growl 0.7: why I love notification

the longer I go using my powerbook as my primary (only) desktop machine, the deeper certain things become ingrained in my daily routines. one big example is growl. so, in honour of the latest release (0.7) i thought i'd publicly exclaim just how much i like having growl.

for those that haven't tasted this particular kool-aid: growl provides a framework so that applications (on Mac OS X) can create little popups when "things happen". so, some examples are : when the song changes in iTunes, new mail arrives, or someone says something in iChat or Adium.

the interesting thing is that human brains are really good at recognizing patterns, and determining (almost instantly) relative importance. so, without really looking up from the code, email or blog entry i'm currently writing, i can stay on top of other things going on - without having to switch applications, etc.

for example: i'm currently writing a blog post, and without changing apps (or even pausing) i can see that iTunes just changed - to "About A Girl" by Nirvana, and that Adrian wants to get a sony psp, eventually.

some people might find it distracting, but it's amazing how quickly your mind and eyes become trained to find the important things. that's where growl's ability to re-style messages on a per-application basis comes in handy. i use the "music video" style for iTunes changes (which shows track information along the bottom) vs. new mail notification using the "bezel" style. so - without even reading anything, i know based on where a notification appeared whether it's low importance (song change) or worth glancing at (new mail).

just one of those things that makes me more productive... i suppose at some point i should do a more complete post on my "essential" apps... another time.

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James Walker

James Walker (a.k.a. walkah) is an independent developer and hacker. He is a long time Drupal developer, but these days spends more time in Python, Ruby and Javascript.

You can follow him on twitter or github.

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