Mac OS 10.6 has a "Keyboard Shortcuts" preference pane in System Preferences. It lets you add new entries, but they don't seem to work. Is this the correct way to add hotkeys? For instance I would like Command+Esc to open Terminal.app.
You have to deal with two issues here
Make sure a real application launcher such as Quicksilver, Alfred or LaunchBar wouldn't be the better solution.
For a Terminal, have a look at Visor. It allows you to create a HUD console. If you played Quake, you know how it works.
That being said, you can make this work.
First, create a Service by starting
Above the Launch Application command, select no input and any application.
Now, Open System Preferences » Keyboard » Keyboard Shortcuts, select Application Shortcuts (not Services!). Click the
Done. Now there's a new menu item in Application Menu » Services named Launch Terminal, with the keyboard shortcut
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There's a bug where the shortcuts for Automator services don't always work until the services menu has been shown once from the menu bar. And they won't be available in applications that don't have a Services menu. There's also a noticeable delay before they are run.
Using a third party application like Alfred would be a better idea.
You could also assign shortcuts to shell commands like
This would block the script until the application has finished opening, so it would seem to take longer if it was run with FastScripts: