Spirited Away was one of my favorite PPC only applications that got lost in my insistence to be Intel-only (and a favorite of productivity geek Merlin Mann as we mentioned last year). It lives in your menubar and automatically hides background applications after a pre-determined interval. It's an important tool for cutting down on distractions. Unfortunately, Spirited Away seemed to be abandonware; it hadn't been updated in ages and was stuck in resource hogging Rosetta-land. So I was excited to discover recently a new Universal app that does something similar, but with a bit more fine-grained control called Shoo Apps. Unlike Spirited Away, Shoo Apps lets you specify different hiding intervals on an application specific basis (though Spirited Away does allow you to exclude certain apps from hiding altogether). So distraction-free nirvana, right? Well, not so fast: Shoo Apps is $15. So being disappointed I thought I'd look at Spirited Away again and discovered that it had in fact received an update back in February; now it's a Universal Binary and it remains free!
Of course, Spirited Away does not have the per application granularity of Shoo Apps, but I generally just want my apps to hide or not hide (e.g. iTunes), so that doesn't seem like a compelling feature to me. Just for completeness sake I should note that Desktopple Pro (which David raved over recently) also has a similar auto-hide feature called "Window Cleaning" (in addition to its main desktop icon hiding feature) for $17.
Shoo Apps is $15 and a demo is available. Spirited Away is a free download. With Spirited Away and Sticky Windows I actually am in distraction-free nirvana.
[Via Macworld (Shoo Apps)]
Update: I've been having some problems with version 0.7 of Spirited Away. However version 0.6 is also a Universal Binary and seems to be working fine. Get it here (download link).