Tag Archives: quicksilver

Quicksilver: Universal Access and Action

Few applications have energized the Mac community as Quicksilver has, and few developers have been more elusive to speak publicly about it than its creator, Nicholas “Alcor” Jitkoff.

The amount of peer pressure at Google is apparently overwhelming, as Nicholas have given a **fantastic** 25 minute talk as part of the Google Tech Talks series.

> In this talk, we will explore the motivation behind Quicksilver, highlights of its implementation, lessons learned from its design, and the ways it might inform the future of navigation for the desktop and the web.

Quicksilver users/fanatics/zealots should not pass this up.

Other people I know and love who have done Google Tech Talks: Suw Charman’s Does Social Software Have Fangs?, and Merlin Mann’s ridiculously popular Inbox Zero.

Quicksilver Trick: Strip Clipboard Formatting

It’s been a while since I did a Quicksilver one-off, but with all the [recent](http://lifehacker.com/software/quicksilver/hack-attack-a-beginners-guide-to-quicksilver-247129.php) [crazy](http://www.43folders.com/2007/03/05/tms-comma-trick/) [hype](http://www.lifehacker.com/software/quicksilver/hack-attack-the-quicksilver-video-extravaganza-250949.php) for QS beginning once again, it seems like a good time. Plus, this literally just happened.

Do you know what my biggest pet peeve in OS X has been? It’s that it’s too smart for it’s own good.

Let me be more specific: when you copy something to the clipboard, it almost always holds the rich text formatting of the app you copied it from. If you paste it into another rich text app, you end up with something that looks like this:

This, undeniably, **sucks**. Yes, there are a few times where you want the format to copy, but this is rarely the case with most apps. I’d say maybe 5% of the time this is useful, and 95% of the time it makes me want to snap my MacBook Pro in half.

My solution to date has always been “copy from source app, paste into TextMate, copy back out of TextMate, paste into target”. I love TextMate, but this is needless abuse of a lovely app.

Was talking to Mikey (he of [Think](http://www.freeverse.com/think/)) this morning, and he explained the issue thusly:

>”It’s a side effect of copying rich text to the pasteboard server. The app copying it doesn’t know you’re going to take it to another app, and the other app doesn’t know where it came from – just that it’s on the pb.”

And then he threw out *his* solution to the problem:

$ pbpaste | pbcopy

And I thought, “well, I could alias that I guess, but then I’ve gotta keep jumping into terminal and typing. And I really want a hotkey for this. You know, like a QS trig…”

Oh. Right.

So, friends, if you too are affected by the horribly crippling brilliance of OS X’s rich text pasteboard, simply make the trigger shown at right. If you don’t know how to do this:

1. Invoke QS.
2. Type Command-‘ (that’s a single quote) to go to the Trigger preferences.
3. Create a new trigger by clicking the + button.
4. When the trigger pane drops down, press the period key to enter text mode.
5. Type “pbpaste | pbcopy” into the text field. (Or, for the slightly meta, you can copy and paste it from this post.)
6. Press tab – select “Run Command in Shell” as the action if it’s not already selected.
7. Save the trigger and then assign a hotkey as normal.

I bound mine to Shift-Option-Command-V, since I’ll tend to hit it right before I paste something out. You can choose whatever you find most comfortable.
In case it’s not clear, this takes the contents of your clipboard and pastes them right back into the clipboard. Because this is being run as a shell command, the formatting falls right off.

If you’re entirely unfamiliar with triggers, you might be in need of a read of my [trigger tutorial](http://vjarmy.com/archives/2006/01/quicksilver_gold_trigger.php).

Thanks again to [Mikey](http://www.mikey-san.net/) for his help in turning the lightbulb on over my head.

FIRST EDIT: I’ve been reminded (thanks, Suw!) that you need to have the Terminal Plugin installed to have access to the Run Command In Shell action. Also, note that this trigger does *not* paste for you; it merely strips off formatting while still in the clipboard.

In Print: Working Mac – January 2007

I’m happy to announce that I’ve been published a second time for my Quicksilver work.

This time, you can find my contributions to a MacWorld article, entitled “Working Mac: Launch Your Productivity” in the January 2007 issue, which should be on newsstands now and online within the next month. The article covers tips using all three major launchers (Butler, LaunchBar, Quicksilver) for OS X. Dan Frakes and Rob Griffiths also contributed.

I realize, looking at the article, that it actually got chopped down from what I had originally written – which bodes well, I guess, for my ability to write lots about Quicksilver.

For those who missed my first printing, my original tutorial was published in O’Reilly’s [Mac OS X Panther Hacks](http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/0596007183/).

