As the story says, why pay? You've already shelled out money for a computer, there's no reason that what's running on that pricey PC should cost a darn thing. Not in this day and age of amazing freebie software and Web apps. Last year listing covered 157 free utilities and services, while this year coverage has extended to 173 utilities and services.
For convenience, I will split the listing as per categories, adding my comments whenever I have something to say...
Application launcher is a simple utility that suppose to improve the ability for computer user to access any programs or files on the computer by simply typing the first few letters of the name or clicking the dock icons of graphic interface. Using suitable application launcher can reduce user time for searching favorite program shortcut that they most frequent use, since they are able to can cut down the step of searching for the application executable file again and again. Some of the utilities offer extended functionalities, widening the spec of the software applicability.
There are four items presented in the PC Magazine list.
1. Circle Dock
Presentation: Who says a dock has to actually... dock? To the side of the screen, that is. Circle Dock brings up a spiraling launcher interface with all the icons you want to click. Rotate it with the wheel on your mouse and change the skin to suit your desktop.
Overview (My Pick):
What Circle Dock Allows You to Do:
* Launch your programs from a circular dock.
* Drag and drop your files, folders, and shortcuts onto a circular dock that you can resize.
* Rotate the dock with either your mouse wheel or the keyboard arrow keys.
* Change the image shown for the icons and change the skins (compatible with icons and skins for Rocket Dock, Object Dock, etc.)
* The dock appears where your mouse is by pressing a hotkey (default is F1) or your middle mouse button.
* Tested on computers with multiple monitors, Windows XP/Vista, 32-bit & 64-bit, and requires only .Net Framework 2.0.
* Automatically works on all Windows Vista computers and most Windows XP computers.
* A new settings panel that allows you to customize many options. It updates your dock as you make changes. See it change in real time! No need to press an OK button.
* Multi-language capable. Just translate the English.ini file to the language of your choice.
* Change the image used for the dock icons with the easiest method out there: Just set the program to "Icon Replacement Mode" in the right-click menu of the centre icon and you can change all the icon images by just dragging and dropping new PNG images onto them!
* You can now toggle the visibility of the dock by moving your mouse to any edge of your screen. By default, the left and right edges are used for toggling. No need to press a button!
* Reorder the dock items by dragging and dropping them over each other.
* Organize the dock items using dock folders.
* By default, clicking on the centre button does not open the start menu. You can enable this in the settings panel.
Presentation: Replace the Windows Taskbar and Quick Launch toolbar with this Mac-like animated toolbar of icons for all your programs. It comes with a few "docklets" for displaying info like the time, weather, and a Web search form.
Overview: ObjectDock enables you to have more control over how you organize your desktop. Rather than having a bunch of icons on the desktop, these icons can be put into docks. ObjectDock can also be used to replace the Start bar entirely freeing up valuable screen real-estate. With various interaction modes available, you can get the dock availability that's right for how you work.
Fully customizable, super smoothness in zooming, entertaining alternate mouseover effects, libraries full of high-quality images available for use with the program at WinCustomize.com.
Instead of having a cluttered start bar, you have a nice little picture of all your running applications. Shuffling between applications is much quicker, and you can launch the applications you need without wasting time on the start menu.
OS: Windows, Linux.
Presentation: "Keystroke launcher" is a fancy way of saying "command line," but if you like to type rather than click for control—a practice that goes well beyond app launching—Launchy is your best choice.
OS: Mac OS
Overview: A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data. When opened, it will create a catalog of applications and some frequently used folders and documents. Activate it, and you can search for and open anything in its catalog instantly. The search is adaptive, so Quicksilver will recognize which items you are searching for based on previous experience. It also supports abbreviations, so you can type entire words, or just fragments of each. When not in use, Quicksilver vanishes, waiting for the next time you summon it.
Quicksilver's greatest strength, however, is not search. Any item you are able to find, drag, or otherwise pull into its universe is endowed with many potential uses. Hitting
Quicksilver can be given the ability to understand the data inside of files, allowing you to work with data in new, faster ways. Plug-ins add both new items and new actions, allowing you to run scripts, send instant messages, dial phone numbers, look up words in a dictionary, queue up songs in iTunes party shuffle, and much, much more.
Frequently used commands can be bound to triggers, giving you the ability to execute them immediately by hitting a hot key or using the mouse on a corner or edge of the screen.