Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

(Windows) Useful utilities from my startup programs

Here's an idea for a blog post: Look at your startup programs and post the ones that you find most useful.

  • AutoHotKey. Script Windows to be the way you want it. I use it to customize the buttons on my Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (like Search to Google Desktop's Win+G), remap keys (like Numpad7 to ^z), and expand abbreviations (like j2 to [Jon Aquino %CurrentDateTime%], or lorem to "Lorem ipsum dolor...")
  • Ditto. Clipboard history with incremental search. By typing a few letters, I can retrieve any text, code snippet, image, email, etc. that has passed through the clipboard in the past 30 days (adjustable).
  • EverNote. A scratchpad for ideas and webpage clippings (including images). Filenames not required - everything's saved automatically (and is thus recovered in the event of a system crash - I speak from experience)
  • Flickr Notifier. Pops up a box showing new images from your friends' Flickr feeds. Gives you real-time notifications for any RSS feed actually, with images or without - great for "river of information"/firehose feeds, which you don't want to read every post of.
  • Google Desktop Search. Instantly lets me find all emails from:sally, all PHP files containing "preg_replace", all Word documents containing "View St", all Outlook tasks containing "travel".
  • iswitchw. Switch to any window by typing a few letters in the titlebar. Incremental-search-based window switching.
  • jEdit. I've created a website devoted to reasons to love the jEdit text editor.
  • Nib. ($75.) Prevent mouse RSI by clicking without mouse buttons. Pause = left-click; move right then left = right-click; pause then move = drag; move left then right = double-click.
  • Push That Freakin' Button. Automatically click the OK button on "Are you sure?" and other annoying dialog boxes of your choosing.
  • PureText. Paste clipboard contents as plain text, using Win+V. Useful when you've copied some text from a web page and want to paste it into an email without any formatting.
  • EMSA SaveMyWork. Log all your keystrokes in case of program or system crash. Few things are worse than trying to recreate brilliant prose lost to computer malfunction.
  • SlickRun. Shortcut launcher. I've defined "kee" for the KeePass password manager, "ie" for IE, "group" for an Outlook template for an email to my Cursillo group, "books" for an Outlook template for a Someday/Maybe Read task, "yu" for YubNub (yu gim porsche, yu am Design Patterns, yu a sesquipedelian, yu wp ballet, etc.)
  • SnagIt. ($40). The Cadillac of screen-capture programs. Text bubbles, shadow effects, and arrow annotations.
  • TinyResMeter. Miniature bar-graph display of current CPU and memory usage. Customizable colors, font, and font size.


  • I have been using (and loving) a product called Humanized Enso that would fit very snugly in this list. You might want to have a look.

    By Blogger Logan, at 4/10/2007 11:18 AM  

  • Thanks Logan - took a look, and it looks neat. Don't you have to hold down a key while typing in the shortcut though? I thought that might be a bit cumbersome, but I could be wrong.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 4/10/2007 1:08 PM  

  • EverNote is nice, but lacks a "Bring to front" global shortcut, and hitting Esc should minimize it to the tray.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/12/2007 6:26 AM  

  • Hi Anon - To bring it to the front, you can use Ctrl+Alt+N

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 4/12/2007 8:47 PM  

  • I saw in the list that you're using an alternative for clicking :) Scared of RSI? Mee to :) I've been trying to find a viable alternative for clicking but I don't really like those programs based on the fact that they click when you do nothing. Here's a real alternative for clicking without using the mouse, the best I 've found. In my opinion it's absolutley brilliant.

    Hope you find it as useful as I did and tell it to others so they can benefit it too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/21/2008 11:42 AM  

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