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Computers

Weekly Utilities Update: Cocktail, VisualRoute, HDCleanUp, more

Our Weekly Utilities Update report is a list of all the updates for many Mac utilities that have been released in the past week.

Our Weekly Utilities Update report is a list of all the updates for many Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. While utilities can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our main focus in this column is to bring you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week there were a number of cleaning and network-based utilities updated, with a couple of maintenance and diagnostics updates.

DaisyDisk's graphical drive usage representation, similar to that of WhatSize.

Cleaning

The utilities WhatSize and DaisyDisk were updated with small bug-fix releases. The utilities are very similar in how they help you find large and duplicate files on disk, by displaying a graphical representation of the drive's contents. Not only can this help find files, but also shows large directories.

HDCleanUp has also been updated, to now allow for finding both large files and cache files. Some of the ideas behind this program can be quite useful, such as finding and removing empty files and folders, as well as being able to delete individual cache files.

Maintenance and Diagnostics

The only maintenance utility updated in the past week was Cocktail, which is a similar tool to OnyX and MacCleanse. This update adds support for the upcoming OS X 10.6.3 release and fixes a few bugs as well as including features for better managing automatic logout and restarting when the program is done with cleaning routines.

For those who regularly check their drive's SMART status, the small utility "SMART Utility" has been updated to fix periodic crashing and apply some reorganization of log files, add more report handling features, and adds support for more drives, including SSDs. While Apple's Disk Utility will check a drive's SMART status, a specialized SMART status checker will give a more thorough report of the statistics monitored by the SMART technologies.

Networking

VisualRoute is a very convenient utility that maps and graphs numerous network statistics, allowing you to more easily pinpoint bottlenecks and other potential slowdowns. It is a rather crude port from Windows, and while it does not have the best interface layout and performance, the benefits are worth checking out.

For a more robust option, the utilities InterMapper and InterMapper RemoteAccess also provide a number of network monitoring and analysis features. It is a rather expensive package, but for network administrators it may be better option.

Similar to the options provided by Apple's Network Utility, the freeware IP Scanner allows you to scan network for devices and retrieve information from them. Its main purpose is to help network admins keep track of which network users and computers are assigned specific IP addresses.

Other

A couple of other useful utility updates have been released. Keyboard Maestro provides custom hotkey assignments for navigation and functions on a per-application or global basis. It is a small update that fixes some crashes. SoftBlock is a forensic drive recovery program, which allows for mounting and access of drives in a protected read-only manner. At $240 it is expensive, but for situations where drive integrity preservation is needed, it may be useful.

Lastly, the Unix administration package "Webmin" is a Web-based tool that allows you to configure services, users, and other system features. It is a replacement for the system preferences and OS X Server administration tools, with the added convenience of being accessible through any Web browser.

The current weekly updates can be found below:

  1. VisualRoute 14.0b-- Analyze Internet connections and track network problems.
  2. WhatSize 4.9.2-- Measure sizes of your files and folders.
  3. Compressor Repair 1.2.2-- Finds problems that prevent Apple Compressor from working.
  4. SMART Utility 2.2-- Checks hard drives' internal diagnostics systems.
  5. Cocktail 4.7.1-- (Snow Leopard Edition) General purpose system modify/repair utility.
  6. DaisyDisk 1.5.1-- Analyze disk usage and free up space by finding and deleting big unused files.
  7. Keyboard Maestro 4.1.1-- Assign your hotkeys.
  8. SoftBlock 1.0.3-- Forensics software that can mount disks as read-only.
  9. IP Scanner 2.50-- Display machines, Mac users, IPs on the local network.
  10. Tidy Up! 2.2.0 -- Locate duplicate files & tidy up your hard drive.
  11. InterMapper RemoteAccess 5.2.3-- Remote view on your network's health.
  12. InterMapper 5.2.3-- Monitors servers, networks & routers.
  13. HDCleanUp 1.6-- Clean up the clutter on your hard disk.
  14. Webmin 1.510-- Web-based interface for Unix system administration.


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