A few of my friends will recognize LaunchBar immediately. LaunchBar is one of those tools that I have used for many years and have come to depend upon. The idea behind LaunchBar is quite simple. You press command+space, type a few characters and bam! you have what you want. It indexes specific areas of your system for different types of items (such as songs, applications, documents..) but is totally configurable if the defaults don’t meet your needs. Yes, it’s similar to Apple’s built in Spotlight searching (the chicken in this case), but is so much faster and capable.
There are many basic examples. I bring up the search bar, type and hold ‘w’ and World of Warcraft starts. M is Mail, F is Firefox. If I need a quick calculator, all I need to do is start typing a number and it goes into calculator mode. Every day for work I have many terminal windows open, within which I use ssh to connect to our servers. Instead of launching terminal and typing in the ssh command, I have a small terminal script which I open with a quick command and all I need to do is enter my password.
Today I found something new that totally made me appreciate LaunchBar anew. I was having one of those moments where I couldn’t remember a word, ‘modest’ in this case. I proceeded to try to find it by way of the thesaurus. Thinking of opening the built in thesaurus on the system, I typed ‘thes’ and found that I was prompted to enter a word. Apparently LaunchBar has a search template named ‘thesaurus’. It took my word and opened up the Mirriam-Webster site with the search. Wow. Awesome stuff.
There are apparently a lot of ways that it can help speed things up that I haven’t discovered yet. The usage tips page has a lot of examples of things that you can do. Like the fact that there’s a similar shortcut for the unix ‘man’ command. Sweet!