When Launch Center Pro was announced, to be honest, I really wasn't excited for it. I tried out the original Launch Center app from App Cubby a while back when the whole internet was praising it.

Hey, I bought into the hype as well. However I quickly realized that aside from the Bluetooth and WiFi toggles — which were eventually disabled due to Apple's restrictions — the app didn't really save any drastic amounts of time. To launch OmniFocus's Quick Inbox Entry window via Launch Center probably shaved off microseconds — if that. In other words, the savings and convenience that this offered did not justify having the app on my phone.

Then came Launch Center Pro. I quickly dismissed it due to the experiences, or lack thereof, that I had with the orignal app. But during that time, my Twitter and RSS feeds became contaminated with praise for the new Launch Center Pro.

How could this be better than the orignal Launch Center?

And what's with this 'Pro' stuff?

So to totally spite App Cubby, I bought it. Having my hater hat on accompanied by a smug, and condescending look on my face, I came to realize that this was probably one of the best app purchases that I have made in a long time.

Upon opening the app I quickly noticed the grid layout versus the list of yore. Still didn't see the 'Pro'-ness of it.

Folders which you can slide to. Kinda neat.

Then I stumbled upon the tweet that I linked to few days ago. In short, he mentioned a way to use the prompt dialog box within Launch Center Pro to pre-fill the action before switcing to OmniFocus. I was floored by that. Finally, there was something beneficial to having this app. An ability to get to a text field faster to dump my thoughts.

As I explored more of the app, I noticed that there was a lot of uses that you can achieve by using the prompt and clipboard features. At that point — I was sold. There is a 'Pro'-ness to this app.

As all sorts of ideas rushed through my head, I tweeted David Barnard asking him about TextExpander support — which would literally be the key to unlocking an immense world of possibilities. To my delight, he said that they were looking into it.

While there isn't TextExpander support at the moment, I figured I could hardcode a lot of my templates into the action URL that Launch Center Pro uses to launch other apps.

While I created a lot of actions over the weekend — so much in fact that I have to delete some soon as I am almost out of space — here are some of my favorite actions that I created or came across this past weekend:

Byword - Templates for my linked posts

  • Action URL: byword://new?text=Date%3A%20%0DTitle%3A%20%0DTags%3A%20links%0DSlug%3A%20%0DStatus%3A%20Drafts%0D%0D[prompt]%0D%0D%5B%E2%9E%94%20website%5D%5Bvia%5D%0D%0D%5Bvia%5D%3A%20[clipboard]
  • Explanation: By copying a URL that I want to link to, hitting this action in Launch Center Pro will prompt me to fill in the description/commentary for the link. It will then open up Byword and place the appropriate Pelican header, content that I typed into the prompt, and add the link from the clipboard into a Markdown reference link.
  • Example:

    Date:

    Title:

    Tags: links

    Slug:

    Status: Drafts

    -content that I entered into the Launch Center Pro prompt-

    [➔ website][via]

    [via]: -link from clipboard-

OmniFocus - Quick Entry

  • Action URL: omnifocus:///add?name=[prompt]
  • Explanation: Hitting this action will prompt me to enter the action prior to launching OmniFocus. While I haven't timed the total time from beginning to end, it definitely feels faster to get to a text field to fill out my action. With a mind like mind, milliseconds count when it comes to getting that idea out of my head.

Day One - Quick Entry

  • Action URL: dayone://post?entry=[prompt]
  • Explanation: Pretty identical to the aforementioned OmniFocus quick entry action. While I have attempted journaling in Day One in the past, I quickly fell off the wagon with it as I found the whole process to be too disruptive. Having this action paired with a schedule to automatically notify me to enter an entry, I hope to alleviate that.

One little hiccup that I found was that if you enter everything through the prompt and try to save it without any interaction with the content, the entry will show up blank. To alleviate this, once the content gets pasted into the Day One entry, I tap 'return' one or two times just to make sure the entry doesn't come out blank.

ThreadNote - Coffee Notes

  • Action URL: threadnote://new?text=%23coffee%5Fnotes%0D%0DBeans%3A%20%0DMethod%3A%20%0DTime%3A%20%0DGrinder%20Setting%3A%20%0DCoffee%20Dosage%3A%20%0DWater%20Weight%3A%20%0DNotes%3A%20
  • Explanation: I shared this URL with my coffee buddy, Michael Schechter. I experiment a lot with coffee variables such as dosage, grind size, temperatures, etc. While some of my experiments are hits and a lot more of them are misses, this enables me to quickly take notes about my variables and the results.
  • Example:

    #coffee_notes

    Beans:

    Method:

    Time:

    Grinder Setting:

    Coffee Dosage:

    Water Weight:

    Notes:

Due - Quick Alarms

  • Action URL: due:///add?title=[prompt]
  • Explanation: I set a lot of reminder alerts for myself. So to have quick access to Due with the prompt allowing me to quickly note what my reminder is about, I am able to set those reminders quickly and easily.

Pinboard - Add Note via clipboard

  • Action URL: https://pinboard.in/note/add?title=[prompt]&tags=notes&note=[clipboard]
  • Explanation: I saw a tweet from @potatowire which showed how you can add a bookmark to Pinboard using the prompt and the clipboard as variables to pre-fill the bookmark info. Since I already use Yummy for that purpose, there was one thing that I wanted to use it for — notes. I've been playing around with the idea of saving certain notes to Pinboard. With this URL, it will take the contents of your clipboard and use that for the 'note' data while the prompt allows you to fill in the note title. This is great for all those Linux commands that I never remember.

As you can see, I think its pretty clear whether I am keeping the app this time around. Good job, App Cubby. Thanks for proving me wrong.