Apple’s OS X Mavericks (10.9) software came out recently — FOR FREE. I installed it today on our Macs young enough to hang ten with the big boys and discovered a couple quirks — and work-arounds.
There’s a big emphasis on extending battery life with this latest version of the Macintosh operating system. One of the things it tries to do is save both long-term and short-term wear on your battery by putting applications down for a widdo beddy-bye when it thinks they are not getting your attention.
It’s not supposed to do this for applications in the background of your desktop that are actively downloading files or playing audio content. But it would appear that it doesn’t recognise Rogue Amoeba’s excellent Airfoil software’s network transmission of audio content to remote playback devices as worthy of staying up late, unsupervised. This has the consequence of your audio cutting out after the Airfoil app window has been obscured by some other app for a few seconds. Quite annoying!
I googled a bit and found this helpful tip: disable App Nap on a per-app basis through the Finder. Just
- open up the Finder,
- browse to your
- check the Prevent App Nap box
Note that it didn’t seem to take effect immediately; I had to log out and log back in again before that annoying behaviour was remedied. Since then, though — we’ve been humming along smoothly.
Disk Usage / Activity Monitor
When I ordered our MacBook Airs (doesn’t that sound weird, like putting on airs, or some kind of anachronistic usage akin to humours?) I cheaped out on the SSDs in favor of more RAM. As a consequence of that, we’re constantly keeping an eye on the remaining capacity on the primary hard disk. I liked the way the Activity Monitor did that (at least before Mavericks deep sixed it), and was dismayed to find that it had been removed in OS X Mavericks. Until I discovered a method that’s just about as good, that is. This is not something new to Mavericks — our aging Mac mini stuck at Lion 10.7.5 has this functionality, too. From the Apple menu bar thingie in the top left of the screen, click:
About This Mac → More Info → Storage
I’m not sure what Apple considers “Movies” and “Photos” — is it recognizing my camera’s raw images as Photos? Probably not. But for a niftier visualization, there’s an old, free program I found as well: Grand Perspective
I dig this little app a lot. It gives you output like this:
You roll your mouse over a box and the status bar of the window tells you the size of that directory. I had the mouse over the big red box in the top right corner — that’s my 8GB virtual machine file for running Ubuntu as a guest OS via Virtual Box. You can tell it to scan any folder on your machine and there’s a surprising number of display options and color schemes for the picky. I am sure this will be useful when this machine starts to run out of space, too.