The menubar, like the dock, is an integral part of Mac OS X. Besides the basic function of providing menus in applications, the Menubar can do a ton. By default, the right side of the menubar displays a clock, the spotlight icon, Airport status, volume, as well as a MobileMe sync status, Time Machine Backup status, and Fast User Switching if you enable them. While this is great, many developers have taken the menubar to the next level. Here’s a look at my essential menubar apps.
Caffiene is extremely simple, but very useful. You simply click it to tell your computer to not go to sleep. This is extremely handy when watching online video, reading a long article, or anything else for that matter. It is a great way to maintain good energy saving preferences, but not be annoyed when your monitor goes to sleep a minute into watching House on Hulu. When you’re done, you simply click the caffiene icon again to turn it off. [Download]
If you’re like me, you’re always using copy & paste. Jumpcut keeps a record of what you’ve copied, so that you can paste it later – even if you’ve made a new copy. It works really well, and even has a keyboard shortcut that pops up with a bezel – so that you don’t necessarily have to click on the menu bar icon. I’ve gotten it to remember up to 100 items, which is stunning. [Download]
Rouge Amoeba developed a really handy tool for controlling audio input and output on your Mac – straight from the Menubar. You can choose which source you want to play audio to/from, and how loud you want to hear it. It’s a big step up from Apple’s default menubar volume control. You can also use it to quick launch Audio MIDI Setup or Sound Preferences. [Download]
Alarm Clock 2
I’ve begun to use my mac as my default alarm clock, thanks to Alarm Clock 2. It integrates with your iTunes library, so that you can wake up to your favorite music. You can set recurring alarms, and enable features such as “easy wake” and of course the “snooze”. What really makes Alarm Clock 2 superb is that you can also set timers and stopwatches. I can’t tell you how many times I use Alarm Clock 2, it’s just become an automatic part of my day. [Download]
All of these apps were solely designed for the menubar, and best of all – they’re free! There are a ton of really spectacular apps that utilize the menu bar really well such as Evernote, Skitch, LittleSnapper, and so forth but these all have regular app interfaces that go along with them. The apps mentioned above are specifically for the menubar. They’re minimalistic but get the job done well, ad worth a download.
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