Review: Nerdtool for Mac displays shell output and more, directly on your desktop

Display some useful information in a desktop window and customize it to your preference using Nerdtool for Mac.

As its name implies, Nerdtool for Mac is an all-in-one tool designed for real computer nerds looking for a neat way to display information in a single window. While suitable for advanced users, the lack of a real step-by-step tutorial and some rather confusing terminology might pose a problem for novices.

Nerdtool for Mac's main interface consists of two parts -- log group selector on the left side and log editor on the right. While self-explanatory to more advanced users, the terminology might be slightly confusing to those with less experience. However, the developer clearly explains in the README file that a "log" is just an object displayed on the screen, so a log could be anything -- an image, a file, Quartz file, shell output, Web content, and similar. Under the log group selector, users can find plus and minus buttons, which are used to easily add different log groups. For each group of logs, there are extensive configuration options available, which true computer geeks will love playing with. On the bottom there are three additional options. Magnetize Logs is used for aligning logs, Expose Border lets you display a region for standard windows, and Lock Size lets you lock the size of the log window. A large toggle switch in the log editor area turns the logs on and off. Once the main toggle switch is activated, the primary display window appears in the upper right of the desktop. Additional preferences menus allow color and display format changes. Most features took some time to set up properly but everything worked well once everything was set.

While functional, the confusing terminology and options make Nerdtool for Mac a poor choice for novice users, while more advanced users will appreciate the high level of customization that comes with this tool.

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