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GeekTool Review | Part 1

If you’re a true geek you’ll love this piece of software. GeekTool allows you to display almost any information about your Mac right on your desktop. You can monitor shell script output, images, and even entire files without lifting a finger. Some may argue that they can never see their desktop or that GeekTool provides unneeded info. I say, hire a maid to keep your desktop clean and get your geek on!

I’ve decided to break this article into two pieces as it would be way to long if it wasn’t. The first part will be a review of GeekTool itself and my impressions of it. The second part will be based on customizing GeekTool, mainly focusing on the scripts/commands that I use to pimp out my desktop.

GeekTool is a Preference Pane. This means that after you install it, you can find it by looking in the System Preferences at the bottom in the ‘Other’ category. GeekTool has a fairly simple interface. Everything is accessed through one window, with more in depth settings tucked away in drop down menus and button tabs. Everything is very intuitive and within a few seconds you’ll feel pretty comfortable with it.


As I said earlier, GeekTool can handle shell scripts, text files, and images. The most powerful of the three is most definitely shell scripts. While displaying a current weather radar map might be fun and monitoring logs might be useful, you’ll be amazed at what you can do with shell scripts and GeekTool. Shell scripts allow you to monitor iTunes, ip addresses, and system usage. Anyone who may have switched to Macs from Linux or is a Terminal junkies you will love GeekTool.


Anything that GeekTool displays can be customized. From font/color/size of text to window frames there should be a little bit for everyone. GeekTool CustomizationI prefer to run all my GeekTool entries with high contrast colors and transparent backgrounds, but this is just my preference. If you want a boring bordered window with black text on a white background thats cool as well and GeekTool will allow it. Each entry can be moved anywhere on your desktop and can even be displayed on top of all other windows if you’d like. This gives you all the control. Align you r entries along the edge of the screen, top, bottom, or even smack dab in the center. Whatever floats your boat. I’ve chosen to align everything on the left since I’ve got my dock on the bottom of the screen and icons loaded on the right.

There is at least one application that does the same thing as GeekTool on Linux, but I’ve never seen one for Windows. I don’t know what I like more, having lots of useful information at my fingertips or the incredibly geeky feeling I get when I notice someone staring at my computer screen :) If you want to be the envy of all your friends you NEED GeekTool :)

GeekTool can be downloaded here. >> http://projects.tynsoe.org/en/geektool/download.php


Oh, and just to whet your appetite a bit for tomorrows article, here’s a screenshot of what I’ve done with GeekTool! What you see from top to bottom is iTunes album art, iTunes currently playing info, a calendar, ip address info, current Airport connection, uptime, and processes/cpu/ram info!

I should have the second part of this review up sometime tomorrow. If you want to make sure you catch part two of the review so you can find out about all the cool scripts I’m running with GeekTool, subscribe to my RSS fee
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