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You Control

You Control is a mini-suite of applications called “menu utilities.” It is an all-around helper that creates menus which you can access from convenient places. Menus can contain programs and files, utilities for tracking stocks, weather, international time, your calendar, address book, iTunes songs, your pasteboard, recent documents, newsgroups, and some other incidentals.

The basic thing You Control does is allow you to add menus to the menu bar or elsewhere on your screen. This can save you time if you want to be able to access, say, quotes to particular stocks you are tracking, without having to open a program or website to search for them. For example, you can have a menu of your favorite songs from iTunes which you can access from any place you specify on your screen to play them without having to open iTunes (very cool!) You Control can help save you steps in accomplishing daily tasks.

You Control also allows you to place a drop-down menu for any bunch of files that you need frequent access to (sort of like a Favorites bar that you can put anywhere, not just in your dock).

A great advantage is that you don’t have to have your menu clutter your screen at all. You can create custom keystrokes to access them. The menu remains hidden until you hit those keys. This is very handy if you are the kind of person who likes the efficiency of hot keys.

This program was fairly easy to get started with. It is a drag-and-drop deal - nothing heavy. The instruction PDF is only 30 pages long, and the real meat is only about 20 simple pages. Nothing to fear here.

The first thing I created was a weather menu. I arranged it to have the menu for the weather in Otego, NY in the Finder menu bar. It was a cinch. One drawback is that it is not entirely current, (the report was from 30 minutes ago). The bigger drawback was that it was reported from the Monticello, NY, which is about 80 miles away! The weather service it uses seems not to be the most optimal.

Then I created a menu to track some stocks, but it turns out that they are not real-time quotes. They are from up to 30 minutes ago. This may or may not be of urgency to you, as it isn’t to me, but I thought you should know about it.

You Control also can create a menu to a clock on your menu bar. “So what?” you may say, “I already have one.” Well, the clock that comes standard with Mac OS is pretty basic. With You Control, you can have the menu drop down the times in multiple places. For example, I have the time for LA and Berlin displayed when I mouse-over the clock. The clock menu also has some other extras.

The pasteboard module is very useful. We have all had the experience of wanting to cut and paste multiple items at one time to several files or programs. You Control keeps a memory of up to the last 50 items you saved to the clipboard. I know I will use this constantly.

Several people have mentioned to me that they use programs (some of which are free- or shareware) that accomplish one or two of the utilities of You Control, and better, at that. This is true. But if you wanted to do all of the cool things this program does, you’d have to shell out more than the price of You Control. And you’d have to read a lot more documentation.

My take so far: Worth it if you need to accomplish two or more of the above tasks. For any one of them, I would check around for freeware, or a cheaper program. I suggest anyone interested check out the free trial first to see if it is right for you.

– Brian Foley
You Control
System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.2.6 or higher including Mac OS X v.10.3, internet connection for product activation.
Copyright ©2004 by Brian Foley. This review appeared in the June 2004 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.