2550 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Sep 27, 2009 5:08 AM by Phil Hansen
Applications can use Growl to send event notifications to your screen (Download finished, Backup finished, New Articles in your News Reader, New Mail, Your power plug has come out, your power plug was inserted, you have 70% battery left, a disk was just plugged in, a disk has been unplugged, your iPod was just attached, etc....)
What Growl gives you, "The User", above all the other ways an application can post an event on your screen, is that Growl lets you configure the event display independent of the application that send it. You can change its color, you can specify the style of the event displayed, you can specify the area it gets displayed on the screen, and MOST IMPORTANT you can specify that the event display hangs around until you dismiss it or have it automatically go away after 'n' seconds and the application has nothing to say about this. You are in the driver's seat.
Growl has some other features, like you can send your own Growl notices from a script (Applescript, Automator, shell scripts). Growl even has the ability to send an event notice to a different system (useful for someone adminstering multiple Macs.
But in my opinion the best think about Growl is that you get to control each display event separately from the other events and independent of the applications issuing the event. OK, I also like sending my own Growl notices from long running scripts, but that is just me
I like UnPlugged to tell me when my laptop power cable has popped off
I have the Growl Unplugged alerts set so that unplugging my power cord comes up in bold Orange and stays on the screen. Plugging in the power cord comes up green and only stays on the screen a few seconds.
The Growl download includes an "Extra" called HardwareGrowler. If you choose to run HardwareGrowler, it can tell when the following device interfaces make or break connections: Airport, Bluetooth, Firewire, or USB. It can tell you when you a get a new IP address, when a network or external volume is mounted, it too can tell you about switching between AC power, battery, or running from UPS power.
But the number of 3rd party apps that will hook into Growl is huge. Many apps you already have will be happy to use Growl. And there are some plug-ins for Apple applications so they will use Growl (Safari, Mail, iTunes).
And the great thing is, you get to control what alerts you get, how they will look, and how long they will stay on the screen. I think some people that try Growl, or have it installed for them as a side effect of installing another app do not understand that they are in control, and just see a bunch of new pop-up alerts that they need to keep dismissing (as may apps default to keeping their alert on the screen). But once you understand you can tell Growl to not display a specific event, or change its color/stlye, or make it disappear after a few seconds, then I think Growl becomes a tool rather than an annoyance. Just my 2 cents.