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Give Your Mac A Productivity Power-Up With LaunchBar

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Give Your Mac A Productivity Power-Up With LaunchBar

Launch

    Ever wish you could open up any file on your computer with just one key press? Well, if you have, you can store every file you have on your desktop. Instant access!

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    That was a joke, or course. If you’re an OS X user wanting a more elegant solution for getting to your stuff, LaunchBar proves to be the productivity-booster you’re looking for. LaunchBar is a ridiculously useful program program launcher for OS X that’s operated entirely with the keyboard. I’ve been using it on my Macbook Pro for several months now, and I honestly miss it whenever I switch to my Windows machine.

    Now, you might think that LaunchBar is useless because you’ve already got Spotlight. In truth, Spotlight works pretty well as a program launcher, and it’s free. However, LaunchBar is so much more robust and useful than Spotlight. Plus, the program gives you a 30-day period to evaluate it before buying – and you can still use it free after that period if you’re willing to deal with a purchase reminder.

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    LaunchBar takes keyboard shortcuts to the next level. With Spotlight, you search for the program you want and then hit enter. LaunchBar actually lets you launch a program by holding down the last letter you type. As a result, you can launch certain programs in one keystroke after opening the program (which you can do however you like; I’ve got mine bound to command+L). For example, you can launch Safari just by opening LaunchBar and holding “s” for a second, or launch Firefox by holding “f”. When I’m working on a lot of projects and am constantly switching to new spaces with other keyboard shortcuts, it’s really nice to be able to just launch the programs I need in this lightening-fast manner.

    Launching Safari
      Launching Safari

      Launching a different application from the list simply requires typing a few more characters to drill down to it, or using the arrow key to scroll down to it.

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      “Hi, Billy Mays Here for LaunchBar…”

      Finding and launching applications is really just the tip of the iceberg, however. LaunchBar’s real usefulness comes from its many other built-in functions. The amount of things the program can do is pretty staggering, actually. Here are just a few:

      • Find songs and play them in iTunes
      • Create events in iCal
      • Perform mathematical calculations
      • View contacts from your Address Book
      • Search through your internet browsing history, and open specific web pages
      • Browse through your file structure just like Finder
      • Search Google
      • Perform file operations such as moving or renaming

      An additional (awesome) feature is the ability to show a preview of your selection when you hit the space bar. I really like using this for pictures. In fact, if you have a folder with many pictures, using this feature turns LaunchBar into a pretty nice photo viewer. Just use the arrow keys to scroll through pictures.

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      Launching a song in iTunes from LaunchBar
        Launching a song in iTunes from LaunchBar

        Though I’m pretty objective when I review programs, the only real fault I could find with LaunchBar is the fact that it costs money. People who just want a quick way to launch applications and browse for files will be absolutely fine using Spotlight. However, for the power users out there, LaunchBar is a productivity-boosting powerhouse of an app.

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        Last Updated on December 18, 2020

        Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

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        Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

        Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

        Does technology have all the answers?

        This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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        Creating technological solutions transparently

        This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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        Technology as the connecting tool

        Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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        “Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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