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Author Topic: Help for a new user please  (Read 5431 times)

chrisclark

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Help for a new user please
« on: July 05, 2009, 02:43:53 AM »
Hello

Your "blurb" says FARR is for keyboard maniacs, I thought I'd give it a try ... and donate. I've been experimenting for a while, and it all seems too hard

Up to now I've been using a succession of launchers to launch files and programs, currently KeyLaunch  http://www.konradp.c...ch/?app_id=keylaunch

It is so very easy to create an alias with KeyLaunch ... FARR just seems so complicated, giving weightings to aliases etc. I just want to drag and drop and then refine later.

Is there a PDF version of the help-file so that I can read it under a tree rather than explore the help file at the computer terminal?

Any quick hints, please

One of the things which drew me to explore FARR is the notes plug-in ....again, some simple starting ideas would be great

Thanks

Nod5

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2009, 08:01:27 AM »
Hi chris! I'm answering as a FARR user. FARR has a lot of options. That gives power but can also be confusing in the beginning. But keep at it and you'll find your way around the options pretty soon!  :Thmbsup:

Steps to create an alias:
- bring up the FARR window
- go to options (alt + O)
- select lists > aliases
- select myaliases.alias in the top dropdown
- right click anywhere in the big list, choose "add new entry"
in the popup window:
- name the alias to whatever searchphrase you want
(- enter a regexp pattern for detailed control (OPTIONAL) )
- enter results that you want to find and launch with the alias (you can drag and drop files to that box)
- OK OK

more complex aliases:
- look at some of the built in aliases for examples
- see the help file for details on commands
- or post a specific question and describe what you're aiming for

I don't think there's a PDF of the helpfile.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2009, 08:03:50 AM by Nod5 »

mouser

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2009, 10:10:33 AM »
Thanks for posting the tips Nod5.
Let me just say, I know that i need to make it a bit easier for new users to add aliases and to understand how to do that.  I will try.

I uploaded a pdf version of the help file here:
http://www.donationc.../FindAndRunRobot.pdf

(unfortunately the help file is still a bit out of date when it comes to the new alias system).
« Last Edit: July 05, 2009, 10:13:29 AM by mouser »

mouser

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2009, 10:17:18 AM »
Quote
It is so very easy to create an alias with KeyLaunch ... FARR just seems so complicated, giving weightings to aliases etc. I just want to drag and drop and then refine later.

Try this as the easiest way to add a new alias for a file:

  • Drag and drop any file or program from any other program into the Search Edit Box of FARR, to have it show up in results.
  • OR simply search for the file or program inside FARR until it shows up in results.
  • Then, right click on this result to select it, and choose the menu "Add to Group Alias".  Then choose the last menu item labeled "New Alias Group.."
  • Then in the dialog that appears, just type in the short name you want to use as an alias for this file in the "Group Alias Name" box, and click the Ok button, leaving the other options at their defaults.
  • All done.  Anytime you want to find this file just type its short name (alias).

bayesian

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2009, 01:29:58 PM »
I'm not a current FARR user, as I too found it rather too complicated when it was first developed and haven't been back since.

Just reading the discussion I see a problem: "Then, right click on this result to select it, and choose the menu "Add to Group Alias".  Then choose the last menu item labeled "New Alias Group.."

But all I want to do is "Create a new alias", not a 'Group Alias', and certainly not a 'New Alias Group' (why the reversal of terms here?). The terminology seems all wrong and gets in the way of what should be a simple operation.

Clearly I'm talking from major ignorance, as a non-user, but these things should be simple, and don't seem to be.

mouser

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2009, 01:46:36 PM »
your points are all valid..

Most of the problem comes from the fact that while programs similar to farr have the concept of a simple "alias" -- something where you type a word and it matches the word with a program, FARR started out that way but the concept of Alias expanded to cover a few different things, including a word that matches a whole group of programs or a kind of script-like action.

In other words, you can have an alias (or group) called "games" which contains a list of recreational programs on your pc -- and when you type games this list is displayed (which you can then narrow down).

---

Having said that, i think what would really make FARR more usable is a much simpler way of making new Aliases.  A top level menu item that said "Create a new custom alias, command, or group" - and which brought up a nice friendly wizard like thing that walked the user through the process of making a new alias.  I think that would help new users get comfortable.

TucknDar

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2009, 01:53:49 PM »
Like mouser says, the term 'alias' probably covers both the traditional kind of alias and more script-like functions. So while ideally these could be separated in the program, an alias section and a script section, it's probably a bit too late to do that now...

I too find the 'Group alias' term a bit confusing, but I guess I've gotten used to it.

added: the alias feature will probably be covered in mouser's screencasts in August!
« Last Edit: July 05, 2009, 01:57:12 PM by TucknDar »

cranioscopical

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2009, 02:36:25 PM »
the alias feature will probably be covered in mouser's screencasts in August!
I thought that one was scheduled for next February 30th.

