When I did finally upgrade, I was able to replicate Now Utilities’ Open/Save dialog enhancements with St. Clair Software’s Default Menu, which has essentially the same feature set. But I never found a way to add customized menus to the operating system — though I know there were a few shareware utilities that could do this for me, I was looking for an integrated suite like Now or Action, and after a while I more or less forgot about it.
Then last year I started using the excellent LaunchBar from Objective Development. This utility caused a real stir last year with its lightning fast and ultra-intuitive access to virtually all of the contents of one’s hard drive. LaunchBar’s unique value has recently been somewhat threatened by Blacktree Software’s Quicksilver, which offers a more robust version of the same feature set. Both programs are genuinely excellent in and of themselves as well as examples of how much more powerful Mac OS X is than its successor. (Though LaunchBar still has the superior search intelligence, my long-term bet is on QuickSilver thanks to its open source construction.)
Above: Now, now, there. The old Now Menus control panel, in all its old school glory.
I’m Not So Interested in You
Anyway, the whole point of this story is that I recently came across You Control from You Software, a company that actually shares some of the same genes as Now Software. This utility basically replicates some of the same functionality found in Now Utilities which, if it had been released when I first moved over to Mac OS X, might have piqued my interest. But now, with options like LaunchBar and Quicksilver which do the same job so well, I can hardly work up any excitement over it.
Reading over the You Software Web site and the description of the features, it struck me as strangely anachronistic, as if it was vintage 1997 software. It makes me realize that, despite general suspicions that we’re not making a heck of lot of progress in desktop software, programs like LaunchBar demonstrate that things are at least advancing incrementally.