So this is how the left side of my Mac screen looks these days. Dock on the left—the bottom, with the 3D shelving, is for sheep—with is shifted up to the left, with hidden dock items transparent. At a glance, I know my system state. Here’s how it’s done and what’s there:
Dock shifting and transparency: TinkerTool is how I pull that one off. As new programs are opened, the Dock lengthens towards the bottom of the screen.
That shiny thing next to the Dock: that would be iPulse, which despite not being updated for a couple of years now still works great. It beats the hell out of any other “What’s my Mac doing?” apps that I’ve found. The only thing that I haven’t been able to consistently do is live in that spot on the Desktop, but not exist as a window, like …
That album art thingy at the bottom left: CoverSutra. That shows me, at a glance, what song is playing in iTunes. Also, it pushes data to Last.fm for me.
The blank space in between is stocked, during the workday, with a slide-out Adium instance: if I hover over the left edge halfway between the Dock and CoverSutra, I get my Contact List for Adium. I mainly use Adium as a status awareness tool for Matt and Nathan using my on-the-phone AppleScript. The co-workers all look at my IM status to know if I’m on the phone or not before calling me, transferring people to me, or deciding to take the incoming phonecall themselves. It’s pretty fun.
What’s in your Dock? How do you manage it? Windows (l)users need not respond.