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Author Topic: ControlPad: interesting new launcher app  (Read 4882 times)
40hz
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« on: September 11, 2009, 03:07:42 PM »

Launcher applications are a dime a dozen these days. So it's always interesting to see somebody design one that puts a little less emphasis on eye-candy and a lot more effort on core usability. Sector Seven has released a different take on things with a launcher named ControlPad.

Link: http://sector-seven.net/s...ware/controlpad#more_info

ControlPad uses the numeric keypad to launch applications, URLs, or documents. Almost as simple as using a telephone. It's a clean, workable method that's intuitive to set up and use. So much so that the product description is pretty much the user manual:

This is the onscreen popup:  

Quote
ControlPad 0.64


ControlPad turns the numeric keypad on your keyboard to a Windows command execution system.

You may configure any numeric code to: Execute any program, open any document, open any web address or send any series of keystrokes to the operating system.

Once ControlPad is running, press and hold the * key on the numeric keypad, for about 1 second. At this point, a small window will pop up, allowing you to enter any keyword or numeric code.

Pressing the code followed by Enter will execute the associated command.

Commands are easily configured through the same interface - activate the input dialog (press and hold *), enter the desired code and press the numpad Divide button to associate a new command.

You may also use words instead of numeric codes.

For laptop users (without a numeric keypad), there is a special Laptop Mode feature which will use F12 (press and hold) instead of * as the launch key.



ControlPad is highly configurable. In addition to the obvious capabilities, it also has several other interesting features, such as the ability to chain commands; set delay intervals before or between command execution; terminate a process; simulate keystrokes; etc. The included help file clearly explains all the capabilities of this little software gem. Commands can either be entered through the GUI or by editing the command file, which is a simple text INI.

Although ControlPad may not be to everyone's taste, I'm quite impressed with it for three basic reasons:

1) It has a zero learning curve.

2) I can use it without needing to take my hands off the keyboard.  I've had it for a week and I'm hooked.

3) It doesn't try to do everything. It's a straightforward launcher - and nothing else. I'm not a big fan of applications that try to do everything - or are heavy on automation. Either I'm getting old, or my Unix roots (i.e. "do one thing but do it extremely well") are showing, but there you have it. )

ControlPad was developed using AutoHotKey.

The only minor niggle I have is with the memory footprint. On my system ControlPad weighs in at 21,568K. Not a huge amount of RAM, but maybe a little on the high side for this type of app.

Free for the download. Portable version is also available.

(Disclaimer: 40hz has absolutely no affiliation with the people who brought you ControlPad. He just thinks it's a neat little launcher app.  mrgreen)





« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 03:14:34 PM by 40hz » Logged

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CleverCat
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2009, 03:13:28 AM »

Quote
(Disclaimer: 40hz has absolutely no affiliation with the people who brought you ControlPad. He just thinks it's a neat little launcher app.  mrgreen)

Yeah right!  

edit: Just kidding... Wink
« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 01:15:13 AM by CleverCat » Logged

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40hz
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2009, 11:55:32 AM »

Quote
(Disclaimer: 40hz has absolutely no affiliation with the people who brought you ControlPad. He just thinks it's a neat little launcher app.  mrgreen)

Yeah right!  (see attachment in previous post)


@CleverCat:
I'm not quite sure I know how to interpret your comment. Care to clarify? smiley

<Edit 09-13-2009: here's a perfect example of me being overly sensitive. Sorry CC. I was having a bad day! embarassed>

« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 02:12:23 PM by 40hz » Logged

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SectorSeven
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2009, 12:37:57 PM »

Hey 40hz, Danny from Sector-Seven here.
I just saw this link in my referrer logger and came to read your very nice review, thanks for that.

I believe CleverCat does not believe that you are not affiliated with Sector-Seven and I am guessing that the fact I reply here so soon does not help, but oh well. smiley

The reason I registered here, in addition to saying thanks, is because your complaint about memory consumption worries me.
I have quite a heavy command file here, and ControlPad is taking about 8,100k

I bet I can reduce this even more, and 22,000k is definitely too high - it doesnt really store that much things in memory, as it access the INI file at execution time.

So, I will see what I can do to reduce it a little, and if you have any hints as for what is your configuration like, I may be able to reproduce and test where is that semi-leak.

Thanks again.
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40hz
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2009, 01:38:17 PM »

@SectorSeven

Hiya:

First of all, welcome to Donation Coder! If you're looking for input on ways to improve something you've written, you've definitely come to the right place. The people here are knowledgeable and very good at providing useful comments to coders. Nice people too.

-----

Re: configuration file.

