by Andrew Welch
This issue's featured title is Ambrosia's handy menu bar color/volume control utility ColorSwitch 2.3.0. This little gizmo can make life with your Mac a lot more enjoyable. Why don't you invest a little download time and take it out for a test spin.
"Excellent control panel...especially useful for those 'dumb' applications that cannot switch themselves." -- Steven Christensen, Macintosh user
Like all of Ambrosia's utilities, ColorSwitch is designed to meet a common need in the simplest way possible. Graphic artists, photographers and others who often need to change their color depth on the fly will appreciate ColorSwitch's speed and ease of use. The rest of us will enjoy a simple was to toggle back and forth between color depths to meet program requirements or speed up processing (Mac's cruise along a little faster when they have less colors to juggle). The volume allows for quick and easy sound control, so you can eliminate those beeps and quacks while on important phone calls.
ColorSwitch is a Control Panel that allows you to effortlessly switch between the available color modes of any attached monitors. Instead of the inconvenience of using the Monitors Control Panel every time you want to switch between color modes, you can simply hold down the ColorSwitch modifier keys and click anywhere on the monitor you want to change. A menu will pop up listing the available color modes for the monitor you clicked on; just select the color mode you want and ColorSwitch will acquiesce.
Under System 7 or later, things are even easier: ColorSwitch installs a Monitor icon-menu next to the Balloon Help menu, from which you can simply choose the color mode you desire for your main monitor.
ColorSwitch also allows you to instantly change your Mac's speaker volume, either from the icon-menu or from the popup menu.
ColorSwitch comes in very handy for many day-to-day tasks. Certain programs require that your monitor be set to a certain color mode in order to run, and using the Monitors control panel every time you need to switch color modes grows tiresome quickly. Your Macintosh will also operate more quickly if you normally operate in black and white mode, switching to a more colorful setting only when you need to. ColorSwitch makes switching color modes so quick and convenient, you will find yourself using it constantly to improve your quality of life at the computer.
The added bonus of being able to change your Mac's speaker volume from the ColorSwitch menu makes ColorSwitch a truly handy program to have around.
ColorSwitch requires a color-capable Macintosh with 32-bit Quickdraw installed, running under System 6.05 or later. To take advantage of the Monitor icon-menu that ColorSwitch installs in the menu bar, you need to be running System 7 or later.
The Show Startup Icon checkbox controls whether or not ColorSwitch should display its icon at startup time after it loads. ColorSwitch will still load regardless of this setting, but some people prefer to not have this icon displayed.
The About... button brings up this on-line help.
The Settings button brings up a dialog box that allows you to choose the modifier keys ColorSwitch will use, in addition to a mouse click, to bring up the color mode menu. You may also choose if you'd like ColorSwitch to use the modifier-keys popup menu, and/or if you'd like ColorSwitch to use the System-7 icon-menu.
The On/Off radio buttons allow you to turn ColorSwitch on or off. This does not take effect until you restart your Macintosh.
Once you have installed ColorSwitch and configured it to suit your taste, simply hold down the modifier keys you specified and click the mouse button on any attached monitor to bring up the ColorSwitch menu. Once the menu appears, choose the color mode you desire and ColorSwitch will immediately switch the monitor to that color mode.
Under System 7, you can simply choose the color mode for your main monitor from the Monitor icon-menu that appears to the left of the Balloon Help menu.
ColorSwitch is completey compatible with the new PowerPC platform. ColorSwitch is another program that, like Snapz, would not benefit at this time by being native. We do have some additional features planned for it down the road however, so stay tuned.
If ColorSwitch does not work, check to see if it displays an X-ed out icon at startup time. ColorSwitch will display this icon if it cannot load. Check the system requirements under the Requirements heading above to make sure you have an acceptable configuration for ColorSwitch to operate in.