You’ve no doubt heard about quick-launcher apps, they are utilities that are triggered by a keyboard shortcut and that let you do things like open apps or files a lot faster than if you did so by going into the menus. You just have to trigger the bar, type in what you are looking for and press enter. The great thing is that it works for so many more things than launching apps.
The app that we are reviewing today is one of these utilities and it’s called, of all things, Launcher. Come take a look at what it has to offer!
Launching applications is a functional, necessary action that you take every day. Rather than being an exciting process, when it comes to opening an app, the less friction and interaction required the better.
For a long time, Mac users have favoured a dedicated application launcher for doing just this. Although you can store plenty of handy application shortcuts in your Dock, it soon becomes cluttered and difficult to navigate (and it requires the use of your mouse).
For speedy application launching, few options are better than a piece of software such as Quicksilver, LaunchBar or Alfred. For the purists among you, OS X’s built-in search tool – Spotlight – is perfectly adept at this. Just invoke it using Cmd-Space and type the name of the application you’d like to start!
But which do you prefer to use on a daily basis? Or are you perfectly happy with the OS X Dock? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
In today’s interview, I’m talking to Andrew Pepperrell, the developer behind one of my favourite applications of the year—Alfred. This is a fantastic application launcher, and seems to keep growing and expanding every month. It’s certainly been developed with care and attention to detail!
Andrew has taken a few minutes out of his busy day to answer our questions, talk about how Alfred is developed, share his thoughts on the latest Apple developments, and even drop a few hints about what to expect in future versions…
I hope you enjoy the interview!
An application launcher is something that a lot of Mac users won’t really worry about. After all, Apple was nice enough to include a handy little launcher (the Dock) with their OS. It’s pretty flexible and fairly feature rich. Why even look for an alternative? Because there are a lot of better alternatives out there. Let’s take a look at one.
Jump aims to solve some problems you probably didn’t know you even had. I have to say I thought I’d just grab the free version, check it out for a few days and be done with it in a week. That’s actually quite the opposite of what happened. Read on for the scoop.
It’s been over six months since we first took a look at Alfred, a fantastic application launcher for the Mac. Since then, I’ve heard about many of you switching to this system from Quicksilver, Google Quick Search Box, and various other launchers.
I’ve become a devoted fan of Alfred, and it’s probably now one of the most oft-used apps on my Mac. A recent update to the app comes in the form of the Alfred Powerpack, bringing a set of fantastic new features and significantly broadening the scope of what Alfred is capable of. He’s turning into a pretty handy butler!
I’ll be taking a look at some of these new “Powerpack features” after the break.
Have you ever wanted a fully featured command center for your Mac, allowing you to create a iCal event, control your iTunes library, or anything else? How about an application that lets you map all those commands to keyboard shortcuts, giving you access to them with only a few keystrokes?
Cockpit for Mac is all that and more. Cockpit is the perfect way to control all your applications and increase your productivity. Easily manage and add new commands with the built-in Actions builder, which uses Apple’s Automator style drag and drop to make both simple and complex actions.
I’m pleased to announce that we’ve chosen the winners of our Alfred competition. Congratulations are in order to the following five people who will be receiving their Powerpack code shortly!
- Bretton L
- Crazy H Studio
- Christine Lee
Special 10% Discount!
We also have a great offer, just for AppStorm readers. Just use the code APPSTORM1 when checking out, and you’ll receive a 10% discount on your order! This offer will only run until Monday night (US time), so be sure to get your order in quickly!
Old Competition Details
If you aren’t already using Alfred App, it’s definitely worth downloading and giving a try. Alfred is quickly becoming one of the best application launchers available for the Mac – we’ve covered it previously on AppStorm.
Today we’re partnering up with Alfred to give you the chance to win one of five “Powerpack” licenses. This adds a range of extra features to Alfred App, including File System Navigation, Result Actions, and iTunes Mini Player, and lots more to be added soon. Usually priced at £12, we have five to give away for free!
Entering is really easy. All you need to do is:
- Post a link to this competition – either on your website, or via Twitter
- Leave a comment, letting me know where you posted the link
Simple! The competition will run for one week, and I’ll pick five winning comments at random on Friday 17th September. Best of luck!
Apple made a controversial change in Snow Leopard. It’s a fairly system-level one, though, so perhaps the majority of users will not have had any issues with it – but it’s made some experienced Mac users pretty unhappy. What’s changed is the way in which files open when double-clicked.
It used to be that OS X embedded what’s known as a Creator Code in new files, so that the system knew to open files within the applications that made them. Rob Griffiths published a discussion of this behaviour, and the changes in Snow Leopard, in Macworld back in September last year. Have a read of that piece, and the lengthy comments that accompany it, if you want to understand the issue better.
I haven’t been impacted by this change to a great degree, but one of the applications that comes up in discussion of ways of fixing the change, and giving back more control over what applications open files, caught my eye. Michel Fortin’s Magic Launch is a Preference Pane that lets you manipulate file-opening in ways that allow you a great deal of flexibility.
It solves the problem of Creator Codes being removed, but it also adds some excellent functionality, and that means it’s well worth a look even if you’re untroubled by the main issue it addresses.
Alfred is the latest application to add to an ever-expanding set of “quick launch” apps. So is there room for another? Definitely. Alfred has been designed with the casual user in mind and makes finding files and searching the net a whole lot faster and easier.
On the surface, Quicksilver is a simple application launcher. Type a quick shortcut to launch the main window followed by the first few letters of an application’s name and you’re off launching apps at will from the keyboard like some sort of OS X wizard. This is all fine and dandy, but the real power of Quicksilver lies in a broad and robust range of features.
However, faced with a formidable learning curve, many users fail to dig deeper to discover how to use Quicksilver beyond simply launching apps. This article will provide a brief overview of how to setup Quicksilver and begin using a number of its most useful features. Later we’ll have another article that delves into some more advanced features, techniques and tricks.