Previously, the Living Earth HD, world clock and weather, was available only for iOS. Now, it’s been brought over to the Mac, and it’s equally spectacular. Plus, it includes desktop and screen saver functions.
The iOS version of this app was previously reviewed, and it was given a high rating. What’s nice about this app is the tasteful design, aesthetics, and lots of information on the global weather in cities that the user can specify.
Moving to the Mac
In moving to OS X, Living Earth Desktop is an app that launches (into) a Menu bar item. The icon in the Menu bar is a cloudiness indicator side-by-side with the temperature in the selected city.
Clicking the icon brings up a good sized window of planet Earth, showing the current, visible cloud conditions and the cities list. As with the iOS version, the selected city is a pale blue dot. However, also as with the iOS version, one cannot zoom in very far. The developer said he’s wortking on that. So far, it looks a lot like its iOS counterpart.
This is as far as one can zoom in.
In the migration to the Mac, there are new opportunities. You can make the current view of Earth the desktop. Unfortunately, due to restrictions by Apple, it’s not possible to interact with the desktop, so grabbing the Earth with the mouse and rotating it to the desired location is not possible. Instead, like a slide show, the desktop view changes from city to city in the list.
Make the Living Earth your desktop (in all Spaces)
However, in the Menu bar window, you can zoom in and out with the scroll wheel on a mouse or by pinching on a Magic Trackpad. Double-click also zooms in.
If you click once on one of the cities, you’ll get a longer range forecast with the calendar dates on the left.
Clicking on one of the days, shows a curve over time for selected parameters like temperature or humidity.
There is also a screen saver mode. Apps purchased via the Mac App Store must use a different screen saver methodology, so this screen saver won’t appear in your System Preferences. First, you turn off any screen saver in System Prefs, set the Energy Saver to sleep after Living Earth would kick in, and then you’ll get a beautiful image of Earth that has several nice options: rotate the Earth slow or fast, cycle through your own selected cities, or through major global cities.
This migration to the Mac is very nice and affords all these new facilities. It’s a technical app that one can embrace with enthusiasm.
In this 1.0 version, released Aug 23, 2012, I found (possibly) two minor issues. First, there may be a conflict with the Layers app used for screen shots. The problem is not nailed down yet. Second, LEHD will occasionally quit when changing Lion Spaces. I’ve alerted the developer, and he’s looking into both issues aggressively.
OS X 10.6.8 or later. 64-bit processor. English only. Tested under Lion, 10.7.4. Available in the Mac App Store.
LEHD is a spectacularly good looking app that is also very useful, especially if you have an interest in checking on the weather in various global locations. For example, family members who are traveling. It’s also a gorgeous screen saver. However, I personally don’t like a desktop that has a lot of black space. You may feel differently.
The bugs I saw seem minor and will, I expect, be fixed in a coming update. The developer is already working on them. I’ll update this quick look review when I know more. Meanwhile, it gets a provisional Solid+ rating.
The developer has found the issue with the app quitting on a Spaces change. It happens only after the screen saver has activated. It will be fixed in the next release.
Aug 29: Version 1.01 was released and fixes that bug.