We live in an age of computer abundance. More power. More hard drive space. More screen real estate. More utilites. Here’s three of the best.
Let me tell you that I like Dashboard. It’s the place where all good desk accessories go to die, be reborn as Widgets. I also like screen real estate and invested the money in an Apple Cinema Display HD. The 23-inch variety.
I wanted a 30-inch model, but at the time they were not available and I’d already mortgaged my house.
Dashboard is very cool, ultra handy, and the Widgets, those little, colorful, mostly free applications, are quickly maturing to become, well, useful Widgets.
There’s just one problem when you marry Mac OS X Tiger’s Widgets to a large screen. Not enough screen real estate. The screen’s too small to handle all the Widgets that I like.
Worse, because that 23-inch screen still holds plenty of Widgets, it sometimes takes a full minute for the Widgets to ‘start up’ and download their information. That’s just not right.
A girl wants instant satisfaction these days. I don’t want to wait, even for a Widget that gives me pleasure, and even if it’s a free Widget. Dashboard can be slow.
Why the slowdown? Why the wait? Apple designed Dashboard in such a way, that, once your Mac starts up, and you open Dashboard, there’s a lag while the Widgets find their information. Stocks. Weather. Live cams. And so on. Why the wait?
I don’t know, but I do have a solution. It’s called Dashboard Starter.
Start up your Mac and Dashboard Starter also starts up your Dashboard Widgets behind the scenes. So, when you select Dashboard, your Widgets are ready to, uh, well, widget. That saves time and reduces aggravation. Kudos to Dashboard Starter.
Wait! There’s more.
Since I’m on the subject of Totally Free Mac Utilities (remember; I’m the Queen of Low End around Mac360; nobody else wants the job), here’s two more that make life worth living. Mostly.
The first of the two has to do with ‘weather.’ Everyone complains about it, but no one does anything about it.
Meteorologist won’t do anything about the weather except make it easy to see.
Assuming you have enough screen real estate to handle one more utility in the menu bar, Meteorologist can be your friend. It resides in the menu bar and checks Weather.com for the latest weather information, then displays it every so often.
If you don’t have Tiger you won’t be able to flick your wrist to see the Dashboard Widget for weather. With Meteorologist, you won’t have to. It’s always there.
The second of the menu bar’s Totally Free Mac Utilities is Menu Meters. Like Meteorologist, Menu Meters sits in the menu bar (duh) and displays information.
Like, what kind of information, Alexis?
There’s four different meters that upate constantly in Menu Meters.
CPU Meter displays system load with a variety of configurations; as numbers or graphic.
Disk Activity Meter displays any activity to your local disks (ready and writing). It even shows when you plug in a Firewire or USB disk.
Memory Meter displays your current RAM usage and virtual memory usage. There’s also a little light to display paging activity (just for geeky girls and guys).
Finally, there’s a Net Meter which displays network activity to and from your Mac. Again, it’s numerical or graphic or both.
See? Don’t tell me you can’t live without such luxurious necessities as those three Mac utility applications. OK, maybe you were doing OK until now, but once you try them out, you’ll know what real Mac living is all about.