Singing the Praises of GeekTool

I’m late to the party, but I am now a huge fan of GeekTool. GeekTool is a MacOS X prefPane that lets you display different types of information on your screen, similar to the screenshot below:

Screen-shot-2010-01-24-at-1.32.37-PM

On the lower right hand side, I have the date, time, my IP address and the local weather, all at my ready. On the lower right side, I have access to a handy calendar. Just about anything that’s UNIX shell scriptable can be displayed using GeekTool. GeekTool not only lets you display the results of the scripts, but it also lets you customize how those scripts look. You can choose custom fonts and change the colors of them to suit your needs (and taste).

You can also display text file information and images using GeekTool. I have instant access to my daily “To Dos” using GeekTool and a standard text file. What I like about this approach is that the To Do list stays front and center on all my screens, keeping me focused.

GeekTool works just fine with Snow Leopard. It also works fine on earlier versions of Mac OS X. It’s open source (you can download the source code and make any customizations, should you want to). GeekTool has replaced Panic Software’s Stattoo for me. It’s far more customizable than Stattoo, in that you can place your GeekTool widgets anywhere you want on your screen. (Did I mention, GeekTool’s also FREE?) :)

Not a UNIX scripting guru? Don’t worry. Many scripts are freely available from all corners of the net. Here are some of the best script resources I’ve found (feel free to share yours in the comments below):

Blog of Francesco Mugnai: includes scripts and inspiration (screenshots) showing how you can trick out GeekTool.

Geeklets: a nice collection, and well categorized selection of geeklets. You can submit your own geeklets too!

Custom GeekTool Setup from iamawesome.net.

Keynote to Keynote’s GeekBrief scripts

Enjoy geeking out with GeekTool!

-Krishna

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About the author

Krishna Sadasivam creates custom comics and illustrations for organizations, magazines and companies. A champion of comics advocacy, Krishna speaks, blogs, and writes articles on illustration and sequential arts techniques and the importance of the comics medium in both education and brand awareness. His clients have included Microsoft, Mashable, Other World Computing and EE Times. His work has been featured on many notable websites, including TechCrunch, Gizmodo and CNET. His portfolio can be found at krishnadraws.com.

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  • AdamReply
    January 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Looks fantastic. Right up my street. Unfortunately I don’t have a mac as a lot of my work is PC based so it makes more sense that way. Plus they’re quite expensive.

    • krishnaReply
      January 26, 2010 at 8:27 am

      I’m sure there’s a Windows equivalent, Adam. Maybe someone reading this could chime in?

      • ChetReply
        December 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

        There is a site called AlternativeTo that I’ve found useful for finding alternatives to (pun intended, I think) software I don’t like/can’t use. This may lead you to something useful: http://alternativeto.net/software/geektool/

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