Hyperspaces Brings Leopard’s Spaces to Life

| Quick Look Review

Hyperspaces adds additional features and flexibility to Leopard's virtual desktop capability, called Spaces. Users can set individual backgrounds for each desktop, define and show the labels right on the desktop, add overlay colors, and define hot keys.

For a long time, UNIX users pestered Apple about the often used feature in most UNIX implementations, especially Linux, called virtual desktops -- to no avail. That led to VirtueDesktops, perhaps the best known add-on app of that kind for Tiger. However, when Apple announced Spaces in Leopard, the VirtueDesktop developer saw no reason to continue development.

Hyperspaces screen shot

Screen shot showing text label and prefs

Now that Apple has included a minimal implementation of virtual desktops in Leopard, many users are hungry for a more full-featured implementation.

Hyperspaces doesn't try to replace the preferences in Leopard's Spaces, and it doesn't interfere with the settings already set up there. It simply adds new functionality.

For example, one can set individual background images for each desktop either for cosmetics or as as aid to remembering which desktop is in use. A very nice, text prompt with a slim font design can be placed right on the desktop as a reminder. Colors can be defined for each space, although probably not preferable in concert with existing desktop images. A very nice thumbnail-like page switcher can be brought up with a user definable key sequence. Finally, hot keys can be defined for any of the functions, not just page swapping.

Hyperspaces thumbnails

Page Switcher (Default keys are OPT + `) 

 

One consideration to be aware of is that, as the author Tony Arnold describes it, Core Animation chews up massive amounts of VRAM if custom desktop images are used, so the recommended system requirement is at least 256 MB of VRAM. Also, Mac OS X 10.5.4 is required.

Currently, Hyperspaces is near final release, at version 1.0 final candidate 2a. It is priced at US$12.95.

While ratings aren't given for quick look reviews, in its current state, Hyperspaces looks to be an outstanding must-have for heavy users of Spaces. I've been using it for several days, and I'm already hooked.

 

Hot key options

Hot key options

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