Simple guide to GeekTool on MAC OSX – PART 1

Welcome to PART 1!

I recently became familiar with a great feature for use on Apple computers. It is called GeekTool.

What is GeekTool?

GeekTool is a PrefPane (System Preferences module) for use on Mac OS 10.6 and higher. (I am using it on an iMac os x 10.7.2). It lets you display various kinds of information on your desktop via three default plug-ins:

File plugin to monitor MacOS X activity with /var/log/system.log, or any file that you want to follow.

Shell mode to launch custom scripts or commands like “df” to check space left on filesystems or “uptime” to monitor load on your machine.

image mode helps you monitor bandwidth usage, CPU load, memory availability on your server.

Download Geektool from the mac app store or click here for the file GeekTool Download

Once downloaded and it has installed it will be located in your applications folder.

Launch the application and the software will open on your desktop.

Drag on ‘Shell’ plug-in to your desktop to open up the default settings tab.

Using the ‘Shell’ plug-in you will be to enter a live clock, date and weather settings. For simplicity of this blog I will show you how to enter the clock and date. So after you have dragged the shell plug-in you will notice that there is a black setting box that appears on your desktop.

This is where you will be able to enter some simple script.

Here is the code that is needed to enter the live clock onto your desktop

date +”%H:%M %p”

From here you will also need to enter a refresh rate. For the clock it is recommended that you set it at 1 second. (see picture above) You will then notice that the time will appear in the grey box on the desktop. It looks a little boring right now so lets play with the font a little.

 Take a look back at the settings/properties box that you just entered the script on and scroll down to the choose font tab.

Once there you will see the font box open. Simply enter the font you want and choose a size.

For the purpose of this blog these are the settings that I chose.

Once you have entered what you want simply click out of it and you should then notice that the time is on your desktop in the chosen font/size that you chose.

You can then move it around to where ever you want on your desktop.

To enter the date, all you have to do is drag another shell to the desktop and repeat the steps again but use the date script instead.

Enter this code to display the date

date +”%A %d %b”

Once you have completed the steps and played with the font you should see both the date and time on your desktop.

That’s it really, move it to where you want it and get creative.

Here is the one that I just made while writing this blog.

If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible or you can find me on Twitter @PATOuk

I will write a new post with some more advanced techniques where we can add a whole lot more to our desktop very shortly.


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