When what happens? It. Stuff. Alerts. Reminders. Notifications that something happened or will happen, or even an alert that something will happen if you don’t do this or that.
Your Mac has a built-in notification system of alerts—and it sucks. It’s bing this and bong that or beep there. Mac alerts are not something to be proud of unless you have Growl.
Notifications Cum Laude
Our Macs are smart, but they just aren’t all into the 21st century yet. Simply put, a little bouncing icon in the Dock does not a notification system make.
Oh, and Mail gets a little red button with the number of new email messages in my inbox.
Big whoop, right? That’s so last century. What is Apple thinking?
You’ve heard me (or read me, unless you live down the block, then maybe you’ve heard me yelling at neighbor kids; and my kids—I’m only fair) extoll the virtues of Growl in my popular missive, Free: The Best Mac Notification And Alert System.
That’s Growl—a free add on system of notifications that tie into a bunch of Mac apps to, well, you know—give you notifications when it happens.
The Growl System Preferences Pane looks like this.
Simple enough, right? Select an app on your Mac and you get notified when it does something worthy of self notification. When the notification hits the screen it comes in the form of a pop up screen that you can modify and control (color, shape, noise, etc.).
Unfortunately, Growl doesn’t give you a way to be notified by every Mac app (and there are thousands just waiting to exit the 20th century and take root in the brave new world known as 2011).
Keeping Watch On “It”
Pretty much whatever it is, Growl can watch it, and give you a pop up notification of something. Where Growl fails is where other apps pick up the slack.
Boxcar Growl Plugin – Yes, Virginia, there’s a way to get Growl to growl notifications via Boxcar on your iPhone. Boxcar’s Growl plugin is free.
Growl Mail Plugin – Adios, little red flag tag in the Mail icon, you’ve met your match with the Growl Mail plugin. This one is my favorite. It shows up in Mail’s Preferences and gives you umpteen dozen options for notifications, including one that displays a smoky pop up window with part of the email inside.
OmniGrowl Plugin – It ain’t free, but it’s just as cool as free. OmniGrowl does notifications for iCal events, to-do items, RSS feeds, including Yahoo Weather and Traffic, sports scores, and even iTunes track changes.
GrowlIt Plugin – If you just gotta have free, and you still have a fetish about using iCal, GrowlIt does it when it happens.
Prowl for Growl – We live in a mobile age, and you know what that means, right? Yep. Alerts in the pocket. Prowl is a Growl add-on that brings various and sundry alerts and notifications to your iPhone. Why? Because it’s just not enough to be connected—we need to be connected and bothered at the same time.
Digital Annoyances With Flair
Frankly, I’m of the view that our digital devices are becoming digital annoyances, seeking our attention at the most inopportune times—but with a flair. That’s unlike my three pre-schoolers who seek attention at inopportune times, but with more sticky fingers than flair.
My youngest daughter may only be two-years-old, but she makes messes at the level of a teenager in solitary confinement. If only there were a Growl notification plugin for pre-schoolers to warn me of what they’ve just done and before they flee the scene of the crime.