I've just scratched the surface so my current command config is pretty simple. I'm sure it will become much bigger once I really get into the swing of it. Please note I'm using the portable version of your program in case that has any bearing on what's happening.

Here's something interesting. When I rebooted and just now checked your app in Taskman, it showed memory @ about 7100K. When I opened it once, it jumped to 9196K. When I opened it a second time it jumped to 9212K. On the third time it went to 9220K. On the fourth try, I had it launch my copy of Notepad++. Memory usage was now 10160K after I quit Notepad. When I relaunched Notepad the memory increased to to only 10268K. Launching Thunderbird after that brought it up to 10496K.

On a whim, I had ControlPad reload itself (using command#9998) which brought it back @4124K. Opening it and running #999 brought it up to 6896K. Having it open Notepad++ again brought memory usage up to 8260K.



So yeah, it looks like something is leaking somewhere.

Here's a snap of my command config in case that helps:



Luck! Thmbsup

----------


I believe CleverCat does not believe that you are not affiliated with Sector-Seven and I am guessing that the fact I reply here so soon does not help, but oh well. smiley

Can't really comment on what CC actually meant until I hear back from her. But since Donation Coder takes an extremely dim view of people who attempt to astroturf or otherwise spam the forums, it's a fairly serious accusation to level at a fellow DoCo member. I'm hoping it was meant as a joke and I'm just being overly touchy about it.

 smiley

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SectorSeven
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2009, 01:45:37 PM »

Hey 40hz (almost wrote 40cc, dont know why... smiley )

Thanks for the detailed input and warm welcome.
The biggest problem with AutoHotkey is the lack of normal data structures, so I have many "globals"....
But I do not like what you are telling me one bit - it shouldn't do it, I hope I can reproduce here - nothing in the code (As I remember it) should accumulate data like this.

BTW - your screenshot shows a different font than default - its because you changed it, not because my font assignment didnt work right?
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40hz
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2009, 02:02:03 PM »

BTW - your screenshot shows a different font than default - its because you changed it, not because my font assignment didnt work right?

Not to worry. That was my change. I've tweaked my desktop big time using a customized 3rd party (Aurum) theme. The font you're seeing is SegoeUI Lucida Console.

 smiley
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 02:15:37 PM by 40hz » Logged

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CleverCat
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2009, 01:00:51 AM »

Quote
(Disclaimer: 40hz has absolutely no affiliation with the people who brought you ControlPad. He just thinks it's a neat little launcher app.  mrgreen)

Yeah right!  (see attachment in previous post)


@CleverCat I'm not quite sure I know how to interpret your comment. Care to clarify? smiley



Oh, apologies 40hz - I was just joking! Sorry if I offended you.. I would never accuse  anybody like that - forgive me... (Have edited my post!)


« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 01:16:08 AM by CleverCat » Logged

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CleverCat
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2009, 01:40:23 AM »

SectorSeven - love the Fax Tool - I have several pdf files that need joining! Worked like a charm... Thmbsup
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SectorSeven
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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2009, 01:45:31 AM »

Thanks CleverCat, made it since I got annoyed with the other tools out there providing a huge interface to do a small task.
Personally, I am using File Blender (also available there) more - it supports a lot of conversions (including what FaxTool does) including audio conversion, image conversion and even JS / CSS minification.

And is fully extensible with more actions, if you have the command line tool.
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CleverCat
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2009, 02:45:12 AM »

I've been looking for a way to join pdf's for ages - now I have one!  cheesy
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40hz
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2009, 01:00:07 PM »

Oh, apologies 40hz - I was just joking! Sorry if I offended you.. I would never accuse  anybody like that - forgive me... (Have edited my post!)

No apologies needed. I was just a little taken aback and overreacted as I am sometimes wont to do. That's the problem with something as low bandwidth as text communications. We miss the smiles, the tone of voice, and a lot of the person behind the words.

Please let me extend my own apologies to you for 'letting myself get the better of me.' embarassed

 cheesy cheesy

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SectorSeven
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2009, 01:03:42 PM »

You guys are so nice around here..... that's awesome.
smiley *Group hug* smiley
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SKesselman
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2009, 08:05:37 PM »

I've been looking for a way to join pdf's for ages - now I have one!  cheesy
Thanks, CleverCat, now I have one, too  smiley
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-Sarah
CleverCat
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2009, 01:21:41 AM »

You guys are so nice around here..... that's awesome.
smiley *Group hug* smiley

Aren't we just....

40hz - no problem - I should have made my 'joke' clearer! Wink

Skesselman - glad u like the programme too! Thmbsup
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redstarnyc
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2009, 06:17:04 PM »

This is a truly awesome program.  Its now my favorite launcher.  I love the retro look.
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RedstarNYC
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