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Last post Author Topic: What's your favorite launch bar? Your favorite features? Missing Features?  (Read 49868 times)

cyberdiva

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That's a lot of money for a program launcher & scripting utility. Sure, the ActiveWords implementation is on steroids, but still...that's a lot more expensive than any of their competitors.
I didn't look into what alternatives there were.  I didn't think I needed or wanted ActiveWords, so I never investigated what else might be out there.  A friend kept bugging me to give it a try.  I finally did, and soon I was hooked.  I use it multiple times a day every day.  I might add that you can try it free for 60 days--a pretty generous amount of time.  Also, the purchase price entitles you to install it on all your computers.  Still, there may be other programs as varied and capable as ActiveWords for less $--I just never looked for any.

saxydan

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Ach, I've tried them all, but one became habit-forming and now I can't get away from it: KeyLink. Once you start using it, you're hooked.

Nuff sed. Get it from http://www.strgwin.de ...

I'm not connected to it in any way, but it's got me connected to just about everything on my PC.

rjbull

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KeyLink. Once you start using it, you're hooked.

@saxydan: how does KeyLink compare with SlickRun, please?

wraith808

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When it comes to launch bars there are two kinds...There's TrueLaunchBar....and there's everything else. ;D

Seriously, if anyone is looking to program a launch bar program then TrueLaunchBar is truly the one app above all others that needs to be studied very closely. What it can do out of the box is amazing. What it can do coupled with the plugins that have been written for it is nothing short of mind-staggering. TLB is the best of show in this category of apps and is the one to beat. It's greatest strength, IMHO, is that it starts with what is familiar to everyone (Quick Launch) and builds upon it with tons of functionality without becoming intrusive or obstructive. It's so good that even my stinginess had to relent and purchase a license the last time it was on sale.

+1.  I don't use it anymore, because I've become used to my shortcuts in direct access, but I keep thinking that the quick launch bar needs a friend, even if I don't use it much LOL

cyberdiva

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I'm quite new to launch bars.  Before I decided to give LaunchBar Commander a try, I'd never thought about using one.  Of course, the description of TrueLaunchBar aroused my curiosity, so I took a look.  Perhaps I'm too new to all this to appreciate how it's different from LBC.  The only thing of importance that I could see was the plugins.  Those are pretty impressive!  But other than that, what does it offer that LBC does not?  I'm not asking that in a hostile way--I'm just trying to understand the differences between the two apps.

Thanks in advance.

AaronCompNetSys

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examples of some launch bar tools:
http://www.alentum.com/alaunch/index.htm
I just switched to this for my low-power server. I have unique need, and thought I might post it :)

When running a low power file sever (laptop with a broken screen), the VGA never sees the light of day.  VNC, Various web guis, and CLI is all that gets used, and when it has to be a Windoze box due to special constraints, you need a lightweight launcher to take over for explore.exe, because we sure can't let that guy take up some of my precious 100MB of ram.

Requirements:
- Lightweight RAM and Swap, no page hits
- Custom icon bitmap (ico, exe, and png load)
- Parameter entry per item
- No Alpha blending
- Button click verification
- Always on top
- No dock/Dock without a giant ugly gray bar (invisible background)
- Independent of explorer.exe
- Already running or launch in progress indication
- Take focus on mouse over (to help with magic eaten clicks over VNC)

RocketDock is my workstation solution, but for a file server its not too cool.  No button click verification (the laggy bounce over VNC doesn't count) and the running indicator thrashes the file system on a crappy box.  The pretty Alpha and scaling is cool but not needed.  I floated around looking for an AHK based replacement but the one mouser mentioned fit the bill at the moment.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 02:24:37 PM by AaronCompNetSys »

mouser

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Have you tried my Launch Bar Commander -- I used Advanced Launcher until I coded that.

We will also be running a good discount on True Launch Bar in march, starting in the next few days.

