By Matt@Smalldog.com

I’m the kind of computer user who tries to use the mouse as
little as possible. I know all the keyboard shortcuts and I know how to use them. Up until about a year ago, I still had to use the mouse to launch applications and open documents, and had a very full dock with very tiny icons and a super-cluttered desktop.

Everything changed when I found Quicksilver (http://quicksilver.blacktree.com). I believe this program is the most significant advance in computing interfaces since the GUI itself. It’s accurately described on its home page as “A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data.” On the surface, it is an application launcher. You specify a key combo to invoke Quicksilver, which runs in the background taking up almost none of the CPU or RAM, and type a few letters of the application you want to launch. Looking to bring up Terminal? Type “ter” or “tml” or “term”. Quicksilver will instantly scan its catalog and Terminal’s icon shows up. Press return and Terminal opens. Or, type “t” and a list of possible matches comes up. Select Terminal from the list, and next time you invoke Quicksilver and type “t”, Terminal is selected.

Quicksilver allows you to do much more with plugins, which can be downloaded at the website. You can, for example, search for a document, attach it to an email message, type a message, and zap it off, all from within Quicksilver. Upload photos to Flickr, add events to iCal or Google Calendar…there are so many possibilities, none of which involve use of the mouse. Then there are “triggers,” but hopefully I have your attention and you’ll go to their site to find out more.

I still love and use Spotlight for its ability to search within files. It’s great. But as an application launcher it falls short. Consider Quicksilver, if only as an keyboard-based application launcher. I guarantee you’ll add it to your login items, and, after a while, you too will empty your dock and clear your desktop.

By Matt@Smalldog.com

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