On walkabout in life and technology

Natsukashii - iPulse Sighting

Natsukashii (懐かしい) is a Japanese word for “feeling nostalgic” or “with fond memories”.

I happened to click on a Mike Zornek (@zorn) link today and noticed that he is still running iPulse on his desktop. I used to run it back in the early days of OS X on my Titanium Powerbook.

Back then, I had already returned to the Mac. But in 2003 or so, OS X was still very buggy and slow. I wanted to know where the bottleneck was, disk, network, CPU or RAM? Also, with PC hardware at the time, they still had the light that flashed when the disk was being accessed, the Mac did not have this.

I could have run top in a terminal shell. But top provides data, I wanted information.

So I purchased iPulse and it ran on the bottom right of my screen for years. At a glance I could see how my computer was performing, if the CPU was busy, disk accessed, network overloaded, etc. Whenever OS X Jaguar got slow, iPulse would tell me what was going on.

Just look at it, what a very clever design. CPU is the middle circle with a moving darker ring ring to show busyness. Memory capacity is shown in the upper half of the next ring, and disk capacity and access on the lower half. It has a clock on the outer ring that also contains memory swap rates, and lights for battery and network on the outside. And if you want to know more about a particular topic, just hover over the right spot to see a pop-up with the details. What a magnificent design and execution. Pure iconfactory magic.

But I stopped using it years ago and instead switched to BJango’s iStat Menus which I am still running today. Now I see the CPU, Memory, and Network (no disk since I have a SSD) in the OS X Menu bar. As with iPulse, the data is there at a glance, but this time out of the way instead of in a window when it may be covered by others or get in the way.

It is nice to see some of the old ways still in use.

Then again, I still use BBEdit every day.

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