An occasional and completely subjective collection of highlights from the rich world of independently-developed solutions for OS X. This time around let's hear it for essential system admin tool, Onyx.

It's inevitable. We all get it from time-to-time. S.L.O.W. S.Y.S.T.E.M. P.E.R.F.O.R.M.A.N.C.E... When that beachball spin defines your Mac user life, and when switching between application windows takes, like, forever. The Mac has slowed down - is it broken, or does it simply need a little T.L.C.?

Macs are set-up to run a range of essential administration tasks in the middle of the night on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. These tasks keep your Mac in good shape, but if your machine is switched-off, then these tasks don't run, and performance can degrade.

That's where Titanium Software's free and (in my opinion, essential) application, Onyx steps in.

Along with a host of other features, Onyx lets you invoke these maintenance tasks when you want to run them.

When my Mac performance begins to suffer, it's one of the first applications I turn to, running the admin scripts before restarting the Mac and giving Disk Utility a whirl, before restarting again. I find that it boosts performance each time.

Onyx also lets you configure hidden system settings for the Finder, Dock, Dashboard, Expose, Safari and more.

Additional features include a range of file cleaning and maintenance tools, the provision of full and extended system information, access to a slew of System logs....there's dozens of features.

All the features are accessed through a simple to use user interface, and all the functions act exactly as you'd expect.

I've been using Onyx in various iterations for a couple of years now, I am very happy with it.

I recommend it as an application most Mac users should have ready and waiting in their utilities folder. Using it has made a real difference to my Mac life.

Please note - there are other applications that will perform these functions for your Mac, I happened on Onyx and have stuck with it - but if you have a favourite utility to recommend, please do so in the comments field below.

I look forward to hearing from you.