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Cockpit review


Cockpit isn't yet well equipped enough to justify its price.

Review Date: 20 May 2010

Price when reviewed: (about

Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull

Our Rating 2 stars out of 5

Cockpit is a tool that lives in the menu bar and offers quick access to commands inside a variety of applications. Many similar offerings make it easy to switch between programs or open them without making a trip to the Applications folder. Cockpit's aim, however, is different because it tries to save you a trip to the programs themselves.

From its unobtrusive menu bar icon, you can pull down a widget that looks like a remote control. This has a primary central button, four secondary ones and room on either side for some extra buttons if needed. The function of these changes as you flip between modes inside the application. It ships with controls for iTunes, Safari, iCal, Mail, iPhoto, Keynote and a handful of 'System' commands. Additional controls can be downloaded from the Cockpit website, but only two sets were available when we looked.

We found Cockpit slow to respond, and the commands it offers are limited. They don't save much time, either. Switch to Mail and you can click a button to create a new Note: this opens Mail (if it wasn't open already) and opens a new note window. Since we had already switched to Mail, we could have done this manually by opening Mail and clicking the New Note button. Similarly, Cockpit has Safari commands for Back, Forward and Open New Tab. These are useful only if you're already using Safari - in which case, why use Cockpit?

More frustratingly, switching modes opens more applications in the background before you click a command. We switched to Keynote mode and saw the spinning beach ball as Keynote launched and waited for us to use its 'Choose a theme' sheet. This is probably intended behaviour, but it's not helpful.

Cockpit does let you assign keyboard shortcuts to all commands, so from that perspective it might be useful. But in our view, it offers very little for the price.

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