Note to Apple: It’s official (because I say so). Something needs to be done about the crowded Mac menubar. I don’t know what the physical limit is for tools in the Menubar, but there is a limit.
No wonder we have such widescreen Macs. All those Menubar menus and tools take up screen real estate. Maybe I’m just addicted to Menubar tools, but I can find more good ones everyday. And some are free.
The Mac Menubar Mess
I found another nifty Mac utility. It’s a useful tool. It quickly launches apps and files. It’s free (as in donationware). There are only two problems. One is solved, the other is not.
aLaunch used to be called aLunch. Don’t ask why.
At least the developer changed the name, at version 4.0, to aLaunch, as in launch an app or file. That makes plenty of sense.
Problem #2 is more problematic. aLaunch is a Menubar tool, an elegant utility, one of many, which gives you a quick place to launch files (either apps or documents or scripts or whatever).
The problem is the Mac’s Menubar. There’s a limit to how many A #1, Triple Distilled, Sink Stopping, Double-Delux utilities you can park in that screen real estate-limited Menubar.
The Mac’s Menubar has two basic functions. It’s the place (on the left) where each app or utilities menus reside. And, it’s context sensitive. Switch from Mail to Safari and the left-side Menubar menus change accordingly.
That, dear readers, is the way God intended the Menubar to work. The right side of the Menubar contains utilities. Script menu. Time and Date. Sound. Spotlight search. Time Machine status. MobileMe status.
And a whole bunch of dime-a-dozen useful utilities which can crowd the right side Menubar into submission. There must be a physical limit to how many tools can be stuffed into the Menubar. Sometimes I’ll add one and another one will disappear.
That’s not aLaunch’s fault. aLaunch is merely one of many Menubar tools which add extra functionality to your Mac. In this case, think of it as a fast and dirty app and file launcher. Click, navigate, select. Handy, no?
Quick. Easy. Useful. Free (mostly). What’s not to like?
aLaunch will display app icons in various sizes (selectable in the preferences) and lets you set up groups and separators. It would be nice if Apple would include something like this built-in to OS X, but aLaunch works.
Why is aLaunch better than the Mac’s Dock?
It’s not that it’s better. It’s different. The Dock can quickly stretch to become cluttered, whereas, aLaunch is a single click to find both apps and files in a neat, self-organized hierarchy, hence it’s customizable.
You can do something similar to the Dock using folders, but I find the Menubar to be more visible, more in the line of sight, which may explain why there are more utilities for the Menubar than for the Dock.
aLaunch is sweet and a sweet deal, worthy of a try if your Menubar has space, worthy of ditching one or two other utilities in the Menubar if there’s no space.