For part two of this Macspiration mini series I am going to cover several programs (freeware and shareware) that will help you go “Beyond the Basics” in customizing the look (and in one case the sound) your computer.

1. Are you sick of looking at the Apple logo when you boot your Mac? If the answer to that question is yes, you can change that picture to whatever you want! Just use the free Imagine BootX. I have tried this on a non-Intel Mac and it worked fine. I have not tried it on an Intel Mac.

2. Speaking of starting up your computer. How about the startup chime? You can control the volume of the chime with the free StartupSound.prefPane.

3. Do you have a program that is always running in the background? Maybe it is a Spam filter. Some programs that are constantly running allow you to remove hide their dock icons, others don’t. For those that don’t you can try the free, and easy to use, Dock Dodger at: http://foggynoggin.com/dockdodger, and free up some space in your dock.

4. Want even more hidden? Menushade allows you to hide the menu bar from within programs. It is more like fade them away. Check it out, you might like it.
5. Do you change your desktop picture on a regular basis? If so, Desky might be for you. Instead of opening System Preferences every time you want to change the desktop picture, you simply drag the picture file onto the Desky icon, and the desktop picture changes. Once, again, this is a free utility.

6. If you really want to go all out check out Unsanity’s Shapeshifter ($20.00). This will apply a theme to your windows, and menus to totally change the look of your computer. There are all types of themes, and tons of them. You can even choose to use only part of the cusomizations. Check it out at: http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/shapeshifter.

There you go. Five more ways to go “Beyond the Basics” and customize your computer.
As I mentioned a lot of the programs above are free, but many are what some call “Donationware.” That means if you like a program the developer would appreciate a donation. The program will still run in full capacity, and does not require a serial number, but it is not a bad thing to help the developer out with a small donation and support the community that makes these great programs.

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