Isolator

Version: 4.5b || Release Date: 2009-09-21 || License: Freeware Developer: Ben Willmore | App Owner: beniamino

Menubar app hides cluttered desktop, helps you concentrate.

Isolator is a small menu bar application that helps you concentrate. When you're working on a document, and don't want to be distracted, turn on Isolator. It will cover up your desktop and all the icons on it, as well as the windows of all your other applications, so you can concentrate on the task in hand.

Isolator is similar to, but not the same as Think and Backdrop. The difference is that it works exactly how I want it to. Maybe you'll like it too.

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27 Opinions

This app rocks! I'm looking forward to seeing it evolve.

rampancy: The newest version (1.4beta8) just improves the behaviour of Isolator when the Finder is activated. That's the last functionality change I expect before releasing a new stable version. I will put out one last beta shortly, see what bug reports come in, and hopefully release that as the next stable version. Ben

I noticed there's a new 1.4b8 version up - what are the changes from b7?

mathuaerknedam: The latest development version (1.4beta7) doesn't use 'hiding', it just covers up the background window with a 'veil', just as you (and many others) suggested. The reason I didn't do that before is because it's hard to achieve. The old behaviour is still available (Prefs window) for anyone who really liked 'hiding'. Known issue: Isolation doesn't work reliably with the Finder. Ben (developer)

Looks like 1.4b5 (first I've tried) addresses most of the requests below. However, one that I'd still like to see is resetting the visibility of hidden apps when I turn off Isolation. Of course, if an app was hidden when I started Isolating, I don't want it to suddenly become visible just because I stopped isolating. I have not clue how triky it might be to implement this.

I'm curious why the developer uses "hiding" rather than a "backdrop" window that stays immediately behind the front app. I'd think shuffling window order would be better than changing the "hidden" state of every app. Especially when there's already a backdrop being drawn to hide the desktop.

I realize that it's still beta and that beta releases are often lacking updated docs, but it would be especially nice to document that users now have to ctrl-click the icon to show the window. Adding that detail to a tooltip for the status icon might be nice too.

I like it. :)

I agree with Wak - that would be a great idea.

I have to say, I used to prefer Desktopple or Camouflage (I was even planning on buying Desktopple Pro) but - but after trying Isolator again, I've adopted this as my new focus app. As I've said for other apps, what I always do is link the hotkey for Isolator (any similar app) to my top left trackpad corner in Sidetrack.

This is my favorite of the "focus" apps. I only have one wish though. I would love it if simply clicking the menu icon would activate/deactivate Isolator. The menu could be accessed by cntrl-clicking. (This method is used by Caffeine (http://lightheadsw.com/caffeine/)).

This feature would greatly increase the usefulness of this app for me.

The Dock is not covered, but if you want to hide it, the default shortcut is command-option-d.

Has anybody else had problems with some apps not showing up in bezel brought up by Command-Tab while running Isolator?

NIce app, basically what I want. I however run multiple displays and Isolator only blanks the primary screen. Also would it to unhide the other apps when I turn it off.

Great solution though. Love it in the menu bar.

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