There are times where you're doing some simple work at your computer. It's not tough work, but it needs to be done. You just wish you could be doing something else alongside it, like watching a video.
Sure, you can pull up YouTube in a browser, but as soon as you click on another window, it loses focus. Then you're stuck resizing windows and manually arranging them. Pennywise aims to solve this problem for you.
What Does Pennywise Do?
Pennywise is a very simple app at its core. It takes any URL, opens it, and keeps it on top. No matter where you click on the screen, Pennywise keeps that web page at the very top. This is most useful for videos, but you can use it for any website.
The main limitation with Pennywise, at least for the time being, is that it only works with websites. You can't play a video file from your computer and use Pennywise to keep it on top, for example. That said, this feature is part of the development roadmap for Pennywise.
You can find Pennywise on its official GitHub page. There are a few different ways you can install it, depending on what platform you plan to run it on.
For Windows, just download Pennywise from its releases page and run the app. For Linux, AppImage downloads let you easily install Pennywise, no matter what distribution you're using. You can also install Pennywise via Homebrew, also known as Linuxbrew on Linux and Windows.
Installing via Homebrew is the easiest option on macOS. To install Pennywise, run the following command:
brew cask install pennywise
The first time you try to run Pennywise on macOS, it will warn you that it can't open the app because it's from an unidentified developer. Open System Preferences, then go to the "Security & Privacy" section. Under the General tab you'll see the "Open Anyway" icon at the bottom of the screen. Tap this to launch Pennywise.
On Windows, simply hit the Win key and type in Pennywise. You can also find the app in the Start menu. On Linux, how you launch the app may differ depending on how you installed it and what desktop you use.
Using Pennywise is simple. Run the app and type in the URL you'd like to "float" over your desktop. In many cases the Pennywise window will even "stick" to multiple desktops, meaning it never gets out of site. You can resize the window however you see fit.
Pennywise doesn't offer much in the way of configuration. One important aspect to note is that you can adjust the window's opacity. This lets you keep a webpage open for taking notes while still being able to see what's behind it on your desktop.
Pennywise Keyboard Shortcuts
There are a few keyboard shortcuts worth learning. The first is detached mode. This makes the window non-interactive, letting you click "behind" it. You can toggle this on and off by hitting Ctrl + Shift + D or Command + Shift + D, depending on your platform.
You might also find that the navigation bar gets in the way. Fortunately, you can easily toggle this on and off. Just hit either Ctrl + Space + L or Command + Space + L.
Pennywise is useful, but it isn't the only app of its kind. It's also not useful for certain situations. Every time you open the app, you need to enter a new URL. If you're looking to make a website a permanent fixture on your desktop, Pennywise may not be for you.
That said, there are plenty of ways to essentially turn web apps into desktop apps. We've covered a few before. Fluid can turn web apps into desktop apps on macOS, while there are a few different options for Linux.
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