Author Topic: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?  (Read 1934 times)

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Offline Mike Crispin

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Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« on: Mon, 12 June 2017, 09:07:41 »
I like to fiddle with my laptop. Even if it’s a MacBook. They usually call it “Windows mentality”, but I like to tune the system up, personalize stuff and boost things. So, I use additional apps to optimize my MacBook Pro performance (gasp!) What I mean by “optimize” is actually “customize” making it work for me, not for an average user.

First of all, I like everything to be customizable. I know, MySpace died mostly because they allowed tweaking everything and users committed unspeakable crimes against html that made your eyes (and your heart) bleed. Yes, some restrictions are probably OK in the World Wide Web.

But if I cannot be a boss on my own laptop, what the use of having one? I like being in control of everything.  This macbooks-take-care-of-themselves mantra just doesn’t work for me. So, here is a couple of things I mess with.

Fonts. Well, even with OS X, I managed to install Aniron as my system font (Tolkien fan) – just as I did before. I hate that with new version it became difficult, but after some jumping through the hoops, every hour in front of the screen is an epic adventure.


System sounds. Again, OS X took away something very dear to me, that is the classic OS sounds. As soon as I could find it, I installed Classic Sounds Pack with all those boing, chutoy, clink-clank and other funny noises I grew accustomed to.

Clean up. I know, I know. Macs do not need registry cleanup, disk defragging and so on. However, I use this little fellow https://duplicateclean.com/ to hunt down duplicate files. And when I say “files” I mean primarily pics. I have loads of them from vacations with friends. Now, while I am a thrifty chap myself (I started snapping when I had 36-frames limit), if someone of them gets hold of the camera, I end up with 20+ takes of each scene “so we can choose the best one later”. I am sick and tired of deleting all the crappy doubles manually, so there.

Disk space. To learn what’s eating up my space, I have Disk Inventory X. It is very handy because it visualized what is taking up my disk space in treemaps and I can see at once who is the next to go. It lays out all files and folders that are too big for my consideration in a comprehensive manner.

What about you guys? Do you use any optimizer/customizers? Or are you the purists? ;)
« Last Edit: Mon, 12 June 2017, 09:52:41 by Mike Crispin »

Offline StickyBlueJuice

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 12 June 2017, 09:23:42 »
When I had my Mac the only app I really used was AppCleaner https://freemacsoft.net/appcleaner/
I didn't feel the necessity to change anything.

Online Findecanor

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 12 June 2017, 12:59:06 »
There was a time when I was able to sing the Aniron song from the Lord of the Rings movies ... but that time has passed.
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
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Offline Gatix

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 12 June 2017, 14:38:46 »
For general cleanup and disk space maintenance I use CleanMyMac 3. It can remove cache, language packs, old large files, and other junk

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 12 June 2017, 17:30:04 »
CleanMyMac is probably the best I've seen and the only cleaner/optimizer I use, because like Gatix says, it deletes some unnecessary stuff. It also cleans out junk left by uninstalled programs. Most "optimizers" (for Windows too) are full of crap.

Sierra kind of reduces what all you can do these days (annoyingly!). I was using Cdock and while there is a 2.0 version, I'm fine without it. I do miss Karabiner though, I HATE how Home/End keys operate on Mac. I'm playing with keybindings editor now and hopefully have home/end fixed. I also swap Command and Control keys to make it more PC like.

Some handy ones I do use:
Smoothmouse - Apple reduced the acceleration on Logitech mice making scroll miserable to use. This fixes it.
Little Snitch - it's AMAZING how much crap dials home on a Mac.
F.Lux - FAR better than the built in screen dimmer. Do these work? I think so, but try one for a week then disable it and feel your eyes burn.
BetterSnapTool - better than the built in snapping.

I also stop the system from placing SDstore files on my server, disable the nanny system limiting app store only programs, and put El Capitans network shares permissions back in place (so I don't have to log into my server every time, wtf was Apple thinking?).

Oh, and for Windows, you can use Windirstat to see what is using disk space.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/Vortex case, hand milled case, custom feet, custom paint, Klaxxon key caps, lubed and o-ringed Jailhouse Blues made from vintage Cherry MX Blues, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, removable cord, sound dampened. Winkey blockoff plate | Magicforce 68 w/Outemu Blues |KBT Race S L.E. w/Ergo-Clears, custom WASD keyset | Das Pro w/browns (Costar model) | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline Mike Crispin

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 13 June 2017, 01:31:12 »
There was a time when I was able to sing the Aniron song from the Lord of the Rings movies ... but that time has passed.
Dude, I never stopped ("Tiro! Êl eria e môr..." - plays in my head  :)) )

Offline Mike Crispin

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 13 June 2017, 01:49:41 »
Little Snitch - it's AMAZING how much crap dials home on a Mac.
Amen to that!

Offline Joey Quinn

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 13 June 2017, 02:05:53 »
The only customization apps I use are Alfred, Flux, and Better Snap Tool.

