Review: Bin-it

Customize your Trash themes, back to earlier days. (July 31st, 2007)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Fastforward Software

Price: $12.50 US

The Good

  • Visually appealing. Easy to use. Fun to play with for a few minutes.

The Bad

  • Image management bugs. Real Memory hog. No user guide. Poor value compared Compost.

Bin-it 1.3.1 is a Mac OS X trash application that sits in the Dock and is all business, as it displays an empty or full Trash can. Bin-it provides a floating Trash can with a level display and an option for any number of fun or custom themes.

Nostalgic

A simple drag and drop into Applications installs Bin-it, at which time a large floating Mac OS 8 themed Trash can floats in the middle of your screen that mimics the wastebasket or trash desktop icon in older versions of the Mac OS. I find this a curious default choice because the icon looks really old fashioned compared to the beautiful icons that abound in Mac OS X. It may have looked good on older Macs, but it looks odd here and it was the first thing I changed.

From the Preferences, you can select Mac OS 7, 8, and X themes, plus six other fun and artistically designed waste container themes unique to this utility. Each offers four different icons representing Empty Trash, 25% Full, 75% Full, and Full Trash respectively. Unfortunately, while the overall size threshold is adjustable, the full Trash range can only be adjusted between 10 - 100 MB. In other words, if you have more than 100 MB of trash, you will always see a Full Trash icon. 100 MB of trash doesn't seem like a lot anymore, and this range seems more appropriate for the times when hard drive space was measured in hundreds of megabytes rather than gigabytes. I do like the ability to adjust the physical size of the floating Trash icon and the option to display the number of items and overall size in MB.

Significant shortcomings

Perhaps the most interesting feature of Bin-it is the ability to create your own trash can theme. Click New Theme, assign a name, then drag and drop up to six images, including PDF files, into the appropriate boxes. This feature doesn't work properly though, because images 3 and 5 are never displayed regardless of the threshold setting, while images 1, 2, 4, and 6 correspond to the four trash levels. Furthermore, if you don't provide six images, Bin-it automatically fills empty spaces with duplicates in a way that may not accurately reflect your desires. For example, if you provide an image in position 5, but leave 4 and 6 blank, Bin-it automatically fills in position 4 and 6 with a copy of image 5. This is a major flaw for anyone seriously interested in the custom theme feature, and there doesn't seem to be any reason for requiring six images when the program only supports four per theme. Bin-it is also a memory hog, consistently demanding anywhere from 50 to 250 MB of Real Memory according to Activity Monitor.

More eye candy than utility

Bin-it is kind of fun to play with for a few minutes, but then you find yourself asking, "Why do I care?" It is a lot easier to simply right click and empty the Trash via the Dock when you want. Unless you want a visual reminder to empty your trash manually, consider Compost, which is the far more useful utility. It's kind of like the trash in your kitchen; you don't want it to overflow and it sure would be nice if it would empty itself automatically. The bad news is that Bin-it doesn't solve either problem. The good news is that the good folks at Fastforward Software offer an outstanding alternative in Compost, which I reviewed earlier. If you care to test it out, you can download a demo of Bin-It, which has new theme creation disabled, until you pay the fee.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Scott Gureck


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