Apptivate - My New Favorite Mac OS X Launcher


It's taken a while, but someone has finally cracked it. I've been a Mac OS X launcher geek for a while now, having spent years with Quicksilver (at one point ranking it as my no. 1 Mac OS utility). I've also tried Alfred, and more recently, LaunchBar  from the talented folks at Objective Development (the makers of Little Snitch). To be honest, Spotlight search has always been close, in particular since it nearly always ranks the 'top hit' correctly - which is usually the app I'd like to launch. The only thing missing from Spotlight, and from Mac OS X in general, is the ability to easily create global, system-wide keyboard shortcuts. There 'are' ways to do this, but they're complicated, and not something you get 'out of the box' with Mac OS X (which is a little weird).

And so along comes Apptivate - an excellent and extremely easy to configure system-wide, keyboard shortcut manager. Great work from Cocoabeans Software - as it scratched the itch I had, and has meant I can drop the other launchers, relying on Spotlight for the rest. Apptivate is free - for the moment at least, although their newly designed homepage has all the 'hallmarks' of an app that may be headed to the App Store. Try out Apptivate today  ;-) UPDATE: In a tweet from the author, @apptivateapp - the app was in the App Store - but was removed due to sandboxing restrictions.



I spotted this post on Scott Watermasysk's site the other day. I've been looking for something like PureText for ages. I almost never want to take the source formatting of text I copy from documents, or the web and almost always want the pasted text to assume the format of the target document. In Office - with some complicated maneuvering you can use Paste Special...


Code Snippet Plugin for Windows Live Writer

While sprucing up my blog - I started looking for a code snippet plugin for Windows Live Writer - and Leo Vildosola's Code Snippet Plugin for WLW still appears to be a good choice. Like a lot of developers I use a 'dark theme' for Visual Studio and so I'm not sure that using the copy as HTML plugin from Colin Coller would work.   Here's an example of the WLW Code Snippet Plugin in action...


Backup Strategy - Robocopy Revisited

For a while now I've been backing up my important data to a removable 80GB USB drive (two actually - one for on-site storage and one for off-site).  I've been using a utility called SmartSync Pro which I've routinely recommended to friends who want to back up their files to a removable drive. I finally got round to creating some proper batch files today using Robocopy to perform my backups. Robocopy copy ships with Vista and it's a cool file copy utility.


Acronis True Image 10 and SmartSync Pro

I’ve been a loyal follower of Norton Ghost for many years. I’ve used it regularly in the past to copy, clone, and restore drive images. I’ve always used a dedicated drive image tool to create my own system restore points. The last DOS version of Ghost running from my boot CD with USB support to store the image was the zenith of Ghost usage for me I think. Feature bloat and a really terrible recovery CD in the latest version forced me to begin a search for an alternative.

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