My early years of personal computing were devoted to the intricacies of Microsoft’s DOS, the command line OS we all loved to hate. Years later DOS was replaced by Windows (a pretty face on a pic) and I learned the value of point and click.
Old habits die hard so it’s with a degree of nostalgia, remorse, and compassion for my formerly fellow Windows-sufferers that I recommend a Dock replacement for those new-to-the-Mac users who switched from the darks side to the light, but just can’t let go of old habits.
iAm, Therefore, uBar
Not long ago the uBar app for the Mac was billed as a way for Windows users to avoid the inherent confusion and difficulties of using the Dock (‘Where’s the Start button?’) by providing a Windows tray-like interface instead.
These days, uBar is a Dock replacement which works better than the Dock in some ways, and works in a familiar manner to those who switched from Windows. There’s no Start button, of course, but there’s everything else; familiar, easy to find and use.
Click the image below to see a larger version, but you get the idea. uBar looks and works much like Windows. But on a Mac.
uBar is more powerful than it was a few years ago. Far more powerful. Today it can preview windows by hovering over an icon. It’s easily moved to any side of the Mac’s screen, and works with Macs that have multiple connected displays.
Like the Windows tray, there’s a favorites area for apps, folders, and files. The clock displays time, day, and date, but hover over it and view the Calendar. uBar’s size can be adjusted to match your needs and Mac screen; automatic, small, medium, large, or huge.
Click on uBar’s icon and view a pop up menu– which looks much like the one in Windows– and navigate to Applications, Desktop, Home directory, Documents, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures, System Preferences or anything else you’d like. Even logout.
The uBar dock can be expanded to have five rows of apps, files, and folders (looks as bad as you think it does), and it can display red app badges or hatched red app badges for apps that are unresponsive. There’s even a keyboard shortcut which displays CPU and Memory for each open app.
There’s much to like with uBar these days, despite the Windows heritage; it’s gone well beyond a familiar Windows-like tray to become a full-on Dock substitute. uBar is one of those continually developed Mac utilities which just gets better over time. But note that it’s becoming more of a Mac power user app, rather than merely a Dock substitute, so there’s a learning curve.