· technology ·

I've been pretty busy just reinstalling all the applications and utilities I used to have on my old TiBook on to the new 12" PowerBook, but now that I've finished that, I'm looking around again for some new things to install on my shiny new toy invaluable work tool. I've just come across CocoaSuite, and I'm rather impressed by it. Some time ago, I used CocoaGestures — a free utility by the same author, which allowed you to draw shapes with the mouse (while holding down a configurable key) to trigger any menu command. I found it extremely useful, so I'm surprised that I haven't picked up on CocoaSuite before now. This bundles the Gestures in with a number of other useful tools. 'Mnemonics' allow you to hit a hotkey to bring up a text entry field (F12 by default, but you can change it), into which you type a mnemonic which triggers a menu command. So if you can't remember the built-in hotkey for 'File:Save As...' you could use 'sa' as a mnemonic. In fact, you can trigger any menu command with a hotkey, with a mnemonic, or with a gesture. Menu commands can also include contextual menus (the ones which appear when you control-click or right-click something). This is brilliant for using a gesture to open a link on a web page in a new tab; the engine is clever enough to figure out that you want to trigger a contextual menu if you start the gesture over a link. It's a lot quicker than opening the menu the usual way and selecting one of the commands.

Other goodies include Text Snippets, which automatically type bits of frequently used text for you. You can either choose them from the menu or assign a hotkey, gesture or mnemonic to trigger them. I've used TypeIt4Me to do this for a while, but if you don't use this wonderful utility, it's nice to have a similar thing bundled in with the gestures, and to have more flexibility about how the snippet is triggered. There's also a great feature for laptop owners, which allows you to use the trackpad as either a jog dial or scroll wheel for scrolling windows. It works pretty nicely, and even though I use an external mouse most of the time, it's good to have the facility for those times when it's impractical to use a mouse. All of the hotkeys, gestures and mnemonics can be made global or local to a particular application, which effectively increases the number of different permutations you can use, and stops you triggering inappropriate commands accidentally. It seems to work very smoothly, but I'll be giving it a thorough workout over the trial period to see if I think it's worth my hard-earned cash.