Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves
Episode # 343
I don't know about you, but when I hear the phrase "cheap excitement", I think of the best album ever by Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin).
That's not what today's column is about. Rather, I'd like to introduce you to not one, not two, but three amazing free or cheap Mac apps I use every day to be more productive.
MenuMate: Your menu bar where you click
I prefer to use two monitors, but it does create a minor problem: My dual monitors measure almost 4000 pixels above – 1,440 for the MacBook Pro and 2,540 for my main (27-inch) ) screen – so the mouse pointer can be far, far away from the menu bar …
That's why I love MenuMate ($ 4.99 on the Mac App Store) by Alice Dev Team. It's a one-trick cock, but it's a cool trick: MenuMate calls the entire menu bar of the active application with a hotkey, and places it right under the mouse pointer anywhere on the screen.
And because my Logitech MX Master mouse offers programmable buttons, I've assigned one to the MenuMates hot key, so I can press that button and the menu bar appears immediately below the cursor.
MenuMate in action while using Safari.
MenuMate saves time and effort every day. If instant access to the menu bar anywhere on the screen (s) sounds like a good thing to you, believe me, it's worth it and well worth the five bucks.
Zonebox: A Free To Do List with a Pomodoro Timer  Zonebox by Median Tech (free in the Mac App Store) helps me do two things I do all day, every day – maintain a checklist of tasks and set a timer for 25-minute workouts (the Pomodoro technique). I love it because not only is it a great Pomodoro timer, it's also where I keep my daily to-do list. And I especially love the way it shows the time remaining in a session with both a progress bar and a numeric screen.
I love Zonebox's pair of past time indicators.  I've used dozens of different timers – physical devices as well as Mac and iPhone apps – for my 25 minute Pomodoro sessions, and Zonebox is still my favorite. And for what it's worth, it wasn't free when I got it. I paid either $ 0.99 or $ 4.99 for it and thought it was a bargain. Now that it's free … well …
Desktop Quote: Inspiration on your Desktop
And finally, because I really believe in the power of positive thought, I like to read inspirational quotes during the day. So I love the Desktop Quote of South Pole Software ($ 0.99 in the Mac App Store) and run it on all my Macs.
It's another great one-trick pony; The trick is to show an inspiring offer at the top of your desktop in color, style, font and size choices. And of course, it can change the quote as often (or rarely) as you specify.
Desktop Quote in action on my desktop with its Preferences
It includes my own quotes, but I've cut inspirational quotes for many years, so I followed the simple instructions and created my own with fifty amazing (at least after my meaning) quotes that inspire me.
I call the Sitable Quotes collection for Productive People; Feel free to download it for free.