I have been using Quicksilver (free) as my app launcher for the past few years. I’ve been highly accustomed to it’s abilities and shortcuts, but have grown sick of it’s little bug: pasteboard pops up at random times (for the past year!).

Searching around, I needed to find an app launcher that did what Quicksilver could do, without the crashing. Mainly: an app launcher and pasteboard (something that retains your clipboard history). I also use the Address Book plugin of Quicksilver (to view an Address Book contact without opening Address Book) and use it for quickly searching the web.

Enter Alfred. This is a beautiful application launcher. It’s being updated constantly, adding new feature and refining old ones. The basic feature set of Alfred is free, but the “PowerPack” which adds things like a pasteboard and e-mail/itunes integration. It’s $20, a bit pricey, but I decided to support the company and it’s idea of a regularly updated Mac app launcher.

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So far, everything has been working amazingly, with very little preference tweaking. Some cool feature: mini-itunes pop-up window, file system browsing, easy web searches (i.e. amazon, ebay, google, etc), a nice looking pasteboard. It’s fast to search and hasn’t crashed yet (except on my other computer that had Spotlight disabled, worked after enabled).

Also, the company has great support. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t view Address Book contact info from Alfred so I twitted “Alfredapp” and got a response in a minute saying it’s in the works.

Overall, I’m very happy with Alfred and highly recommend it to anyone looking to be more efficient on their Mac.

For instant access to any bookmark in Safari (and probably Firefox) you can set up a keyboard shortcut to automatically open the bookmarked website.

Here’s how:

1) Go to Safari and note the exact title for the bookmark(s) you want to quickly access. In my case, it’s “wells”, “amex”, and “ing” – my banking sites.

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2) Go to Apple Menu (top left of screen), System Preferences, Keyboard & Mouse, and click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.

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I’ve recently become obsessed with rating songs on my iPhone. I have too many bad songs and need to weed them out. But, when listening to music throughout the day it’s a pain to stop what I’m doing, switch to iTunes, rate the track, then go back to what I was doing. So, I made an Applescript, six actually, to get this done for me.

1) Download a .zip file of the applescripts here.

2) Move the enclosed .scpt files to a folder of your choosing.

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A few days ago I made my yearly move from Safari to Firefox. It starts up quicker for me than Safari and web pages load 2-3x faster.

However, I was stumped today when I wanted my Mac to read me a Flash 101 tutorial. I went to Firefox -> Services -> Speech, but “Start Speaking Text” was grayed out.

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After a quick Google search I found a simple 2-step solution (thanks to aynmensch @ mozillazine): setup a shortcut key for “reading selected text” which can be evoked within Firefox.
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A new hint was posted today on Mac OS X Hints explaining how to re-gain use of the arrow keys in Quick Look’s full screen mode. The solution worked but I thought that there had to be a better, quicker, easier way.

So, I started trying various other keys when in Quick Look full screen and I stumbled upon a much easier solution:

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