I hope to be able to announce my third printed Quicksilver endeavor within the next month.

Abracadabra – Quicksilver Mouse Gestures

I was in a meeting a week or two ago where one of my bosses was using the Mac in our conference room and, upon realizing he had to open another app, hit Command-Space as a reflex. Nothing happened – Quicksilver wasn’t installed. Those of us who use Quicksilver (about half of my group) all giggled – because we’ve all been there, grappling on a machine without QS installed.

For those of you who, like my boss and my coworkers, live and die by Quicksilver, there’s a plugin you should definitely check out. Its name is Abracadabra, and it enables a third trigger type: *mouse gestures*. I got to play with this while it was in alpha, and I have to say, it’s really damn slick, and a natural extension on top of QS.

Marcus Volwalker has a [great tutorial](http://marcusvorwaller.com/blog/archives/2006/02/20/quicksilver-abracadabra-gestures/) to help you get started. And if you need help with triggers in general, check my [last tutorial](http://vjarmy.com/archives/2006/01/quicksilver_gold_trigger.php).

Blacktree Goes Dark

I know a number of Quicksilver nuts are reading this, so maybe this will get the word out.

Blacktree.com was suspended today due to it overloading the database on Alcor’s host. He is investigating solutions, but he’s a little busy with school projects right now to handle it.

So hang in there, Quicksilver users – it’ll be back soon.

Another Quicksilver Tutorial: Gold Trigger

By this point, Quicksilver is a staple in the must-have applications for most OS X power users. It’s a feature packed, robust application with almost limitless potential to help you streamline your day to day computing tasks.

But even with the thousands and thousands of converts and evangelists, it’s hard to introduce someone new to Quicksilver. It’s difficult to describe, and even harder to train someone in. I learned this the hard way when I was showing the app to a fellow geek friend who, despite having heard a lot about QS, just couldn’t get her head around it.

The solution I found most effective is to latch onto a feature that based on my user sampling is woefully underused. It’s incredibly useful, so you’ll feel the effects of it immediately in your workflow. Best of all, it’s built on top of the subject-action-target model that QS is based on, so playing with it will grow your understanding of how Quicksilver works.

With that said, it’s time to fire up your copies of the [latest version](http://getqs.com/) and get ready to learn all about triggers.

Continue reading Another Quicksilver Tutorial: Gold Trigger

Quicksilver b40 (P)review

If you’re like me at all, you’ve been waiting patiently for Tiger solely for the impending return of Quicksilver builds every few weeks.

Luckily, Alcor is kind enough to have provided me with a developmental build (to be fair, everyone on #quicksilver has access, but I’m going to pretend), and gave me permission to drop some of the new feature flavor in your ear. Or in your eye, I guess.
b40 is out now, so this is less of a preview and more of a review.

Continue reading Quicksilver b40 (P)review

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Apple has finally announced a ship date for OS X 10.4 and 10.4 Server; it’ll see its official release on April 29th.

It’s honestly rather strange, now that we’re four years into OS X, how Apple manages to keep cramming in new useful features into each major OS revision. My appreciation for Apple’s engineers grows with each OS revision as they refine and enhance the interfaces I see so much over the course of a day. Just as often, my forehead wrinkles in confusion when menu items move, key commands change, and functionality disappears – but as they always say, “Adopt, Adapt, Improve”.

One of the key reasons I’m both dreading and cheering on Tiger is the b40 release of Quicksilver. The developer [dropped a few notes](http://forums.blacktree.com/viewtopic.php?t=1956) on the forum a short while ago; a synopsis:

– B40 will be released around the same time Tiger is; it will be a Tiger only build.
– B36 will be released at the same time as B40; it will be the last Panther build and have no expiration code (as all the previous betas have).
– Features in Tiger that will probably be leveraged include “*Core data for the catalog storage and used in a few of the plugins (iTunes). Core image for Superflous Visual Effects once i can figure out how. New XML tools for the plugin management. Spotlight for a new catalog sources and some additional functionality. Automator for workflow actions, and (hopefully eventually) individual action*”
– It will have a shiny new icon.

It speaks a lot to the power of Quicksilver that one of the key reason I’m excited for a whole new operating system is not the incredibly useful Dashboard, not the thousand-times-better Mail.app, not the wizzy services I’ll get to use on 10.4 Server, not even Spotlight. No, it’s that Quicksilver will again be moving forward and enhancing my day-to-day work in new and exciting ways.

(The reason I’m dreading it? Because I know I’m going to have to overhaul my tutorials for the fifth time.)