As time has gone by I guess I have become less and less enamoured of the Dock as a way of starting applications. I have quite a few and my Dock got cluttered. So I cut it down to my most regular apps which works great but then leaves me hunting about in Finder for the rest.
I've decided to give quicksilver a try. It does the launcher thing but, more than that, it's actions extension mechanism looks like it could be very powerful and the whole Wei Wu Wei philosophy appeals to me.
I'll have to see how I take to it.