Monday, 15 July 2013

Nails in the Coffin for RSI

I have over 750 applications stored on my iMac. Of these probably only about 40 or 50 are used on a regular basis and these are probably the same ones that 90% of the Mac community use. There are my Office apps (MS Office, iWork, Mail), my Web apps (MarsEdit, RapidWeaver. Cyberduck), Project Management apps (Merlin, Curio), Writing apps (Ulysses, Scrivener), Communications (Safari, Tweetbot, MenuTab for Facebook, Facetime), Photo apps (iPhoto, Aperture, Photoshop), and Music apps (iTunes, CoverSutra). Then there are the utilities and 'productivity' enhancers and I'm guessing these probably account for half the items in the Applications folder. I have written about Alfred and Bartender specially in the past, but there are dozens more.

I like playing with new toys, which is what many of these apps are. And like lots of toys, after the initial excitement wears off, they get put in the cupboard and rarely see the light of day again. Once of the first things I'm going to do once I've installed Mavericks is to go through all my apps and work out whether they should have a 'cupboard' tag attached and then archive those that do. Or zap them (AppZap is a great utility that I don't use enough!).

But I'm always on the look out for new toys and yesterday I found two, from the same independent developer, Marc Moini. The first is called AppStore QuickView which is so simple but makes browsing the Mac App Store so much easier. Once it's running AppStore QuickView launches a window in which you can see all the information about any app in the Mac App Store that your mouse is hovering over. So it saves you having to click in and out of items in the store - a great time saver.

App Store with AppStore QuickView window (greyed)

Better still, using AppStore QuickView overcomes one of my real niggles about the Mac App Store. Currently if you are looking at any selection or category which runs over multiple pages, clicking on an app on, say page 3, and then returning will take you back to page 1. This is irritating and time consuming and poor interface design behaviour (and really should have made it into my top 6 bugs from my previous post). But because AppStore QuickView dispenses with the need to click on the item, you never lose your place. Neat.

The second of Marc's offerings is called Smart Scroll. I was a little sceptical when I first saw this but after trying it I've become hooked. Smart Scroll, as the name suggests enhances the scroll function in a variety of ways. Hover Scroll and Auto Scroll are my favourites, but I've still got some investigation to do regarding the other modes.

The Hover Scroll allows you to position the cursor towards the bottom of a scrollable window and then automatically scrolls the contents of the window at a speed you preset. The clever thing is that you can change the scroll speed by moving the cursor closer or further from the bottom of the window. I find this ideal for things like Tweetbot (or any other Twitter client) but brilliant in any application where you are dealing with long documents or web pages.

Auto Scroll only works (currently) with Safari Reader, Preview, QuickLook and Skim). Auto Scroll is initiated by pressing the Option (⌥) key and you change the speed with the right and left cursor keys.

There is a huge amount of control offered within the program. Just about any setting can be pre-set and finely tuned through the Preference Pane, even allowing specific settings for individual apps.

A word of warning - there is a version of Smart Scroll in the Mac App Store called Scroll+ but this doesn't include the Auto Scroll mode or allow as much flexibility. Go to the developer's site directly for the full uncompromised version.

Both apps are available on an evaluation basis so you can try them out first. It didn't take me long to get the licenses for both. On a one user/many computers basis the cost was a little over £20 including tax.

Both these utilities are nails in the coffin for RSI. Thanks Marc!

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