Google Quick Search Box, Quicksilver Successor?

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It wasn’t so long ago that Quicksilver developer, Nicholas Jitkoff, was painting a pretty glum future for everyone’s favorite free Mac application, Quicksilver. The story is not over though. It looks like the gang over at Google, where Nicholas now works, has been busy putting together a new incarnation of Quicksilver under the Google banner with the recent release of Google Quick Search Box. The beta software isn’t near the functionality of Quicksilver (yet) but this may be one to watch for all keyboard jockeys.

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The LaunchBar/Quicksilver Shuffle


I noticed today that LaunchBar has released a beta of their new version 5. I’ve tried LaunchBar a few times in the past but I always seem back with my beloved Quicksilver. Tonight I loaded LaunchBar yet again. I’ll be using it for the next month and reporting back. If you are a LaunchBar power user, sound off in the comments or send me a note. I’d love to hear your tips.

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Re-Installing Quicksilver


For the last few months I’ve been running an informal test of LaunchBar. It is an excellent application but after living with it for awhile I’m happily returning to Quicksilver. I found LaunchBar more stable than Quicksilver but not as customizable and I really missed some of my favorite Quicksilver tweaks like timers, text append, the shelf, and (of course) that so cool cube interface. I wouldn’t entirely write off the possibility that I’ll give Launchbar another try someday but for now I need to go back and get re-aquainted with the Cube.

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The LaunchBar Experiment

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Since posting on the issues with Quicksilver, I’ve received two distinct groups of emails. Faction A is with me that “the Man” will indeed need to rip Quicksilver from our cold dead hands and faction B is telling me that I’m being silly for not even giving LaunchBar a chance. So I decided to do an experiment and run LaunchBar for a couple weeks. I’ve just installed it today and spent most of the day in meetings and away from my Mac. So far I seem to have its application launching, address book, and iTunes features down but that is about it.
I have no idea how to really use it to move files as I do in Quicksilver. Likewise I have no idea if LaunchBar can append text files, run timers, email files from my desktop or a variety of other tasks I use Quicksilver for. Nevertheless, I’m going to try and run it for a few weeks and see what happens. I’ll report back and maybe even do a review at some point in the not so distant future. Stay tuned.

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Quicksilver Doomed!?


Today lifehacker ran an exclusive interview with Quicksilver developer Nicholas Jitkoff in which Jitkoff essentially says he is moving on and leaving Quicksilver to linger.
Jitkoff: I’m inclined to encourage users to move over to the more stable and well supported alternatives like LaunchBar. Right now QS 54 (ed: the current build) accomplishes everything that I really need, the problem is stability, which for some reason most people seem to be ignoring.
Lifehacker: Right, in the end stability is what matters most. I have a MacBook Pro that—until your recent updates—crashed QS on a very regular basis, which was always heartbreaking. But I’ve seen major stability improvements since the updates, which has been fantastic.
Jitkoff: Basically, that branch is condemned to a long slow death. I just don’t know if the experimental one will ever be up to snuff. Hence the recommendation of third party apps.

Quicksilver’s developer just told me to download Launchbar. The apocalypse has arrived.
I’ve noticed stability problems with Quicksilver since Leopard arrived. Primarily, it has shut down on me a few times requiring me to restart it. I’ve also helped a few friends troubleshoot some general Quicksilver wonkiness. While my initial reaction is that you’ll have to pry Quicksilver out of my cold dead hand, you never know. Jitkoff also implied that he has something else up his sleeve and, since QuickSilver is now open source, some enterprising programmer may just take it to the next level. Time will tell. For the meantime anyway, I’m sticking with it. There is just way too much functionality to give this application up.
You can read the entire interview right here.

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Keyboard vs. Mouse


I discovered, courtesy of John Gruber, a link to a very interesting article comparing the benefits of the keyboard vs. mouse interface that argues the mouse is faster. The money quote reads as follows:
We’ve done a cool $50 million of R & D on the Apple Human Interface. We discovered, among other things, two pertinent facts:
Test subjects consistently report that keyboarding is faster than mousing.
The stopwatch consistently proves mousing is faster than keyboarding.
This contradiction between user-experience and reality apparently forms the basis for many user/developers’ belief that the keyboard is faster.
People new to the mouse find the process of acquiring it every time they want to do anything other than type to be incredibly time-wasting. And therein lies the very advantage of the mouse: it is boring to find it because the two-second search does not require high-level cognitive engagement.
It takes two seconds to decide upon which special-function key to press. Deciding among abstract symbols is a high-level cognitive function. Not only is this decision not boring, the user actually experiences amnesia! Real amnesia! The time-slice spent making the decision simply ceases to exist.

Interesting food for thought for this Quicksilver junkie. Actually, I have always been pretty practical about these things. I just use what works whether it be the keyboard, mouse, or tea leaves. Anyway, you can read the full article right here.

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The Ultimate Quicksilver Leap


I read once that when Cortez landed in the new world, the first thing he did was burn his ships so his men didn’t get any strange ideas about going back. For all of you Quicksilver geeks (like me), one of the guys over at waferbaby just burned his ships by removing from his Mac and mapping the finder icon to our beloved Quicksilver. Now while this act inspires no end of geek awe in me, I can’t see myself actually doing this. I always believe in using what works best and fastest. Sometimes that is the often maligned finder. Especially when I need to browse for something that I can’t remember the name for. Anyway, if you are ready to make the leap, you can get instruction on how to do so right here.

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