Sunday, February 10, 2008

Better Menubar Shortcut

It seems that Leopard broke one of my favorite Quicksilver magic tricks, documented here, which allows you to access the topmost application's menus through a Quicksilver trigger. It seems to work only with a few applications now, and intermittently at best.

The next best thing is the incremental search of the menu bar, where you get the cursor up onto the menu bar and type the first part of the menu you want, hit enter when it highlights the correct target, then incrementally search for the leaf item you want. Rinse and repeat. The only problem is the shortcut key to get up to the menubar: CTRL-F2, which is cumbersome on my laptop.

I'd rather light a candle than curse darkness, so I remapped it to CTRL-ALT-APPLE-SPACE (which are all together). This sounds like a horror, but it's really easy, and that combination wasn't taken by anything I can find. Until Quicksilver fixes the application proxy stuff, this is the next best thing.

Virtually instant update: Apparently Jason was sitting with his computer on, hitting the refresh button over and over on this blog, because he posted this comment almost before I finished the first entry. This link shows how to use a help hotkey for an alphabetized, incrementally searchable list of menu command in Leopard via the new help system. I added it here in case the comment didn't get read by everyone. Thanks, Jason!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Path Finder

For simple file manipulation, I tend to use Quicksilver (the universal solvent). However, when it comes time for heavy lifting, I turn to Path Finder. This is a hugely useful Finder replacement, even the new, improved Finder in Leopard. It has tons of useful stuff. The cookie trail of where you are in the directory structure? Path Finder has had that for a while. And, you can right click on it and copy the path in a bunch of different formats (UNIX, HFS, Terminal, Windows, etc). And you can click on it to get to the underlying contents of the path. It's tabbed, so you can drag and drop from one tab to the other.

It also has the best (which is damning with faint praise) Subversion client on the Mac (still no Tortoise for the Mac -- rats!). You still have to do serious stuff from the command line, but the Subversion client in Path Finder is great for simple stuff. And yesterday it saved me about 15 minutes of bash hacking because of the "Change Extension" command, which allows you to bulk change extensions of files.

My wife moved (evolved?) from Windows to Mac, and she found Finder too limiting compared to Windows Explorer. But she loves Path Finder. It's one of the first things I put on new machines.