I’m a sucker for a little glitter and glamour. I fall in love with handy Mac utilities that go bling in the night. One of my co-workers turned me on to a handy Mac utility which, on the surface, appears like a Fisher-Price utility for monitoring your Mac. It’s called CheckUp.
There is no shortage of Mac utilities which monitor something going on inside your Mac. Apple even supplies a few, including Activity Monitor.
CheckUp, at first appearance, monitors the same stuff that other monitors monitor.
CheckUp is first designed to monitor the usage of CPU, Memory, Disk Drives and Network Adapters.
Big whoop, right? Are these items that really need to be monitored, as if you hired someone to make sure your Mac was in tip top shape all the time, and would alert you if it wasn’t? I have visions of Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey reading my lips, then plotting against me.
CheckUp isn’t Hal, but you can teach it to think better with a little patience and effort. Of course, figuring out why you need to teach your utility is a different issue.
You can display detailed information about all running processes and pause or terminate these at any time. By adding rules that will be triggered when certain conditions are met for a specified resource on the computer, you can receive visual notifications. For example, CheckUp can alert you when a certain resource exceeds a certain value or when a hard drive seems to have hardware failures, even when the application is not opened (thanks to an innovative background process and the use of the S.M.A.R.T technology).
As you might suspect with any Mac utility with a price tag, there’s more going on behind the scenes than what you see in Apple’s free Activity Monitor.
Maybe I just haven’t transitioned from the days of Mac utilities that were spartan, utilitarian, and gray. Seriously. Fisher Price designed the CheckUp interface.
I want to think that such a simple and straightforward user interface depicts a sophomoric, less competent set of utilities, but that’s not quite the case. Not quite (click an image for a pop up, close up view).
Excuse the ad copy copy from the CheckUp web site, but it accurately describes that ever important first impression. Almost.
With its use of the latest Mac OS X technologies, breakthrough ease-of-use and innovation, all Mac users will find CheckUp extremely useful and even fun. It’s like the dashboard of your car!
I’m not convinced that all Mac users will like CheckUp, but it grows on you.
Going well beyond the capabilities of Activity Monitor, CheckUp does a little more than just check up on certain functions within the digital bowels of your Mac.
One of the most innovative feature of CheckUp is the ability to monitor a Mac on a network or via internet. It’s a powerful feature for IT administrators interested to check a remotecomputer or a remote server (one user license of CheckUp can be installed on two computers).
I don’t see the feature as exactly innovative. It’s not as though this is the first utility to provide that function on a Mac. It’s just easier with CheckUp.
If you love to monitor the monitor, and Fisher Price looks don’t scare you, prepare to be wowed.
Some causes of high network activity are linked to peer to peer connections, file copying or large print jobs. Use CheckUp to create a log and calculate the network utilization. CheckUp can also display bandwidth data in a real-time graph. It records all network traffic and the total amount of data transfered on your network.
Alright, I’m not really wowed. It’s cool. It’s colorful. Is it necessary?
Maybe it’s the geeky nature of some Mac users that requires them to constantly monitor the health of their machines. Is it an obsessive compulsive issue?
CheckUp allows you to discover your computer’s capabilities in a very visual way. It also helps you to learn about supported technologies. You can check if your computer is able to run Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the latest version of Mac OS X or any operating system like windows XP, Windows Vista, Linux, etc. You can find out how many fonts, drivers or extensions are installed on your computer, as well as lots of other information.
Is any of that kind of monitoring really important?
In an effort to help users avoid data loss, drive manufacturers are now incorporating logic into their drives that acts as an early warning system for pending drive problems. This system is called Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology or SMART. CheckUp monitors the SMART status of drives in the background (even when the application is not running). It can also pop-up an alert via a visual notification system.
CheckUp seems to have brought together a bunch of features and functions which are found in other utilities, packaged them up nicely, and added a price tag.
CheckUp does more, but I’m not certain who the intended customer is. The home user with multiple Macs on a home network? Maybe. A system administrator with many Macs to monitor and keep in shape? Probably not.
Still, CheckUp is enticing eye candy with plenty of local features for cleansing your Mac, monitoring performance, all matched with remote monitoring capabilities. Monitor used bandwidth. Mount or unmount a disk. Uninstall files.
Not one of those features is rocket science or difficult to obtain, even for the average Mac user without CheckUp.