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Screenshot for July 21st, 2008 - Goodbye Konfabulator...

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An experiment. I have replaced the widget I was working on in Konfabulator with a fairly simple set of AppleScripts and DragThing Docks.

Now I have a fairly clean menubar while still keeping all the info I need on screen.

The left corner of the screen shows two docks. My old iTunes Controller dock with hotkeys set to F2, F3 and F4 for controlling iTunes and a new single cell dock named "iTunes Status". I'll explain in a minute.

On the right side we have two docks overlapping. (Only because of DragThing's 255 pixel cell width limitation) called Clock and Calendar.

Now, in order to update these three docks I have created two AppleScripts. (I could probably make it one script) One sets the time and date, the other the song info. But how do they run?

Easy. Launchd, a process that runs in the background of OS X has one job. To make sure things run the way they are supposed to. By creating a couple processes and placing them in the LaunchAgents folder (Shown) and rebooting the system will now take care of the work for me. The only drawback is Launchd seems to have a 10 second minimum. I wanted to have it be every second so I could show the seconds on the clock and have iTunes update faster, but 10 seconds is liveable. I'll survive.

Why do this you might ask. Well, I figure, why run a processor sucking application just to run one widget when I can take advantage of an app that I already have running anyway. DragThing has been a staple of my computer since OS 9. And while I have paid for Konfabulator (Before they made it free) I have gotten my money's worth out of that app. At this point it's just not worth keeping it going when I can perform the same duties without it in a much cooler way.

Clicking the song title shows iTunes, clicking the time or date opens Dashboard where I have the new "Organizer" widget from iSlayer running as well as Apple's own Weather widget.

Thanks to James Thompson and his magnificent scriptable DragThing I have what I need.

Because of the 255 pixel limit of cell text width I can't make them long enough to fit as much text as I want. I wish we could at least use a script to set it to something higher than 255 like 500. I mean keep 255 as the limit in the Options dialog, but allow more pixels to be squeezed out via a script. (I tried. It didn't work alas. What it DID do though was make the dock think there was more text there, but the cell stayed at 255 wide. So do I need to set widths to two different properties?)

Because of Launchd's 10 second limit I can't have the seconds show nor will the iTunes update immediately. But it's no big deal.

Future plans:
I plan on separating the Song title from the artist and having that info in different cells. Should be easy enough.

I did dabble in the idea of making a weather fetcher, but might not do it since I just keep Weather running in Dashboard.

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  1. someToast 98 months ago | reply

    Konfabulator itself should be sucking zero processor nearly all the time. The Widgets themselves take up CPU depending on what they're doing.

    Is the combination of Launchd, AppleScript, and DragThing actually taking up fewer cycles than a single Widget would?

  2. Jasoco 98 months ago | reply

    Konfabulator has a horrible reputation of freezing for seconds and minutes at a time. I would look at the clock and it would be stopped. A clock should NOT stop. Or I would click the toggle I made to show the calendar I created and I'd get the beachball. At least Launchd will keep going. And if it ever stops, OS X makes sure it starts again. Same with Dashboard. If Dashboard quits, OS X will restart it.

    Konfabulator also has a horrible reputation of not loading all the Widgets you have set to open sometimes. I would open the app and nothing would load and Konfabulator would sit there grinning as if it was done its work. I'd have to manually open the widgets. Also, all Konfabulator iTunes widgets have a horrible bug where the widget would always relaunch iTunes just to check if it was running causing the anoying as hell "Relaunch race condition". My script (Gotten from teh internets) as a check to make sure it's not running before sending it any commands whatsoever.

    So yes, this is much better. I always have Dragthing running. So why not take advantage of it? Launchd is always running. OSAScript is made to do its job of launching AppleScripts in the background. So I'm just taking advantage of what is already given me.

    By taking advantage of the stuff already running in OS X I have removed: Konfabulator, WeatherPop, iStat Menus (Had them running for HD lists and at one point some other stuff), MenuCalendarClock iCal (I need a calendar at all times. I need the spontaneous ability to check a date at all times without having to open iCal), and with the Egg Timer widget, Alarm Clock 2. So yes, I am saving a bit by cutting down the number of processes running at all times. And the best part is every process on my system now is Intel. No more PPC.

    This is the least amount of apps I've ever had running on the menubar before. And three of them are Apple's own status icons. (Not counting Spotlight)

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