Look at your Mac’s screen. What do you see (besides what you’re reading now)? Visual cues, right? The Menubar tells you the time and date. The Airport status indicator tells you signal strength. The Dock’s highlight tells you which applications or utility is open. Unless you’re ultra disciplined or new to Mac, the Mac’s screen starts to become cluttered with those very utilities we install to aid us.
The Mac’s Menubar is a place of limited magic. The visual cues are always there, mostly in the same place, yet proximity keeps them out of the way, and unobtrusive.
There’s the Apple icon in the upper left corner. We go there to open other utilities. The application name is next to the Apple icon and before the File and Edit menus. We go there to do this or that.
The Menubar is your friend, but it can gain clutter quickly. Add iStat Menus, AppleScripts, Time Machine, Sound, Airport, Spotlight, and the real estate seems to, well, get busy.
The Dock, and most Mac users have little trouble with the Dock (it just works) has handy visual cues, too. I arrange my Dock icons in a specific order on each Mac. I’ve done it for years so I don’t search far for an app.
Dock icons that jump up and down tell me something that needs my attention. Again, visual cues are paramount. The Dock has not quite enough, yet not too many.
My Dock provides limited visual cues. One that jumps out as beneficial is the Mail icon. Whenever new mail comes in, Mail’s icon displays the number (white text on a red circle). That tells me I have mail and how much.
DockStar is one of those handy little Mac utilities that Apple should integrate into Mail. If you get a lot of email and have multiple accounts, you’ll like this.
DockStar is the smart way to keep an eye on your Mail. Add new badges to the Mail dock icon and clickable indicators to the menu bar.
In other words, DockStar gives you more ways to know what’s going on by providing simple visual cues in both the Menubar and the Dock (should it be renamed to Dock and Menubar Star; or VisualCueStar?)
DockStar lets you keep track of email in various accounts and folders, RSS feeds, Notes, and To Do items with customizable badges in the Mail icon, menu bar, Dashboard, and even in a Screen Saver.
Handy, right? I love it. I use. It’s loaded with features.
Ah, features. It’s what happens when Mac software developers listen to their customers. DockStar is small but loaded.
- Assign a badge to 5 different folders and mailboxes.
- Assign badges to individual account inboxes.
- On Leopard, assign badges to Notes, To Dos, and RSS feeds.
- Clickable notifications in your menu bar.
- Choose from six fun shapes.
- Select just the right color and transparency for each mailbox.
- Display unread count, flagged count, or junk count for mailboxes.
- Includes Dashboard Widget and fun Screen Saver!
Uh oh. Instead of just a few handy visual cues in the Dock icon, DockStar has grown to include everything from Menubar cues to a Widget to a screensaver. Instead of just stars, you can be treated to different shaped and colored cues to represent specific email accounts or RSS feeds.
DockStar works. It’s great. It’s also part of a growing trend—more clutter, more visual cues, more things to manage, all in an attempt to make our digital lives easier.