Review: Alfred for OS X

Review: Alfred for OS X

Have you ever found yourself growing frustrated with the limitations of the Finder?  Perhaps you’ve never had any trouble with the OS X Finder at all, but are looking for ways to improve your computing efficiency?  Introducing Alfred – a productivity app that helps to speed up your computing experience, while at the same time making it more fluid.

What Does It Do?

More than you might think.  Alfred, at it’s core, is an application launcher, enabling you to find and launch your installed applications faster than normal.  But Alfred goes beyond this core functionality by allowing you to also run web searches, make basic calculations, check word spellings, control iTunes, and perform custom searches, all without touching your trackpad or mouse.

Transparency

Being entirely keyboard-driven is what really establishes the usefulness of Alfred.  It activates with a simple key command (which you can customize) and allows you to perform any of it’s core functions right on top of your work (without actually interrupting your work either)

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Custom Searches

You can add custom search agents (such as Facebook or Twitter, for instance) to help get at the data you go through the most, and you can even customize the types of results it generates.  Don’t want to see your documents in the search list?  Gone.  Don’t need to check your spelling?  Gone, no longer there to distract you.

Controlling iTunes

One of the things I have found most impressive and notable with Alfred is its ability to control iTunes – it can easily find any song, album, playlist, TV show, Movie, etc that I have in my iTunes library and quickly launch it, making it easy to manage my background music, or even turn it on and off at will.  I had some issues with Alfred being able to find certain songs in my iTunes library, however this may have been due to the fact that I recently moved my iTunes library to an external hard drive.  The mini player, however, continues to work flawlessly, and is an adequate substitute.

And So Much More

I spent several hours with Alfred, and was still discovering new and interesting things that it can do.  Sure, I could have just checked the website, but I preferred to dig right in and let the essence of the app do the talking, rather than the guy who’s been hired to run the website..

Alfred’s very inexpensive PowerPack add-on gives the app even more abilities, including a miniature iTunes player, and I consider it to be well worth the cash – around 20 US Dollars, or 12 Pounds Sterling.

Conclusion

I have really come to love Alfred, and it has now become an indispensable part of my computing arsenal.  The free version of the app contains tons of functionality, and the paid add on (PowerPack) really does add enough extra functionality to merit the cost.  I award Alfred 4.5 out of 5 stars.

For more info, or to download Alfred for free, visit their website!

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