Month: October 2013

Cog: A No-Frills Music Player

If you’re tired of the bloat and headaches that come with iTunes, or if you are not married to a specific iDevice, there are plenty of choices to fall back on. One such choice is a small yet capable music player named Cog.

When I bought an iBook G4 from a friend a few years back, I knew that I couldn’t dump everything I owned onto the outdated laptop. And with my large collection of music, I also knew that it would take ages to get my library loaded. After some searching, I discovered Cog, It took no time to install, and even less to import my music folders. Within minutes I was listening to my favorite tracks with no issue.

What I like about Cog most is its stripped down, no-frills interface. There’s no radio or extraneous add-ons that weigh the player down; it’s just you and the music. There are the basic options: repeat, shuffle, play/pause, back/next, volume, search, and seek. You can also click the “info inspector” to see the metadata on a particular track. Cog can be controlled through the main interface or by right-clicking on the dock icon.

Included in the few features Cog boasts, Last.fm is supported in the 0.08 beta. However, the client must be installed on your computer in order for it to work, although you can choose to have Cog automatically open the application. Growl and native system notifications are supported as well.

As for cons, there are few that aren’t necessarily deal breakers but are worth noting. Hotkeys can be configured, but it is a bit cumbersome. As this Mac has no built-in media controls, I can’t speak on whether they work or not. There is also some, albeit minimal lag between songs at times. Taking into consideration that this particular version is a beta, it can be excused. To reiterate, syncing with iDevices is not supported.

Overall, Cog is a dependable player for those who love music but hate the bloat. It’s supported on both PPC and Intel, so even those with the slowest hardware can enjoy.

Cog version 0.07 and below can be found on the main site, available here.
Cog 0.08 Beta (OS X 10.6+) is available on MacUpdate.

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Meteo: Weather for Your Menu

Meteo (short for ‘Meteorologist’) is a small but impressive weather application for OS X that sits primly in your menu bar. ¬†As a person who finds it far easier to take a quick glance up than tune into a weather station, Meteo provides detailed information ranging from: temperature (both in Celsius and Fahrenheit), wind strength and direction, barometer, even weather alerts for your area like flash flooding. Multiple locations are supported, as well, along with a detailed satellite map of said areas.

There are few cons, namely slow updating with temperature and weather (which can be adjusted to a certain degree within the settings), and of course, if you have many menu bar applications already running, as it does not have a dedicated dock icon. The menu bar icon also looks out of place, but again, the images and even font can be edited within the settings. There may be a limit to how many locations can be added, as I’ve only tested two. Also, Meteo itself was last updated in December 2012, so it runs the risk of becoming outdated or abandoned.

Nevertheless, the pros vastly outweigh the cons for those who want a simple yet powerful weather application that does not take up too much space on the desktop.

Meteo is for Intel-based Macs only and can be found here.