The latest shareware utility I’ve actually paid for is LaunchBar. This utility, which I’ve already talked about, sits in your menu bar and allows you to launch applications, web pages, documents, system preferences by typing their respective names via the keyboard. Frequent readers will know of my hatred of mouse. It is a imprecise tool in the hands of a imprecise person (namely me) which means when I try to do something (like click on an application on the desktop), I sometimes miss. Yuck.
LaunchBar keeps me on a tool I’m intimately familiar with — the keyboard. Rather than clicking on Safari, digging around my bookmarks for that link I’m looking for, I just type APPLE-space-“Name of the link” and hit RETURN. If you’re not really comfortable on the keyboard, you will not understand this. (Note for Windows users: I achieve a similar effect in XP by typing WINDOWS-R-“Name of Application”)
The emergence of LaunchBar on my desktop is, yet another, example of a small, independent developer who has actually extracted money from my wallet. Since my move to Mac OS X, this has been happening more and more. The question is, why? Do independent developers have a larger chance of success of creating useful applications/utilities given the size of the development team Apple has on Mac OS X compared to the hoards of Microsoft Windows developers? Has the emergence of the web as a solid distribution channel leveled the playing field? Does the added communication value of independent developer weblogs have anything to do with it? Or, am I just a guy who likes to live on the bleeding edge out on the frontier of new software?