Blast from Apparent Software – Recent Files on Steroids

Posted by February 22, 2011 App Reviews No Comments

As a first of many reviews to come, I would like to highlight a great utility from Apparent Software called Blast.
For some time I had been searching for great way to keep track of the my recent desktop activity. As a graphic designer I find myself regularly trolling through many iterations and drafts of project files, as well as supporting photography and artwork. I also routinely find myself forgetting which files I have been working out of and where I have most recently placed the project folder.
While OS X has the built in functionality to track recent files, it’s capability is notably anemic. And unfilterable. Only the ten most recent Applications, Documents and Servers are listed. And it only seems to glean a small number file types.
Blast, however seems to lean the other direction. It captures virtually everything, short of system files (if you leave it set to skip them), while occupying a small system footprint.

Functionality
While constantly tracking, Blast resides in the menu bar giving quick access to files with a number of filters. Access is provided via either a menu bar click or assignable keyboard shortcut. This presents a filterable pane of recent files with built-in filters including a catch-all, documents, images, movies, sounds, folders and applications. It also features a small dock where you can drag commonly accessed items.
Blast offers the option to whittle down the body of items be catalogued. Locations can be excluded as well as small number of item types. One of the highlights of Blast’s functionality for my needs is it’s ability to include every item’s actual location alongside it’s listing.

Design
On the UI front, Blast sports a HUD style, black transparent drop-down overlay with easy access to all filters and options. While it isn’t drop-dead gorgeous or overflowing with refinement, it is nice, simple and easy to navigate. With a little more work, it could feel less dated and live perfectly at home in the mac environment.

Overall, Blast is a great utility that does exactly what it claims to, filling a gap I had felt in my workflow for some time. While it hasn’t yet become invaluable in my day-to-day grind, I have to express my thanks to the team at Apparent Software for allowing me the chance to review this great and unique utility.