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Saturday, March 11, 2006

My Quicksilver Tips (QS means Quick Silver)

It's not going to be a full how too of quicksilver, others have written very good ones of those, in fact that's what got me using quicksilver in the first place.

On we go. (Subject -> Action -> Object) my QS Activation command is... ^+Space

Firstly thank god it's universal, I doubt I could have sustained using it under rosetta, it'd hurt physically hurt.
Once it's installed, I activate the beta functions; they claim to be less stable, and yes maybe that's what causes Quicksilver to crash occasionally, but not enough to warrant turning them off.

What advanced features do I then use ? Funky radial menus is something I've had turned on for quite some time, but often forget to use. I love the fact Quicksilver can effectively access any applications menu structure.
If I'm feeling particularly keyboard bound, rather than right clicking, sorry control clicking, an e-mail in my inbox I can QS->mail.app->menu->messages->move->on my mac->destination folder
I can also do this through the apple mail module.

I don't use the iTunes radial menus.

Some time after getting my first mac some 8 months ago, before tasting that cool aid, having it course through my veins, I used to be (what am I saying I still am) a Windows user, I noticed one of the prime things I missed was a shortcut to lock my machine. I know I can activate the screen saver and have that password'd, but that isn't fast enough when someone unsavoury is heading your way just as you're composing a message to their boss about how unsavoury they are, no I don't do that really. But you know you're getting up from the machine and you want boom locked ! Not waiting for the screen saver or that nonsense. Now I thought this MUST be possible on quicksilver but I couldn't find out how. So for all those out there here you are:
This command in terminal effectively activates a fast user switch, taking you back to the login screen whilst leaving all your stuff running.
/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend; exit;
The exit; also closes the window you run it from.
So how did I get this into quick silver ?
In QS preferences ensure you have the "Command Line Tool" checked.
In QS preferences, on the actions section, ensure you have "All Actions" highlighted in Type. Then not far down that list, although it will vary depending on what modules you've played with you will find "Run a text command in shell" Make sure that is checked.
Now in triggers hit the little plus symbol, and you will get like a miniature QS interface, the paste that line above into the Subject; The Action needs to be "Run a text command" hit OK. Now click little symbol of a key, and a new tab pops out, the top box is marked "Hot Key" click in there and now press the keys you want to make Lock / User Switch what ever, I use Command + Shift + W, because it's similar to what I have to use on the bastardised version of windows at work.

I use some iTunes scripts supplied with QS for when I'm forcing the Maltese Telephone Operator to endure my pod-casts if a phone call comes in about how to attach a file or other urgent matters, I will usually out of courtesy pause my music / pods etc. To do this I don't need to go scrabbling around like some animal to find the iTune program, behold my primary QS shortcut, QS->Pause then later QS->Play. Only this evening I was going to hook those up to trigger keys, see before, when I thought why not write a script to detect if iTunes is paused then play and visa versa. I trotted off to the scripts folder and low and behold I found the play Pause script which does exactly that. So all I had to do then was hook that up to a trigger, and boom. Command+Shift+P plays and pauses my music.
Another iTunes QS script I use when listening pod casts I often need to go back a bit and listen again to a web address or a company name, so I altered a supplied rewind script which when installed just activates the rewind function of iTunes. You can e-mail for my version, now my version rewinds 10 seconds, it's obvious when you open it that if you want to rewind longer or short you just change the 10 to your own value. So now with QS->Rewind, I can skip back and hear that address I missed.

Taking my laptop to and from work, I use the apple network location functions quite a lot. I've found the "Network Location Switch" module combined with the "Switch to Location" action hooked up to a trigger, means I can command+alt+control+W for work and command+alt+control+H for home.

The actions you set in triggers, like my command+alt+control+H, or play pause, don't need you to explicitly activate quicksilver merely that it is running.

Another favourite: Mail To Compose and Direct Mail To, both require a couple of modules and actions turned on. E-Mail support plug-in. Apple Address Book plug-in. Under Catalog make sure you've got a tick next to recent mail addresses. Then you can do a couple of cool things.
QS->.Subject->Compose->Person
QS->.Some text you want to send->Direct->Person
The first one, easy, opens up a new message with that subject and to the person specified. The second one, skips a beat, it just sends it straight off boom gone, you'll hear a cheeky woosh and it's all over dude. I regularly request coffees or jsut generally wind up my coleagues with insanely quick e-mailing to the Maltese Office Queen with this direct mail function but remember it's fairly unstoppably quick SO Don't type, QS->.My boss is a fool->direct->myboss@mysoontobeoldjob.com
QS Gets even cleverer here, the Person, can be an address card by name, or the beginning of a recently used address, just watch it the first few times you use it to make sure it's guesstimating correctly.

Dictionary, fairly self explanatory: QS->.word->Dictionary = Definition

iCals, these are recent for me but I use them daily, hourly even ! Plug in required, "iCal Module (+)" Then you can:
QS->.A todo item-> iCal todo and there it is in your iCal todo list.
QS->.A todo item-> iCal event and there it is in your iCal Events list.

I often get concerned that I'm expanding more mental capacity remembering all my stupid shortcuts than i would simply following the process. I don't agree with this as you build these devices into your workflow, indeed until i wrote this i hadn't realised how many I use. I decided I'd try to remove a load of stuff from my dock and commit to QS, it worked, I don't miss the icons, I like the extra space and I can instantiate any program with a quick QS->A program, and it gets it right. It soon learns what you want. I launch, bluetooh, mail, deerpark, iCal, iTunes, iPhoto - you name it. I'm sure I've missed some, when i remember them I'll come back to this post and write them in. I might make this a propper html file with pictures, whataya think ?

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