F.Lux - FAR better than the built in screen dimmer. Do these work? I think so, but try one for a week then disable it and feel your eyes burn.

:)) Yes 100%
« Last Edit: Tue, 13 June 2017, 02:08:13 by Joey Quinn »
People in the 1980s, in general, were clearly just better than we are now in every measurable way.

The dumber the reason the more it must be done

Offline Coreda

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 13 June 2017, 02:18:07 »
Had a variety on my older system such as BetterTouchTool for customizing multi-touch gestures, a different dock, and the old classic Mac smiley face icon on startup to replace the Apple logo. Macs are pretty difficult to customize in the same way, or there'll be some simple, Windows freeware-equivelent programs for like $20 :D

Fonts. Well, even with OS X, I managed to install Aniron as my system font (Tolkien fan) – just as I did before. I hate that with new version it became difficult, but after some jumping through the hoops, every hour in front of the screen is an epic adventure.
Show Image


Amazing

Offline Gatix

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 14 June 2017, 07:43:17 »
Had a variety on my older system such as BetterTouchTool for customizing multi-touch gestures, a different dock, and the old classic Mac smiley face icon on startup to replace the Apple logo. Macs are pretty difficult to customize in the same way, or there'll be some simple, Windows freeware-equivelent programs for like $20 :D


Oh man I forgot about BetterTouchTool. Using tip-tap gestures to navigate through your browser tabs is absolutely a must have.

Another awesome tool is Paste as clipboard manager, it was recently updated with icloud integration that syncs all my clipboard history to all my devices.

Offline ErgoMacros

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 14 June 2017, 10:06:27 »
Moving back to keyboards on topic ;-) I use Hammerspoon for customizing kbd input, making, and functions.
For example: SpaceFn, HyperFn.

I have macros that will:
* convert text selection to uppercase, lower case, title case
* exchange characters on either side of the insertion point
* paste clipboard as plain text, in any app.
* keys for prev/next word and begin/end line

I have grids that I can pop-up to select:
* my favorite apps
* my favorite web pages
* the currently running apps
* the open windows for the current app

And others too numerous to mention ;-)
http://www.hammerspoon.org

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 14 June 2017, 13:16:26 »
Woohoo... used Keybindingseditor to fix home and end, FINALLY.
I get the original use of them, which made sense when you were on a terminal with 640x480 resolution doing data entry, but these days with full page text at 1080p or more it makes no sense (and yes I know about command arrow, it's not the same as just hitting a single key you are used to hitting).

If anyone wants the files, I can send them, you just need to place them in the proper folder. Remaps home/end to PC style and remaps page up/dn to work as pc home/end.
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Offline ErgoMacros

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 14 June 2017, 14:38:21 »
Here's a couple more I use "all the time:"
* "Paste" the front-most Safari window URL at insertion point
* Type "TODO: " (used for coding)

Online tp4tissue

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 19 June 2017, 08:39:25 »
mac has way better battery life than windoz 7.. so.. there's really not much to optimize.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 19 June 2017, 17:49:02 »
mac has way better battery life than windoz 7.. so.. there's really not much to optimize.

Actually, go into Windows power management and adjust cpu max performance on battery to 30% (Windows uses 50% throttle), congrats, you now have Mac battery life. That's all it is, there's nothing magical going on, and you can do this in Linux as well using TLP (though you will get a little less battery).

This is also why it's harder to predict battery life on a Mac compared to Windows, any hard processing will cause it to just grind at 100% (actually 30%) for longer periods, during which time you will do other things and load it up even more, rather than it doing what it needs to get done and go back to idle. If you do a lot of short, high cpu loads, a higher throttle is better, if you do a lot of low resource and little high cpu load, a lowered throttle is better, on Windows you can play with this to get the most for what you are doing by switching profiles or tuning your current profile, Mac you are stuck with what Apple gives you.
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Offline totoloco

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 19 June 2017, 18:11:06 »
I think the only thing I downloaded was a custom fan speed program for when I was editing videos. I had an old '09 Imac that got pretty hot when I would edit for extended amounts of time.

Offline StickyBlueJuice

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 20 June 2017, 00:03:01 »
I think the only thing I downloaded was a custom fan speed program for when I was editing videos. I had an old '09 Imac that got pretty hot when I would edit for extended amounts of time.
I was always recommended to not use those.

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 20 June 2017, 08:01:59 »
mac has way better battery life than windoz 7.. so.. there's really not much to optimize.

Actually, go into Windows power management and adjust cpu max performance on battery to 30% (Windows uses 50% throttle), congrats, you now have Mac battery life. That's all it is, there's nothing magical going on, and you can do this in Linux as well using TLP (though you will get a little less battery).

This is also why it's harder to predict battery life on a Mac compared to Windows, any hard processing will cause it to just grind at 100% (actually 30%) for longer periods, during which time you will do other things and load it up even more, rather than it doing what it needs to get done and go back to idle. If you do a lot of short, high cpu loads, a higher throttle is better, if you do a lot of low resource and little high cpu load, a lowered throttle is better, on Windows you can play with this to get the most for what you are doing by switching profiles or tuning your current profile, Mac you are stuck with what Apple gives you.

u mean min ?

