Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Quicksilver Files: Quick Access to Quicksilver Preferences

Here's a quick one. To customize Quicksilver, you must go to the preferences pane. You can get there by launching Quicksilver and clicking on the gear in the upper right corner. But that's not very Quicksilver, is it? The easier way to get to Quicksilver's preferences is to launch Quicksilver, then hit the -' (that's APPLE + single quote). Instant Preferences pane.

Quicksilver: universal solvent

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Quicksilver Files: Accessing Application Menus

My friend and co-worker Muness turned me onto this trick the other day (documented here). It allows you to access the menus from the frontmost application through Quicksilver. You have to do the following to turn it on:

  • Turn on "Enable Advanced Features" in Quicksilver

  • Enable proxies in Quicksilver preferences: Under Catalog > Quicksilver, turn on “Proxy Objects”, “Internal Commands”, and “Internal Objects”.

  • To access menu items (and enable the Show Menu Items action), go under Plug-ins > All Plug Ins and scroll down to turn on “User Interface Access (+)”.

  • Make sure you have “Enable access for assistive devices” turned on in System Preferences for the entire OS

Once you have this set up, you can get to the menus by choosing Current Application as the noun and Show Menu Items as the verb. It gives you a list of all the leaf menu items in the current application.

That's sort of cumbersome, so I set up a trigger to make it easier. I created a Quicksilver trigger (for me, keyed off the ALT-ENTER key chord) that automatically launches the list of menu items in the current application. Now, as I'm Mac-ing along, the key chord gives me Quicksilver access to all the menu items, which is even easier than the CTRL-F2 trick shortcut that used to be my favorite.

Quicksilver: access granted

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Quicksilver Files: Triggers

Triggers are one of those categories that I haven't stumbled into much until recently. They allow you to take a Quicksilver noun and verb combination and bind it to a key chord. For example, I issue the noun ~/work/PRDPRG, verb Open with..., and adverb Mate a lot (this opens my Productive Programmer work directory in TextMate). The only problem is that it's a little cumbersome to do that over and over. So, I set up a trigger for that noun, verb, adverb combination and bound it to the CTRL-ALT-1 key. Now, when I hit that keyboard combination, it issues that sequence of Quicksilver commands automatically.

Quicksilver: sleight of hand

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Auto Un-starting Parallels

I found myself in an interesting rabbit hole the other day. I have a Parallels image set to automatically launch when I open the image and automatically kill Parallels when it's done. Very convenient because you start the VM, it runs Windows, and when you kill Windows, it kills the VM. Very convenient, that is, until you need to make changes to the VM configuration, which you can't do while it's running. After playing Whack-A-Mole for a few minutes, trying to get to the Edit menu before it could start (unsuccessfully, by the way), I did a little digging. It turns out that if you have those settings and you choose your VM from the Parallels catalog, you can hold down the APPLE key as you select it to prevent it from starting.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Grand Perspective

This is a great little utility that Brian showed me.

Tonight, my wife Candy was trying to print something, and had to download a new print driver. Suddenly, her hard drive was reporting full, and there's no way that should be. We couldn't figure out why, so we downloaded Grand Perspective. Grand Perspective scans a folder (up to the whole hard drive) and shows a graphical representation of how much space each file occupies, like this:

grand perspective example

We pointed it to her root directory, it trundled away for a few minutes, and made it easy to spot the culprit: an aborted attempt to add a whole bunch of images to iPhoto that had copied them locally. Delete them, and 65+ Gb free again.

Highly special purpose but, if you need it, you need it badly. I'm about to use it to trim my Subversion repository to something a little more manageable.