Hello, iStat Menus and Goodbye Menubar Space

One major benefit of being a Mac user is the plethora of handy little utilities that do this or that in some elegant, unobtrusive, totally necessary way, without being a pain. iStat Menus is a worthy utility for the geekier Mac user, and works flawlessly. Except for one nagging issue.

The Good

What’s not to like? iStat Menus slides into your Mac’s Menubar and dishes out a bunch of little stats and visual cues to alert you to problems or give you peace of mind.

In other words, iStats Menu is a menu of statistics about your Mac. It monitors your Mac so you can do what’s really important. If you’re Monk, then you’ll gaze at the stats in the Menubar more often.

The Bad

It’s not that these little visual cues of humming productivity are bad. They’re bad. As is wicked. As in cool. As in hot. As in whatever phrase you use to describe that which you like.

What does iStat Menus put into your Mac’s Menubar?

  1. CPU – Monitor cpu usage. 7 display modes, multiple core support.
  2. Memory – Monitor memory usage. 4 display modes, page ins/outs and swap usage display.
  3. Disks – Monitor disk usage and activity. 6 display modes, ability to hide disks you dont want to see.
  4. Network – Monitor current and total bandwidth, peak bandwidth, ip addresses . Ability to hide disks you dont want to see.
  5. Temps – Monitor the temperature of your mac. 2 display modes, ability to hide sensors you dont want to see.
  6. Fans – Monitor the fan speeds in your mac. 2 display modes, ability to hide sensors you dont want to see.
  7. Bluetooth – Control bluetooth status plus monitor the battery level of your Apple wireless keyboard or mouse.
  8. Date & Time – Date + time in your menubar. World clock display lets you see the time in multiple locations around the world.

What’s not to like? Just one thing.

The Ugly

In retrospect, we must be thankful to Apple for making our Macs with a wider screen. Gone is the old 640×480 nonsense of the late last century. In is the cinema look. Wide.

Whatever the flavor, our Macs have wide screens. They’re just not wide enough. iStat Menus take up a lot of Menubar real estate. Why? Because I have other utilities stuck in the Menubar, all making it handy and easy to do this or that.

If it’s true that feature creep continues until an application or utility does email, then the next thing we’ll see in Mac OS X 10.7 Hello Kitty will be a tabbed Menu bar.