LaunchBar + FastScripts + Jumpcut > Quicksilver

I thought it was time for a short post on how happy I’ve been without Quicksilver1. I was a pretty heavy QS user and worried that I’d feel lost without it. But I don’t. The combination of LaunchBar (for launching applications, opening folders, and occasionally running scripts), FastScripts Lite (for running scripts most of the time), and Jumpcut (for keeping and accessing a Clipboard history) has made me a happier and more productive Mac user.

Three programs to take the place of one? Yes, QS is a monster of a program and can handle many, many tasks. Unfortunately, the price you pay for the “one program to rule them all” is stability. When Quicksilver worked, I loved it, but when it didn’t it was a time suck. I’d become so dependent on its shortcuts that when it didn’t work I had to stop what I was doing and try to fix it. If I was lucky, shutting it down and relaunching would solve the problem--that was pretty fast. If I was less lucky a reinstall would get it back to normal--that would take several minutes. But sometimes nothing worked; a keystroke combination or workflow that I’d been using for months would suddenly go belly-up and everything I tried to bring back to life would fail. “Everything” takes a long time.

LaunchBar, FastScripts Lite2, and Jumpcut have never failed. Not once. I’ve never had to relaunch one to fix a memory leak; I’ve never had a key combination that suddenly stopped launching a script or digging into a folder. Yes, it took me a while to retrain my fingers from QS navigation habits to LaunchBar navigation habits. And yes, its a bit frustrating to watch the FastScripts gear spin up in the menubar on those occasions when I’m forced to reboot after a software update. But they always work when I ask them to.

Jumpcut has one flaw: it doesn’t work well in Spaces. If you first invoke it in Space 1, it will then appear only in Space 1. Invoke it in Space 2, and it will switch you to Space 1 as its heads-up display appears. This doesn’t affect me much, as I run with only two Spaces and Space 2 is dedicated to iCal and OmniFocus. Almost all my pasting is done in Space 1. If I were constantly moving from Space to Space, I’d look into the other Clipboard history applications.

I know these programs are working well because I almost never think of them.

Update (12/12/08)
Chris Liscio passed along a tip to fix my Jumpcut/Spaces problem: Open the Spaces Preference Pane, add Jumpcut to the list of applications, and assign it to “Every Space.” I’d used that Preference Pane to restrict applications to a particular Space, but I’d never even thought of using it free an application to pop up in different Spaces. Thanks, Chris!

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  1. This post covers much the same ground as this one, but with about a year of perspective instead of just a couple of months. 

  2. My New Year’s resolution is to buy the full version of FastScripts. Daniel Jalkut has saved me more than $15 of time.