A new companion app called Alfred Remote makes it easy to control your Mac from an iOS device. Photo: Alfred
Well, there goes Alfred.
That’s the first thought I had when I saw the new Spotlight in OS X Yosemite. I feared Apple had basically made my favorite little app launcher obsolete (we nerds call it “sherlocked”).
I was wrong.
It’s six months later, and Alfred is doing just fine, thanks largely to a vibrant community built around its power features, or workflows. Spotlight may be able to quickly launch an app from anywhere, but Alfred can tell the weather, eject attached hard drives, and control your Nest thermostat.
And now, after five years on the Mac, Alfred is making the leap to iOS with a new companion app called Alfred Remote. Released today, it’s not going to be useful for most people, but serious Alfred users will love it. If anything, it’s evidence that you can still build a great app and community around core features offered by Apple.
Spotlight in OS X Yosemite (Photo: Roberto Baldwin/ The Next Web)
App launchers on the Mac have always been geared toward power users, and lately tools like Alfred have become even more sophisticated, with user-created scripts and extensions. When Apple debuted the new Spotlight in OS X Yosemite at WWDC, it took many of the best features from existing launchers, like the ability to find any app you have installed with a couple keystrokes.
LaunchBar was the original app launcher on the Mac, and today a brand new version was released with a themable interface and new features.
Will tools like LaunchBar and Alfred live on when millions of Mac owners start using the new Spotlight this fall? Now that Apple has capitalized on the more consumer-friendly aspects of what makes a good launcher, third-party alternatives are going after power users like never before.
One of the things we get a lot here at Cult of Mac, especially in our coverage of games, is folders full of promotional images. Now, for a variety of reasons, we often need to change the type of those images from, say, PNG to JPG files.
You can use Preview, of course, opening them all at once, and then selecting them all, then exporting them all to a new folder with a new image type. It’s workable, but it’s tedious.
Using Pixelmator, an affordable image editing program for the Mac, Automator (no relation), a scripting app bundled in Mac OS X, and Alfred, a pretty slick app launching application, you can make these changes much faster.
I use Apple’s built-in Screen Sharing app all the time to connect from my Macbook Air to my Mac Mini. It’s a great way to just quickly log in from the Air and restart a Minecraft server, for example, or get a screenshot of the latest OS X Mavericks beta feature.
I also use Command-Tab a lot on my Macbook Air to switch between running apps. However, I was never able to Command-Tab my way out of Screen Share, as the keyboard combination gets sent to the remote Mac Mini, keeping me fully in Screen Share Mode.
If you haven’t been using Alfred, the amazing app launcher (and much more) on your Mac, you’ve been missing out. It started out as an app launcher, a la Quicksilver, but continued to get improvements and additions over time until now, version 2.0 can do a ton of things on your Mac, all with a quick hotkey press on the keyboard, including launching apps, issuing system commands, and more.
Here are five tips and tricks to getting the most out of Alfred 2.0, one of the best apps you can have on your Mac.
One of these latter abilities lets you store and retrieve anything in your Mac’s clipboard history. Anything you’ve saved to the clipboard is accessible from within Alfred. Better yet, you can even store persistent snippets, turning Alfred into its own text expansion system.
If you haven’t been using Alfred, the amazing app launcher (and much more) on your Mac, you’ve been missing out. It started out as an app launcher, a la Quicksilver, but continued to get improvements and additions over time until now, version 2.0 can do a ton of things on your Mac, all with a quick hotkey press on the keyboard.
Let’s take a look at one of the most basic things Alfred can do for you: launching apps. Once you’ve upgraded to or downloaded Alfred version 2, you can import your version 1 settings, and be ready to roll.
Look, every once in a while a Mac app comes along that’s so incredibly useful, it becomes one of those rare staple apps no Mac should go without. On this week’s CultCast, we’ll introduce you to the incredibly talented Alfred, and reveal all the time-saving totally amazing feats this little bit of code can perform for you.
Plus! Word on the streets is T-Mobile’s getting the iPhone and their new plans could give the industry a shake down. We’ll tell you the pros and cons of big T’s contract free “uncarrier” plans and explain what makes them different from the pack.
All that and more on this episode of the CultCast! Subscribe now on iTunes to download our new episodes or just hit play below.
There’s a lot you can do with this tiny launch bar.
Alfred is a great shortcut and productivity tool for the Mac that received a huge update last week. In case you don’t know, Alfred allows you to quickly perform tasks with a series of keyboard shortcuts. If you’ve used similar tools like Quicksilver or LaunchBar, then you already have an understanding of how Alfred fundamentally works.
Over the past couple of years, Alfred has matured from a little app launcher into a full-fleged base station for getting things done on the Mac. Alfred 2.0 is a huge step forward with additional features like customizable themes, but the biggest addition is undoubtedly workflows. You can, for instance, hit a keyboard shortcut, type in the name of a new movie, and have related browser windows from IMDB, YouTube and Rotten Tomatoes instantly pop up.
Alfred has built up a community of users who have created some pretty cool Alfred 2.0 workflows you can download and use for free. Whether you’re a coder or a complete novice, it’s easy to get started with workflows and take control of your Mac.
Alfred 2 makes its debut today, delivering a whole host of improvements and new features to the best launcher utility available on the Mac. Users can now enjoy an app completely rebuilt from the ground up to introduce things like Workflows, the ability to apply new themes, and improved search.