Jason Harris has put together a small competition for Cocoa developers this year titled Cocoa Duel, where entrants had about three days to come up with a holiday-themed application. I had some free time earlier this week so I went ahead and came up with an entry. The result is Holiday Lights, an Input Manager that will adorn the windows of your Cocoa applications with lights of assorted colors. Not only do they sit there and look nice, but they also can be set to blink in time to CPU usage, network or disk activity. Holiday Lights also supports the ambient light sensor in more recent PowerBooks and MacBook Pros, so the lights can get brighter as the room you’re in gets dimmer. Even better, snow piles up on top of each window and is periodically cleared away by a snow plow. A short movie demonstration is available here.
As per the requirements of Cocoa Duel, the source of Holiday Lights is available. The source is released under the GPL.
Holiday Lights source.
Be sure to take a look at the Cocoa Duel site also, as a number of other people put a ton of effort into making some really neat little applications in very little time. Even more importantly, if you are able please take the time to donate some money to a charity in the name of a Cocoa Duel developer. The winner of the competition is decided by who accrues the most donations to charity, so be sure to check out the other entries and donate! Donations are open until midnight on December 26th.
Please pay attention to the read me when installing. You will get tired of the lights at some point and you’ll want to know how to get rid of them. You can manually remove the lights by moving the folder “Holiday Lights” from ~/Library/InputManagers to the Trash and logging out and back in.