iStat Menus – A Dashboard To See What’s Happening On Your Mac

Some people just drive a car and don’t pay attention to anything but their speed (don’t wanna get a ticket!).

Others like to know their current & average gas mileage, tire inflation, remaining oil life, brake wear, temperature, battery charge level, and more. If you’re that kind of person, then you’ll love iStat Menus  for your Macs.

I’ve been using iStat Menus since at least version 3, and the folks at Bjango just released version 6 last week. I can’t image running a Mac without the most helpful components that sit in my menubar:

  • I use it to see if my CPU is getting slammed
  • I use it to see how much memory (RAM) is being used by open applications
  • I use it to measure my network connection and see if anything is using more than it should be
  • I use it to see how hot my MacBook Air is running
  • I use it for the advanced battery monitoring
  • And I really appreciate the granular customizations for time and date

Version 6 puts a little more polish on the interface and makes all my usual components look a little better.

But version 6 also adds a few more customization options for changing the color and background of the dropdown menus and items.

I also like that I can assign a hotkey to menus. For example, I like using iStat Menus to show the time and date because it offers more options for customizing how it looks. I also like clicking on it to quickly see the month and find a date. But now I assigned ⌃+⌥+⌘+D as the keyboard shortcut to quickly pull that down so I don’t have to move my cursor (hitting the shortcut again hides it or just hit the Esc key).

Version 6 also includes:

  • The ability to combine menus (I actually use iStat Menus to see things at a glance so I don’t see myself using this)
  • Weather (although I have several other sources for weather)
  • Reorderable (is that a word?) dropdown menus (I like this a lot to further customize the dropdown menus)
  • And the ability to add TWO lines to your time and date section (it gets really small!)

I do wish there was a way to sync my settings between my MacBook Air and Mac mini, although they do allow you to export and import settings. I like most everything set up the same on all my Macs, but there are some tweaks that are different depending upon the machine.

If you’re curious about what’s going on under the hood of your Mac, then you should try iStat Menus. A single license is $18, but the “Family Pack” is $25 and allows you to install on up to 5 Macs.

Automatically Create a Set of Folders (and Sub-Folders) with Client Folder Maker (Free!!)

I came across an extremely handy utility the other day while helping a lawyer get his all-Mac office set up. Like many Mac-using lawyers, he planned to “manually” manage his documents and files which meant he needed to 1) always be consistent on naming files and 2) have a consistent structure of folders in which to save his files.

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with “manual” document management. Larger firms use legal-specific document management systems (DMS) such as iManage, OpenText, Worldox, or NetDocuments to manage files, but these are overkill for smaller firms, and they don’t fully support macOS. Honorable mention does go to DocMoto, however, since they offer the only Mac-native option for document management, and I know several Mac-based law firms that are happily using the platform.

… back to my story …

For file-naming consistency, I always recommend using TextExpander (sign up for the free webinar I’m doing with Smile Software on TextExpander next week). TextExpander worked wonderfully for this lawyer on filenames, but then he asked about an easy way to automatically create a set of folders for each matter so he (or his assistant) wouldn’t have to manually create them every time. I knew there were ways to do this using AppleScript, but I don’t typically recommend that angle for lawyers.

So I was elated to come across Client Folder Maker from GeekSuit, LLC (what a GREAT name!). This simple (AND FREE!!!) little app lets you automatically populate a structure of folders and sub-folders whenever you need to. Watch the “Demo Video” on which gives you all you need to know about building your set of folders. The interface is simple to understand, and you can assign a keyboard shortcut to populate your set of folders in your current Finder folder. I plan to do a more extensive video review of Client Folder Maker soon but I had to let everyone know about this amazing (and FREE!!!) little utility that should be on any Mac-using lawyer’s computer.

Client Folder Maker in the App Store

TextExpander Discount To “Lubricate” Your Writing Process

I can’t remember exactly where I heard that quote but I love it because it appropriately describes what TextExpander can do for you every single day. Whether it’s your e-mail address, phone number, office address, courthouse, judge’s name, etc. there are things you type every day over and over and over and over. And if you are manually typing those things every single time, you are WASTING TIME!

Why not let the computer actually do something FOR you? TextExpander is one of those tools that is a NO-BRAINER.

My free TextExpander Webinar last month was a HUGE success and I’m thankful for everyone that logged in. And we’ve continued the conversation on TextExpander in the Small Firm Bootcamp Facebook Group (closed group for members of the Small Firm Bootcamp course – you can sign up here).

Even better, the folks at MacBundler are offering a 1-year subscription to TextExpander for only $19.98 which is half the regular price of $39.96. This is my affiliate link to the site or you can visit on your own and search for TextExpander. This is the best price I’ve seen for TextExpander, equivalent to the upgrade pricing if you owned an older version of TextExpander.

The subscription is good for Mac, Windows, and iOS since TextExpander now works across ALL of those platforms. Plus with the subscription all of your snippets sync across devices.

If you don’t have TextExpander yet, I strongly recommend picking up a 1-year subscription from MacBundler. And then start with something simple like your e-mail address. My “official” e-mail address is but I never, NEVER type it all out – it’s not very long but it takes a few extra seconds each time to type that repeatedly throughout the day. I simply type “bc@” (without the quotes) and it IMMEDIATELY expands out my full e-mail address. Start as simple as that, then add your office phone number, your office address, etc.

And for a Pro Tip look into the “inline search” function which is wonderful when you start getting too many snippets to remember all the time.

Let me know if you have any questions – always happy to talk about TextExpander!

The Growl Is Better Than Its Bite

Growl LogoEvery couple of months someone on MILO asks what this “Growl” thing is popping up on their screen, especially since they don’t remember installing it and they’re nervous about a virus or malware. I’ve responded to the the list before but I wanted to provide more information on this handy notification utility.

Here’s the short definition from Growl’s homepage:

Growl lets Mac OS X applications unintrusively tell you when things happen.

And the longer definition:

We distribute a framework to application developers to make it easy for them to use Growl in their applications. They don’t have to write all of the pages of code necessary to send messages to and receive messages from Growl; they simply drop in our framework and write a few lines to tell the framework what to do.

Growl is not a standalone application, it’s a “universal utility” used by Mac software developers to provide on-screen notifications.

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