Like many out there, I’ve been somewhat dissatisfied with the lack of any dynamic quality to my Mac’s desktop. The dock is neat, and with the right icons and desktop you can go a long way toward creating a truly elegant workspace. Being an information and information design junky, however, I have long yearned for something more.
Well that came the other week in the form of GeekTool (download), a utility that resides in your System Prefs panel and allows you to embed everything from your Mac’s logs to UNIX shell commands, to imagery pulled from you hard drive or online. Weather reports, satellite imagery, system status, hard drive capacity… The list is virtually endless. And with a tricked out background and some careful typography you really have something even the most jaded Mac gurus will gawk at.
I’ll leave the usage and sample UNIX shell codes to the experts (see reference links, below), but for now let me tantalize you with my current GeekTool setup, designed to fit over a series of my favorite backgrounds culled from around the Web.
Note that any desktop imagery has been modified slightly in Photoshop to suit the G information design and display layout.
Lastly, the layout that started it all, based on an elegant GeekTool layout using this very background (called “GeekTop”) to block out the initial data display:
For additional GeekTool tips, including UNIX shell commands, log command usage, and other esoterica, check out these resources by MacLife, Stanford University, Bioneural, and Mac OSX Tips. Also, be sure to visit Lifehacker for their extensive collection of GeekTool implementations. Enjoy 😉