MondoMouse 1.1

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Mac OS X offers a number of ways to work with windows; for example, you can use the mouse to move or resize them, or the keyboard or mouse (or even Exposé) to switch between them. But I still see plenty of complaints about OS X's window management. For example, many lament the fact that you can resize a window only via a small triangle in the lower-right corner, or that you can move a window only by grabbing the title bar or the brushed-metal window border (assuming the latter is enabled).

If you fall into one of these groups of complainants, today's Gem is for you. Atomic Bird's $15 MondoMouse 1.1 ( ) gives your mouse cursor capabilities it never had before, allowing it to move, resize, or identify windows without having to first switch to them and then reach for particular window pieces.

After installing MondoMouse—it's a Mac OS X System Preferences pane—and enabling it, you choose the keyboard modifiers you want to use for each mode. For example, I've got MondoMouse's Move Window feature configured to use Option+Command.

After that, MondoMouse's new mousing modes are immediately available. Move Window mode lets you move a window by pointing to any part of it, pressing your chosen keyboard modifier(s), and then dragging. For example, in the screenshot below, I'm actually moving a folder—my home directory in the Finder, as you can see from the floating window label—even though that window is behind another window and the mouse cursor is pointing to open white space in the middle of the window. The window label indicates that I'm currently in Move Window mode. (Mac OS X lets you move a window in the background by holding down the Command key while dragging the window's title bar, but MondoMouse lets you grab any part of the window.)

Resize Window mode works similarly to Move Window mode, except that instead of moving the window, the window is resized in the direction(s) you move the mouse (Note that because Mac OS X windows can only grow or shrink by the right or bottom edges, it's those edges that are resized using this mode.) Although useful for resizing windows hidden behind other windows, this feature is also handy when a window's right or bottom edge extends off of the screen, making the resize tab inaccessible—instead of first moving the window fully onto the screen and then using the resize tab, you can resize the window in place. Unfortunately, not all windows can be resized this way; specifically, windows in applications that use—in Atomic Bird's words—"old-fashioned" Mac window management. Some examples are Microsoft Office applications, Adobe CS applications, and BBEdit.

(This feature is better demonstrated with a video than a screenshot; click the Play button below to view the video.)

MondoMouse also offers a nifty Information mode, which I've configured to activate when the Control key is pressed. (You can also choose for Information mode to be active all the time—no modifier necessary.) This mode simply pops up a floating window label whenever you point to any part of a window. It's useful when you're looking for a particular window hidden behind a mess of others; as long as any part of a window is visible, MondoMouse can identify it. (You could, of course, use Exposé or the Window menu to accomplish the same task, but some people will prefer MondoMouse's mouse-based approach.)

Finally, fans of "cursor focusing"—a popular mousing behavior on some Unix variants—will like MondoMouse's Focus Follows Mouse mode. This feature lets you switch to any window by moving the mouse cursor over it (while holding down the appropriate keyboard modifier[s], of course). You choose the delay, in seconds or fractions of a second, before the switch occurs. As with Information mode, you can choose to have Focus Follows Mouse mode perpetually active; so, for example, you can set MondoMouse to automatically switch to any window after you've been pointing at it for longer than 1.5 seconds.

One minor complaint I have about MondoMouse is that its floating window labels pop up immediately when you press one of its keyboard modifiers or modifier combinations. If you've assigned keys that are similar to existing keyboard-shortcut modifiers—for example, Control is also used to Control-click in Mac OS X—these window labels can at times be intrusive and undesired; I wish each of MondoMouse's modes offered its own user-defined delay before it kicks in. I also experienced a couple minor issues where MondoMouse's floating window label stayed on the screen even after I released the assigned modifier keys. And because MondoMouse's modes dramatically change the mousing behavior most Mac users have become accustomed to, they do take some getting used to. But MondoMouse offers a number of unique mousing options that many Mac users will find useful.

MondoMouse 1.1 works with Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or higher and is a Universal binary.

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