AaronCompNetSys

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Yeah, a bit too many features and ram, but I appreciate the post!

delwoode

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I've tried a lot but ended up sticking with stardocks object dock, it is simple to use - I like the way I can just drag a new program icon on to it or drag one off to remove it.  Most of all it used less memory than any other i tried and that is the main reason I use it instead of a similar one like Rocket dock.

cmpm

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Executor seems to have some cool options.
Like import the program files .exe.
And drag and drop for keywords.
Adding a keyword with "Add to windows send-to menu" option enabled.

http://www.1space.dk...tor/screenshots.html

I don't know if FARR has these options or not,
I was just browsing the feeds and this was on 'BARRY'S BEST COMPUTER TIPS'.

I don't use a launch bar so I'm not qualified to discern the best options.
Just thought that these were good options shown there in the link of screenshots.

J-Mac

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Wow - long thread! I didn't want to read all through it - again, as I am sure I read this earlier.

I don’t know if FARR counts for this but that is how I launch my programs most often. Next most often used is LaunchBar Commander. And no, I'm not trying to butter up mouser!

I have had a license for ObjectDock Plus for years but it stopped development and I'm pretty sure the new version that does eventually come out will be associated with Stardock's Impulse engine, meaning you will have to install that in order to use ObjectDock. I had that installed for a year and frankly I don’t like it. Intrusive adware IMO, though I know Brad would beg to differ.

Jim

wraith808

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Impulse isn't all that bad to me.  It's not something I keep running all the time, but I'd not go the route of saying it's adware...

J-Mac

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Impulse isn't all that bad to me.  It's not something I keep running all the time, but I'd not go the route of saying it's adware...

At first I didn't call it that but after a while it seemed to be strongly pushing their games, which I don’t use. After my last Object Desktop subscription ran out a few months ago I didn't renew, but I still used ObjectDock Plus (since I purchased that outright about five years ago) and Fences. However when Fences required an update it automatically - and silently - reinstalled Impulse. Didn't mention it to me at all. And every now and then it would pop up after a reboot and since I wasn’t using any of the apps in it all I would see were invitations to download their PC games. I didn't ask for Impulse then, I never actively started it up, it was never in my startup config...  Maybe I just use different terminology than you but I call that adware.

Thank you.

Jim

Innuendo

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I have had a license for ObjectDock Plus for years but it stopped development and I'm pretty sure the new version that does eventually come out will be associated with Stardock's Impulse engine, meaning you will have to install that in order to use ObjectDock.

Guess ObjectDock Plus development has started back up. I noticed on their web site that v2.0 is in beta. I have to agree with you, though. Impulse re-installing itself behind your back is rather shady behavior.

J-Mac

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I have had a license for ObjectDock Plus for years but it stopped development and I'm pretty sure the new version that does eventually come out will be associated with Stardock's Impulse engine, meaning you will have to install that in order to use ObjectDock.

Guess ObjectDock Plus development has started back up. I noticed on their web site that v2.0 is in beta. I have to agree with you, though. Impulse re-installing itself behind your back is rather shady behavior.

2.0 has been in beta for over a year now. Impulse always said that an update was available - the 2.0 beta - but the download page was always a 404 error page instead.

Also I believe that Stardock now states that Impulse will be installed when you install any other Stardock app. They got a ton of heat of the stealth downloads/installs.

Jim

wraith808

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Also I believe that Stardock now states that Impulse will be installed when you install any other Stardock app. They got a ton of heat of the stealth downloads/installs.

They've *always* said that you need impulse to install their software since it came out.  It used to be that you had to install it for yourself then install whatever, then uninstall it.  But people complained, so I guess that was their response to the complaints.  I have it installed, and never use it unless I'm updating something, and it never bothers me with ads.  I think by default it installs something they experimented with at Christmas last year to get deals to their users.  I disabled it then, which is I guess why I don't get those. 

