Screenshot of extended menubar in Mac OS X Lion using SecondBar (click for larger image)

Its been a while I have written anything on technology, or should I say haven’t written anything at all. Anyway, I have been looking for a way to extend menubar on my Mac as soon as I got a second monitor almost two years ago. I had been using utility-apps like DejaMenu or MenuPop to get access to menu items on the second monitor, however, not having an actual menubar on the second monitor was quite inconvenient. Just a couple of weeks ago, while searching for ways to extend menubar to the second monitor, I came across SecondBar , although it is still a beta-app, it works great. My second monitor finally looks like it’s a part of an extended display, a part of my mac desktop! Occasionally, SecondBar has problem showing all the menu items from an application but it is rectified by relaunching the app. Its certainly a great app for its purpose, and I still wonder why there aren’t any app to extend menubar with full functionality on Mac as so many of us actually extend our display with a second or even a third monitor these days. Definitely worth a try!

two monitors, two operating systems!

I have been using Parallels Desktop on my Mac for a few years now when I need to run WinXP. Recently I read about Sun’s VirtualBox and thought of giving it a try. Couple of nights ago I installed the app (its way smaller in size than the Parallels), and then Installed OpenSolaris OS on it. It runs like a charm. No problem in installation and it actualy uses a lot less resources than Parallels does. I have yet to install WinXP on VB to see if it works just as good as in Parallels but with less resource use obviously. In fact I did try to install XP but everytime I got some error in loading installation CD. I have yet to figure out the solution. Seems like lots of other people are getting the same problem though! The error I’m getting is this:

Fatal: no bootable medium found! System Halted

Anyway, I am happy to be able to run solaris though. It works excellent in ‘seamless’ mode on my second monitor! Click on the image for the larger version.
mac os x and opensolaris on virtualbox together


Not that I’ve been updating my blogs too often these days (I do have genuine enough reasons for that) but still, ever since I upgraded to Snow Leopard, my preferred blog editor, ecto, has stopped working, it opens and within a few seconds it crashes. I tried clean reinstalling but to no avail. When I have posted a few entries recently, those have been using ScribeFire add-on on firefox, which, by the way is excellent. However, I prefer using non-browser blogging clients, those that blend well with the OS and provide easy way to resize and upload images. I saw this half-price offer on myBlogEdit on macZOT! so I thought I should give it a try before I decide to splash out 10 bucks on it, which already looks a good deal as I play around with this blogging client! And to complete the text, here is a picture I took a couple of weeks ago…

Castle Howard on a dull day
Castle Howard just outside York on a dull day!

extending screen real estate on mac os

As I was struggling to make my paper write-ups more efficient, especially in cutting the time wasted in tabbing through numerous open windows and applications (common culprits being, MS Word, Bookends or Endnote, Papers, Skim, SPSS, Pathfinder – not to mention Mail and Skype!), I decided what I needed was an additional monitor which gave me more desktop real estate and allowed me to view at least 2 or three applications windows side-by-side. I also remembered this Randy Pausch lecture on time management and his take on multiple monitors. So, I ordered a Samsung LCD from ebuyer, okay its only 19″ but I have a small desk at home and the monitor was on sale too! As soon as I got it and plugged it in, I though it would just extend my laptop monitor towards the side, which it did (and luckily for me, I placed my new monitor on the right side – the default side a mac seems to extend its display!).

However, what I was hoping was the top menu bar to extend all the way to my new monitor so I could get extended menu bar real estate too. Well, how wrong I was. And after Googling for hours and searching all the mac forums that I frequent, I couldn’t find any tips or tricks to extend that menu bar – nothing! I know I can mirror it (by mirroring the main laptop display), but that’s a waste of external monitor as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know why no one has come up with a program that let you extend the menu bar!?! dejamenu Anyway, what I did come across was a cool little application called DejaMenu, which gives all the menu items from the application you are running as a context menu on the press of a hot-key combination. At least this is much better than having to move mouse all the way to the main screen to get to the menus. I’m using DejaMenu now and I can’t thank the creator enough for this wonderful application. Thank you!
And please someone make an application that lets us extend the main menu bar.

Blogging from ipod touch

This is going to be a very short entry. For I’m typing this up on my iPod touch tapping my fingers on the touch screen. Although the screen is very responsive and the predictive input seem to improve as I type along, it’s still a pain to tap fingers for long. Anyway, I found this cool wordpress app for free so thought I should give it a try, and I’m impressed at how easy it was to set up and start blogging. Now I’ll see if I can connect my Bluetooth keyboard with this thing and type fast! But this is cool in itself !!! :)