Monday, January 7, 2008

Small, powerful command line utility

I use an application called SlickRun, which is a floating command line utility many times a day. It sits unobtrusively showing you the time and the date in a corner of your screen, and is as small as 175 kb, and best of all it is free. The moment you activate it (Win key +Q), a large number of commands is available at your finger tips – you can launch programs, open files, launch your browser and navigate to your favorite website all by typing a few characters that you specify beforehand. These characters are defined by you as a magic word. For instance, if I type mail in the SlickRun window (which is a small window as shown below), it launches my mail program Becky, which automatically downloads all my mail messages and filters them in to various folders; if I type tt, it fires up Firefox and opens my company website.

Creating magic words is also easy. Suppose you wish to create a magic word for a site that you visit frequently, say the USPTO (patent search site). Open the USPTO site in your web browser. Now right click the SlickRun window, select new magic word, enter uspto as the magic word. Click and drag the eye dropper to the page and it automatically records the URL. That's it. Next time you type uspto, SlickRun will launch your browser and navigate to the Patent Search website.

You can set up parameters to search, for instance, google (characters in bold are what you will enter). Here's what you do:

1. Type your magic word say google.

2. Under "filename or URL" type firefox

3. Under "parameters", type:$W$

4. That's it. Now test it by typing say google "変換"

5. SlickRun should have launched Firefox and given you hits pertaining to the phrase you have typed.

6. If it doesn't work, type the actual path to "firefox" in 2. above (such as c:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe)

Here's what I got:

SlickRun also has magic word packs that you can download and add, such as Online Shopping, Web References, Microsoft Office and so on.

Another useful feature of SlickRun is its memo recording or 'jotting' feature. Press Winkey + J and you can copy blocks of text from the screen and paste them into the Jot window that opens. SlickRun saves all these blocks of text. You can search for the text in the memo pad anytime by typing in the Find menu.

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