In absence of DRM, it will take a lot more than that for me to lump them in with negative companies though... just a company with people who sometimes make bad decisions, just like any other.

J-Mac

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wraith808: I don’t have a problem with people still loving Stardock's stuff. I was a regular subscriber for a heck of a lot of years - since back in the late 1990s. Installed most every beta, borked more OS's than I care to remember! I don’t use it now mostly because OS's have the ability to customizable them fairly well plus I am not nearly as interested in skinning as I once was...  though that was always a definite plus for me in the past!

And as for ObjectDock Plus I really just stopped using that when I decided to go with FARR and LaunchBar Commander because they are easy to setup and very light on resources. (I say FARR is easy to setup and use because I use it primarily for program launching; mouser knows I get into fits trying to do much else with it!   :o   ;)  ).

And I hate to be contrary but I must disagree with you on Impulse. Yes, Impulse did replace the Stardock Central (SDC) engine, which was a similar software distribution engine but with much less platform requirements. I was fine with SDC; it had its crashing moments but generally it did a decent job of notifying you of updates to all your subscribed products, plus it would alert you about beta releases if you wanted. Better yet it archived every build installed so if you decided that you didn't like a given new build you could drop back almost instantly. Also it would reinstall all your Stardock products if you reinstalled your OS or otherwise needed to recover your installations. I imagine that Impulse performs the same or similar tasks, but it is massively huge, requires IE 7 or 8 (a good thing IMO but many were upset by that) and it also requires the .NET framework, which as you can see here in DC is a big no-no for many.

And it most definitely did not warn users of Fences that it would be installed. Here's a reference for that from Wikipedia:

Quote
Fences 0.99 controversy

Stardock attracted criticism in September 2009 when the latest release of one of its products - desktop organizer Fences - was bundled with Impulse without mentioning this on the product description or download page. Fences had been available as a stand-alone product until that time, whereas version 0.99 was made available only with bundled Impulse and considerable additional software requirements (Internet Explorer 7 and Microsoft .NET Framework), but neither of these facts was mentioned in the product description or download page for Fences, so that users would only be notified during installation. In response to criticism on its forum, Stardock added a statement informing customers of the additional software bundling and requirements on the Fences website.
  (Emphasis/italics added by J-Mac)

Now I don’t know if Impulse is still required at this point since I haven't tried it again, but it was when I did have Fences installed. Also, ObjectDock Plus did not require Impulse a year or so ago but I was told on the forum that it would be for the next version. So I doubt I will install it again.

Thank you.

Jim

wraith808

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I wasn't saying that fences itself explicitly warned the users, but they've IME been quite up front about the fact that it was required.  Perhaps the location of the warning was not at the appropriate place, but even before fences was released, I saw several times that Brad stated that impulse was their distribution engine and that everything would require it to be installed in order to install their software.  I just, again, see it as just a company with people who sometimes make bad decisions, just like any other.  Not being an apologist, but truthfully I don't want to water down the meaning of adware or any of the other negative members of the internet community by applying it to those who don't have such practices... a pet peeve of mine, I suppose.

J-Mac

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wraith808,

I see. The reason I call it adware is because of how it behaved on my system. I don’t have a specific problem with Impulse otherwise, at least not as an engine to distribute their software. Stardock Central was always a help to me. But after not having any Stardock apps on Win7 I installed Fences from either PC Magazine or PC World - can't remember which one - and it didn't mention Stardock at all until after I had installed it. For some reason Stardock distributed Fences in a totally different way than I had ever seem with its other apps. It appeared to be wholly stand-alone; no other Stardock association required. After I realized it was from Stardock I figured things might change after it came out of beta.

But then after using it for a few months I got a notice saying I could not use it anymore because it had expired, though the About dialog claimed that it did not expire for another month or two. I thought it was a mistake (and Stardock does claim that the early beta expiration was a pure mistake; a bug in the installer package). Anyway it showed a link and said to download and install a newly released beta build. OK - so I did. But the installation took a long time and while it was running I could see it was installing a heck of a lot of DLLs, etc. Then Impulse auto-opened after the installation. Surprise! OK, so that was just the stealth installation.

