The goodies in my menu bar

menubar David likes to tease me about the many items in my iMac's menu bar (above). Today I came across Brett Terpstra's post about his menu bar items. He even has a menu bar app called Bartender that adds a second row of menu bar items!

I plan to install some of Brett's favorites on my computer (Visits and Dropzone for sure) and make my row of menu bar items even longer.

Here are my current menu bar items, from left to right:

1. Fantastical. A calendar and reminder application that works with Google Calendars.

2. Airmail. The best email app for Gmail users. It takes a long time to load the email when I launch it in the morning, but it's much speedier than web-based Gmail. And it's only $2!

3. Tweetbot. It's not a very intuitive Twitter application (I still have trouble doing certain things because the interface hides a lot of stuff and puts things in the wrong place) but it's still better than any other Twitter app I've tried.

4. Google Drive. I switched from Word to Google Docs years ago. Google Drive, where I store my writing, behaves like an ordinary folder on my computer.

5. TextExpander. I'm a fast hunt-and-peck typist, but my error rate is high. This keyboard shortcut app lets me type in a few characters, like "adr," which immediately get expanded into my full address and phone number. It's got more powerful features that make it worth buying even though OS X has a built-in keyboard shortcut utility.

6. Adobe Creative Cloud. Never mind about this one.

7. AudioSwitcher. It lets me switch audio inputs and outputs without opening System Preferences. I use this many times a day.

8. Chrome Notifications. I don't think this works. I need to look into it.

9. Divvy. I use this more than any other menu bar item. I have divvied up my display into a 6 x 6 grid. With hotkeys I can resize and move any window into one or more of the grids. It's $15 but I've had it for over a year and have used it thousands of times.

10. 1Password. A terrific password manager. I use a different password for every online account I have. They passwords are long strings of gibberish generated by 1Password. I have the app on my phone, too, so I can access login info wherever I am.

11. Evernote. I have thousands of scanned paper documents in Evernote. Every scrap of paper than comes into my life goes into Evernote and then gets shredded and recycled. (I use a ScanSnap document scanner with Evernote. Read my review of this life-changing machine here.)

12. Backblaze. $5 a month backs up my computer's hard drive and attached hard drives. A good deal for peace of mind.

13. Adobe Updater. Like item 6 above, this is a waste of space. I need to get it off my menu bar.

14. Bitcasa Infinite Drive. I stopped using Dropbox after suspicionless-wiretapper Condoleezza Rice joined Dropbox's board. I'm currently evaluating cloud-storage alternatives to Dropbox. So far, Bitcasa is performing beautifully. 20GB for free, and 1TB is just $10/month. This is much cheaper than Dropbox, and more importantly, "the Bitcasa Platform keeps your digital belongings safe and secure by encrypting all your files before they’re uploaded -- you, and only you, have access to your stuff. Not even Bitcasa employees can see your files!" Dropbox, on the other hand, has serious privacy concerns, and its recent move to add Rice to its board was the last straw.

15. Time Machine. I need to get Bartender to add this to a second, hidden, row.

16. Bluetooth. Ditto

17. Wi-Fi

18. Output volume

19. Date and time

20. Spotlight. Very slow and hard to use. Can anyone suggest a replacement?

Whew! That took a lot longer than I thought. I hope this is useful to some of you. If you use menu bar items that you love, let's hear about them in the BBS!