Status Report: The A-List of Mac Software

After the April issue’s giant update to The A-List of Mac Software, the past couple of months have been a bit slower on the Mac software testing front. I’ve received several disk and system repair utilities that I’m playing with — including DiskWarrior, Drive Genius, and TechTool Pro. So far so good on those three. But more time is needed to fully evaluate them. (It just takes longer to run into problems on the Mac than it does on Windows.)

I’m also looking at software-launching and UI-shortcut programs, such as Quicksilver, LaunchBar, and Butler. I’ve looked at the first two, and so far, I prefer Quicksilver.

My only real gripe about Quicksilver’s basic program-launching functionality is that you need two sets of keystrokes to launch something. The first opens the QS Execute box, and the second launches a specific program. On the Windows side, there’s a program called ActiveWords that gets it down to one set of keystrokes, and I miss that.

So far I’ve explored only about 10% of what Quicksilver does, so I’m still working through the features and spending time with it. Next up will be Butler, which I haven’t even installed yet.

What’s wrong with LaunchBar? Nothing much was right or wrong about it for me. I just didn’t find it that convenient. Ideally, I could launch Safari by just typing “sa” at any time, anywhere — without having to initiate something or click anything with the mouse. Not only didn’t LaunchBar come close to that ideal, but I just found myself forgetting to use it. And when I did use it, it didn’t really save me time.

The A-List series has generated an overwhelming pile of email that I’m nowhere near finished sorting through. If you’ve sent me suggestions, please be patient. Not only are there a lot of messages to read, but looking at the software takes a lot of time. I’m going to be using the Mac for many years to come, and I’ve got a lot of great software suggestions to explore.

You could probably help by sending me only the one or two best apps you think I should know about.

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