Review: Trampoline

If your Dock is annoying, Trampoline may help. (March 19th, 2007)

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Product Manufacturer: Old Jewel Software

Price: $19.95 US

The Good

  • Very easy to use. Great video tutorials on site. PDF user guide. Opens your Trampoline anywhere on screen. Easy to customize. Hot keys or mouse button activation. You can change the size of the radial menu.

The Bad

  • May slow down older Macs with the redraw. Minor inconsequential bugs.

Apple's Dock is an amazing application; move your cursor over it and you select to open any item. If you are like me, you probably have twenty-five to thirty items in the dock, as well as many icons and alias on the desktop. The Dock is handy, but it can be a pain in the neck as well. When you move the cursor too far on a web page, out pops the Dock, especially if you place it on the side. You only have three places the Dock can appear, left, right and bottom. Why not the middle or anywhere you place the cursor? For those who like to use keyboard commands rather than cursor movements, the Dock isn't so great.

Undock your launcher

Old Jewel Software has solved this frustration with a new iteration of a program formerly called, Bullseye. Trampoline 2.0.2 replaces your Dock functions. Put your cursor anywhere on your Mac's screen, press the option and space bar and a transparent radial menu comes up centered under the cursor. You can also set Trampoline to activate with the buttons of a mouse or choose a different set of hot keys. Initially, it appears with the same icons that are in your Dock. Unlike the Dock, applications launch with no animation, i.e. no bouncing up and down. Click on the X in the middle to close Trampoline. When Trampoline is active, start typing the letters of the item you want to launch and Trampoline finds the item and opens it.

Customize How You Work

You can choose how many icons appear in the disk and see additional items with a click on the left or right arrow keys on the keyboard, or the arrows on the disk. You can also change the order in which items appear in the Preferences. You can drag icons onto the disk or use the Trampoline Preferences to add or remove items, or control-click on an item. When you add a folder to the Trampoline, a click shows everything in that folder. Place a folder of links to those web sites you go to on a regular basis and have Trampoline launch your web browser and go from web page to web page. You can also change the accent color that highlights open applications and displays item names.

If you have multiple applications open on your desktop, Trampoline will bring the document you are working on to the front. This is very handy if you are creating a web page, for example. Activate Trampoline and click on Adobe Photoshop to work on a graphic, then click on your text editor to create the text. Trampoline brings that page to the front. Copy the text and then bring the web page program you are working with to the front and paste the text and place the graphic.

Handy Utility

You will soon find this handy utility very useful. It is easy to use and has many features to customize for your own needs. Just hide your Dock and you have a launcher you can enjoy. You can download a demo copy from the site, and this universal application works in Mac OS X 10.4 and above.

Minor Annoyances

Comments from ilene: The developer is responsive and seems to fix bugs as they're found, which is encouraging. I found a couple of minor annoyances, such as unrecognized software that was represented as question marks in the Trampoline, notably, Intellimerge from Intelli Innovations, Inc. and EarthLink Total Access. To its credit, customized folder icons were recognized. In addition, when you click on Safari, the New Window option isn't available, which is a feature I use regularly. I also found it frustrating that you couldn't move the open Trampoline window to a different part of the screen. The only other minor bugs I found do not affect Trampoline's functions. 1. If you leave the Preferences window open, the hot key returns you to the preferences instead of the Trampoline itself. 2. You must use the stepper control arrows to change the number of items shown in a Trampoline, you cannot just type in a number. 3. It is odd that there is no About window for Trampoline, because it functions in the background. You can have it launch upon login though, and it is very easy to remove.

by Rick Curran and ilene Hoffman


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