The Quicksilver Experiment

13Mar07

I’ve been a Mac user for more than 3 years now and I am in no inclination to ever return to Windows. One of the things that makes me say that is an application called Quicksilver. Quicksilver is an application launcher. This allows users to use the keyboard in launching applications rather than having to navigate the UI with a mouse. I’ve used Quicksilver almost as long as I am a Mac user. I probably will have a bit of trouble using a Mac if it didn’t have Quicksilver in it. You could say that this application is an integral part of the Mac experience for me. The developers called Blacktree did a fabulous job on Quicksilver and most importantly, they allow the use of this application for free! Yep, you heard me right. This application, this swiss army knife of a tool can be downloaded and used for free.

I mentioned that this is a swiss army knife. Quicksilver is more than an application launcher. It does so many things of which I haven’t even gotten into yet. But this application has it’s user base and they all love it!

I use Quicksilver much much more than Apple’s Spotlight since a) I’ve gotten used to it and b) Spotlight requires and extra keystroke to launch an application. That is not saying Spotlight is useless. Spotlight is useful when looking for documents and media files. It’s powerful app but for application launching, Quicksilver does it better and you can customize the way it looks, too.

So this brings me to my little experiment. Mac users are aware of the Dock (even though some may not know that it is called as such). The Dock is where the currently open or running applications can be seen. The Dock is also customizable which means you can drag and drop applications from the Applications folder and an icon of that application will stay in the Dock for easy access. This is useful for software that a user frequently opens. So you can imagine that if a user frequently uses twenty apps everytime, the Dock can pretty much get crowded. I’m a minimalist and I like to make things as clean as possible. I have stuck some icons in the Dock like Adium, Firefox, and Google Earth. But I found out that I’ve been using Quicksilver almost exclusively when launching apps. I can’t remember when I last used the Dock to launch an application in my Powerbook. There’s the occasional drag and drop of files to the Bluetooth File Exchange utility to transfer themes and files to my K800 but that’s about it.

So an idea struck me while I was listening to the MacCast Loop show no. 3. I’m going to try to remove most of the icons from my Dock and try to use Quicksilver only from now on. Save for the bluetooth file transfer, I won’t use the Dock to launch apps. I’ll see how this will pan out. This is only for my Powebook. I think it’s a entirely different thing when it comes to my iMac.

So today will be Day One of the un-Docking of my Powerbook. I’m going to go Quicksilver all the way.

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