Translucent started as a Master's project at Western Michigan University in the spring semester of 2007. It was quite crude compared to it's current state, Translucent only ran on the command line and only had text output for all the information that it collected, which actually had to be read over the network by another application. Since I finished the project at only about 4 weeks into the semester I decided to take it to the next step and make it a full fledged application with a usable user interface.
The idea for the project came about because I had a desire to see how well a Mac Pro with two dual-core Xeons would utilize all that processing power. There really was no easy and sure way on the computer to tell if all the processors were being used or just one of them. At the time operating systems were notorious in their history in how inefficient they used multiple processors, earlier iterations of the Mac operating system only used the second processor if the first one reached a certain threshold of utilization. So it was time to actually be sure that all that processing power wasn't going to waste and as it turns out Mac OS X superbly utilizes all of the available processors and only seems to do a better job with every iteration of the operating system.
During the development and reverse engineering of the operating system, it was also found that the information was available for the memory statistics along with the network and disk usage. Translucent saw on and off again development, design iterations and many refinements over the next several years, this long development time was mainly due to waiting for the operating system to mature and fix several issues related to the way Translucent works, i.e. being able to highlight a custom view in the status bar when the menu opened didn't exist when the project started. Translucent also kept pace with the slew of additions that Apple has put into the operating system over the years; Grand Central Dispatch and Core Animation to name a few.
Translucent was actually never destined to see the light of day, it was more of an in-house application for my personal computers and for friend's and family's computers. When The Mac App Store was announced, it finally seemed a good time to release Translucent to the world, it has been a wonderful and invaluable tool for me through out the years and I hope that others find it the same way. So Translucent was officially launched on the grand opening of The Mac App Store.
I hope you enjoy Translucent and hopefully find it as useful as I have,