Just a quick note, for those in RSS land, and for those not, although less so for you as you (I hope) have already spotted what I’m about to mention. I did, finally, update the banner a little and add a splash of colour too. If you aren’t seeing any changes, please refresh your browser (press the F5 key on your keyboard or CTRL+F5 (PC), CMD+F5 (Mac)).

I’ve also updated my other websites appropriately (here, here and here).

That’s all.

Told you it was a quick note.

bookmark_borderCTRL + Z

There is no undo button in life. In a way that is a very good thing because the one constant about life is that “it goes on”. And it does. And it always will.

On the other hand it would be nice to be able to undo now and then. Not everyday, I don’t mean when you’ve spilled coffee down your shirt, or want to undo the eating of that double chocolate muffin, but it would be great if you had a few “life undo” tokens available, wouldn’t it?

So let’s say you have one a month. You can only use one per month, you can’t use two then go without the next month, and if you don’t use it, you lose it.

That said, what would I undo? There are some, seemingly, obvious examples which on further inspection would quickly be changed. After all, this is not a magic fix, it is simply an undo and, to drag out another cliche, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”.

So perhaps that is why life doesn’t have an undo, because, quite simply, you don’t need one. Do you?

bookmark_borderMuscle memory

As I slowly transition my home computing setup towards Mac OSX, the main thing that is slowing me down is my lack of knowledge around the keyboard shortcuts.

Having used Windows for so long now, many of the keyboard shortcuts I use are now deeply ingrained and I my fingers find the correct combination effortlessly. Whether I’m moving a window (Alt+Space, DOWN cursor key, then cursors keys to move), minimising all windows to get back to that file I’ve left on the Desktop (Windows button + D), then restoring them all again (Windows button + D again), or just the basics of CTRL+V, CTRL+Z and so on (Cut and Undo, if you were wondering) the bulk of my time on a Windows computer is spent without touching the mouse.

However, on OSX I’m still heavily dependant on the mouse and that is beginning to become an issue as it’s stalling my productivity. I’ve found plenty of guides to help me learn them but as my day is spent on a Windows machine, I’m finding the nightly transition to OSX still causes me some grief.

My brain isn’t helping at all, as it currently equates “laptop” with “OSX”. Which was fine up until last week where I got a laptop at work, and I know finding myself in a quandary as the Command key on my MacBook (used for cutting and pasting in OSX) is where the ALT key is on my Windows laptop. That’s been fun, with (seemingly) random menus appearing when I’m trying to cut and paste text!

I’m persevering though as it took me many years to get to the level of efficiency I have with a Windows machine, so I know it will take time and the fact that using the Mac is sooooo much nicer than Windows makes it all worthwhile.

Although I’ve still to try Windows 7, so maybe that will change too…


Working with text, and graphics, can be a time consuming job. If you are like me you’ll know many keyboard shortcuts, some of which will be used repeatedly throughout your working day.

For example:

  • CTRL+C
  • CTRL+V

Go on, who can hit that oft repeated key combination without even looking at the keyboard (you touch-typists can shush).

Cut and paste is so frequently used that it is often overlooked, yet it does warrant some thinking. I’ve tried adapting the way I work in the past but it turns out that I use a variety of different tools for a variety of different, yet very similar, tasks and the tool chosen largely depends on my mood.

I sometimes take text from an email into a Word document, sometimes I’ll start in Notepad (Notepad2 actually) and go from there, and other times I’ll just be moving things from one place to another in a FrameMaker document. The process is the same, cut and paste, cut and paste.

The flaw comes when you need to multiple items in multiple locations, leaving you flicking between windows and trying to remember what you last CUT so you PASTE the correct thing… how many times has that gone wrong for you?

Clipboard managers, as such pieces of software are known, have been around for a while, but I’ve never managed to work one into my workflow. Typically they are only need now and again but as that is the case how do they know WHEN they are needed, and when not?

I think I’ve found the answer, and it goes by the name of ClipX (yeah, the title of the post was a bit of a giveaway). It is a light-weight, unobtrusive clipboard manager that, with a little tweak to the default settings, makes it very easy to have the ability to go back through the previously copied items, without getting in the road of the more regular, one-to-one copy/paste activities.

If you download and install the application, you need to change one of the Popup settings. Right-click the icon in the system notification area, select Configure and then, on the left of the Configuration dialog, select Popup. Change the Default item setting to Last clipboard and you are good to go. I’ve also turned off the search and limited the number of items.

The really smart thing about ClipX is that it also handles graphics. I’ve been doing some web design work recently, hacking away and creating some basic graphics for the site. This is what my current CTRL+V action looks like (hitting Enter pastes the selected item, with the top-most, or most recent, item selected by default):

Smart, isn’t it.

Admittedly my infatuation with this little application may be because I’ve finally adjust the way I work to accomodate such a tool, but I like to think it’s also because it is an application that takes something simple and makes it work.


How on EARTH did I not know about this one??

If you’re in Firefox and you click on a link with [the] … wheel [of your] mouse it will open a link in the background in another tab. No more holding down the CTRL key or let alone right mouse clicking and hitting “open in a new tab.â€? The button we’re talking about here is the center wheel found on most new mice.

via Jason Calacanis.

Brilliant. I can’t believe I’ve not discovered it – come on, own up, who knew and didn’t tell me!

In other Firefox news (well sort of…) those you who visited Big Blogger over the past couple of weeks, and that are using Internet Explorer MAY be having problems with popups in your browser, I’ll now hand you over to Peter for some info on fixing that problem (twas mike that spotted the problem so credit to him). Yes THAT Peter, yes I never thought I’d point you there for technical information, and yes I’ve mentioned the products myself in the past.