My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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At NFJS a couple of weeks ago I attended Neal Ford's talks on becoming a more productive programmer. One of these things was obvious from watching most of the presenters: use a Mac. There was only one presenter that I happened to see using Microsoft Windows, though I didn't see his entire presentation, so he may have really been using a Mac.

Neal didn't actually tell us to use a Mac. But one of the tools he said he finds indispensable on his Mac is QuickSilver, which is almost a graphical command-line interface. I don't know a lot about it, so maybe you Mac users will correct me if I described it wrong.

Anyway, he told us about a couple of similar (yet less powerful or feature-complete) applications for Windows, one of which was Colibri. I like it.

I just hit Ctrl-Space and up pops my little search box, I start typing and it finds the program I'm looking for after a couple of keystrokes. No more traipsing through my system trying to remember that Remote Desktop Connection is at Start → Programs → click down arrows to expand options → Accessories → Communication.

Instead, I type "Ctrl-Space Rem" and there it is:

Colibri Screenshot

I hit Enter and it opens. How much quicker is that?!

I plan to blog Neal's sessions better when I've got a bit more time, but I wanted to get this quick note out about Colibri because I'm quickly finding it to be indispensable in my toolkit as well.

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I'm using something similar - FindAndRunRobot - there are a few of these out for Windows. If you hit Lifehacker.com you can find some useful posts about these types of apps.

http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Mouser/findr...

I tried Launchy and Colibri as well but find FARR more suitable for my needs - and I haven't really dug into the advanced options yet. The developer is very friendly and there is a great forum for support and help.

Posted by Jim Priest on Jul 13, 2007 at 10:15 AM UTC - 5 hrs

I was using Colibri for a few months and decided to try some of the others. Ultimately I fell in love with Launchy. Its much lighter than Colibri and easier to use.

Posted by Kevin Ford on Jul 13, 2007 at 10:27 AM UTC - 5 hrs

Thanks Jim, I'll definitely give that a try - I've only been using Colibri a couple of days so I'm not stuck on it, but my life on the computer has already become much better!

Kevin - I tried Launchy but I didn't like the way it sat in the corner, always visible, and I didn't see a way to get at it without the mouse. Are those options I can tweek?
(BTW, Launchy was on Neal's list as well)

Posted by Sam on Jul 13, 2007 at 12:34 PM UTC - 5 hrs

You could also just try Vista. It's built into the start menu. Windows Key, e, c, l, Enter = runs eclipse.

It's got a couple other nice features for keyboard enthusiasts - like your first 10 quicklaunch programs can be launched using Windows-1 through Windows-0

I know, I know. Windows is the Devil, and Vista is an aberation, but what can I say? I like it.

Posted by Jeremy French on Jul 13, 2007 at 03:31 PM UTC - 5 hrs

Jeremy - I did know they put some improved things like this into Vista, but I didn't know at what level. I thought I had read somewhere about this going in.

That's definitely a step forward!

I don't think Windows is the Devil, but I am still scared of Vista =). I'm typically behind on my Windows upgrades. I just don't feel the pull to upgrade right away, though I don't really have a logical reason. ... well, maybe there's the whole "wait for a service pack before you upgrade" school of thought, but I don't know much about that. =)

Posted by Sam on Jul 13, 2007 at 04:02 PM UTC - 5 hrs

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