Alfred : A better ⌘ SPACE

Posted: January 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: mac | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Alfred : A better ⌘ SPACE

Over the past few weeks I’ve been using Alfred on both my work and home macs.  It’s a replacement for quicksilver which doesn’t seem to have been updated lately and to be quite honest I never really “got”.  I used it to launch applications and search with finder, but other than that not much else.  After quicksilver I just started using good old ⌘ SPACE to open spotlight and use it as my application launcher and for that alone it works just fine. It also replaces spotlight’s file searching using find {file} and open {file} to find and open files on disk – you can include / exclude the types of files it searches as well.  Alfred adds to this a bunch of web searching by default, type google some term and a new tab opens in the default browser (Chrome in my case) with your search term.  There are built in searches for gmail, twitter, amazon, wikipedia and many others which each have their own keyword and search term combination.

At work I often find myself doing certain search tasks (more go to url.com/x/ where x is a variable) all the time. Enter alfred’s custom searches.  You define your keyword, your url and it replaces a token “{query}” with your search term.  Now opening a track ticket is ⌘ SPACE t 12345 which translates to trac.site.com/ticket/12345.  I have also added trac searching, stack overflow searching and a few others.

As well as app launching and searching it’s also got commands for various system commands such as activate screensaver, logout, lock, empty trash, and shutdown (yes there are already shortcuts for these, this just provides alternate ways of doing it). Another great feature is access the OSX dictionary, spell {word} will give you options on how to spell the word and define {word} will give you its definition.

The product is still in beta but it seems very well thought out and has given me no problems as of yet.

ps: As a bonus I changed the default behavior of ⌘ SPACE in OSX preferences to ⌘ SHIFT SPACE and mapped alfred to ⌘ SPACE instead


Hey mac, give me my keyboard back!

Posted: November 28th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: mac | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

I’m a recent mac convert and everything is as they say, Hunky Dory.  In windows I was rather proud in not having to take my fingers off the keyboad for most computing endeavors.  However, on sparkly new macbook things are were not so easy.

Web Forms:
The default behavior it seems is to tab between text and list boxes only.  That checkbox that says “Remember Me”, good luck selecting that with your keyboard.

Dialog Boxes:
I’m also used to using the arrow keys to hit Cancel or Ok, which ever is not the default option.

To fix this problem change the settings from “Text boxes and Lists only” to “All Controls”

Get your keyboard back!

Get your keyboard back!

This has now fixed one of the main pain points for me and my new mac.  There’s not much that I have issues with but this was one that really bothered me.  I just wish it was the default setting.  I’d love an application that would list all of the “newb” settings all in one place so that I could more easily change them, or know that they exist for that matter.

Some other things that I have found:

fn + delete = makes delete key a delete key and not a backspace key.

Speaking of the ‘fn’ key, have an app that loves the F Keys like Eclipse?  You can default them to F1,F2 etc with the following change:

Use function keys by default

Use function keys by default

Any other keyboard tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments.