It has been a long while since I have done a “Top X” post. I do enjoy writing them and looking for new, different and most used applications. Its fun all of the research side. If you can cast you mind back I have previously written about the Top 50 Terminal Command and the Top 100 Mac Applications. Theses were bot very successful and a lot of people enjoyed reading them. This time I am going to write about Must Have Menu Bar Applications.
The menu bar, if you didn’t know, is that long strip across the top of your window. It contains space for adding your own little applications to do various tasks for you. This include a variety of things, from the mundane such as telling you how many unread emails you have, to the complex such as cleaning out your computer. Each application posted here is designed to run from the menu bar and not as an application. Programs which run in the dock, but have a menu bar icon do not count. They have to run 100% from the menu bar. If you think I have missed off a must have app please leave a comment below.
The first application on the list, Bokeh, is the application designed to free up your CPU cycles by freezing out applications, or all of your applications. Its great for any renderings that you might be doing and you want to do them just that little bit quicker. I have written about it previously here.
Although I am not a big user of this application Breakaway is designed to mute and disable your speakers/iTunes and audio jack when you unplug or plug in your headphones. Useful if you end up unplugging your headphones a lot.
When you watch a lot of videos or movies on youtube or similar, your screensaver when you are watching your video may pop in. Very annoying. Caffeine is designed to give your computer a coffee boost and stops you Mac going to sleep. Useful since you don’t have to move the mouse every 5 minutes and interrupting your viewing experience. If you want more information I have written about it here.
If you clutter up your desktop you may want to de-clutter it quickly and easily. Camouflage is designed to remove all of desktop icons from view and give you your wallpaper back. Good is you are doing screen casts or productions involving your desktop.
5) Check Off
Although iCal and Mail to-do list is very useful, an even better version of this is Check Off a menu bar application designed to give you a check-able list of all of your task which you can quickly organise and check off.
The WiFi menu from Apple is good, but it could be better. Although you can press option to get more information it is not very visual and useful. Coconut WiFi is designed to give you more information and be better at informing you about the networks floating over your head.
Very simple little application Countdown Clock counts down from one time to another. Great if you are waiting for lunch and you want to no exactly how long you have to wait. It is only simple but very useful if you are waiting for lunch.
If you are addicted to Digg like I am, Digg Updater is a great little app to receive all of the latest updates and stories from the Digg site. Hopefully I will see another of my stories on Digg some time soon.
A simple little menu bar application, Ejector, enables you to click eject disks, iPods etc from your computer. Simpler that going into finder and pressing the eject button. Quite a lot of people use this one regularly.
Expandrive is very useful if you have a remote server or computer and you want to use the more visual Finder method of upload and changing files rather than Terminal or the command line. I have written about this little application here, if you would like to read more.
A cool little application that displays RSS/Atom feeds in your menu bar. Good if you only subscribe to a couple of feeds. Added bonus of it sending updates to growl. Feed Animal. If you have quite a lot of feeds this sort of applictions isn’t for you.
Most people I know when they read a clock will say 10 past four, instead of 4:08PM. FuzzyClock is a little application which fuzzes up the time and make it a bit more human. Different to the normal menu bar apps you find.
Although this does have a pane in System Preferences. Geek Tool is designed to display geeky stuff on your desktop, such as Terminal outputs, UNIX logs and pictures to name a few.
Most people use Gmail, so Gmail Notifier shows you alerts in your menu bar, so you can see when you have new Gmail messages or upcoming Google Calendar events without having to open a web browser.
I like Grab Up. Its a mixture of Grab to take pictures and [Insert Favourite Image Sharing Site Here]. You simply take your picture, magic then happens as it uploads it to their servers and you can then share it with your friends though IM. I have written a post about this application previously, you can find it here.
From the team over at Growl, which produces one of the best applications for the Mac, Growl Tunes allows you to display the current track in Growl and allows you to rate it from the menu bar. Small and simple.
A very cool little tool that sends off all of the alarm bells when any one moves you MacBook. Funny to use in the office or at home. It also takes a picture of the offender so you can punish them later. Not overly useful if you actually want to keep your Mac secure from thieves. iAlertU.
Similar to Caffeine InsomniaX is designed to keep your Mac awake. It is designed to keep you computer up and running even if you close the lid on your laptop or trying to make it go to sleep through other methods. Very useful if you want to keep you computer constantly running, but does use more electrical power and can cause overheat on a Macbook i you close the lid. You can read more about it from me here.
A very simple menu bar application. IP Broadcaster displays you IP address, both WAN and LAN in your menu bar. Very useful if you are programming, or sorting out configuration files and you need reminding of your IP address.
If you are a power user on your Mac and you do a lot of copy and pasting you may want to increase the size of you clipboard. There are various applications that can do this for you but iPaste is a lot simpler and cleaner.
