Playing with Technology

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~Arthur C. Clarke

Quicklaunchers or How I learned to stop mousing and love the keyboard

I’ve been a big fan of quicklaunchers since I got my current MacBook Pro almost four years ago (wow, does anyone want to help me get a newer one?). I may have even fooled around with them on my old 12″ MacBook Pro. I found it very frustrating to have to use the trackpad to mouse around and open files and programs and so I started using Launchbar (which now sits inactive in my Applications folder). It was great. I just hit CTRL+Space and typed a few letters and bam, I could visit a URL, open a file, open a program, send an e-mail. I was in heaven.

It was only a few months later I think that I heard about QuickSilver the perpetual beta quicklauncher. I don’t remember why I switched but I switched from Launchbar to Quicksilver. It was probably the nice bezel look I could get on Quicksilver that made me switch. I was still in heaven and able to fly around my computer without taking my hands off the keyboard. Maybe I wasn’t flying since I type so slowly, but it was faster then mousing around. Then a few months ago Boone Gorges wrote a post about how he was using Quicksilver and I realized I had been missing so much. I tried to follow some of Boone’s tips but encountered little success. To top it off Quicksilver started crashing and just generally acting sluggish since upgrading to 10.6.

So today I happened to read a tweet that mentioned a new quicklauncher, Alfred. The name is not as sexy as Quicksilver, but I downloaded it anyway. Initially it didn’t work. I wrote the nice folks at Alfred and they hooked me up with a version that would run on my old non 64 bit laptop (someone should really get me a new one). Let me say I love the design of their site and so far Alfred feels a lot faster than Quicksilver. I’m not sure Alfred can do all the crazy things Boone has Quicksilver doing, that is why I’m hoping he downloaded it and can try to push it. For now I’ll try Alfred and keep my hands on the keyboard. Yahooooo!