Thanks to UNIX roots, OS X users have access to a wide variety of tools to help measure system performance. Alas, not all of these tools are graphical. Even if they are, they may offer too little or too much functionality for your needs. If only there was a set of tools that told you what was important, but in as little space as possible...
MenuMeters is a set of Menu Extras (you probably have some of these already, for Display and Sound) that can display system status directly in your Mac OS X menu bar in a number of different ways, depending on your needs and/or screen size. The first MenuMeter, CPU, allows you to monitor CPU usage. We settled on a display that shows historical usage, a numerical percentage, and an instant usage bar. All in about 80 pixels! Keep an eye on this, especially if you have a portable, to keep the fan usage at a minimum.
There's also a Network MenuMeter, which shows network use and throughput for both uploads and downloads. Keep an eye on this to make sure that monster transfer is still moving along, or to detect someone messing with your machine.
Lots of Info in Little Space
Next, there's a Memory MenuMeter that shows used and free RAM. If you find your system getting sluggish, check here to make sure you have some free RAM. If not, buy more RAM or quit some applications. Finally, there's a disk read/write indicator, so you can keep track of how your drives are being used. Heavy activity may mean you need more RAM. For all of the MenuMeter components, one can get extra info by clicking on the menu.
Details Available with a Click
MenuMeters provides the perfect balance between functionality and integration; small monitors that display enough info to be useful but unobtrusive, all without needing any extra windows on your desktop. Check out MenuMeters now!
Have any other Gadgets that make OS X rock? Send an e-mail to John and he'll hunt it down.
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