The phrase, “I’m game” has caused me all kinds of grief through the years. As a veteran Mac user that means I’m willing to try any half way decent looking new Mac app because, well, just because. I’ve been burned a few times after an app went wonky, but that’s what backup clones are for, right?
One of my long time favorite Mac app launchers is Drag Thing which has features still unrivaled after all these years. It uses a floating palette of app icons which can be displayed by moving the Mac’s screen pointer to a hotspot. That makes launching fast and navigating folders easy.
The Mac’s Dock is OK for most Mac users but there are plenty of useful options. Here’s one I tried that has a certain elegance to it; more so if you don’t mind yet another floating palette on your screen. It’s called WhatIsRunning (all one word), a floating palette toolbar which acts as launcher and switcher.
WhatIsRunning has two modes. Normal, which displays running apps. And Extended, which displays a few more options.
The Extended mode is the more useful, but Normal mode saves screen space. In Extended mode WhatIsRunning gives you controls to clean apps, toggle between large and small app icons, move the floating palette toolbar to the right corner of your Mac’s screen, and even toggles– with a single click– minimizing all other unchecked app icons in the palette.
That’s about it. WhatIsRunning displays apps running at the moment, but lets you open other apps with a click. If you’ve closed an app or it crashed, the app lets you know. This is one of those app launcher utilities which I really want to like because it’s an interesting and different take on the app launcher segment.
The Dock remains in OS X because it’s simple and elegant; always available, always obvious. The addition of the LaunchPad to OS X is there simply to pay homage to iOS and the iPhone and iPad’s app launch methodology because many Mac users have arrived to the platform after using Windows and an iPhone.
James Thomson’s DragThing remains on my Mac, even though it looks and feels much like Mac app launchers from 1999, because it works great and I have yet to run into anything that performs better.