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Picasso’s quote is often misunderstood :)

DaisyDisk 1.5 vs rip-off

DaisyDisk 1.5 and 2.0 beta vs a rip-off

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DaisyDisk 2 goes beta

It’s been a long time… How have you been?

Today we’re ready to introduce you to our newest creation, DaisyDisk 2 β:
http://cl.ly/3Wj7

What has changed since DaisyDisk 1.5.3? Almost everything!
In fact, we’ve build most parts of DaisyDisk 2 from scratch.

Well, really, take a look at this short whatsnew:

  • In-app file deletion
  • Brand new UI, created from scratch on Core Animation
  • Ability to scan several disks/folders at a time
  • Scan results are remembered while the application is running, can be forgotten to free memory
  • More informative disk descriptions
  • Redesigned disk usage gauge
  • Scanned folders are added to the list of sources
  • New logic for scanning as Administrator (was Super-User)
  • New About window informs you about recovered space totals, allows you to tweet your results
  • Updated Feedback window
  • Redesigned Crash Reporter (we hope you’ll never see it)
  • New error handling logic (yep, built-in dialogs suck)
  • Major under the hood changes and tons of tweaks you’ll unlikely ever need to know about

What’s known to be missing/broken:

  • We haven’t switched to a new registration system, but DaisyDisk 2 beta accepts DaisyDisk 1.x license keys
  • Localization is dropped (we’re not accepting localizations for some time, sorry…)
  • Help file is missing (we haven’t finished working on it yet)
  • A few more things…

The beta expires on December 31, 2010.

If you buy now, DaisyDisk 2.0 will be a free upgrade for you (you’ll need to get a new key online once the final version is released).

Upgrade policy for existing users remains unchanged:
$9,95 unless your license key has been issued before October 15, 2009 or after September 1, 2010. Otherwise free.

Enjoy…

Tags: Announce, Updates

Wasted gigabytes

No matter how large is your hard disk, sooner or later you’ll run out of space. Gigabytes of movies, music, ever-growing picture archives and other needful things easily get out of control, especially if you use your Mac for editing movies, making music or simply download lots of data from torrents the web.

Let’s see what you can do about this…

Huge apps and fat binaries

Look at the /Applications folder and you’ll see that many Mac apps are sized 100-500 MB. And these are just daily use apps like iTunes (150 MB) or iPhoto (330 MB). Loving Steam games? Then add about 9 GB for Team Fortress 2, 8 GB for Left4Dead and 2 GB for Killing Floor or Portal and so on and so forth.

There is a way to nearly half the space occupied by the apps (not games, unfortunately :D). As you may know Apple has switched from PowerPC processors to Intel a few years ago, but there’re still lots of old Macs with PowerPC processors. In order to support both architectures many developers distribute their applications as universal binaries, also known as fat binaries. These applications contain two versions of the same app and you’ll likely never ever need one of them.

In addition to that, most Mac applications are localized, so a single application can be used by, say, both English and German users. That also has a cost of extra space being taken by data you don’t really need.

Why not just remove redundant localizations or support for processors you don’t even have? That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Not really. In the real world we happen to live in a typical picture looks like this: you run a binary stripper, it reports saving you lots of disk space, but in a day or two you find out that some of the apps simply no longer work! That sucks. No, that REALLY SUCKS. It happens because some developers (Adobe, for instance) add integrity checks into their apps as an anti-piracy measure. If such an app finds itself modified, it thinks it has been cracked and quits immediately. To work around this, advanced binary strippers maintain a regularly updated don’t-touch-me list of apps, but it’s still a Russian roulette — odds are that some apps may stop working after such an optimization. Also note that if you update an app, it becomes unoptimized again, and you have to repeat the procedure over again.

As by the Murphy’s law, the apps that cannot be stripped are often the biggest space wasters (take a look at Adobe CS). At the bottom line, stripping binaries does not turn out to be a really big space saver, the typically reported figure being somewhere around a few GBs. It may still be worth the trouble for MacBook Air owners, where disk space constraints are especially tight.

Good riddance of unneeded apps

It’s so great that on Mac most applications can be installed with a simple drag-and-drop. However, there is a serious drawback of this approach when it comes to uninstalling the no longer needed apps. If you just drag-and-drop an app to the Trash, it will not remove any related data, such as configuration files and databases. While in most cases it’s not a big deal (maybe a few megabytes or less), some applications, like web browsers, may forget a gigabyte or two. You can see it yourself, just open the ~/Library/Application Support folder.

For example, on my Mac I have 1Password and Google Chrome that store over 1 gigabyte of their data, and Fontcase and LittleSnapper databases are also close to 1 GB. If I decide to trash these apps, all their data files will still remain on my disk, unless I remove them manually. Alternatively, I can use a special uninstaller app, like AppZapper, to have the cleanup job done for me.

