I’m a sucker for cool Mac utilities that make using OS X Tiger a little easier, and more fun.
Mac publisher Ecamm does that with a number of their utilities for Tiger, including the latest, DockStar.
At the simplest level, DockStar adds something that Mail already has. Notification of incoming email messages.
If you use Mail, and you keep the Mail icon loaded in the Dock, then you’ve seen the little red number notification that pops up inside the icon when you’ve received email messages.
As the number of mail messages in the inbox increases, so does the red notification number.
That’s one of those handy visual features that makes Mac OS X so handy. Ecamm takes the Dock icon notification and pumps it up with steroids.
How? Now you can track up to 5 new mail indicators in the Dock.
And, DockStar brings customizable shapes and colors to the Mail icon in the Dock.
If you’re like me, you have more than one email account. I’ve got a bunch. One from my ISP, one from Mac360, one for the family email, one for business, and so on. You get the picture.
Mail’s normal Dock icon simply totals all the new mail in the inbox, and gives you a total in the Dock notification.
DockStar gives you control and you can assign a badge number to up to 5 different mailboxes, one for each of 5 email accounts.
Then, you can assign a specific badge for each of the accounts, so the number of email messages in each will show up accordingly.
Better yet, Ecamm’s nifty $8 utility lets you choose different shapes for each of the notifiers. There’s a heart shape, a starburst, a five pointed star, and so on.
Even better, you can fine-tune the size of each of the badge notifiers, and select the color you prefer for each. Red for work email, blue for family, green for the email account you use for Yahoo’s personals.
Again, Ecamm has published a nifty application add-on that, once you try it, you’re amazed that Apple didn’t build it in in the first place.
We’ve done reviews on other Ecamm applications for the Mac. iGlasses, which gives you more control over Apple’s iSight video camera to work in low light situations.
There’s also Conference Recorder, which takes the multiple audio and video channels from iChat AV and saves them in QuickTime movies so you always have a record of the iChat conferencing.
Of course, the true test is the ‘try before you buy’ and that’s what you get with these utilities. They’re convenient, handy, simple, elegant, and worth the money.
What’s missing? Mail is one thing, but I use Safari, too, and sometimes I end up with 20 different windows open to different web sites. A little notification badge in Safari would be handy.
Come to think of it, a notification badge for any Mac OS X Tiger application that has more than one open window would be way cool.
Click Here for a look at DockStar features and the download link.
Jack D. Miller
Alex, you’ve hit on a point that Mac developers love to hear. “It would be cool if your application did this…” That’s how applications progress. DockStar’s notification system is so elegant you’re surprised it’s not already built in.
There are so many Mac utility applications that the real challenge is finding those that have just the right ‘cool factor.’ This one fits on the list.