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How would I go about embedding a text field on my desktop (or on the Dashboard)? That is:

  • I want to be able to type into it.
  • It needs to sit behind my windows at all times.
  • Text needs to be accessible to system calls (either directly as a bash invocation or indirectly through message passing).

I know I can use GeekTool to display text. Is there a similar program or piece of code that would allow me to do what I want?

I am trying to hack together a twitter/fb/chat client which will not take up a separate window.

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I would prefer a non-programmatic approach, since I want a quick fix, not a full program. However, if the only good approach seems to be programmatic, then migrate it. – mechko Apr 3 '10 at 17:10
There is no facility in the operating system to provide this functionality for you. If you are a "relatively proficient programmer" then you should realize this and migrate it yourself. – Hasaan Chop Apr 4 '10 at 17:34
If you have seen the facebook notifications app, then you will realize that there IS in fact a way to do this. Unfortunately, the facebook notifications app is not open source, last I checked. – mechko Apr 4 '10 at 17:36
I never said it was impossible, I said you're going to have to write the code yourself. That makes this a programming question which does not belong here. – Hasaan Chop Apr 4 '10 at 17:38
Well, then the answer is: No! There isn't a program that does what you want to do, as my question was originally (before several semi-spurious edits) Is there a program that does what I want. – mechko Apr 4 '10 at 17:47
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Would a program like LaunchBar, Quicksilver etc. not work in place of this? They all offer the ability to type in text and then send it to another program.

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hm I'll look into it. I feel that it would work, but my sense of aesthetics wants it to fit in nicely with my otherwise pimped-out geektool desktop. I noticed fb connect for mac can open up a prompt which is not a window (that is, it doesn't have a frame), and I presume that it can be made transparent too, so, ideally, I'd have a program that generates that kind of a window. – mechko Apr 3 '10 at 5:36
Actually, while looking for quicksilver, I stumbled across visor, which might have the code I'm looking for, and it's open source. – mechko Apr 3 '10 at 5:39

No idea how this could be useful, but as I don't fully understand what you're trying to do:

If you're in to using the Dashboard: Apple's sticky notes?

(You'd have to use the Dashboard version to keep them from floating on top of your other windows. Or, when using the Desktop version from Applications » Stickies, make them translucent by hitting Option-Command-T.)

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How often are the stickies saved? If the file is not saved, accessing the text will be a bit of a pain. – mechko Apr 3 '10 at 23:42
@mechko, if Dashoard is an option, then I'm sure there's text editors for that. Please enhance your question then. – Arjan Apr 4 '10 at 8:17
Anything is an option. I'm asking you what is out there. Please stop changing the meaning of my question through edits. I'm not looking specifically for message-passing. If I was, I would have specified it from the beginning. If you suggest Stickies, then yes, that would have to be via message passing because stickies can't invoke code themselves. Also if you have no idea what I'm trying to do, then don't keep changing my question. – mechko Apr 4 '10 at 16:43

You can always run the terminal and stickies side-by-side. It makes a nice and built-in combination.

Remember, because of OS X's unique desktop layout and workspace control, you can leave the terminal in the background and stickies as well. Just right click on the icon on the dock of the program(s) that you will be using and select Options > Open at Login.

If you want, you can do some nice customizations of Terminal's appearance too. Go to Terminal > Preferences There are built in themes that you can choose from, or you can make your own.

Good luck!

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Is there any way to remove the terminal pane? (ie the silver bar at the top) Or to make it a different color? – mechko Apr 4 '10 at 16:54
@mechko - Not that I know of. (Chromeless windows are thought to be insecure because you don't have access to things) You can make it transparent and any background color though. EDIT: There may be some hack somewhere. Also this thread may be of interest:… – Moshe Apr 4 '10 at 19:11

You should look into Panic's Statoo. It does a beautiful job of displaying an overlay on your desktop. An easy way to get your IM notifications working would be using it's Feed option. It also might have a plug-in system, but I'm not sure on the details. Shareware, $12.99.

Correction: Sorry, this is read-only, apparently.

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