Category Archives: Applications

Mac App: Ejector

Does this ever happen to you?  You download a DMG file to install an application, mount it, then install the app.  At that point you go on your way and forget about the mounted image.  Or how about you have connected an external drive or a flash drive and you can’t get to your desktop easily to eject them.

The Ejector app is a menu bar app that gives you a single place to see all the drives or disk images that have been mounted so you can eject them.  This is one of my must-have apps on my Mac.

Hidden Menu Bar Apps

If you’ve used OS X for any length of time, at some point you’ll probably find yourself in the situation where you can’t get to the icon for an app on the menu bar, particularly if you are using a machine with a small screen (MacBook Air or Pro 13) or you use a projector in a meeting.  For me, the menu bar app that I need to get to in a meeting is Caffeine.  One way to get around this is to switch to an app that has a smaller app menu, such as Finder.  Sometimes even that isn’t enough, so there is another app call NoMenuBar that runs in the background that has no

There is another solution:  AccessMenuBarApps.

AccessMenuBarApps is a menu bar app (ironically) that temporarily hides the app menu so that the maximum amount of space can be devoted to menu bar apps.  The app provides the following ways to switch menu bar modes:

  1. Keyboard shortcut – The default keyboard shortcut is shift-space, but you can set this to anything you want.  I found the default keyboard shortcut to be really annoying, as I find myself pressing shift and space at the same time a lot.  I chose to disable this altogether.
  2. Mouse gesture – This is pretty cool.  With these gestures, a transparent image will briefly cover the menu bar and then the menu bar will switch states.  There are two gestures supported:
    1. Bump the mouse cursor against the top of the screen twice.
    2. Bump the mouse cursor against the top of the screen and then move it right or left.
  3. Menu bar icon – I guess in previous versions the menu bar icon used to be placed with the third-party menu bar apps.  Now the menu bar icon is placed on the far right so that it is always visible.  You can choose to hide the menu bar icon altogether if you want.  Clicking this icon will switch the state of the menu bar.
  4. Dock icon – By default the app shows an icon on the dock.  It allows you to change the icon into a clock or a pair of eyes that follow your cursor as well.  I already have too many icons on my dock, so I chose to hide it.

What is your experience with this app?  Are there other apps you have tried?

Mac Mail and ReplyWithHeaders

I’ve been using Microsoft Outlook 2011 on Mac OS X for a couple years and I finally decided I needed to give Mac Mail and iCal a try.  In Lion (Mac OS X 10.7), Mac Mail has added some great features, but one thing it is missing is including the headers of the original message when replying.  Here is an example of what Mac Mail shows:

On Jun 14, 2012, at 1:03 PM, Geoff Walker wrote:

Outlook shows this:

From: John Smith [] Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2012 12:41 AM
To: MyTeam
Subject: Yesterday’s meeting

I found an add-on that will modify Mac Mail to do the same thing.  Saptarshi Guha wrote ReplyWithHeaders, which is a bundle that can be added to Mac Mail to modify its behavior, and released the source on GitHub.  Here are the steps to use it if you have access to Xcode (the development tool for Mac OS X and iOS):

  1. Clone the ReplyWithHeaders repository by using the following command:
    git clone ReplyWithHeaders
  2. Quit out of the Mail app.
  3. Build the ReplyWithHeaders project in Xcode.  This will place the ReplyWithHeaders.mailbundle file in the right place, which is in ~/Library/Mail/Bundles directory.
  4. From a Terminal window, execute the following commands:
    defaults write EnableBundles -bool true
    defaults write BundleCompatibilityVersion 4
  5. Start the Console app to help you verify that the installation worked.  In the search bar in the upper right corner of the Console app type ‘Mail’.
  6. Restart the Mail app.
  7. In the Console app you should see the following lines:
    ReplyWithHeaders: Oh its a wonderful life
    Loaded ReplyWithHeaders

You can also find these instructions on the webpage for the bundle.  Pretty cool, huh?

Mac Utility: Save

I’ve been enjoying my switch from Windows to Mac.  However just like Windows, Mac OS X has its quirks and irritations.  There are some very nice changes in 10.7 (Lion) to window management, but one thing missing is to restore window positions and sizes when switching between a single monitor and multiple monitors.

The Stay utility from Cordless Dog solves this problem.  Here is the summary of the app from the website:

What is Stay?

If you’re fastidious about keeping your windows tidy, Stay is for you. Stay ensures that your windows are always where you want them to be, even as you connect and disconnect displays.

The app is available both from the App Store as well as from their website and costs $15 ($14.99 from the App Store).  The difference between the two versions is that the version from the website supports Spaces.  The reason for this is that Spaces support requires private APIs, and Apple doesn’t allow apps submitted to the App Store to call private APIs.  Cordless Dog did a cool thing, though, for those that want to purchase from the App Store but also want Spaces support.  Simply make your purchase from the App Store and then install from the website.

One thing I’m not crazy about is that they app is delivered as a .zip file from the website rather than as a .pkg file.

Functionality Overview

Stay provides the following functionality:

  • Store windows for all applications.
  • Store windows for the current application.
  • Store the active window.
  • Restore all windows.
  • Edit stored windows.

When you choose to store windows for all applications, the app flips through all the windows, which takes more time than you’d think.  If you’re running the version that supports Spaces, it takes even longer, depending on how many windows and spaces you have.

Restoring windows isn’t quite as reliable as I was hoping.  The app uses window titles to identify windows, but some applications, such as Google Chrome, use a relatively transient string – the webpage title – for the window title.  This means as you switch tabs, Stay may not be able to identify the window to restore its position.

Overall, Stay is a big help in window management when switching between a single monitor and multiple monitors.