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Why Growl? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Not how? Why?

What are the benefits?

Not: "what does it do?"

Why do you use it? How does it help you? What does it do that you can't otherwise accomplish?
 
It's a system-wide notification framework which is non-modal, so it doesn't block you from doing stuff. It's perfect for things like "soft" IM status changes ("so and so has logged on"), or for more subtle reminders.
 
And, in addition to being non-modal, the dialogs can be configured to self-dismiss. So it works great for non-intrusive notifications.

-Dennis
 
My first reaction to Growl was a bit defensive. I didn't want to install something that was constantly interrupting me, but was more concerned that personal information was being sent to the developer of whatever application I was using.

I've since warmed up to Growl and now love it.

It's a third party app.
They spent time developing it and released it for free.
Other applications can hook into it's messaging system.
It can be configured to be non-obtrusive.

The main benefit for me is I get small status messages about what the application is doing.

Like, when a backup of the data is performed. It silently appears to let me know that my OF backup has just been performed, and then disappears.

A lot depends on the type of person you are. If you like the chatter of applications letting you know when something has been done that is not necessarily important to you, then you'll like Growl.

In the OmniFocus example, most people just trust that the backup of their data is happening. I trust it as well, but it's reassuring when I see the Growl message saying that my OF data has just been backed up. I don't need to do anything about it, and I know that it has happened.
 
After using Growl for a while with a variety of applications, I was pleased to discover the fine-grained control over each message. For example, I use the default action for most messages, but OmniFocus' "Task Overdue" sounds the Magic Bell and stays on my screen until I dismiss it.

-- Ward
 
Another use is clipping emails directly into the OmniFocus inbox. I changed my clipping preference from going to the quick entry to go straight to the inbox. If I didn't use Growl, I wouldn't know if the clipping made it to the inbox. But with Growl, I clip, the message appears, letting me know that the clip was successful.
 
I'll provide the counter argument - why not? Because being constantly interrupted by on screen pop-ups is very annoying when you are actually trying to do something ;-)

Outlook on the PC has a similar feature and I had to turn it off as it was just far too distracting and ended up getting in my way of doing work rather than aiding it.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JKT View Post
I'll provide the counter argument - why not? Because being constantly interrupted by on screen pop-ups is very annoying when you are actually trying to do something ;-)

Outlook on the PC has a similar feature and I had to turn it off as it was just far too distracting and ended up getting in my way of doing work rather than aiding it.
Excellent counter argument. Allow me to retort. :)

The more efficient way of working is to allow collection boxes like inboxes, email or paper, and voice mail to gather stuff and then process them. The less efficient way of working is to constantly be processing the inbox, with the exception of certain jobs that require this. Example: a customer service rep or EMT.

I am in agreement with the outlook notifications. I do not want to be notified of every email I get because any one of those emails could have meaning and require me to do something. However, some emails I have set up to alert me when some system has broken and needs attention no matter what I am doing.

I think there are two main types of notifications: one notification has attached meaning or something that I am required to do, and the other notification is feedback from the program.

A notice for every email that comes in is in the first category. I turn this off because I want to segment my email processing into a time slot. Otherwise, at any moment, I may get derailed from what I am trying to accomplish.

I imagine there are some jobs where those notifications are used as a first level screening. They may need to instantly reply to an email that has just come in. Or may need to get up and do something when/if that email comes in. While there may be some jobs that require this, I believe most do not require this level of notification and it is abused by people.

A notice when my OmniFocus data has been backed up is program feedback notification. A notice when I do a clipping that the item has made it's way to the inbox also fits into this category. These are more like status messages. Feedback from the application.

Within this category are further delineations.

If I am in deep focus, I don't want any kind of interruption, including the application telling me that it has performed a backup.

However, a notice when I do a clipping, that it has made it's way to the inbox is directly related to an action that I just did, and falls into the category of UI feedback. Just like I can see a box when using the mouse to select a group of items. And the items I have selected become highlighted.

To sum up. There are three types of notifications:
1. Those which I may need to do something about.
2. Those which I do not need to do something about and are usually the program informing me when an automated process has completed.
3. Those which are feedback from the program based on some interaction that I am doing with the program.
 
To counter my own argument. I don't want to see a notification every time I delete an email that says: email deleted successfully.

But when clipping items directly to the OmniFocus Inbox, there have been times where it didn't happen. So for me to see a message saying it did happen is comforting. I'll wait to make sure I see that message before moving on to the next email.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JKT View Post
I'll provide the counter argument - why not? Because being constantly interrupted by on screen pop-ups is very annoying when you are actually trying to do something ;-)

Outlook on the PC has a similar feature and I had to turn it off as it was just far too distracting and ended up getting in my way of doing work rather than aiding it.
I've addressed this by setting my default start and due times to essentially be at the beginning or end of a big block of time, a boundary across which I'm unlikely to be working in deep concentration. I turn on the laptop first thing in the morning and I get a blizzard of growl stickies, but many of them are things I'll do immediately (stuff involving getting the kid off to school, for example) and others remind me of things newly actionable (a bit of a pre-morning review, if you will). No interruption of deep concentration or productivity there, as I was sleeping just before that :-) Similarly, the notifications that something has gone overdue are generally at 5pm and hopefully are few in number. I probably do need to drop whatever I'm working on if it isn't also due and so that just leaves the few notifications I might get from events starting or due during the course of the day. If I put in a specific time like that, it was probably necessary, so again, the notification is an acceptable interruption. The type of the notification also gives a quick triage when the pressure is on. Option-clicking the close box on one growl notification will clear them all if you've set them to be persistent as I do.

Discussions of why this shouldn't work as well as it seems to will be read with interest and an open mind :-) I agree that jumping off to the email program every time a message arrives is usually bad for productivity.
 
 


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