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HyperDock puts some Win7 in your OS X Dock


My shocking day job revelation: I write enterprise Java software using Windows. There, my secret shame is finally out.

Now that that's off my chest, I have something to confess about Windows 7: Microsoft must be doing something right because I hate it considerably less than any other version of Windows. For example, it might have taken it eight years to bring the draggable reorder feature from OS X 10.0's Dock into the Windows taskbar, but they got there in the end, and I'm a happier user for it.

One of the things I quite like is Aero Peek. Suppose you are juggling three PowerPoint presentations because you are a SRS BSNS enterprise user, so obviously, you're not doing anything fun. You move your cursor down to the PowerPoint icon in the taskbar, and three medium sized thumbnail icons pop up, each showing the current window contents of the three PowerPoint windows that you have open. This visual cue makes task switching more efficient. It sounds small, but it's quite a neat little time saver.

Sadly, OS X doesn't have anything like this. We've previously covered using Exposé in the Application Switcher, but it's clunky. Wouldn't thumbnails in the Dock be a nice addition to OS X? I certainly think so, and it seems that Christian Baumgart agrees with me because he's written the free-in-beta utility HyperDock to do just that. You can see how it works in the screenshot above; in this case, I moved my mouse over to the Firefox icon, and it presented me with previews of the three browser windows that I had open.

But that's not all it does -- check out some more of HyperDock's features on the next page.

HyperDock extends Dock clicks to support other mouse buttons and key combinations. For example, it allows a middle click to open a new tab in Safari, or to do play/pause in iTunes. It also implements Windows 7's "Aero Snap," where dragging a window to the top edge of the screen maximizes it, or dragging it to the left or right makes it fill that half of the screen. The latter feature is quite useful for users with huge monitors. iTunes and iCal get special preview thumbnails that show, respectively, cover art and a summary of today's appointments. And it has a variety of options for keyboard shortcut modifiers to resize windows or force a drag operation.

(As an aside, I found HyperDock's implementation of snap a little awkward on my multi-monitor Mac setup. The snap feature engages as you move windows between monitors and makes it feel like the window gets "stuck" as you move it across. It's not a big deal -- the feature can be disabled if you find it troublesome.)

HyperDock is in free beta for now and promises to be low cost when it is released. I've messed around with it for a few hours this morning and found it to be bug-free so far. Come on, it's Sunday -- what better day is there to spend time trying out new software?

Hat tip to MacStories for bringing HyperDock to my attention

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