When cruise control systems were introduced in the 1960s, some automakers located the operating switches for this feature on the steering wheel. This technology became an instant hit as the drivers found the convenience of controlling an essential functionality of their automobile without taking their hands off the steering wheel. In early 90’s more buttons found their space on the steering wheel. The hands-free approach helped drivers to focus more on what is important. |
Across the spectrum of computers, application launchers can be compared to the steering mounted controls. Like we can control audio and cruise control units from the steering wheel of an automobile, with the help of application launchers we can launch our favorite applications or control various system activities quickly without taking hands off from computer keyboard. This means we rarely use the mouse. Application launcher is a piece of software in which can we can set key combinations as shortcuts to our favorite files, folders or applications. Once the keyboard shortcut is set to perform the desired activity, we can fire up the activity whenever we require by just pressing the hotkey. In addition some application launchers such as CoolKeys will help us to carry out system activities such as minimizing, maximizing, hiding a window or controlling system volume.
In the following sections I am going to explain the top 3 application launchers available in the market which operates in different ways.
CoolKeys CoolKeys is an application launcher produced by SimpleTools. The interface of the software is pretty straightforward and simple; the software also comes with add-ons This helps the user to add Internet links to the CoolKeys from Internet Explorer and Firefox. You can easily add the shortcuts to your favorite files, directories or system activities from the main interface. The software will also install a shell extension, which enables the user to add the files or folders into the coolkeys by right clicking on a file and then choosing CoolKey item displayed in the context menu appeared. Even though the application launchers will make your computer usage easy. There are some situations when it might be irritating. This is especially true when you set a hotkey and the same hotkey is a shortcut in other application. For example you set a hotkey CTRL+W in the application launcher to shut down windows, but the CTRL+W will close the current document in MS Word. To overcome this setback CoolKeys lets you to enable/disable the coolkeys application by pressing a hot key. This hotkey can be activated from the settings screen. From this screen you can either disable CoolKeys all the time or disable the software whenever you are working with some other application. You can also set a shortcut key for these operations so that you don’t have to bring up the interface every time you need to change the settings. Another advantage of the software is that you can add/set a hotkey to an internet link. When you right click on a link in internet explorer or on firefox the context menu contains an item called Create CoolKey… When you click on this item a new CoolKey screen will be popped up with the link you selected. You can give a hotkey for it and access it anytime.
Enso Launcher by Humanized is designed to give you instant access to your applications and windows. With a few keystrokes, you can launch an application, switch to a window by name, and control the state of your window. In order to operate Enso launcher, you press down the Caps Lock key, type “open,” and then start typing the name of the program you wish to open. After a few characters, Enso Launcher will try to resolve the name of the program from ones you frequently use. As soon as it has the right program up you can hit ‘enter’ to launch the program. “open“ is the command you use frequently in the Enso Launcher but it is not the only command in the Enso Launcher. Enso launcher will recognize a programs name at any point. I.e., If you want to launch Adobe photoshop you can enter ‘photo’ and Enso Launcher will display all those files matches the criteria.
SyMenu is a portable application launcher which can reside comfortably inside a pen drive. Links to the portable items (files, directories, hyperlinks) can be added to SyMenu.Linked items also known as SyItems have to be on the same USB stick or disk SyMenu also accepts textual search to find files fast.
Overall application launchers are of great use, if you are a computer user who doesn’t want to waste time browsing through folders to find important information. The softwares explained above can be downloaded from the following locations:
CoolKeys – http://simpletools.co.in/coolkeys.html
Enso Launcher - http://www.humanized.com
SyLauncher - http://www.ugmfree.it/SyMenu.aspx
John T. Emmatty - is a freelance writer who specializes in writing technical articles.He has more than 7 years of expertise in the area of IT industry.
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