Transluscent Menu Bar is Great - Yeah Right!

There has been a bit of a furore about the translucent menu bar.

The latest item is a flickr photo showing the ITunes menu-bar with a white spot in the second “o” of control. The comments make interesting reading – obviously a lot of “ornirary” folk are starting to use Mac OS X.

As shipped with Leopard the translucent menu-bar and the default desktop image don’t work well together. It is an unnecessary distraction when trying to work with itemss on the menu bar.

A simple bit of QA would have picked this up. One solution is to remove the distracting highlights from the ghastly default desktop image. Or even better remove, the default image altogether.

One school of thought says that by providing a translucent menu bar, punters can subtly change the way the menu-bar looks. This done by providing a customised desktop with the top 22 pixels tweaked to subtly change the effect of the menu-bar. All I say is “Yeah Right!”

Why bother providing such a convoluted work around to solve a perceived problem? And why force people to take an unecessary action to get a usable default desktop? Yes it is trivial to change desktop backgrounds. But just because we can change the desktop background, doesn’t mean that we should have to!

The workaround I chose, uses the ImageMagick mogrify command. Quite slick.

Leopard Firewall

I am not a security jock, but was concerned that after the initial install the firewall preference pane was configured to “Allow all incoming connections”. Since that Day 1 encounter with the firewall, I have been trying to get some more information on the changes.

The heise security blog, made interesting reading. Particularly the way he detailed some of his methods.

At, the comment by Nick gives details about the application firewall (appfirewall) being used in Leopard.

John Sawyer at darkreading, blogged about the shortcomings. He mentions managing the firewall using ipfw and points to WaterRoof as a GUI frontend for ipfw.

There is a description of configuring ipfw at ibiblio. Reference is made there to an application called Flying Buttress – it was formerly callled BrickHouse but was renamed as that trademark was owned by someone else. Looks interesting, and I would probably use it if had been updated more recently.

What am I going to do?

  • Try and get ipfw configured, but using a shell script.
  • Only connect to the net from behind a separate router/firewall.