Couple of updates in red…
I’m not particularly adept with geekery, so I try to read stuff that’s generally over my head in the hopes that something smart will rub off on me. Two free tech-centric email lists that I subscribe to are the LangaList and Scot Finnie’s Newsletter. Today’s edition of Scot Finnie’s Newsletter pointed me to Desktop Pipeline‘s current feature on the Software Hall of Fame. Their listing of good software doesn’t have many surprises and, with the exception of Ecco Pro, it generally focuses on newer stuff. Still, it’s a worthwhile read.
The fun part about their series is that they’re soliciting feedback from readers. They’re asking for essays about favorite software from the last 10 years, and even awarding prizes for the best essays. I figured they’d overlooked ActiveWords (which you already know I’m addicted to), and I’d love to win an iPod so I sent in an essay extolling the virtues of ActiveWords. And you know, being a slacker I hate to see my writing go to waste with just one use, so I’m copying the essay here for your reading pleasure. Nothing new here, though I did realize that when I’m using a machine that doesn’t have ActiveWords installed, I feel kinda like I’m not wearing pants (I know, sometimes that’s a good thing, but imagine going to the office with no pants…).
I admit it. I’m a absolute raving fan of ActiveWords. Whenever I have the misfortune of working on a PC without ActiveWords, I feel like I’m not wearing pants.
In a nutshell, ActiveWords is a macro utility for your PC. That description doesn’t really do it justice though, since it’ll also correct your spelling on the fly (and in any context), it’ll perform internet searches on keywords with just a few keystrokes, it’ll hide all the icons on your desktop, and more. Of course, it’ll do all the typical macro functions as well–text replacement, repeating various keystrokes or mouseclicks in sequence and so on.
One of the nicest features of ActiveWords is that it is unattached to context. That just means that no matter what application you’re using, ActiveWords is ready and waiting to do your bidding. For instance we all know that MS Word has a spellchecker, so there’s no surprise when words are flagged for review. But how about text fields in webpages? With ActiveWords, 1,800 common misspellings (yeah, you can add your own) are corrected on the fly no matter where you’re typing–Word, text field, whatever.
Obscure and hard to find ASCII characters are easier to access with ActiveWords. To get a Â© symbol I had to type the word ‘copyright’ (without quotes) and hit the F12 button. How long does it take you? How about the British Â£ sign? Â¾? Â®? Â¿? You get the idea.
Have you ever been working away in an application and realized that you had to email something to your friend Matt? It’s usually a hassle to go to Outlook and begin a new message. ActiveWords lets you type ‘Matt’ (again, no quotes) and hit your confirmation key. Boom, you’ve got an email addressed to Matt, with the cursor in the subject field and you never had to leave your original application.
There’s much more to say about ActiveWords of course–it’ll perform more complex sequences like logging you into specific applications with your userid and password. But I’ll stop raving for now. My only note of caution is that if you decide to take advantage of the generous 60 day trial period, you’ll be hooked by the time the clock runs out. But that 60 day trial isn’t where it ends. Once you’ve coughed up the dough for your chosen version of ActiveWords ($
2019.95 USD for the basic version, $ 5049.95 USD for the version that allows scripting), the SE license allows you to place the application on one computer and you can put the Plus version on as many machines as you need. They understand that once you’ve become accustomed to using ActiveWords, it’s absolutely annoying to be forced to work on a machine that lacks it. It’s like…well, not wearing pants.