Mountain Lion’s Notification Center is one of the features that’s commanded a lot of attention and very little critique, if any at all. It’s also the feature that had everyone saying Growl, the popular notification app for routing and unifying notifications in OS X, would go the way of the dinosaurs. What some people forgot was that not all apps would be compatible with Mountain Lion, and not all developers would make supporting the notification center their top priority. That means for those who have upgraded to Mountain Lion, they now have two different kinds of notifications to watch out for. Hiss is a free app for Mac (Mountain Lion only) that makes the transition easier. It re-routes notifications that apps usually send through Growl, and displays them in the Notification Center panel. The slight downside is that unlike the stock apps that classify the notifications by the app name, all notifications are listed under Hiss.
The app adds a button to the Menu Bar, and its preference pane will open the first time you launch it. There aren’t any preferences to choose from, i.e., no settings. You can just turn the app on or off, disable the icon in the Menu Bar and set it to launch when you login to your system.
There isn’t an option that allows you to choose which apps’ notifications will be routed through Hiss. You have basically what’s an ‘all or nothing’ deal. When an app sends you a notification, it appears as a normal one from one of the stock apps in Mountain Lion. There doesn’t appear to be an option for dismissing a notification as some apps like Calendar and Reminder have but that might be due to the nature of the app itself.
Click the notification panel icon in the Menu Bar, and you will see Hiss listed there with updates from different apps. The downside of having all the notifications grouped under one head is that if you dismiss one of them, you dismiss them all. This is probably the price you have to pay until your favorite apps can natively send their notifications through the new default system.
The real question is, of course, what if users want to stick to Growl? Growl was amazing at what it did, and for lack of something like Notification Center, anyone would be more than happy to spend the $2.99. However, with Mountain Lion and its superior notification management system, where exactly will Growl fit in? That remains to be seen. Replicating what Hiss does is a start, but it’s likely going to need to take it further, since Hiss has already done the bare basic of knitting the two different systems together.