IS­tat Menus 5

New fea­tures and UI en­sure mon­i­tor­ing app re­mains top dog

Mac Format - - RATED | MAC APPS - $16 (about £10), up­grade $9.99 (about £6) De­vel­oper Bjango,­tat­menus OS OS X 10.8 or later Ex­cel­lent clock im­prove­ments Cus­tom bat­tery no­ti­fi­ca­tions Loads of dis­play tweaks Im­port/ex­port set­tings

Although iS­tat Menus is a favourite of many of the MacFor­mat team, it’s fair to say it ap­peals to a cer­tain kind of user. If you don’t care about what’s go­ing on inside your Mac, steer clear; but if you’re the kind of per­son who likes to keep an eye on your Mac’s per­for­mance, iS­tat Menus is by far the best mon­i­tor­ing util­ity we’ve seen.

The main app is es­sen­tially a huge pref­er­ences pane, where you tog­gle var­i­ous mod­ules that can then be viewed in the menu bar as tiny graphs. Click a mod­ule and a huge amount of data is made avail­able to you in a drop-down menu; some of th­ese of­fer fur­ther fly-out menus when you hover over a graph.

Ev­ery el­e­ment of your Mac is cov­ered: CPU/GPU us­age; mem­ory; disks; net­work; sen­sors; and bat­tery/ power. In each case, the in­for­ma­tion shown can be tweaked, as can the types of graph shown in the menu bar. If the clut­ter gets too much, all of the menus can be com­bined into one, at the ex­pense of mak­ing it a touch slower to ac­cess spe­cific data.

An iS­tat Menus up­date has never failed to im­press, and ver­sion five is no ex­cep­tion. Tons of mi­nor tweaks lurk within, no­tably the mem­ory menu, which now sup­ports com­pressed mem­ory, and the world clock, which boasts a beau­ti­ful sun map with as­so­ci­ated data when you hover the cur­sor over a lo­ca­tion.

The app’s also had yet another in­ter­face over­haul, ready­ing it for OS X Yosemite. This makes iS­tat Menus feel a lit­tle out of place run­ning on Mav­er­icks, but even there it’s an im­prove­ment, with both the set­tings win­dow and the drop-down menus of­fer­ing more clar­ity and pol­ish than be­fore. Craig Gran­nell

Ro­bust, re­li­able and nice to look at, this app re­mains a must-buy if you need a Mac mon­i­tor­ing util­ity.

On one level, The Swap­per is merely a puz­zle game. It’s a side-scrolling plat­former where your character is equipped with a tool that makes copies of you, which move iden­ti­cally to you. You can switch con­trol be­tween th­ese copies at will. This lets you get up on high ledges by cre­at­ing a clone up there, and trans­fer­ring con­trol to it. You could press two switches at once, or avoid plum­met­ing to your death by cre­at­ing a clone just above the ground and trans­fer­ring to it be­fore hit­ting the bot­tom. Me­chan­i­cally, it’s fairly sim­ple.

But it’s not meant to be played with such de­tach­ment. As soon as the tool that clones you is in­tro­duced, so is the idea that the last peo­ple who used it dreaded the sight of it. A new you, avail­able on de­mand, iden­ti­cal to the old you. Pre­sum­ably iden­ti­cal. You can trans­fer your con­scious­ness be­tween them. Is this new you now the real you? Do you even re­mem­ber which of the four yous cur­rently run­ning on dif­fer­ent lev­els of a struc­ture was the first? When you ‘leap’ out of a fall­ing clone into a safe one, leav­ing the husk (was it a husk? Does it def­i­nitely not have a con­scious­ness, just be­cause it hap­pens to not be the con­scious­ness you in­habit?) to fall into a crum­pled heap on the floor, did you use the life of a per­son (your­self!) to fur­ther your ex­plo­ration, or is that clone just a tool – yours to use as you will?

The Swap­per doesn’t push th­ese themes on you as heav­ily as I have, but the games that best marry their themes with their in­ter­ac­tions don’t need to. This is bril­liant fun just as a puz­zle game, but I think I en­joy it much more for let­ting my brain run riot over its philo­soph­i­cal edge when I play.

Are the sac­ri­fi­cial clones in The Swap­per philo­soph­i­cal zom­bies or think­ing, feel­ing ver­sions of one­self? Matt lets his brain run riot.

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