that not only other Macs, but also Windows systems can be remotely controlled. Following the establishment of a connection to the remote computer by means of a Partner ID, changes and maintenance work can be carried out or programs can be installed and executed. Unlike the final version, TeamViewer for Mac is not yet equipped with the function for transferring files between computers. The so-called customer module from the Windows version, which allows spontaneous support without installation on the remote controlled computer, has also not yet been implemented. The developer says these features will probably appear at the end of April.
Chipmunk file comparison
German developer Ruotger Skupin today unveiled Chipmunk 1.0, an application designed to find, compare, and delete exact duplicate files. The application performs a byte-by-byte comparison of the suspected duplicates to verify whether it is a true duplicate. Skupin claims that Chipmunk is quickly able to process hundreds of megabytes worth of information quickly. Chipmunk is currently available at an Easter discount of $20, and is normally $25.
- Conjure 1.3 ($25) expanded desktop environment that allows you have an unlimited number of desktops, capture audio notes, grab still images from your, use an iSight camera, draw on any desktop, write on any desktop, scale, and rotate images, link to websites, movies, files, anything. Version 2.4 incorporates a number of minor changes requested by users, and generally fixes every known bug. Furthermore, Conjure has expanded support for Spaces, desktop shadows, and allows you to cluster items together more efficiently. [Download - 7.4MB]
- BitClamp 1.5 ($20) file encryption software for Mac OS X. The update introduces file mimicking, allowing users to hide files for increased security. BitClamp 1.5 also introduces a password generator and password log for easy and secure password creation. BitClamp allows users to easily secure confidential documents and personal files with trusted 448-bit Blowfish, AES 256-bit and 256-bit Serpent encryption. Simply drag and drop the required files to encrypt your documents with industry-standard encryption methods for remarkable security. [Download - 5.8MB]
- Cocktail 4.0.2 (Tiger Edition) ($15) general purpose utility for Mac OS X. This release adds adds multi-user cache clearing, updated Automator actions as well as many various fixes, optimizations and improvements. Cocktail 4.0 (Tiger Edition) is distributed as a Universal Binary and runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. Cocktail 4.0 (Tiger Edition) requires Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server 10.4 - 10.4.11 and is tested for compatibility with Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server 10.4.11.[Download - 2MB]
PodWorks 2.9.3 ($8) iPod and iPhone management application. The new release includes a large number of
changes aimed at increasing the performance, reliability, and ease of
use of the application's existing iTunes integration, as well as a new
"metadata only" transfer feature that can set a song's play count,
last played date, star rating, and other attributes based on its
counterpart on an iPod or iPhone. [Download - 450KB]