Application launchers are one of the simplest ways to speed up your computing - and certainly faster than hunting for icons in your dock. For ages, Quicksilver set the launch bar bar on Macs. Alfred leaves it in the dust.
What is it?
Alfred, Mac OS X, Free. A super snappy application launcher - like Quicksilver or Google Quick Search - for opening apps or finding files on the fly. Assign it to a keyboard shortcut, pull it up, and start typing - Alfred will scour your computer and show results with lightning speed. There are also a host of shortcuts for launching site specific searches, opening files and the like. The app is free, but a £12 ($19) "Powerpack" offers even more advanced options.
Who's it good for?
Die-hard life hackers and novice users who want to dip their toes in the shallow end of the keyboard shortcut pool alike.
Why's it better than alternatives?
It runs like greased lightning. And it's got tons of useful shortcut searches - Twitter, Facebook, IMDB, Amazon and dozens others - built right in. But mostly because it runs like greased lightning.
How could it be even better?
It's not quite as pretty or easily skinnable as Quicksilver is/was.
For more apps, check out our weekly app roundups for iPhone, iPad and Android.