Twiddling and fiddling with my Mac
So now it is a couple of days later and I have still got a few things to set up on the iMac, following the reinstall of Mac OS X Mountain Lion. This morning I reset up the connections within MarsEdit to my various blogs. While I was doing this I needed to go into 1Password to collect usernames and passwords for the blogs. For quite a long time now I have been using the application JumpCut which is a really useful Clipboard Manager, which has the great advantage of being free. I also own an application called Keyboard Maestro which has a clipboard manager contained within it. I have wanted to use it for some time, because it has a number of extra facilities that Jumpcut doesn’t have. So today I decided to make the change.
Setting things up in Keyboard Maestro for clipboard management
On account of the fact that I have the muscle memory of using the keyboard shortcut control-option-V, I went into Keyboard Maestro and changed the keyboard shortcut for the clipboard history changer to the same as I was using with JumpCut. Now that I have done this it will be a little bit easier for me to actually start using Keyboard Maestro as my clipboard manager.
Learning other new keyboard shortcuts
So now that I can hit my usual shortcut key combination to get to the list of clipboard items, I get to see a more useful view of what I have in the clipboard. With JumpCut, all you get is a list of the text items that you have put into the clipboard. This is pretty useful as you can have a list in there, with around 40 or 50 items in the list, but is not so useful when you put images into the clipboard. With JumpCut you only get the one clipboard, which is the default clipboard for the OS X system. Now that I have changed over to Keyboard Maestro to organise my clipboard, I can use other named clipboards, as well as being able to see the images stored. Now all I have to do is to learn the keyboard shortcut commands to be able to switch between the named clipboards and the default clipboard when either copying, cutting or pasting.
What else is Keyboard Maestro good for?
Well the question is, how long is a piece of string? Keyboard Maestro is an amazing application that lets you create macros that will work in just about all of your applications. Even though I often use dictation to save me from using the keyboard, I’m still what you would call a keyboard jockey. This comes from the fact that I prefer to use the keyboard and make use of hotkeys, rather than moving my hand away in the direction of either the mouse or the Magic Trackpad. Having said that, I do love my Magic Trackpad, I got this one when I bought the iMac and I never again thought about using a mouse right from day one with it. There are so many useful gestures that you can use with the trackpad to speed your work up and be faster and more productive. Not only that, it is also possible to enhance the trackpad with an application called Better Touch Tool.
With Keyboard Maestro you can have macros that work within just one application. For example recently I used one to clean up some text that I copied from the browser. I was able to set up a hotkey that once pressed, did most of the job for me. This is because I can use Keyboard Maestro to move to places within the application and document and simulate keystrokes, stringing actions altogether to form complicated looking macros.
Learning how to use Keyboard Maestro
There are occasions when you might have to go to another application, grab some text and go back to the initial application to paste in that text. There are some ready-made macros within Keyboard Maestro to do things like that. Another useful macro would be to have a hotkey that gathers anything you have selected and puts everything into a clippings document. When you are learning how to use the Keyboard Maestro, you will see a tutorial on how to create such a macro.
And it was said that the geek shall inherit the earth
When you get into this sort of thing, it does seem rather geeky at the outset. When you see what you can do with automation, whether it be with Keyboard Maestro, the Mac OS X Automator, Hazel, AppleScript or any other automation tools, you will soon see that it can be a lot of fun. Mere mortals will struggle, possibly swear and curse, or just take ages to do a task on the computer. The geek, on the other hand, will spend 10 or 15 minutes creating the automation so that he or she can either kick back and put the feet up, or be able to move onto the next task that much quicker. Geeks Rule!