Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review: Watts

Recently, I asked "What's On Your Mac?".  To extend my list, let me introduce you to Watts, a terrific little battery meter for the menu bar.  To say that Watts is a more attractive menu meter than the one built into Snow Leopard is to just scratch the surface.  In addition to doing the obvious, Watts includes some other essential features that, frankly, OS/X really should provide as part of good battery maintenance.  

One feature that I really like is that Watts will keep track of how often you calibrate your battery.  Macbook batteries are great and you will get even better performance out of them if you periodically calibrate them.  This involves fully charging, discharging, and recharing the battery.  You can google "macbook battery calibrate" and find the instructions to do so.  It takes about a half day to run the half dozen calibration steps but I often find that I get so busy that I forget about continuing the calibration steps and have to start again.  Watts will step you through the process and remind you when it is time to move on to the next step.  Another cool and related feature is that Watts will remind you to periodically unplug your laptop (which is also good healthy practice for your battery).  These features plus the useful notification options and battery health information screens make this little application well worth the $8.  Check it out.

Update: Breaking Free

Recently I wrote about breaking free of MobileMe and of Firefox (which has been seriously lagging in performance and features).  Well, I've managed to do both.

First off, the iOS 4.2 Beta2 has released me from the grips of MobileMe.  I can now have multiple Exchange calendars (the last thing holding me back).  True, I am missing the ability to locate my iPhone, iPod, iPad using MobileMe but, frankly, that's $119 worth of insurance that I don't need.  Everything other feature of MobileMe can be found on Google and other similar services.  Until Apple either makes MobileMe more compelling or cheaper (i.e. free) I can't see myself heading back into Apple's warm embrace (at least not for cloud services).

Second off, I'm now 100% Chrome instead of Firefox.  I've found extensions for 1Password (beta), AdBlock, Evernote Clipper, Forecastfox Weather (which takes up less interface space than on Firefox).  I've given up on mouse gestures primarily because I do most of my browsing on my iPad or Macbook anyway.  I'm really enjoying the speed and reliability of Chrome.  Nothing comes close.