FRESHLY SQUEEZED REVIEWS: MenuBar Apps
By Frank Petrie
I am a fan of one-trick ponies. And should they reside in my MenuBar, all the better. So, this month instead of reviewing a single app, I’m going to review several MenuBar apps that I have stumbled across in recent months.
I prefer MenuBar apps to desktop apps and websites when I need to quickly access simple information that I shouldn’t have to use one or at the most two clicks to find. No desire to jump through a hogshead of real fire.
I had been using another calendar app for a while but this app has a much more intuitive and polished UI.
Instacal is an unobtrusive, convenient calendar app that’s always a click away…it pops up as a small panel, giving you a calendar view and selected highlights from the month ahead. It can handle all the scheduling and reminders that other calendars provide and even sync with Google and Outlook calendars.
Its features are minimalist and pragmatic. It takes the colour coding that you’ve assigned for calendars such as “Work” and carries them into the app. The beauty is that it places small corresponding colour dots into each day of the month so you can see what tasks you have at a glance. Want to know what you’re doing that day in that calendar, click on the day and find out.
Very customizable. Pick what day your week starts, choose between an analogue or digital clock, Default Reminder Time, and more. Create and delete events from within the dropdown menu
Not very out of the ordinary but it’s done very well and stylishly.
If you can’t wait for Stacks in the upcoming macOS to bring a modicum of order to your desktop, then here you go.
Even the tidiest of us find at times that certain folders on our Mac become cluttered with files. Spotless provides a convenient way to tidy files into the locations they belong.
You can accomplish organization in two ways. First, you can drag and drop on a target pane or create an automation to run at specific intervals. You can customize these intervals using their Autotidy set up, teaching your files where you would like them stored.
It has a comprehensive rules based system that allows you to define complex actions, including an extensive range of conflict resolution options or pre-defined resolution options for any conflicts that should occur. You can set Spotless to process files in the background or ask you for confirmation.
Forecast Bar (http://forecastbar.com)
I’ve been a weather geek since I could walk. This fits the bill of über weather app.
Forecast Bar offers hyper accurate, hyper local live weather and forecasts right in your menu bar or as a full dock app. Custom icon and background packs allow you to customize the look and feel to suit your style.
What really sold me besides its thorough amount of information is what I treasure most in a weather app – radar. And a very impressive layout at that. You can sync through iCloud with your iOS devices by downloading the iOS version of Forecast Bar.
Clicking on the header will launch a pane featuring all current information like humidity, wind, air quality, and much more. Click on a specific day and get the same information for that day. Click on any hour and get the same list of details for that hour!
There’s even a button that takes you to a landing page that shows your current pollen count.
Lots of customization here, including the choice from hundreds of background images. If you want to air the iOS app with the MenuBar app, there is a small subscription rate..
World Clock Pro
I live in the eastern United States. But I have family, friends, and co-workers located in various states and countries. That’s where World Clock Pro comes in handy.
World Clock Pro is a fancy international time zone converter ideal for anyone who works and interacts with people from numerous countries on a frequent basis. It will become the perfect everyday companion for planning, scheduling any kind of webinars, meetings, group activities, and calls … or if you simply wish to effortlessly compare multiple time zones to reveal the most suitable time to ring your friends or family, this time zone converter is a smart choice.
I previously used Apple’s Notification widget to do this but this has several added features. It shows the different clocks upon launch in a resizable pane placed over a 2D rendering of the Earth. You’ll see where it is daylight and where it is evening with a mere glance. (I know that Apple’s Notification Widget darkens the clock face when it’s past sunset at any given location, providing the same info. But I found the map much more interesting. Perhaps I’m easily amused.) Also, it pins your chosen locations on the map, accompanied with the local time, and weather conditions.
If you’d rather a smaller footprint, you can place World Clock Pro’s widget in Notifications.
Bartender 3 (https://www.macbartender.com)
Naturally, if I’m going to be adding to my collection of MenuBar apps, I’d be nowhere without Bartender.
With Bartender 3 you can organize your menu bar apps, by hiding them, rearranging them, or moving them to the Bartender Items. You can display the full menu bar, set options to have menu bar items show in the menu bar when they have updated, or have them visible in the Bartender Items whenever you want.
All of the MenuBar apps that I have listed can be found in your Setapp folder. Or in the MAS: InstaCal- USD $4.99, Forecast Bar – Free plus in-app purchases. World Clock Pro and Spotless are exclusively on Setapp and Bartender 3 on its homepage for USD $15.00.
©2018 Frank Petrie
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