Wednesday, June 06, 2007

the vanishing keyboard - still sticking around

At the end of this recent post I talked about hoping to eventually quit my keyboard.

Since all my work is dictated, I thought a keyboard would be of little or no use. Well, after trying to do without it over a couple of hours, the result showed that I was way out in my thinking. Actually, it's very unlikely that I'll be able to quit the keyboard just yet. And here's the main reason... a program I find essential...

ShortKeys. It's an absolutely essential utility containing a large number of text shortcuts, and I use it constantly.

There's 660 of these shortcuts I have built up over the years. You can see about 50 of them in the graphic here.

If you didn't know the advantages of ShortKeys, let me tell you that there are hundreds of URLs that I use frequently, but have never typed but once. That's because with a shortcut for each of them, ShortKeys does the rest.

Those shortcuts also apply to long paragraphs, signatures, passwords, HTML code, and dozens of other exceptionally useful pieces of text. It's fair to say that ShortKeys is one of the most valuable software programs I own. Everything else on my desktop can be duplicated in some way - except the myriad of shortcuts I use to automate and hugely speed up my digital life.

So eliminating the keyboard would need mean that I would have to dictate each of the shortcut keys. That's actually harder than it sounds. I've never been able to get my dictation program, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, to any sort of accuracy dictating a single symbol, even though it's 99% accurate with everything else. In fact, I don't even know how to dictate single letters... I'll have to go to the ShortKeys' support page to find out, when I get some time.

Looks like the keyboard is here to stay for a while!

Another advantage of ShortKeys is increasing security. I use a large number of detailed, complex alphanumeric passwords that are identified only by a small number of ShortKeys letters. But since these initial letters are in code, and are known only to me - it's impossible for anyone to identify the program they come from.

There is no way that a keylogger or trojan program - should they get past the large number of virus protection programs I have - would ever be able to identify them.

In short, ShortKeys is an essential part of automating my digital life. And I see now they have an associated macro program called Macro Express. If it's as good as ShortKeys, it'll certainly be invaluable.

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