Way back in 2007 I wrote MacStart, an Applescript program to scan the program folders on my Mac Mini PPC OSX 10.4.11 and pop up a list of applications with a single mouse click.
I've used MacStart quite a lot and recently I packaged MacStart Version 1.3.2 with some improvements, and then went on to package 1.3.3 for OSX Lion.
Here's what it looks like. Click on either image to see it larger:
As you can see I have a spiffy-looking MacStart icon in my Dock and on the Desktop, plus you can see the program selection menu showing all of my applications.
MacStart runs fast. Go here to download the MacStart.1.3.3.dmg file and try it out for yourself. Don't forget to grok the README file first! You may need to recompile the script for your system.
MacStart V1.3.2 is also still available here, but 1.3.3 runs fine on OSX 10.4.11 if you just recompile it. Never tested on 10.5 or 10.6.