The uninstallers also have their downsides. They may skip certain unneeded files or delete something useful. The good thing is that in most cases you can preview the files they are about to remove, and thus feel a bit more confident. At least, they don’t automagically damage random applications :)

Compress and archive

In Mac OS X 10.6 Apple has finally introduced the on-the-fly compression into the file system. Of course, in no way it’s a magic bullet for saving disk space, but it works pretty well on large portions of read-only data. It makes no sense to compress movies or music, but it can save you some space on applications or text documents. To enable the compression, you can exercise with the command line or just use an app like Clusters.

Mess my Mac

There is an undying myth, particularly wide spread among people who recently switched to Mac from Windows, that their Mac needs regular cleaning in order to keep it healthy, that is to run smoothly and fast. The truth is that unlike early versions of Windows, Mac OS X doesn’t really need much maintenance, and if you don’t do it, in most cases you will not notice any difference. Besides, Mac OS X does some regular self-maintenance automatically, at times when you are away.

While automatic maintenance and cleanup applications may be helpful, be cautious when using them, and backup your system (Time Machine is your best friend). Always double-check the cleanup options, because it’s better to leave an extra megabyte or two than to find out that a chat history is missing or the cleaner wiped out something needful just because it can.

If you really (really?) think you need a maintenance tool for your Mac, use the tried and true and free Onyx application, and be careful with newborn optimizers from unknown developers.

Computers cannot outsmart humans

There is also a totally different approach to recovering your disk space, implemented in some other apps.

Instead of being too smart, they display a visual map of how your drive is used. Such a representation allows you to spot large folders and files in a blink of an eye.

Unlike the slimmer apps, the visualizing apps don’t rigidly delete some pre-defined set of files, no matter how large or negligibly small those files may be, but help the human make the decision and delete the biggest space wasters in the first turn.

I personally like this approach best (hell, otherwise we wouldn’t create DaisyDisk!), because it’s the most efficient one. Indeed, in many cases a lot of disk space is wasted by a small number of large files like archives, movies or cached data that somehow gets out of control. Automatic trimmers would not find those space hogs and could not understand they were lumber, while disk visualization tools give you a valuable insight about what’s really filling up your disks.

There’s no magic bullet

Once you’re really low on disk space, I’d recommend to scan your drive with a visualization tool like DaisyDisk. This will reveal the real space wasters, but it has its limitations. In order to get a few more gigabytes, consider removing a few apps or slimming them down with, say, Xslimmer or archiving your Applications or Documents folder with Clusters  (it sometimes even makes sense to compress some rarely used documents to ZIP/7ZIP formats). Whatever you choose to do, do not forget to make regular backups — your data is way more important than disk space.

One daisy, two daisies…

As some of you already know, we’re working at full speed on the second generation of DaisyDisk, codenamed DaisyDisk 2.

A year ago it looked quite simple: we tack on in-app file deletion, make a few extra tweaks and roll out an update in a few months… But during these few months it  has become clear that what we were doing was not a yet another update, it was really different in both look and feel, not to mention the huge (no, HUGE) code changes that followed and took us another few months.

When we released DaisyDisk last year, many people called it cool and sexy, and it was named one of the best-looking Mac apps. Now let me assure you, as the designer of DaisyDisk from its very birth, that the second version of the application is not simply cool, it’s absolutely fantastic.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look:

The new UI has been rebuilt from scratch in Core Animation. This not only allowed us to make it more appealing and smooth, but also add some features hardly possible before, and I am really glad that we managed to do this without sacrificing the ease of use.

So, what should you expect?

First of all, we’ve added the in-app file deletion that so many of you asked for (were even a little faster with it than Apple with their Copy&Paste support on iOS). You will now be able to drag petals out of the sunburst map and drop them onto a special zone, from where you will be able to delete a bunch of files and folders with a single click. Sounds easy, but this drag-and-drop interaction has taken us a lot of work. A very early demo of this function can be previewed here. Be sure it’s different from what we’ll finally ship :D

Another thing many of you wanted is the ability to view the previously scanned disks without having to rescan them. No problems. In DaisyDisk 2, you can switch back and forth between disks and the scan results will remain in memory until you close the application. Furthermore, now you can scan multiple disks or folders at the same time in background, without having to wait extra time. This will of course require more memory, but with most modern Macs having 2 to 4 GB of RAM it’s not a big deal. Besides, you can tell the application to forget the scan results of any disk and thereby free the memory.

There are also lots of less notable improvements which affect DaisyDisk 2 look and feel. Just be patient and wait a bit…

If things go well DaisyDisk 2 will be available this fall. You won’t miss the release date: even if you’re not subscribed to our Twitter, your DaisyDisk 1.x will notify you about the upgrade.

