There’s the Dock. All it takes is a flick of the wrist and a click, and whatever app you want to launch gets launched. You could also navigate to the Applications folder, scroll to find the app and double click it. That’s conventional and it works.
But there’s a better way and an easier way to launch apps with little more than a flick of the wrist (mouse driven Macs) or your finger (trackpad driven Macs).
Flick Your Way To Higher Productivity
To be honest about Mac app launchers, they’re a dime a dozen. Except for the dime. Some are free, many have a price tag, and they all have one thing in common.
Mac app launchers each have a unique way to launch apps. The Dock requires a click.
The popular DragThing requires a click.
In fact, pretty much every Mac app launcher I’ve ever installed and used requires a click, or a touch of the trackpad, or keyboard.
AmbiLauncher thinks different. It’s a Mac app launcher that launches your apps when you move the mouse pointer (or, trackpad pointer for Mac notebook users) to the side of your screen.
Setting up AmbiLauncher is easy. It resides in the Mac’s Menubar. Click Preferences, then click on the colored bars, left or right, and assign an app you want to launch to each color.
Easy enough, right?
Notice that AmbiLauncher puts the same colors on the right and left side of your Mac’s screen. Then, all you have to do is flick the aforementioned mouse pointer to the color– no clicking– and the app launches automatically.
You won’t have to click to launch an app. Just get the pointer aimed at the appropriate vertical color bar, and the correct color, of course, and the assigned app launches.
There’s not much to memorize, either. Except the colors. Finder could be gray. Safari could be red. Mail could be blue. Or, whatever you choose.
AmbiLauncher is intuitive to setup and use, but has a few quirks and limitations. First, as you add colors and apps the colors on the left or right bars get smaller.
Second, you don’t use a dialog box to find apps to launch. Instead, you have to type in the name (not all apps are named the way you think they’re named– Adobe Fireworks CS5 I’m looking at you).
A slider adjust the width of the vertical color bars and opacity. The bars are mostly out of the way, just visible enough so you know the color and have something to aim the mouse pointer toward.
AmbiLauncher’s biggest limitation is the sheer number of apps you can stack on the left or right side color bars. It gets crowded quickly and it’s easy to forget which color you assigned to which app.
What I’d like to see is a blend of DragThing and AmbiLauncher– a pop out shelf of app icons (like DragThing), whereby moving the mouse pointer to a specific app icon would launch it or bring it to the front (like AmbiLauncher).
Still, the app thinks different and it’s elegant; so long as you’re not trying to remember twenty eleven different colors and apps.