Mac users have Spotlight but for those of us running Windows or Linux there’s a great application launcher called Launchy. Launchy is free software that lets you launch applications, web sites and more in a simple, search-based interface. It’s particularly useful if you have use for parameterized URLs. For instance, say you’re always opening up a browser to search PolyCat. You configure this in Launchy’s Weby plugin (URL=http://poetry.lib.calpoly.edu/, Query=search/?searchtype=X&SORT=DX&searcharg=%s) then the sequence is:
1. Open Launchy (Alt-Space or your preference).
2. Press the keys you want (say, “PolyCat” or abbreviate it to “pc”).
3. Press tab. Enter your search term. Press Enter.
And of course it’s preconfigured for Google, Google Maps, Weather.com, Amazon, Youtube, IMDB, etc. Besides these usual subjects I use it to open quick web searches of various campus resources.