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 that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems.
If you are a MacPorts user, the developers have released a small bugfix update for that program. I have covered the use of the alternative source package manager "Fink", which I've preferred to use in the past for obtaining open source software though MacPorts has a large user base as well. Like Fink, MacPorts provides easy access to new and updated software, but it also comes with GUI applicaitons for managing the software that may be helpful to people who do not like the Terminal. This update is a small bugfix release but should be applied by those who use the program.
The maintenance utility "MacDust" was also updated, and has been renamed to "Purity". It is one of many disk maintenance utilities like OnyX, MacCleanse, and Leopard Cache Cleaner which has a slightly unique approach to performing system maintenance tasks. Clearing out temporary files is an easy way to takle system and application slowdowns, and Purity does this by presenting temporary file options for the system or installed applications, and allows you to select which ones to clear. The per-application options are not something I've seen in other cleaning utilities.
Lastly, if you like to monitor system and network statistics, the small menu extra "MiniUsage" is an independently developed project that provides easy access to system information. It gives a subset of the features available in Activity Monitor, but is easily accessible and out of the way. For network usage, MiniUsage only reports data in and out of the current system, but if you would like a view of your entire AirPort network, the utility "AirPort Flow" may be useful. It is basically a network monitoring tool that shows input and output rates, but takes the data from the AirPort base station (or other router with SNMP enabled) instead of only showing the current computer.
Recently Updated Utilities:
- MiniUsage 1.0.1 - Display various information in the menubar.
- MacPorts 1.8.2 - Install various open-source software packages on Mac OS X.
- Purity 1.0 - Recover disk space & maintain your system (was MacDust).
- A Better Finder Rename 8.47 - Powerful file, photo, and MP3 batch renamer with advanced features.
- AirPort Flow 1.6 - Monitor the transfer rates in and out of a AirPort basestation.
- SMARTReporter 2.4.6 - Warns of ATA drive failure before it happens.