Push notifications have made productivity on iOS devices a lot easier. The multitask tool then made this level of productivity go to a whole different level. However, the Mac only recently was exposed to this level of notifications with Notification Center for Mac. While for many users, this may be considered suffice, there are others who want to have a bit more features with the way push notifications are sent. Today, we will take a look at Boxcar for Mac to see how it works and if it’s right for your notification needs on the Mac.
What is Boxcar?
Boxcar is an application, found in your menu bar, that allows you to receive push notifications onto your Mac from social networks, RSS feeds, and many more sources. Boxcar is available online for settings configurations, on iPhone and other iOS devices, as well as on Mac of course.
There’s no reason to have to wait for the application to either manually update or update every so-and-so minutes, Boxcar does it automatically and quite fast if I may add. There’s no lack of services that Boxcar will update automatically, from Twitter to Facebook, email and even lesser known services.
How to begin?
Boxcar is not currently a Mac App Store application. This only complicates the set-up process only in a minor way, requiring you to have to go onto the Boxcar website to download. After downloading by following the onscreen pop-ups and finalizing the process by dragging to Applications, you will be directed to the website again to finish the sign-up. It’s important to stay on the website because much of the set-up still continues on the site. For example, adding websites is available through the “Add services” function. However, this one-time inconvenience isn’t a deal breaker.
Features found in Boxcar
Boxcar works by allowing you to view notifications in the menu bar. They are made readable by having a title or other form of alert, a photo, and the corresponding text. Despite being made available in the menu bar, the application doesn’t pop-up every time. This is a great thing, especially if you receive frequent notifications. Instead, you have the ability to select a sound to play along with the Boxcar button at the top highlighting. Aside from being notified, Boxcar doesn’t offer any type of composing or other interaction features.
The Strengths and Pitfalls of Boxcar
Boxcar is a great application for those who want to try something new aside from Notification Center for OS X. The ability for the application is be conveniently available in the menu bar is also a great addition for the application. The speed that they appear on Boxcar, after setup of course, was also great. However, the pitfalls of Boxcar are very hard to look past.
First off, the sign up process should certainly be a bit more seamless than it currently is. The heavy dependence on Safari during sign up really shows the lack of planning that went into the process to begin with. Additionally, once downloaded, the lack of interaction past the simple fact of just being notified of a comment or email is also a bit disheartening. You don’t have the ability to retweet, tweet, reply, share, or anything else with notifications.