For a brief moment on June 10th, it seemed like Apple was going to support notification syncing between your iPhone and your Mac. It seemed like they said if you got, say, a New York Times push notification on your phone, you could get it on your Mac as well. That feature turned out to be just Safari Push Notifications — an option to let websites push notifications to your Mac the same way mobile apps push notifications on your iPhone. A nice feature still, perhaps, but nothing that’d bring the iOS and OS X synergy we thought was coming.
And yes, Safari Push Notifications are a good idea and a nice new feature, to a degree. But at the same time, they can be one of the most infuriating, in-your-face new features on the Mac. Here’s why.
Apple’s brought a number of iOS features back to the Mac, and some of them are really great. I happen to love the new iBooks for Mac (even though, oddly enough, I preferred the old version of iBooks for iOS), and both Reminders and Notes are a nice little addition even if they’re not the apps I use for their respective functions. But some of the new features just aren’t as useful on the Mac — Game Center, for instance, is likely an app you never open on the Mac.
But there’s another OS X addition that’s both useful and not at the same time: Notifications and their home, Notification Center. I like the native notifications for OS X and rely on them throughout the day, and the new interactive notifications are a rather nice addition even if they’re not something I use that much. But Notification Center is simply something I have to clear out every so often since I’m a neat freak. I never go there to check for things I missed, and the few times I accidentally open it I notice dozens of long-past notifications that just need cleared out. Usually, I’ll see a Mac notification and it gives me the info I need, so there’s no reason I’d need to click on it for it to do its job. And yet, that unclicked notification will end up in Notification Center waiting for me to clean it up.
So I wonder: do the rest of you use Notification Center? Do you check it regularly, or would you be just fine with only plain notifications and no Notification Center to keep track of missed ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Our giveaway’s now closed; stay tuned for more giveaways coming soon!
Growl, the original notifications app on the Mac, has been one of the mainstays in the realm of pro Mac apps for years now. If you want to keep up with everything that’s happening with your apps and accounts, you had Growl. It was also free, but a couple years ago started charging to support its updates — and not too long after, Apple added notifications to OS X, making Growl a harder sell.
But Growl‘s still great. With the apps that support it, you can tweak your notifications, get everything in one rolled-up list, or forward notifications to the OS X Notifications Center if you want. You can find out more about what’s going on with your Mac with addons like HardwareGrowler, and much more. It does plenty to justify the $3.99 it costs on the App Store.
And, even better, we’ve got 3 copies for our readers this week!
To get your chance at a copy of Growl, just leave a comment below and tell us why you still want Growl today, and how you plan to put it to use if you win a copy. Then, you can share the giveaway on your social networks and leave a second comment below with a link to your post to get an extra entry.
Hurry and get your entry in; our contest closes on Friday, August 2nd!
Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.
Reminders are a super way to keep you on track, especially if you can get into a work rut like me and forget there’s an entire world outside of your computer. I don’t just need to be reminded to check my to do list or go to the gym, though. I’ll be typing away and completely forget that it’s time to go home or, perhaps worse, that my laptop is running out of power.
A neat little app to help with all of that remembering, Notifi will create notifications based on your preferences. You tell it what’s important, and it let’s you know when you need to make a move. Notifi isn’t the only app of its kind, though, so can it hold its own? (more…)
Apple has been moving towards a more “mobile feel” with Mac OS for a while now. Lion introduced a few features like the Launchpad, Mission Control, and even some multi-touch gestures to make your Mac feel much more like an iPad or an iPhone.
The recently released Mountain Lion builds on that, by providing even more snappy goodies to the OS like increased compatibility with mobile devices through iCloud, a Game Center, social network integration, and, most notably, a newly introduced notification system called, quite fittingly, “Notification Center”.
How does it work? Where is it moving towards? What’s gonna happen to other apps, like Growl, that have done the same thing for quite a while now? Let’s take a look.
By accident or by design, Growl is most likely installed on your machine; if it isn’t, you should probably look into it. Many applications offer support for it and some even come bundled with it. Growl is one of those applications that one thinks should be native to OS X, but sadly, it isn’t. Though as Mountain Lion rolls out its own notification system, the future of Growl seems to be precarious. We’re still huge fans though and thought you’d enjoy a nice big dose of Growl goodness.
Here we have a group of sexy, sleek, and shiny Growl themes ready for you to download, install, and use at your discretion. At the bottom of the article, there are a few extra Growl notification styles that have not been coded. You can use these as inspiration. If you keep an eye on them, the designers may end up coding them.
If you’ve owned a Mac for more than a couple months, then chances are you’ve been encouraged to install an app called Growl, perhaps by another user or by an app that you are installing. Growl is the most popular notifications system available for Mac, and it has recently gotten a big revision that the developers claim to be the biggest one yet.
Want to see what it’s all about? Let’s take a look at all the changes Growl has had.
There is no doubt that the iPhone made push notifications cool and took that idea mainstream for Apple fans. But like most things Apple, at first push notifications weren’t open to all third party apps at launch. When users were clamoring for a way to get notified of things as and when they happen, Boxcar jumped in and filled the void effectively.
Boxcar was an elegant solution and alerted users with instant push notifications for all your social networks, email accounts, RSS feeds and more. As Apple opened up push notifications to third party developers, the influence of Boxcar dropped down a bit, but with 1.2 billion messages delivered to date, it’s an app with no match.
To make the lives of information junkies everywhere easy, Boxcar has released a beta version for Mac making it a breeze to receive super fast notifications when someone comments, updates or messages you. Join me after the break to check out if the app is as good as its iOS counterpart.
People have mixed opinions about notifications. Is it better to have a subtle popup appear every time an email arrives, or would you prefer to just check it manually?
And what about changing iTunes tracks, Twitter DMs, Dropbox uploads, and everything else that happens in the background. Should you be informed about all these events as well?
The worst case scenario would be that each of these events is handled by different applications, leading to a complex mess of different notification locations, styles, and sounds. Thankfully, we have an application called Growl that does a wonderful job of solving this problem.
Put simply, Growl is a central “notification server” for your Mac. It takes information from all your different applications, and shows relevant notifications in the same consistent way. You may even be running Growl without realising it, as it comes bundled with many popular Mac apps (though they’re not particularly happy about it…)
I’d be interested to hear what you think about notifications. Are you a Growl-lover, or do you prefer to work uninterrupted? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, and vote in our poll above!