A video floating over your Mac’s screen lets you view the video while you’re working on something else. That’s much handier than opening a video in a browser window, moving it into an innocuous position on the Mac’s screen, they trying to keep it pasted to the front while working. Here’s an easier way and it’s free.
Is Multitasking Real?
In answer to my sub-title question, no, I don’t think humans multitask very well. A baseball player multitasks when he runs to catch a ball (all the while figuring out where to throw the ball once it’s caught), but the rest of us, particularly those of us working on our computers, do one thing at a time.
That holds true on iPhone and iPad, despite Apple’s new multi-screen feature on the latter. We focus our attention on one task at a time. What if you want to watch a video while typing a letter on your Mac?
Actually, you can’t do that too easily, but Helium helps. This free Mac utility is little more than a floating browser window so you can watch whatever you’d watch in a Safari tab or window, but it floats over everything else on the screen.
That means you can use Helium to view Netflix videos on the Mac’s screen; resized and moved wherever on the screen you prefer– while you work on something else. It works with YouTube videos, Vimeo videos, and most other streaming video services which work in Safari (if the video source requires Flash, just make sure you have the latest Flash version).
Helium also has a special translucent mode so you can see what’s behind the video window which lets you click, move, resize, drag, and do whatever– behind the translucent Helium window which then does not recognize mouse clicks.
Cool, huh? And free.
Can you do the same thing in a Safari window, or fire up Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox? Yes. And no. Neither will let you float a browser window, nor allow you to interact with windows behind the browser window, which altogether makes Helium a much better choice for those of us still convinced we can multitask.