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The doors of the Santa Barbara Mission.

The doors of the Santa Barbara Mission.

Always envious of the new laptops and computers being produced I recently started to feel a bit stale with my relatively old computer; I decided to try out a small bit of customization to freshen my OS X install up a bit.

After a bit of searching I found really only two applications to help my computer feel a bit newer. The first was easy enough, a simple dock coloring program. One feature of 10.5 that I really liked was the translucent menu bar, since I rotate my desktop background through my photos once a week or so it is nice to have a subtle color change at the top. With Dock Color I am able to now match my dock as well.

When looking up custom desktop setups one that grabbed me had system information embedded in the background, that is above the desktop wallpaper layer but below everything else (including icons). I found a way to do this through the application GeekTool. With it I my current system processes that use more then 0.1% of my processor listed, current system uptime, a basic calender and my current iTunes playlist.

This resulted in my current desktop which looks like:

My current desktop setup.

My current desktop setup.

On top of the basic OS X applications I found these programs to be essential to a smoothly operating system:

  • Quicksilver – A very fast application launcher, much better then spotlight on my system.
  • Dropbox – Online file backup and shared folders.
  • Caffeine – One-click to prevent display sleep, excellant with the power options being lost in the 10.5.5 update.
  • Synergy – Floating overlay that displays the new iTunes song, also adds global iTunes control hotkeys.

The first three are free and there are free alternatives to Synergy out there, in fact a replacement would be global hotkeys and an info display from GeekTools.

With several of these programs (Quicksilver and Geektools come to mind) I only scratching the surface of the potential, but I am perfectly happy sitting on the surface.

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