Daily Archives:March 10th, 2002


My current favourite utility for Mac OS X is LaunchBar, which allows you to start apps, open web pages, send emails, with just an abbreviation of a few keystrokes. Particularly handy if you’re on a laptop, where the mouse-based routes for opening things may not be quite so convenient. The clever thing about LaunchBar is that you don’t need to set up the abbreviations in advance; it learns which keystrokes you’d like to use as you go along.

I’m not normally a huge fan of alternative launchers – the Dock has always worked fine for me. But I forced myself to learn and use LaunchBar for a few days and I got hooked. It’s very clever, and saves a lot of time, while using almost no screen space. Recommended. Good to see genuine innovation is still alive in the utilities world.


Wow – I haven’t posted here for nearly a week! It’s been a quiet few days.

Spent a large chunk of this afternoon helping extract some data from a friend’s elderly Macintosh LC. His mouse interface no longer works, and on most versions of Mac OS, there ain’t much you can do when that happens, so he had been unable to get at his data for several months.

I opened it up, extracted the 40M SCSI hard drive (which required me to undo one screw – I love Apple hardware) and inserted it into a PowerMac G3. (No screws at all. Progress.) We booted up Mac OS X and sure enough, there was his disk on the desktop, with all the files inside laid out as he left them. We could even run Word 5.1 and his 1988 copy of Tetris straight from the disk with a simple double click, despite the fact that my machine was now running a version of Unix and that the windows which were optimised for his LC screen looked rather small in the corner of mine. He thought it was magic.

He was a bit less amused when we discovered that his PhD thesis, numerous letters, articles and other writings accumulated over several years amounted to about 6 Mbytes in MacWord 5.1 format. I burned them onto a CD for him, leaving it 99% empty.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser