LaunchBar 5 by Objective Development


LaunchBar 5 by Objective DevelopmentLaunchBar 5 by Objective Development is one of the programs available as part of the MacLegion Spring Bundle.

Overview

LaunchBar is a smart and powerful, keyboard driven productivity utility that lets you access and control every aspect of your digital life. Whatever you want to get done on your Mac – with LaunchBar it’s only a few keystrokes away.

Features

Abbreviation Search
LaunchBar’s powerful, blazing fast adaptive abbreviation search technology allows you to find items just by typing short acronyms of their name.Keyboard Shortcuts
Invoke LaunchBar quickly with a system wide hotkey, or just by tapping a modifier key.

Clipboard History
Preserve the data of your most recent Copy operations, and use the copied objects again later.

ClipMerge
Combine subsequent Copy operations into one single clipboard object just by pressing ⌘C twice.

Web Searches
Searching the web has never been easier. Choose the desired web service, enter your query and get the result instantly shown in your web browser.

Calculator
From simple numeric calculations up to complex scientific expressions – just open LaunchBar, type your calculation and press Return to get the result.

Quick Look
Get a quick preview of your current selection just by tapping the space bar.

Instant Open
Open items even more quickly. Just hold down the last entered abbreviation character and the selected item opens immediately.

Browsing
Navigate folders, contacts, bookmarks, recent items, libraries or any other kind of hierarchy with the arrow keys to reveal related information.File Operations
Manipulate your files efficiently with the keyboard. Move, rename, compress, assign color labels, create folders and much more.

Services
Call up Mac OS X Services by name to quickly manipulate text or file selections.

Address Book
Enjoy the convenient access to your address book data to quickly create new email messages, retrieve phone numbers, postal addresses and other contact details.

Bookmarks
Get instant access to all of your web browser’s bookmarks, bookmark folders and history.

iTunes
Browse your iTunes Library, find your favorite tunes and enjoy your most beloved albums and artists.

iCal
Create events and to-dos in your iCal calendars within seconds.

Instant Send
The most efficient way to send files or text selections to LaunchBar, and then hand them over to applications, folders, email contacts, search templates, services and more.

You can read more about LaunchBar 5 on the Objective Development site. Normally, it retails for $39 for a family licence or $24 single user licence. The promo site says $35 so maybe the price has changed very recently.

Google Nexus One v Apple iPhone 3G


Checking out a Nexus One
Image by ekai via Flickr

Google’s launch of the Nexus One smartphone has, as expected, revived the argument about is the iPhone still ‘top dog’? My personal view (and I make clear here that I own neither phone but am giving my opinion on them after reading various blogs and reviews).

The consensus seems to be that the iPhone still maintains its top position but that its rivals are getting closer. However, in my humble opinion, its early days and not until the Nexus One has been out in the wild for several months and we get some genuine user feedback can we say definitively, one way or the other, whether its a good or better than the iPhone. Re iews by magazines and bloggers are all well and good but it doesn’t beat real-world usage by the end-user.

So, if you are considering the Nexus One instead of the iPhone, what are the things to bear in mind?

  1. Are you an Apple user already – if you use the Mac then the iPhone is probably the first choice for you. You will love the Apple touches, the design and build quality, the Apple way of doing things and you will no doubt fall in love with the huge range of Apps available.
  2. If you are not an Apple user already, but use a PC instead, the choice is not so clear cut. You then have to ask yourself what do you REALLY need out of a smartphone? Its no good just jumping on the bandwagon without having a genuine need for a smartphone. It will only cost you more than you need to pay and it may not offer any real advantage over any other (cheaper) smartphone.
  3. If you decide you actually need a smartphone, what are the features to look at and compare between different models? I would suggest the following:
    • Screen: How easy is the touchscreen to use; is it big enough for web browsing (without forcing you to do lots of scrolling to view the page); is it the only input method or is there a QWERTY keypad (I refuse to call them keyboards!)?
    • Does it come with decent 3G performance and is it available on the network you want?
    • Does it have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?
    • What about the camera – what resolution is it, does it have flash, can it do video?
    • What Apps does it come with or have available; are they what you require and are they free or expensive?
    • Does it have a proper headphone socket rather than a proprietary one?
    • What battery life does it have?
    • Is the GUI (user interface) practical or is it a fancy-looking but useless one; how many keystrokes/touches does it take to get where you want to be?

I would say that these are the important questions you need to ask if looking for your first or a replacement smartphone. I would also say that if you can hold off for now and stay with your existing phone or a cheaper option (12 month contract or PAYG option), then do so. Not only are the opposition getting closer to coming up with a genuine alternative to the iPhone, Apple will also be introducing the replacement to the iPhone 3GS sometime n the next 12 months (probably) and who knows what that will bring to the party?

Also, don’t forget that Apple is supposedly bringing out the iTablet (iSlate or whatever it will be called) later this month and this is rumoured to be available from March. Whether it will have smartphone functions or not isn’t clear yet. If it does t will certainly be a game-changer.

However, if you must have a smartphone now, I reckon the iPhone is the best option for most people, as log as it makes financial sense, e.g. you use lots of minutes, texts and internet data. If you are looking to spend less than £30 pcm then look elsewhere.

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