Love that RocketDock

When it comes to computers, I’m an organization junkie.  I hate having icons clutter up my Desktop. It ruins the pretty view of my backgrounds! In the past, I used to have shortcuts to frequently-used programs in my Quick Launch toolbar (the space immediately to the right of the Start button). But as the list of programs grew, the space available on my taskbar for minimized window tabs shrank. In an effort to clear out my taskbar, I discovered a quaint little program called AquaDock, a Windows-style "borrowing" of the lovely utility in Mac OS X. Simply put, it’s like a Quick Launch toolbar that hovers offscreen, appearing only when you put your mouse in close proximity to the screen edge. Select the program you want to run, move your mouse away, and it disappears again.  It’s a fantastic idea if you have limited screen space to manage.

AquaDock was freeware developed and abandoned a few years ago, but it was the best I could find at the time.  I attached it to the left margin of my screen, and it worked out great. I loved having the extra taskbar space for all of my simultaneously running programs (don’t you hate it when you have so many programs running that it’s hard to tell which program is which because the viewable text is so badly truncated?), and learned to live with some of the bugs.

Well, yesterday I came across another Dock variant called RocketDock. The great thing about this app (besides the whole "free" thing) is that it’s currently supported and regularly updated by two Mac OS X enthusiasts.  In addition, it’s almost endlessly customizable – the number of options relating to theme, icon size, zoom rate, etc., is really quite extensive and allows for a ton of tinkering. Within minutes I was able to set up my RocketDock, and I was so enamored with it that I removed AquaDock from my computer. Here’s a screenshot (click to see actual size):

As you can see, I grouped related programs together for easy access: Internet browsers (the one on the left is Opera, my favorite), Office 2007, Adobe Creative Suite 2, multmedia and IM, some of my favorite freeware utilities, and system links (My Documents, Control Panel, and Recycle Bin). It really is a snap to get it looking the way you want.

RocketDock is available at The authors even created a video so you can see it in action.  Check it out!

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