As a long time fan of Apple’s Macintosh platform I saw great features come and go: Exposé, multiple Desktops and active corners once were great features and a match made in heaven… Until they became unusuable in Lion. Their long and horribly laggy animations (even on state of the art Macs) and the fact that desktops and windows get mixed up each and every time, render them useless.
Instead of using multiple virtual desktops I bought several monitors to handle all my daily window clutter and rearranged my workflow. It all works fairly well, with one exception: Nilvana-Edges.
If you have multiple screens with different resolutions you can’t get around the fact that you cannot align them without edges into virtual Nilvana:
I’ve been waiting for an official solution for several years now. It seems that Apple does not care. So I spent the last several days creating what I find a worthy and elegant solution to that problem: MouseBeam.
MouseBeam will take care of your cursor: If it reaches an edge with an monitor attached to it and a speed with more than 20 pixels per second it will put your cursor a) in the middle of the next screen or b) to the border of it. The speed threshold will prevent accidental beams when closing windows and accessing menubar items with attached top monitor.
Why did I make a) the default option? Well, it takes some getting used to, BUT it has improved my workflow a lot already:
- You are most likely to access content located in the middle of the next screen
- When navigating over multiple screens, it cuts out half of the distance in the middle
- I stopped “searching” when it entered the screen. I know that it will be right in the middle
It has also an optional hot corners feature that will create a small deadzone in your corners so that you can still access this feature.
When holding presentations at university or work I often ran into the very same problem with a connected projector: When I connected our university’s stone age projectors with a resolution of 1024x768 to my Retina MacBook (2880x1800) I had a tiny little edge were I could actually move my mouse pointer to the presentation screen. When you point to an important piece of code, a sales number or another specific region, you will notice that many people simply can’t see your mouse cursor.
Therefore I added a presentation mode which lets you put your data into a fitting spotlight. Configure the hotkey and you are ready to go. Press it once to enable a smooth 60fps spotlight and press it again to disable it. You can change its size any time by scrolling. Since 60fps animations are battery draining, it will intelligently slow down up to 20fps, dependend on your battery level so that your presentation won’t lose precious time. 😉
This should make MouseBeam any programmer's, designer's and presenter's best friend…