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I keep seeing pop up messages from different applications like Skype and Yorufukurou (a Twitter client) that look the same. My guess is these applications use the same mechanism for doing notifications. I wonder what this is called and how it works. I didn't install Growl. The OS I'm using is OS X Lion.

The pop ups appear in the right upper corner, white text on a black background.

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Can you give us a screenshot? –  Daniel Beck Dec 17 '11 at 11:53
    
I have to wait for a popup to come up and be fast enough before it disappears. But I'll add a description. –  Michiel Borkent Dec 17 '11 at 11:53
    
Even though my answer explains it, Growl used to be a preference pane in System Preferences. Make sure it's not there. –  Daniel Beck Dec 17 '11 at 16:01
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2 Answers

These notifications are created by Growl.

You don't need to install it to get them (at least in newer Growl versions). Since Growl was recently added to the Mac App Store as a commercial application, they'd otherwise scare off the developers responsible for its success (by supporting it). They state:

[...] Growl itself is no longer required in order to display a notification. The 1.3 SDK allows for applications to generate Growl notifications without Growl installed. This is called "Mist" and is a new feature of the 1.3 SDK. Thus, Growl becomes the "pro" version of Growl when allowing you to customize the notifications, and the "free" version is the built-in notification.


Skype uses Growl (apparently in an older version though) to generate its notifications, and so does your Twitter client:

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enter image description here

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from my (limited) os x experience I believe the system you are referring to is called Growl and it can be turned off or uninstalled

Growl - How to uninstall

also can be disabled for individual programs but since I dont have OS X installed myself I cannot give exact steps but in growls settings you should have an applications tab, in which you can untick programs you dont want growl to show notifications

applications tab

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Like I wrote, I haven't installed Growl. –  Michiel Borkent Dec 17 '11 at 15:32
    
sorry I must have missed that bit then –  PrivateSniper Dec 17 '11 at 15:33
    
Some software installs Growl without telling you, so you may have it even though you didn't install it. It's worth checking that it's definitely not there. –  mauvedeity Dec 17 '11 at 15:59
    
@mauvedeity See db's answer. Some apps actually build it in now, so even if nothing ever installed it, you may still see Growl notifications because it was compiled into some of your apps. –  Spiff Dec 18 '11 at 7:14
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