DaisyDisk 2 is a paid upgrade for the majority of existing users. The price tag of the upgrade from 1.x to 2. will be $9.95.

As a sign of special gratitude to our early buyers, everyone who got their keys before October 15, 2009 will get DaisyDisk 2 license free of charge.

Everyone who buys a DaisyDisk license starting from today, September 1, 2010 will be able to upgrade to DaisyDisk 2 for free.

Stay tuned!

Tags: Announce

DaisyDisk 1.5.3 Released

What’s new:

  • Bug fixed: wrong file sizes sometimes displayed in the super-user mode
  • Minor fixes and tweaks
Tags: Updates

DaisyDisk 1.5.2 Released

What’s new:

  • Added 64-bit support on Snow Leopard
  • Optimized memory usage (in particular for 64-bits)
  • Selection in the right sidebar made brighter
  • Fixed the bug of blank Registration and About windows on some PPC Macs
  • Fixed some minor graphic glitches in transitions
  • Renewed Thai localization
Tags: Updates

The birth of DaisyDisk

DaisyDisk was started in late December 2008 as a result of half hour discussion between me (Taras) and Oleg, our coder. I proposed that it might make sense for us to create a relatively basic project in order to raise some money for something more serious.

The idea was simple: we create a disk visualization tool that can help one find out where the hell all the disk space has gone. By that time the only available applications of that kind for Mac users were GrandPerspective, Disk Inventory X and the like. All of those have mediocre interfaces and are built around the so called treemaps – the visualizations originally made for depicting disk usage.

DaisyDisk, original mockup

Treemaps suck. They’re hard to read, they tend to shuffle all data on smallest changes, they’re messy and hard to navigate. Yes, one can handle these issues to some extent and certain modern implementations/researches can make them good enough, but still not good enough for us.

Another approach can be seen in applications that use the sunburst, basically a multilevel pie chart, slightly tuned for displaying folders tree. My favorite is Scanner while Linux users may recall Filelight – another similar implementation. Unfortunately for us all, the Mac version of Filelight has never been usable for any real-life tasks, remaining a mere shadow of its Linux ancestor…

It may sound naive now, but all we originally wanted was to create a Mac version of Scanner, just slightly more polished and usable. Display a list of sources, scan progress animation, resulting map. Profit!

Animations, second mockup

If only…

The very first problems arose when we tried to build the sunburst map in progress of scanning, from the data we get on the fly. While it looked sane on paper, experiments proved us wrong. Very wrong. Despite all tricks, all we got was just a convulsing set of rings that hardly represented the picture we wanted. Fail.

We gave up the idea of re-using the sunburst as a scan progress indicator and concentrated on more important things. Soon enough we found that the original sunburst and many existing implementations suffer from some serious problems. The map looked hairy due to numerous tiny segments, large files outside the fifth ring were often invisible, segment coloring changed on each move, and overall navigation was quite a mess.

Working prototype

We’ve build several prototypes which helped us solve those problems and test our implementation on real-world data. For example, tiny segments have been consolidated into groups. This makes more sense than just hiding them, as in real life there are lots of examples of large groups of small files: folders with images, music or other files. In such groups, each standalone file is relatively small, but the total size of the group can be hundreds of megabytes. We also decided to display extra rings which help reveal space hogs hidden deep in the disk folder hierarchy. These extra rings are thinner, but provide useful information without the need for extra navigation. Navigation is another thing we can be proud of. The very first idea was to retain segment color during navigation. In other words, if ~/Documents is green, then ~/Documents/MyWorkStuff should also be colored in shades of green. I have no idea why this has not been done years before…

The blossom animation was also a part of our plan on improving navigation. Earlier versions of DaisyDisk used different transitions, but with the same purpose: improve the navigation experience by smoothing map changes. Not even mentioning the wow effect it creates :)

DaisyDisk has been gradually enhanced, tuned and tweaked throughout the year, but this is a different story :)

Tags: History

Hello world!


Hello, world!

Greetings to all visitors of our new web site.

This is the third version of daisydiskapp.com since the launch of DaisyDisk and sooth to say we hope it’s also the last one :) We definitely plan to tweak/improve it in order to provide even better experience.

And yes, we know that it does not display correctly in Internet Explorer or other stone age browsers, but have no plans to support these.

Creating this site took way longer than we expected. In fact, we planned to launch the site in August ’09, then in September, October and so on. After a few delays we have just started it from the scratch and now you can see what we’ve got so far :)

Here are just three versions of suggested designs (with much more gathering dust in archives), so you can get the idea how the site might have looked like if we launched it earlier.

As you see, now we also have a blog. Leaving it void is a bad idea, just as using it for a sole purpose of announcing new versions, so we decided to make a few articles on DaisyDisk design process and keeping your Mac clean with DaisyDisk.

Stay tuned!

Tags: Site