Internet-connected apps and toys are fun and all, but sometimes nothing is trustier than controlling everything from the original motherboard: Your computer. Take the Google Chromecast for example. The convenience of being able to send videos from your tablet or smartphones straight to the TV is great, but searching for videos on a laptop is still easier when you can type faster, search better, and sort through the results more efficiently. So wouldn’t you want to do the same with other app-enabled devices, such as the Philips Hue smart bulbs?
Well, thanks to a third-party application from the Mac App Store, you can. The Hue Menu will put all the functionalities of the original Hue app onto your Mac’s screen so you can access the control panel right from the menu. The app adds an icon on the Menu bar and opens up a drop down selection of all the bulbs synced in your network. From here, you can control the brightness, color, preset scene, or “random mode” so the lights can change various colors every 15 seconds. You can also use Shift+Alt to select colors from a photo on your computer screen if you want to use the image as inspiration for colorizing the space.
What the Hue Menu doesn’t have just yet, however, are the alarm, timer, and geofencing modes. The former two features we can wait for, but geofencing on a laptop seems a bit excessive. That capability makes sense on a mobile gadget since it goes with you wherever you are, but we suppose it doesn’t hurt to make it available just in case. Hue Menu developer Charles Aroutiounian has yet to clarify whether he will build in a feature so users can directly program other third party automations, such as IFTTT and WeMo. Now that’s an add-on we’d like to see – and it’d be worth the $2.99 price tag.