Thomas Fuchs
Hi, I'm Thomas Fuchs. I'm the author of Zepto.js, of script.aculo.us, and I'm a Ruby on Rails core alumnus. With Amy Hoy I'm building cheerful software, like Freckle Time Tracking and Every Time Zone and write books like Retinafy.me.
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Menubar productivity

February 23rd, 2013

OS X is awesome and that’s why we (neckbeard-less?) developers love it. Of course not everything is perfect, and one area of contention is the menu bar. There tends to be a never-ending supply of icons that fill it up and destroy its usefulness due to information overload.

There’s even tools that help you organize your menu bar, but I think that’s just fighting symptoms and not a permanent solution. Anyway, these tools are not for me, and I’ve decided to put my menu bar on a diet.

Here is what I currently use:

Screen Shot 2013-02-23 at 10.01.32 AM

Icons, from left to right, and why I use them:

  • Dropbox—so I see if stuff is synced. I use the black & white icon.
  • gfxCardStatus—so I see which graphics card my MacBook Pro uses, and to force it into using discrete graphics if browsers start to have graphical glitches, which is unfortunately quite often.
  • Hackpad—we do most internal brainstorming and copywriting on Hackpad. (Hey Hackpad, update your icon for my retina screen!)
  • Little Snitch—hovering over the icon shows Little Snitch’s nifty network monitor.
  • iStat Menus 4 CPU monitor—helpful during development and has shortcuts to launch Activity Monitor and other tools.
  • Time Machine—I like to see that it’s doing stuff when I have my backup drive connected at the office.
  • Keyboard & Character Viewer—I use OS X’s Character Viewer tool ⓐⓛⓛ ⓣⓗⓔ ⓣⓘⓜⓔ.
  • Bluetooth—useful at the office for my external keyboard, mouse and trackpad.
  • Wi-Fi—essential.
  • iStat Menus 4 battery—more info than OS X’s default icon.
  • Volume control—I use the keyboard to change the volume, but option-clicking the icon allows you to quickly set input and output devices.
  • iStat Menus 4 clock—I like the “fuzzy clock” and the dark grey calendar icon.

And that’s it. YMMV.