If the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the name of this software is a theme to Batman, don’t worry, you are not alone. The job of Alfred was more than just a mere sidekick, he was kind of like a facilitator. He did all the little things that Bruce Wayne needed in order to manage his double life, and not get killed. Batman may have gotten the girls but Alfred understood the logistics of what it really meant to be a superhero.
Alfred for Mac kind of takes on a very similar function. It manages the details, and provides you with the information that you need in order to rock.
Alfred, like any good assistant, runs quietly in the background. Instead of finding him on your dock, you see him hiding up top, near Time machine backup and Internet connectivity indicators. When you want Alfred, all you have to do is click on the hat, and then the worlds “Toggle Alfred”. Then, poof, he is there: ready, willing, and able to get you what you need.
Let’s say that you want to find a lost folder, or documents, or the contact information on the client that you haven’t seen in six months, but suddenly need to contact. All you have to do is start typing and Alfred will give you related results with a fair amount of accuracy. Alfred will, by default, search your programs, Web bookmarks, and files to see if they can find you what you need. If you spend some time in the preferences, it can even be made to search your documents, images, and even your AppleScript’s, making it fairly comprehensive search tool for most users.
If you can’t find you what you need, Alfred will still try to please you, giving you extended search options through sites like Google and Amazon, because any good butler wants to get it right.
Aside from functionality, Alfred has its own fashion sense too. Two styles to be exact. You can change between the light Alfred, and the dark Alfred, depending on which style suits you better. This is a nice change from a lot of productivity apps, and system utilities, that do their job well but are aesthetically less than pleasing.
Another nice option is that if you feel your results aren’t accurate, you can rebuild the index that the program is searching from. Basically, this is meant for times when Alfred can’t find it, but spotlight can. Think of it as the ultimate in flexibility for search software. While you’re in this menu, you will notice a button with the tantalizing words, “Do not press this button,” written on it. Let me save you a little trouble, when you press the button, something funny but not harmful to your system happens.
On the whole, Alfred is really one of your best productivity options in the Mac App store. It doesn’t look to change how you work, it simply looks to make it easier for you to get what you need.
Alfred (iTunes link)