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 21 June 2017, 03:06:54 »
No, max cpu.
You limit how much processing power it can use, thereby lowering amperage being used.


Min should be left alone unless you are using an I3, in which case bumping it up one or two percent will help with initial lag.
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Offline totoloco

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 21 June 2017, 17:24:27 »
I think the only thing I downloaded was a custom fan speed program for when I was editing videos. I had an old '09 Imac that got pretty hot when I would edit for extended amounts of time.
I was always recommended to not use those.

Any specific reason why? I mean, I haven't been editing or used it in months, so I'm not too worried.

Offline hotrattz

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 23 June 2017, 11:44:52 »
is Keybindingseditor the best Karabiner replacement for sierra? i'm still on el cap becuase of karabiner and becuase of how sierra handles logitech devices super annoying

Offline ErgoMacros

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 23 June 2017, 12:54:14 »
"Best" can mean so many things.
I'm loving Hammerspoon.org does kay mapping and much more. Actually use it with Karabiner.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 24 June 2017, 01:51:44 »
is Keybindingseditor the best Karabiner replacement for sierra? i'm still on el cap becuase of karabiner and becuase of how sierra handles logitech devices super annoying
Keybindingseditor is probably the best replacement for Karabiner, it seams to do most of the same thing, it's just not as simple to use.

I'm guessing the Logitech issue you're talking about is is being sluggish to scroll. This is due to Apple making "inertia" turned on by default, it's supposed to effect touchpads, but seems to effect Logitech and Firefox especially hard. The weird part is if you have a touchpad you can disable it, but if you don't have one, you can't do much about it because the setting isn't available. People have tried to fix it with terminal commands, but so far I have yet to see a solution.
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Offline Gatix

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 14 July 2017, 08:22:20 »
is Keybindingseditor the best Karabiner replacement for sierra? i'm still on el cap becuase of karabiner and becuase of how sierra handles logitech devices super annoying

There's Karabiner Elements which has partial suppport while Karabiner is being updated

Offline tristinDLC

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Re: Mac optimizers: to be or not to be?
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 14 July 2017, 14:12:01 »
Here is my list of "optimizations:"

  • Übersicht - Allows you to build (or use already built) widgets that get embedded within your desktop. I have a few widgets running to monitor and display a few different things.
  • Karabiner-Elements - Keyboard layout manager that allows me to bind keys similar to programmable MKs. Has additional features I use as well, like disabling the built-in MacBook Air keyboard anytime an external board is plugged in.
  • Amphetamine - Allows me to close my lid on my MacBook Air, but not have it go to sleep so I can keep it on a stand connected to an external monitor. Has some adjustable triggers to turn it on as well as a feature called Drive Alive that will keep external HDDs awake and accessible at all times.
  • Magnet - Great window snapping tool that lets you set a specific portion of the screen you'd like a window to take up and then quickly snap it in and out of that size just by dragging the window to a specific side of your screen
  • FiveNotes - It's a better version of the native Stickies.app and I only group it as a tweak because you can assign it to activate via hotkeys to easily manage up to 5 different sticky notes from any app
  • Vanilla - Allows me to hide all the menu bar icons that are running I don't actually need to see
  • CleanMyMac3 - While generally uninstalling apps is as easy as just dragging them to the trash, sometimes extra files are left behind. CMM will do complete app uninstalls, find extra files you don't actually need (like extra language packs you'll never need), files you haven't accessed in a long time, etc...
  • GrandPerspective/Omni Disk Sweeper - These both do very similar things so I will group them together. They scan a specified folder and display each file according to their size. It's great for disk space management if you need to pay attention to that. While they both do that at their core, GP visually displays each file as a different colored tile sized in relation to the other files in that folder, so it's a great way to quickly gain perspective on which files are eating away at your space. Omni simply lists the files and their sizes, but unlike GP, Omni will actually let you quickly delete any of the files that come up.
  • Hot Corners - This is native to macOS, but I find that a lot of people don't utilize this feature as much as they should. I love being able to move my cursor to each corner of my screen to quickly bring up a service.
  • CornerClick - This is an old and outdated extension that brings additional features to Hot Corners. It's a little buggy with Sierra as it hasn't been updated in years, but it allows you to add multiple actions to the same screen corners. In my setup I have the upper-right corner set via Hot Corners to put the machine to sleep. Normally, that's all you could do with that corner, but with CornerClick, a quick move to upper-right actually opens Finder for me while the standard Sleep command is only activated if I keep the cursor in that corner for a second. It's like Hot Corner layers. I'd love to see it updated for Sierra as I have some issues, but it's still well worth mentioning IMHO.

I have some additional good apps I use a lot, but those above I consider more tweaks and not full applications.