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Visor - A Quake-style drop-down Terminal Apps
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[Score: 8 out of 10]
This week's Pick of the Week is for those of the Quake generation. Ever wish OS X had a Quake-like Terminal, invokable via a hot key? Well, with Visor, it can. Install this plug-in (you'll also need to have SIMBL installed), and as long as Terminal is running, you can drop-down a Terminal window, Quake style, from the top menu bar. The default key combo is Control-F1, though it's easily customized. When Terminal is running, you'll also see the Visor icon in your menubar -- use this to invoke Visor, or to set its preferences.

In Visor's preferences, you control the transition (how quickly it slides and fades, or whether it does so at all), as well as whether or not the menu bar icon is visible or not. One of the more visually interesting, though not necessarily useful, features is also hiding here: the ability to set any Quartz Composer animation as a live Visor background:


That's Visor, greatly shrunken down, running with the Particle System Quartz Composer animation (from the Developer Tools) as the background. Definitely not something I'd probably use every day, but it'd sure look neat in demos!

Visor isn't perfect -- you'll find a list of some known issues (along with some workarounds) on the website. But having a drop-use-hide Terminal available at the touch of a hotkey is quite useful, and you can't beat the price.
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Visor - A Quake-style drop-down Terminal | 15 comments | Create New Account
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Visor - A Quake-style drop-down Terminal
Authored by: Oceanhints1 on Jan 22, '07 04:32:42PM

Very nice, only one issue:

Quartz Compositions only appear for a split second when the visor is sliding then they dissapear. I've tried all the compositions that are in the Dev Tools.



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Visor - A Quake-style drop-down Terminal
Authored by: Oceanhints1 on Jan 22, '07 04:39:37PM

Ignore previos comment, all I had to do was reduce the transparency!

Obvious when you sit back and think about it!!



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Try it with a custom Terminal!
Authored by: mithras on Jan 22, '07 07:31:50PM

I heartily recommend running Visor with a custom copy of Terminal, so you can have Visor launch at login, yet still have regular Terminal around for when you need it.

These are the steps I followed:

1. Create VisorTerminal
a. Navigate to /Applications/Utilities and duplicate Terminal.app.
b. Rename the copy (e.g. VisorTerminal)
c. Right-click & 'Show Package Contents' on VisorTerminal; open the Info.plist file in your favorite plist or text editor.
d. Change the CFBundleIdentifier to com.apple.VisorTerminal.
e. Add a key named LSUIElement, with a String value of 1. (i.e., in a text editor, add a line:

<key>LSUIElement</key>
<string>1</string>

2. Customize preferences
a. Navigate to ~/Library/Preferences, and duplicate com.apple.Terminal.plist.
b. Rename the copy 'com.apple.VisorTerminal.plist'
c. Use this macosxhint to set VisorTerminal to open and then kill a terminal window when it first opens.

3. Update Visor
a. Navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins
b. Right-click & 'Show Package Contents' on Visor.bundle; open the Info.plist file in your favorite plist or text editor.
c. Change the value 'com.apple.Terminal' to 'com.apple.VisorTerminal' (in the path Root -> SIMBLTargetApplications -> 0 -> BundleIdentifier.

4. Set VisorTerminal to open at login, and enjoy!

---
--
mithrastheprophet.net (coming soonish)

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Try it with a custom Terminal!
Authored by: mistersquid on Jan 22, '07 09:37:06PM

Your instructions don't work for me. When I open VisorTerminal.app, it has no dock icon, no application menubar, and no trace in the Tab-switcher. This makes it impossible to activate the modified Visor.bundle.



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Try it with a custom Terminal!
Authored by: seika7 on Jan 23, '07 10:49:24AM

That's the point of the VisorTerminal tip. It's to have a duplicate copy of the Terminal always running in the background without taking up space in your dock. Visor won't run by itself; you need to have Terminal running first. If you're not the type who has Terminal running 24/7, it's handy to have the transparent VisorTerminal always accessible through Visor by hitting the hot key without having to start Terminal first.



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Try it with a custom Terminal!
Authored by: mistersquid on Jan 23, '07 04:32:52PM

You're not grokking what I'm saying.

The copy, VisorTerminal.app, HAS NO MENU INTERFACE, which means I can't enable (the modified version of) Visor in the first place. In other words, it is impossible for me to make use of VisorTerminal.app because there is no way to activate Visor.

The instructions cannot be followed.



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Try it with a custom Terminal!
Authored by: qrulf on Jan 25, '07 11:59:42PM
Hi, I've not gone through the above instructions, but I've succeded using the instructions below. With those instructions the small dropdown-menu appears as usual.

http://blog.bitxtender.com/2006/11/04/the-perfect-visor/

~ Jørgen

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Try it with a custom Terminal!
Authored by: starwxrwx on Jan 22, '07 11:55:01PM

This seems unnecessary - You can still use the Terminal as normal with Visor installed.



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Try it with a custom Terminal!
Authored by: pub3abn on Jan 23, '07 06:47:28AM

If a person wants to user Visor without the main terminal window appearing at startup, it is possible: set Terminal to auto-launch on login (Control-click or right-click on its icon in the dock, and choose "Open at Login"), and then set it to be hidden at launch by opening System Preferences:Accounts, select the Login Items tab, and click the check box next to the Terminal app so make it hide. If you ever want a regular terminal window, just click on the Terminal icon in the dock.



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Visor - A Quake-style drop-down Terminal
Authored by: dsjkvf on Jan 22, '07 10:44:11PM

i face a little interesting problem with it: i have a two monitor setup, and when i press a hotkey for Visor, it drops down on the monitor, where the last accessed terminal is.

e.g., i use my second monitor mostly for ssh / irsii / centericq, and mainly do work on a primary one (which is also bigger :)) -- but since the last accessed terminal is usually on the the second monitor (the one with irsii / centericq stuff), Visor most of the time appears on the second monitor, which is quite inconvenient :).

so, the question is the following: is there any way to bind Visor to appear only on a certain monitor?


thank you in advance for your help and interest.



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Visor - A Quake-style drop-down Terminal
Authored by: pub3abn on Jan 23, '07 06:42:35AM

You should send this request to the developer. Many freeware/shareware app developers are quite responsive to user requests.



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Visor - A Quake-style drop-down Terminal
Authored by: dsjkvf on Jan 23, '07 09:02:44AM

thanks, i've tried that earlier :). no response so far..



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Visor - A Quake-style drop-down Terminal
Authored by: peragrin on Jan 25, '07 04:27:02PM

currently I use Spark and a custom applescript to launch and close iterm with the press of the F8 key for my laptop. I have asked for this very feature to be included in iterm but I don't think that will happen. instead i will wait and see if someone creates a modified version of iterm that does this independently. I don't care much for smbl or APE modifying apps in such ways. it is just an unsafe practice.

---
I thought once I was found but it was only a dream



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What about WidgetTerm?
Authored by: clknight on Feb 18, '07 01:55:38PM
Gotta hand it to Blacktree, this is cool--but for day to day use I prefer WidgetTerm. This seems like just what the Dashboard was made for.

---
Chris

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Visor - A Quake-style drop-down Terminal
Authored by: xster on Jun 26, '10 02:16:20PM

I've posted a guide for small footprint, omnipresent drop down terminal
http://tech.xster.net/tips/the-perfect-visor-reborn/



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