Blog Post

Menubar Goodies

I’ve done a post like this before, but it’s fairly old at this point in time so here we go again.

One of the best ways to find great new software for your system is by checking out what other people are running on their Macs. Every forum I follow, and every flickr group that posts desktop screenshots offers an opportunity to find something new and interesting. The readers here seem to be hip to that, and always pick something out from my screencasts. So in order to answer many of the questions I get, I’m posting my Menubar Goodies here for all to see.

my menubar goodies

  1. Skitch
    Screen caps will never be the same now that skitch has come into my life. When it’s out of private beta, you really need to get your hands on this! (The above image is courtesy of Skitch actually)
  2. Virtue Desktops
    Although it’s not being developed any longer (due to Leopard’s Spaces) this is a great virtual desktop manager. (But the previous release seemed to be less buggy for me)
  3. TagBot
    Unobtrusive yet powerful app for easily and quickly agging your files for easier organization on your system.
  4. Visor
    Snazzy, Quake style SIMBL plugin for accessing your Terminal window for all your CLI needs.
  5. Salling Clicker
    Even though my Samsung BlackJack has no supported services over Bluetooth with my MacBook, Salling Clicker gives me a bunch of options over what I can control with my phone.
  6. Google Notifier
    Google’s own app for putting gmail and calendar items right at my fingertips. For best results mix with growl and let simmer.
  7. TextExpander
    Snippet expander to save you from typing repetitive items. I’ve saved over 18 thousand characters, and counting…
  8. Missing Sync
    Who says Windows Mobile phones can’t play with Macs? I can sync my contacts, pictures, music, etc, etc, etc, with Missing Sync.
  9. Slim Battery Monitor
    Clearly I’ve got a lot of crap in my Menubar. Slim Battery Monitor takes up less space than the OS X equivalent and it gives me some extra options. Obviously not useful if you don’t rock a notebook.
  10. Sound Source
    Quickly change your input and output options for your Mac’s audio.
  11. Menu Meters (RAM and CPU load) –
    I like to know what my system’s doing at all times and this is a quick way of doing just that.
  12. OS X Time/Date Display ‘Hack’
    This hack is awesome and will change your life. Really.
  13. Airport –
    Just being thorough…
  14. Spotlight –
    Again, thorough

Assuming you’ve got different ones that I’ve listed here, I’m sure we’d love to see and hear about them. You can post them to flickr in The Apple Blog pool, and add notes, etc. Then link them in the comments below so we can all find something new!

23 Responses to “Menubar Goodies”

  1. Brett Barbaro

    That is – to clarify (see above) – displays song title in menu bar. Also cn be used to control iTunes. Seems very configurable. The only thing I don’t like about it is that its icon shows up while it’s running. Eats a lot more of your CPU than, say, ByteController, which is also a great program, but doesn’t display the song titles. Hope this helps!

  2. Oh one thing to note about the ordering of menu extras: if they are not really menu extras they will always show up on the left side of the real menu extras. How can you tell the difference between a real menu extra and an application that is inserting a fake one? Easy: you can’t use command plus drag to move them or remove them. iKey, ByteController, and Yahoo Widget Engine are all examples of applications that insert items into the menu extras space that are not true menu extras.

  3. Mine contains iKey (keyboard based launcher), Yahoo Widgets Engine, Spirited Away (auto hides inactive apps), Textpander (I see no reason to update to the newer non-free version), Applescript Menu, Airport, Battery, Displays, Date & Time, and of course the nearly worthless Spotlight one (nearly worthless because I normally use the field in the Finder windows).

  4. hey Oren, you tried using growltunes with growl? it shows what’s playing in itunes when it switches tracks and what not..

    kevin, go to sys prefs >> energy saver >> options .. uncheck show battery status in the menu bar

    also, main menu for osx is a nice replacement for onyx.. it’s not as hardcore but gets all the dirty work done for ya right from the menubar :P

  5. byrnegreen,

    you can always set up and automator action to open the apps in the manner you want and insert a pause action to ensure they are opened up and added to the menubar in the correct sequence. Then just set the sequence to open at login and viola you have your menubar items in the correct sequence.

  6. I’m still looking for a menu bar goody that will show me the currently playing song in iTunes. I don’t wanna control the player, I don’t wanna see album art, etc, etc – I just want to see the tune name and artist. Anybody know of such a thing?

  7. byrnegreen

    Great look inside your set-up!

    Question: Is it possible to rearrange the order of the non-OS X menu-bar items? It seems as though they just queue in order of adding them to the menu bar; the Cmd-Drag doesn’t work with add-ons. This is putting the slim-battery monitor all the way out in the center for my set-up.


  8. Great, more cool software to my already crowed menubar. Don´t do this, life with 1024×768 is hard! :-P

    Now seriously, i would add two programs to that list: Jumpcut, which work kinda like iClip but free; and YouControl Tunes, to control, you guessed, iTunes and to quickly rate music. Also free, requires you only to fill a registration.

    Both can be found in google or the Versiontracker.

  9. Hey Ryan,
    not sure such a list is reasonable – there’s endless apps that offer menubar residency. But hopefully this thread will grow in comments and you’ll get to see some variation and find some new things.

    But I am sort of a stickler for saving space on my machine, so I’ll work on a post about all the little things I do to maximize the space I have, which in turn allows me to work more efficiently. sound cool?

  10. Please post more of this. I always want to know more of these apps that have menu bar icons and how to minimize the space taken up. Can you just try to compile all of the menu bar icons.