Our Weekly Utilities Update report is a list of all the updates for many Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though utilities can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is to bring you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week we have updates for a few networking and monitoring utilities, as well as updates for Carbon Copy Cloner and MacCleanse. Additionally, there are a few utilities for managing Flash in web browsers and making use of old scanners.
Scanning and Monitoring
This week the official version 3.0 of GeekTool has been released, which along with its enhancement features offers monitoring of network bandwidth, CPU loads, and available memory. It is a final tweak and bug fix of the program since the first release candidate of the version in July of last year.
Networking utilities VisualRoute and AirRadar have also been updated with small bugfix releases. VisualRoute is a port from a Windows version, and while the application performance is not the best, the program offers a vast array of methods for troubleshooting and visualizing network performance. AirRadar allows you to scan for wireless networks and allow you to join the best one based on detailed network information, signal strength. Snow Leopard offers a signal strength monitor in its WiFi menu extra, but while this is useful for most network-location purposes, AirRadar offers a more in-depth look at surrounding networks so it may be useful for troubleshooting your own (i.e., what channels are being used, and average and maximum signal strengths in various areas).
Cloning and Disk Management
This week Carbon Copy Cloner has been updated to fix a localization dialogue box issue and a problem with scheduled tasks failing to mount disk images that were not located at the root of the backup volume.
The only maintenance utility updated this week was MacCleanse, which is just a small bug fix release that deals with missing presets during application relaunch. They also corrected problems with the product activation process, which may require you to re-activate your license if you apply this update.
Beyond maintenance and troubleshooting utilities, a few notable enhancers and enabling programs have been updated. VueScan is a scanning utility that will interface with practically any scanner, including old and unsupported ones (provided you have the hardware interface for them). The latest release improves saving and cropping, adds Turkish localization, and fixes problems with Canon Scanners in OS X.
BashFlash does exactly what it's name says: it offers an easy way to turn off Flash in Web browsers. This is exceptionally useful given the poor implementation of Flash in OS X, and the latest version of this program allows for interfacing with the built-in Flash player in Google Chrome, as well as the latest developer builds of Firefox.
Lastly, Keyboard Maestro has been updated to version 4.3, which fixes hangs with shell, Applescripts, and other macros as well as many of the macro support features. It also adds more support for modifier keys and fixes odd bugs with editing clipboards and other copy/paste functions.
This week's updates:
- GeekTool 3.0 - (Free!) Show system log, unix commands, images on desktop.
- VisualRoute 14.0c - ($49.95) Analyze Internet connections and track network problems.
- BashFlash 1.2 - (Free!) Stops running Flash videos/animations to conserve battery.
- VueScan 8.6.29 - ($39.95) High-quality scanner driver with support for several manufacturers.
- AirRadar 1.2.9 - ($19.95) Advanced wireless network scanner/stumbler.
- Carbon Copy Cloner 3.3.2 - ($10.00) Comprehensive bootable backup solution.
- Keyboard Maestro 4.3 - ($36.00) Assign your hotkeys.
- gfxCardStatus 1.6.1 - (Free!) Manually switch between Intel and NVIDIA GPUs on Core i5/i7 MacBook Pros.
- MacCleanse 1.5.8 - ($19.95) Scan for and delete unnecessary files on your Mac.