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My Mac Feels Delightful Again

The term “delight” is often used to describe the feeling some users get when using iOS, whether that feeling is from the touch user interface, the apps, or something else. I often get that feeling when using iOS, too. While I prefer using the Mac for a variety of reasons, the feelings of delight on the Mac were less frequent for me – until recently. Changing up one of my main tools has brought that feeling back in spades. For you, it might be a different tool entirely.

It’s not often an older app can make a device feel fresh, but LaunchBar on the Mac is making my Mac feel new again. Not only is LaunchBar not a new app1, but it’s not even new to me. This is my second or third go around with the app, as I’ve switched between LaunchBar and Alfred a few times over the last several years.

Unlike my last two times with the app, I’ve really immersed myself in learning its ins and outs this time, and have forced myself to use it whenever possible. For several nights my entertainment while on the treadmill consisted of LaunchBar video tutorials, and my lakeside reading on a recent vacation was Take Control of LaunchBar. If I perform a task on my Mac that I know LaunchBar can handle, such as moving a file to a new location, I force myself to use it. It slowed me down a bit in the beginning, but that investment of time has paid for itself several times over.

My Macs are fun to use again. Its the same feeling of delight I used to get from iOS, when so much of it was new and exciting2. I still use my iPad, but the balance has tilted heavily in favor of my Mac.

So why has LaunchBar instilled this feeling of delight in me? I think it’s because LaunchBar is so front facing and integrates into everything I do on the Mac now. Because I’ve forced myself to use it whenever possible, it’s become my gateway to almost everything I do on my Mac, from launching apps, to moving files, to performing math calculations, to executing web searches, to launching websites, and more. The greatest part about LaunchBar is the instant send feature. Select a file, invoke Instant Send (for me, it’s with a double tap of the Option key), and I can do almost anything with the file.

The point of the article? Instead of buying a new piece of hardware or software to satisfy a case of the “new and shiny,” you might already have what you need right under your nose. See if there’s a tool that you would use in most interactions with the OS, because that’s what can make the entire system feel new and different. Embrace it, and really learn it so you’ll use it. It can make your device fun and exciting again.

  1. It traces its origins back to the NeXTSTEP platform, and debuted on the Mac in 2001.

  2. This has me wondering if that delight has more to do with the relative newness of iOS, as opposed to some magic inherent in the OS or the touch interface.