Want To Know What's Connected to Your Mac? You Need Peripheral Vision!

August 2, 2004

Peripheral Vision 1.6.3 ($6.95 Shareware)
Granted Software

One of the great things about the Mac is it "just works" when it comes to interfacing with peripherals. Unlike some other platforms, you usually don't have to wrestle with installing device drivers, or going through arcane procedures to get your peripherals recognized. Alas, computers being what they are, there are times when things don't work quite as expected. Or, you may be trying to get an older peripheral, or one whose Mac support is in question, working with your computer. Peripheral Vision can set you on the right path, as well as offering some nifty security features.

Peripheral Vision is a preference pane that monitors your Bluetooth, FireWire, Network, USB and File Volume connections, and can present a number of notifications when it detects activity in any of these areas. The most basic configuration of the program will present a visual confirmation that a device has been detected, with an image similar to the one that is displayed when one ejects a disk; a translucent graphic that will slowly fade in and then fade out.

Peripheral Vision Port Monitoring Options

In addition to showing a graphic, you can enable other notifications, some only available with the registered version. You can associate an audio notification when a peripheral is connected or disconnected. For a bit of fun, you can also have Peripheral Vision use speech synthesis to speak the name of the peripheral. These audio and speech notifications can be a great plus if you can't see your screen when you are fumbling around with cables.

Ah yes, about the security angle, Peripheral Vision can help you determine if someone near you is getting especially nosy, and trying to connect to your machine using Bluetooth or AirPort. These access attempts may otherwise go unnoticed. On a recent business trip, your author noticed that someone on the train, whose BlueTooth peripheral contained their name, was making a futile attempt to connect to my PowerBook. It's your choice on whether you'd like to hunt the person down in this situation, but just knowing may be enough for most.

Other interesting goodies include the ability to launch an application when a particular activity is detected, such as the aforementioned wireless access attempt. In this case, one may want to launch a network stumbler to get a better idea of what other wireless devices are in the area. Lastly, you can change the name assigned to a peripheral to something a bit more friendly than the model of the device, which is usually the default for wired peripherals.

So get maximum vision when it comes to what is connecting to your Mac, and get Peripheral Vision today!

Have any other Gadgets that let your Mac know what's going on? Send John an e-mail, and he'll give it a look.