Utility Gem: iStat Menus

I’m a sucker for a good utility application. That’s hardly news, but for new readers it seemed like a logical introduction. I can’t get enough of those tiny little applications that do one thing (or a few small things) that really makes my life better in some way and does it really well.

Today’s gem: iStat menus

For a while now, I’ve been a reasonably happy user of MenuMeters because it did something I needed – it monitors system processes – and it was the best application I could find that did such a comprehensive job. Until today.

Today I fell in love all over again. iStat menus does everything that MenuMeters does and more. It’s much more attractive to boot – that’s always a plus. It’s free, but within 15 minutes of installing and configuring it I was on PayPal making a donation. Here’s a quick feature breakdown:

  • Menu bar application
  • Monitors damn near everything
    • CPU
    • Memory
    • Drives
    • Network Activity
    • Component Temperatures
    • Fans & Power
    • Bluetooth
  • Highly, and I do mean highly, configurable
  • Very attractive
  • Configurable for minimal display

For all of you visual types that like pictures, here’s one:

I’m monitoring CPU, memory and temperature. The live icons for those monitors are the second through fourth icons to the left of the date. And speaking of the date, iStat menus throws in a nice bonus – a very useful extension of the built-in date display. A very pretty calendar, iCal integration and, my personal favorite, a world time clock.

With such a great date/time display, iStat menus is now doing double duty by replacing another (formerly) favorite utility, MagiCal. MagiCal has had Leopard issues for way too long now. I’ve been a MagiCal fan for a while now, but given its issues and the fact that iStat offers more while retaining its simplicity, I’m getting two for the price of one…so to speak. Bonus.

If any of these features sound appealing, take iStat menus for a spin. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

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