I've been using the Colibri tool to open my apps and control panels for some time. A little summary of the tool is here with screenshots. Really, it's so simple there isn't much to say other than why you may want to consider it if you use Google Desktop instead of the silly QUickLaunch icons next to the "Start" menu. With a quick Ctl+Space (or whatever you want it to be) and just three keys I open whatever application I want. Same thing if I want to change my display setting (Ctl+Space+Dis) and so on. The google desktop thing is great, but has so much junk I wanted a real quick simple tool to just open apps and this is it. Seems actively in development too.