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 there are a few useful application helpers, one of which addresses the Mail black background bug. There are also updates to hardware drivers for managing displays, scanners, and NTFS drives, as well as a few maintenance and network monitoring utilities.
Yesterday we outlined a couple of utilities that provide workarounds for Mail's black background bug. In the last week FixMailText (Free!) was released to help folks with this issue until Apple releases a fix for the bug.
In addition, Final Cut Studio and Express users may find a number of problems with file corruption to be addressable with FCS Maintenance Pack ($129.00). This is a collection of small utilities that are built to maintain and fix problems specific for Apple's film production suites.
Hardware and Drivers
The majority of updates this week were with hardware-based utilities. The popular display mode management utility SwitchResX ($14.00) has seen a small update that corrects issues with multiple displays being connected and when Macs dynamically switch their GPUs or change display resolution. It also fixes an issue with multiple identical resolutions being displayed with Apple Remote Desktop.
If you use a variety of scanners, have an old scanner that is not supported in OS X, VueScan ($39.95) is one of many utilities that may get the scanner working. The latest update fixes cropping issues and problems with high resolution scans on several scanner models.
Finally, there are a couple of drive-related drivers and utilities that have been updated. The NTFS driver NTFS-3G (Free open source version available) is useful to many people who regularly use Windows-formatted disks, and the latest version fixes a couple of bugs, one of which could prevent an NTFS drive from being unmounted without restarted the system. Before having to restart, however, you may find yourself using Apple's "diskutil" terminal command to try to unmount the drive, and also perform other drive-related functions. The free GUI front-end for diskutil "iMount" () may be handy for people who regularly use this command. It has been updated to add new preference options and has been recompiled for Snow Leopard compatibility.
Maintenance and Monitoring
In Maintenance utilities, for people who cannot stand the propagation of .DS_Store files in network shares and NTFS/FAT hard drives when navigated by OS X systems, the utility BlueHarvest ($16.95) may be useful. It has been updated with the ability to clean gzip archives, and also shows the number of items being deleted when running a manual clean operation.
The only other maintenance update this week is to MacKeeper ($39.95), which addresses a couple of UI issues and reorganizes the program's navigation bar. It also adds a new "Update Tracker" feature, but so far there is no additional information about this feature.
In network monitoring, the only update is to VisualRoute ($49.00), which is a small point update that adds back email tracing to the program, which may be useful to people troubleshooting Email connection problems where messages will not send but everything seems to be otherwise set up and working properly.