Alan's Favorite Things
by Alan Zisman (c) 2002
First published in Low End Mac,
No, not "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens."
But these are
a few of my favourite things, at least to spruce up OS X.
Apple is claiming that there are over 2,500 OS X
applications. A quick
peak at their list shows that lots are shareware or freeware products
for downloading. Here are some that I've found to be keepers:
installs itself as a System Preference and adds a nice set of
if you like to tinker with your user interface. Everything it does
be done from the Terminal command line -- if only you knew how -- but
makes it so much easier. Among many options, you can position the dock,
enable a dock shadow effect, and set the minimize effect. As with
versions of the classic Mac OS, you can set your scroll bar arrow
and set the system fonts You can turn multimedia CD autoplay on or off.
A cute effect is to set transparent Terminal windows. And showing
and system files shows all those Unix-geeky files accessible within
but normally hidden by the Finder. Free.
Another System Preference is WindowShade
X. It's a nice add-on for fans of the classic OS window shade
where double-clicking on a window's title bar collapses the window to
the title bar. This lets you restore that effect under OS X -- and also
set the action for the minimize button, and optionally use Control +
in the title bar to make a window transparent. $7 shareware.
Another little utility from unsanity.com, and this
one's free: Shadowkiller
is especially handy for users running OS X on underpowered G3s: as the
name suggests, it simply lets you turn OS X's window shadows on or off.
Turning off the shadows frees a surprising amount of processor power
makes a perkier (if less 3-D) system all around. Free.
System Preference that restores a classic feature that many miss in OS
X, in this case, the Application Menu in the right-hand corner of the
Bar. Quitling takes the classic Application Menu to the max, letting
user set its appearance and the actions that will take place when icons
are clicked in a variety of ways. It can be also be used to AutoKill
AutoStart background processes. $10 shareware.
One of the behind-the-scenes tricks of the classic Mac
OS is window
buffering. That's why Mac arrow cursors don't flicker the way that the
arrow in Windows may seem to. Apple left this feature out of OS X's
emulation. As a result, classic windows are painted white and slowly
is a little utility that turns classic window buffering back on,
speed and appearance. The program points out "Apple likely left this
disabled for a reason," but they and I haven't found any problems is
it back on -- but use at your own risk Free.