What bothered me more though was that I wasn’t using any other Stardock apps at the time. Zero. And Fences ran at startup as it is a desktop shortcut organizer. Yet Impulse was also placed into my startup config - again, silently - to run in the background. Since I did not have any Stardock apps installed other than Fences, I guess that Impulse just had to find a reason to pop-up and show me something every now and then. And all it did was to show me Stardock's games and urge me to download and try one or another. Nothing else, nothing telling me any news about Fences. Just little nags, roughly daily, to download and try their games. I didn't like that even a little bit.

Anyway that is basically why I call it what I call it. Impulse was downloaded and installed without my knowledge, inserted itself into my startup config, and popped up regularly and tried to convince me to download and install their PC games. Any other program that does this is usually called adware. At least by me. Of course anyone with a Stardock subscription would also get notifications about available updates to their Stardock apps and would not see that as out of the ordinary. But for those who had just installed Fences from another site this looks like something else...

Thanks.

Jim

wraith808

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But I guess the question is... does it do that now?  And if it doesn't, was that a mistake?  Or do you call something adware even after it doesn't do it?  That's my point... perhaps they made a mistake, honest or not... does that classify things as adware even after it's rectified?

J-Mac

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But I guess the question is... does it do that now?  And if it doesn't, was that a mistake?  Or do you call something adware even after it doesn't do it?  That's my point... perhaps they made a mistake, honest or not... does that classify things as adware even after it's rectified?

I don’t know that it is rectified, and how would you suggest I find out? Install again? Would you do that with any other software? I doubt it. I won't.

Jim

wraith808

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I'm not suggesting that you do anything... I just thought it rather strange to condemn something to the title of 'Adware' forever based upon a bad decision.  But that's just me... I mean to say that your experience was negative is one thing, but Adware places a distinct negative connotation in the eyes of most users far beyond what the experience seems to warrant IMO.

tranglos

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Quote
Fences 0.99 controversy
In response to criticism on its forum, Stardock added a statement informing customers of the additional software bundling and requirements on the Fences website.
 

Sorry Wikipedia, this part is not true. I have just bought Fences Pro, and saw no information about Impulse before or during purchase. They only give you the download link once you've paid. If it's in small print somewhere, I couldn't see it while making the purchase, and I still can't find it when returning to the product page and going through the purchasing motions, so IF that information is there, it's really hard to find.

And, the Impulse thing isn't just intrusive, it's borken. Trying to register Fences Pro, it tells me the serial or email address is wrong, although both are correct. Stardock have known about this for at least a year, and yet they haven't fixed the issue. I've sent them a really scathing email asking for immediate refund.

(It's the first time I've ever asked for a refund. I refuse to buy Steam games, too, but this is worse - especially that it seems Fences will not even run without Impulse running, too. Is that right, could anyone confirm?)

wraith808

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(It's the first time I've ever asked for a refund. I refuse to buy Steam games, too, but this is worse - especially that it seems Fences will not even run without Impulse running, too. Is that right, could anyone confirm?)


I use Fences (not Pro) and ObjectDock Pro without Impulse running.  I also installed both without having to install Impulse, but that was a while ago (October 2009) so I'm not sure if this has changed.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 04:36:04 PM by wraith808 »

tranglos

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I use Fences (not Pro) and ObjectDock Pro without Impulse running.  I also installed both without having to install Impulse, but that was a while ago (October 2009) so I'm not sure if this has changed.

Yeah, Fences (not Pro) is still a standalone application. I base my suspicions on this post by IainB:

Unfortunately, Fences is set up so that it will not run unless Stardock Impulse is present and properly starts (presumably before it can issue an Error return). No amount of Autoruns tweaking or deleting of Stardock Impulse seems to alter this ...