J-Mac

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2009, 03:20:08 PM »
the alias feature will probably be covered in mouser's screencasts in August!
I thought that one was scheduled for next February 30th.

LOL - I couldn't say it better!!  ;D ;D

@chrisclark:  Don't feel bad at all - I'm an old-hand user of FARR and I still trip over aliases every time I decide to get brave and start using it for more than simple program launching!   :o

The Help file does have a lot of good info there, but it does seem to be spread out in such a way as to get me dizzy going back and forth when I'm trying to get something done with FARR. IMO it is lacking in some good old examples with the steps listed from beginning to end of each of FARR's more advanced features.

(And by "advanced features" I really mean anything other than plain old vanilla program launching!!)   :D

Jim

Nod5

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2009, 03:47:29 PM »
I haven't really thought about the "Group Alias" term before either but, given what bayesian wrote, how about changing all mentionings of "Group Alias" and "Aliases/Groups" in FARR to just "Alias"?

A drawback with that: some might associate the term "alias" to one-one matching only i.e. a single search phrase is matched to a single file or action. Then they miss out on FARR's more powerful alias features. But all in all I think the change could lead to less confusion.

The help text on the new alias window could then be simplified to something like:

"An alias ties a keyword or regular expression to some results (files or actions). Enter the alias in FARR to list the results."

Then mark the two (main) steps in the GUI more:
"Group Alias Name" could be "1. Alias name" (in bold, larger font)
"Results..." could be "2. Results..." (in bold, larger font)

The design of the results part of the window is crucial since that's where the most complex stuff happens. FARR is getting so powerful here that it seems hard to give feature tips in the GUI that a new user will really understand. Maybe better then to trim the description, add dropdowns (or something similar) for quickly inserting commands/special search strings and then just provide direct links to the relevant help sections. An advantage with such dropdowns is that the advanced commands the are explicitly listed in one place there in the GUI. A new user can then see that there are more powerful features to use and they have terms (from the dropdowns) to look up in the help file, should they want to read more.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2009, 03:56:58 PM by Nod5 »

chrisclark

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2009, 07:17:07 PM »
wow ... I'm VERY impressed with the speed and quality of the responses, including mouser himself. Glad to know that mouser (and so many of you) find if off-putting to new users. I'll have a look at the pdf help file (thanks mouser) and experiment from time to time. I want something that is easy ... where I just nominate a document or program file and it opens, without producing every result on the computer. It looks as it I have to use the group alias concept or "games" but that takes more keystrokes. Anyway, I'll keep KeyLaunch as my number one launcher until I have more time to explore

J-Mac

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2009, 10:11:46 PM »
mouser... you have a PDF manual for FARR???

Jim

chrisclark

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2009, 01:29:40 AM »
Whilst you're all being so helpful, how about a response to the last line of my initial enquiry
Quote
One of the things which drew me to explore FARR is the notes plug-in ....again, some simple starting ideas would be great

thanks

Nod5

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2009, 04:53:56 AM »
A quick illustration of my suggestion above. The other regexp fields would become visible once the user enters something in the first regexp box.
sketch.png

chrisclark, do you mean the hamNotes plugin? I haven't tried it yet, but explain more what you have trouble with. Installing? Or basic use? There's also a special forum thread for it here: http://www.donationc...ndex.php?topic=18850.

mouser

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2009, 07:25:29 PM »
Quote
mouser... you have a PDF manual for FARR???

actually the help program i use (the great Help+Manual) can easily make pdfs from the same source it uses to make .chm files, so it's easy to do -- i just figure few people care enough to bother mentioning it.. i wonder if i should make clear links to them?

cyberdiva

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2009, 09:54:47 PM »
Quote
mouser... you have a PDF manual for FARR???

actually the help program i use (the great Help+Manual) can easily make pdfs from the same source it uses to make .chm files, so it's easy to do -- i just figure few people care enough to bother mentioning it.. i wonder if i should make clear links to them?
Mouser, people keep telling me to RTFM, so yes, I'd love links to the FMs  ;D

J-Mac

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2009, 10:30:29 PM »
Quote
mouser... you have a PDF manual for FARR???

actually the help program i use (the great Help+Manual) can easily make pdfs from the same source it uses to make .chm files, so it's easy to do -- i just figure few people care enough to bother mentioning it.. i wonder if i should make clear links to them?

I'd love a link to it. I found one here in a really old post once - at least I think it was for FARR - but it was a dead link. You must have had it up at one time.

Thanks!

Jim

mouser

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2009, 10:36:06 PM »
PDF version of help file for FARR:
http://www.donationc.../FindAndRunRobot.pdf

J-Mac

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2009, 10:46:08 PM »
Thank you!

Jim

cyberdiva

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Re: Help for a new user please
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2009, 08:51:20 AM »
Thanks from me as well.  And if in your abundant spare time you could also make one for LBC....  :-*