Alfred: Function and Style

While there have been a few quick launch programs for the Mac (Quicksilver is the most notable), I’ve generally not bothered with them as I was satisfied with OS X’s built-in Spotlight function (the magnifying glass in the top right of the screen). With Apple’s App Store being released for OS X 10.6.6 recently, I was poking around looking for the cream among the collection and ran across Alfred by Running with Crayons, Ltd. My position has changed.

First, Alfred is a well-designed piece of software that displays a nice big dialog when activated by pressing the pre-defined hot-key (the default is opt-space):

The main Alfred dialog

That dialog is where you can perform application and file lookups like you do with Spotlight but the real power is the fact that pre-defined functions allow you to not only do searches of other websites (e.g., Amazon, eBay, WikiPedia, Google, Facebook, etc.) but the ability to add search for any other site that uses a URL-based search method. That is what has sold me. In only a few minutes I added search strings for many internal websites I use at work which will be most convenient.

The application is free but a ‘Powerpack’ add-on is available which adds even more functionality (iTunes control, file manipulation, terminal shortcuts, and others). I’ll be getting that but will wait for it to be available in the App Store.┬áIf you ever use Spotlight, give it a try. Plus, the developer’s a LittleBigPlanet fan which gives me even more reason to like it. ;-)

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