Back in the days before Mac OS X, multiple applications didn't always get along that well. The problem is that they used a technique called cooperative multitasking. It theory, this would work just fine, if all applications cooperated. Unfortunately, a poorly written application could monopolize the processor, at the expense of other running applications. Fortunately, OS X has a more sophisticated method of multitasking, called preemptive multitasking. This method pretty much eliminates the possibility of a single application taking over the processor, but one may still have a need to tweak things.
OS X and the associated UNIX underpinnings have access to a command-line utility called renice, which will let you reset, or "renice" as it is called by the gearheads, the scheduling priority of one or more tasks. Unfortunately, it is a nasty command-line affair, full of arcane switches and other incantations. If only there was an application which would take care of some of these complexities.
The Main Renicer Window
(click for a larger image)
Basically, renicer makes the priority of the frontmost application the highest, and also increases the priority of certain other tasks, like the Finder and Dock and Window Server. Similarly, it will lower the priority of less critical tasks, like the screen saver. Once you enter an administrator password, you can set a "high" and "low" priority values. You can also refine which applications are given "high" and "low" values by adding them to a list. If you'd like the behavior of Renicer to persist the next time it is run, you can choose the "Persist" checkbox.
So, take control of your system, and make it snappier with Renicer today!
Have any other gadgets that let you get the most performance out of your Mac? Drop John a line, and he'll take a look at it.
Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.
John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at