Quicksilver Beta (Mac OS X)

I’ve been using QuickSilver beta35 for some time now, and it is simply excellent. However, you do need some time to switch your thinking caps over to using it. I’ll clarify some more…

On the website it is described as a Framework for launching applications – for now. However, even in it’s current form it is already very useful. Basically it is a search engine that indexes user-selected parts of your harddisks (or all of your disks) and lets you use keyboard commands to select ‘stuff’ and ‘do things with it and to it’.

For example, you can do the ‘ctrl’+’space’ key combination (the default way to activate QS) and up pops a small window, you type the first few letters of the application you want to start, and it’ll show you – as you type – the results. Hit ‘enter’ and QuickSilver will launch the application, simply as that. Very handy to quickly launch an application if you know it’s name, which you often do. Takes you all of 3 seconds.

Now, just by letting you use the keyboard for this the application is already useful, however it allows you to do much more : if you hit ‘tab’ once you select something, you get an additional menu that allows you to do things TO the selected item.

Let me give you an example : ‘ctrl’ + ‘space’, type the first letters of a document you have on your hard disk, ‘tab’ to open the second menu, start typing ‘mail’, arrow down the list to select ’email SEND’ , type the name of a person in your address book you want to send it to, hit enter, and boom, you’ve send a mail with the file attached to the person.
Time used : 7 seconds.

I admit it takes time to remember that you can do it this way, and I don’t always think of using it like that, but heck, yo have to admit it is a very intuitive way of working, it’s all those years of working the wrong way that are making it hard to switch over.

In order to do some of these extra things, however, it needs plugins – this allows it to be infinitely adaptable – you install only those plugins you need, or all of them. You can install an iTunes plugin so your songs show up, or a Safari plugin so your bookmarks are indexed as well, there are several others.

My only wish : QuickSilver for PC…