Distractme
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electrical & computer engineer
Maryland, USA

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burypromote
Distractme commented on 24 Mar 2012
Works for me in OS X 10.6.x Snow Leopard after I copied /usr/lib/java/*dylib (8 files) over from 10.5.x Leopard.
[Version 1.0.1]



burypromote

distractme reviewed on 18 May 2008
Nonprogrammers -- make your own apps with Menubar icons!

How'd you like to add your own icons to your Menubar that do whatever you want, without having to be a programmer? Of course you would. But you'd be hard-pressed to find this little gem, much less figure out that that's what it does. Search the Web for anything containing "menubar", "menu bar", or "menu extra(s)", and you won't find it. (On this site it does come up for "menubar", but so do 171 others.) I only stumbled upon it after clicking through and reading the FAQ on Britta Gustafson's brilliant "super OS X menubar items" site. And then what I found were scary terms like "developer tool" (it has nothing to do with Apple Xcode Developer Tools), irrelevant terms like "global" (er, what?), ambiguous terms like "menu application" (er, what?) and downright improper terms like "menu item" (a "menu item" is an item *of* a menu, *not* a Menubar item). Perhaps that's why it took me over a year to find, and why it went almost 3 years with no reviews, no development, and only a few thousand downloads. *-sigh-* End of rant.

Why I love this utility: because I love doing things from the Menubar. I've got a 13" MacBook. My Desktop is for covering with windows, period. One hand is always over the trackpad, so the F-keys are inconvenient (plus I don't care to memorize them). The other hand is off doing more important things (delicious beverage), so tabbing and holding down modifier keys are inconvenient. I have no use for launchers that consume valuable Desktop real-estate (on OS 6-8 I used BeHierarchic and ApplMenu(?); on Tiger I use FinderPop and ignore the Dock). But there are some things I want to do with just one click regardless of what application is running. There are ways to do just about anything from the Hot Corners, but only 2 of those are in my most travelled direction, the Menubar. That leaves Menubar items. But I'm not a programmer, and Apple criminally doesn't give us non-programmers any way to use the Menubar. Enter Tapir.

With Tapir, if you can find a script or command on the Web that does what you want, then you're golden. If not, then yes, you'll have to dip a pinky-toe into the script-kiddie pool. But that's a heck of a lot better than having to learn to swim with the programmers or install Xcode.

I did notice a few idiosyncrasies. Fortunately, all are relatively minor. Your Menubar icon must be pre-scaled to about 21 pixels high or it will hit or extend off the top of the screen, a detail which is not revealed in Tapir itself (only in the doc). The default output menu item font is Monaco 12, a rather large monospace, apparently for thickly-bespectacled sysadmins (I'd suggest Monaco 9 for computery output myself), and the setting does not apply to the other menu items, the font for which is not indicated anywhere (on Tiger it appears to be Lucida Grande 14). While I haven't tried the "Reveal In Finder" action, there doesn't appear to be a way to specify *what* to reveal, so I assume it just reveals your Tapir-made Menubar app, which is not nearly as useful as revealing other user-specified items (although your script can do that). Tapir has not been compiled for Intel (or apparently developed at all since 2005), so on Tiger, it and your Tapir-made Menubar apps can only run under Rosetta (although they seem to do that just fine). I have no idea how it plays on Leopard (and have no plans to find out any time soon). By far the worst thing I found was that Tapir has no way to re-open your previous Tapir-made Menubar apps. Once you exit Tapir or move on to constructing a new app, that's it; your only two options are manually hack the bundle or start over. A pain in the keester, but not nearly a showstopper, you just have to keep some notes.

Overall, I found Tapir straightforward to use and extremely stable -- neither it nor my Tapir-made Menubar apps have crashed on me yet. I also found the online documentation very useful and well-organized, with only minor omissions. Unregistered functionality is excellent, no hobbling at all, but $15 feels to me a bit on the high side for something with a modest level of complexity and narrow field of utility (not everyone is as as particular about their UI as I am...). To me, $5-$10 feels more like fair value. Of course in light of today's environment of Intel and Leopard, and almost 3 years without apparent development activity, I'm reluctant to open my wallet without at least the word of the author that a recompile/port was actively pending which included abilities to generate PPC-only, Intel-only, and Universal apps, as well as re-open the apps that it generates. That said, as the only utility I've seen so far that enables nonprogrammers to generate applications with Menubar icons, the apparent lack of love that the Tapir has seen to date seems like a miscarraige of justice.
[Version 1.0]



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