If you have the attention span of a second and you can’t help checking facebook or your twitter feed you may want to isolate yourself from distractions. Isolator enables you to block out other applications by covering them up or blurring them from view.
Probably one of the best application you can have for the menu bar. iStat enables you monitor pretty much anything from the menu bar. CPU, RAM, Disk, Network as well as a whole load of other things. You can see my taking on this little app here.
A simple application that checks mail to see how many unread message you have in mail. Mail Unread Menu is useful if you hide the dock and can’t always see it.
One of my favourite apps for making sure your Mac is in tip top condition. MainMenu gives you all of your option in one place to keep you log files clean, cached cleared and permissions repaired. I wrote about it earlier today if you would like to read more.
MenuCalendarClock is an iCal compatible menu calendar and a configurable menu clock.It enables you to quickly add, edit and view events for the menu bar.
MenuPrefs is a simple menu-bar application that sits in your System-wide menu-bar space, giving you a richly featured alternative access to your commonly used System Preference Panes. You can specify what panes to show, and even in what order to show them.
Developed by the MacUpdate site, MUMenu is designed to let you know which applications need updating from the MacUpdate site.
Done by the same people that did number 23, NNW Unread Menu is designed to show in you menu bar the number of unread headlines in Net News Wire.
I reviewed this menu bar app last month. Nocturne is designed to send you Macs screen into a state where it is easy to view and see during bright sunlight or in the day. I use this one a lot since I site outside with my Mac during the day.
Secure passwords are hard to generate, the best ones are the random ones which contain a lot of different characters and symbols. If you want a bit of help with password generation QuickPass can generate some passwords for you. You can read more about this menu bar here.
Not much needs to be said about Quicksilver. Although I don’t use it that much, a lot of people swear by it. Quicksilver for the uninformed enables you to do action quickly and simply without a lot of user interaction.
If you have a webserver or an internal server, and you a bit addicted to uptime and response time you may want to checkout Server Siren. Its a little application that pings your servers to make sure it is up and running. I prefer Pingdom myself.
Very similar to the previous application except this application is free. Site Status pings you sites to make sure they are up and running. Site Status.
A cool little menu bar application that shows you the SMART data for your hardrives from the menu bar. Although I haven’t had any drives that showed bad SMART data before they have failed. May be useful to some people. SMARTReporter.
One of the most useful apps I have used one laptop. smcFanControl enables you to control what speeds you fans run at. Very good if you laptop or computer runs a bit hot and you want to pump up the fan speed to cool your computer down a bit.
A little menu bar application that checks an applications activity and hides it when it has become inactive for a certain period of time. Spirtied Away, cool for clearing clutter.
A cool little menu bar that will come in useful for people who are security conscious and want to keep their connection as secure as possible. SSHKeychain enables you to manage and load you SSH keys when connecting to the Internet.
Similar to the previous calender applications, TinyCal integrates with Google Calender. It can show multiple months, use custom calendars, and show holidays and personal calendars.
As you fill up your computer with more and more applications it becomes difficult to find the application you want. Todos, is a quick application launcher which finds every application on you computer and displays there icons in an easy to use interface. It says it is only tested on Tiger but works fine on my Leopard machine.
It does nothing more than show the uptime of the application. Pretty simple. Uptime Menubar, I have linked to MacUpdate due to the host site being down at time of writing.
I really like this little menu bar app. I am for every filling up my desktop with links to websites which I want to visit but don’t yet deserve a bookmark in Firefox. Just drag the link to URLwell’s menu bar icon and it’s saved. When you look at it, it can be removed from the list, or if you prefer, it’ll just be checked off to mark that you’ve seen it, and remain in the list.
If you are addicted to WOW, or have an interesting know when you favourite realm or server is only WOW Watcher can do that for you. It is designed to check your servers and seem if they are up. Boasts features of Growl notifications, auto-launch and login, and capable of tracking any amount of servers.
Designed to enable you to get to folders and files on your operating system quicker than you normally can. Xmenu enables you to view, as if in Finder, folder structures and files for quick launch and navigation.
Of you are an application designer your Mac will not be the same without Xscope. It boasts a lot of small but useful little programs that can help anyone find dimensions of buttons, colours, sizes and closeup views of anything on their screen. Although it is a little bulky it is very useful.
Last but not least on the grand list of menu bar applications is You Control Tunes. One of my favourite applications it enables you to control pretty much everything for playing music in iTunes. Rating, tracks, albums. A good little application that is well worth a download.
There we have it. Forty five must have menu bar applications. Although you don’t need to install every single one of them, that would kill your RAM, and there is a couple that do the same job. A lot of them are useful in expanding the functionality of your Mac. If you think I have missed off menu bar applications, please leave a comment. I did originally have 50. But for one reason or another as I complied this list they got removed.
If you have enjoyed this post please can you Digg it. It would be much appreciated.