ATTENTION: You are viewing a page formatted for mobile devices; to view the full web page, click HERE.

Main Area and Open Discussion > General Software Discussion

The lazy user's guilt

(1/3) > >>

I have been more and more conscious lately that I am a lazy software user.

By that I mean that I often use only a small fraction of a tool's capabilities, and that, very often, if those capabilities need a lot of configuration, or scripting, or even a lot of reading... then I often don't do the necessary legwork. I might even end up looking for a tool to do something that a program I already own would be able to do with some configuration or scripting.

Now I am sure I am not alone in this, but the strange thing is I ought to be perfectly capable of learning these and doing it (after all I made a good living as a developer before I started making a good living creating and running development teams), but in truth I don't.

Some examples:

Total Commander is my file manager of choice, and it has quite a powerful set of scripting and extension possibilities. I have seen what can be done with it. Yet in 10 years I have never tried to understand it, I had even never (until December 2006) bothered to create a custom menu in it, and never gone beyond installing a few of the plugins... I finally looked a tiny bit in December after someone posted some screenshots in here that showed some capabilities - but even then it was a few hours and then I parked it.

I have the wirekeys tool, which has a lot of features. Again, it can also be scripted. And yet, in the 3 or more years I have owned it I have never started to use more than a tiny fraction of the features, never written anything in it, and never done much more than trawling the help file for a few tweaks (like the file open/save dialog improvement plug in). There are zillions of shortcuts that I ought to try to remember because they would save me a lot of time and hassle, yet I dont. I know I ought to create a "cheat sheet" and learn a few ones every week... but I haven't.

Opera is highly customisable yet I only bothered once to download alternate menus/toolbars - at the moment the most customisation I do is changing the search.

I had ahk installed for about 2 months and did exactly nothing with it, so I removed it. I didn't even install some of the great ahk scripts available here, although I downloaded about 20  :o

When I was looking at time tracking software I had to settle on one that would spy and record on my active windows, and then I would tag them, because no way I was going to set up all the kind of clients, categories etc. that the normal time trackers seemed to expect. I tested quite a few before realising that!

I own the stardock object desktop, and have had for years, but I have only once or twice tried to customise DesktopX or objectbar to create an environment that would suit my work and tasks. I know if I did it could be very cool and useful, but it is just a lot of work, so I haven't (actually i did an objectbar once and kept it for 2 months until I had to reinstall windows and realised I had never backed this bar config up).


You get the picture, it's just quite pathetic!

I guess I am at one extreme of the developer scale - the one who doesnt want his/her personal computer time to feel even remotely like work and likes simple tools that dont require too much configuration etc. The other extreme of the scale is the developer who likes to customise or write everything he/she uses.

I want my tool to be immediately useful out of the box, with a few simple adjustments. In all these cases and many others the tool is either good enough in its "immediate" form I will just stop using it, it will not give me the kick to learn it... If it is good enough out of the box I am more likely to never scratch the surface of what it could do with tweaking...

Launchers are a similar case. I have farr, and use it more as a search tool. I think I even installed and downloaded some of the plugins but never use them. And just like total commander and wirekeys, if I bothered to get used to using some of the features I am sure I would benefit. But I don't  :o Similarly I could set up a menu in Total Commander, but I dont (I started once, but too many programs). Or I could set them up in wirekeys (or stardock's keyboard launchpad and right click commander, i own that too) to make them into launch keys and right click menu. Or I could do an objectbar or desktopX instance. Or reinstall ahk. But instead I have gone out and found a launcher tool which suits lazy people like me, because it builds its menu by watching what i run, from all sources. Finally a menu that doesnt need work.

I do feel a bit ashamed that I am that lazy, but I guess I have so many other projects that I dont want tools that turn in projects. That's my excuse  :Thmbsup:

. I have gone out and found a launcher tool which suits lazy people like me, because it builds its menu by watching what i run, from all sources. Finally a menu that doesnt need work. -iphigenie (March 11, 2008, 03:11 PM)
--- End quote ---

So what is your lazy launcher?
All dormice dislike unnecessary activity.  :)

I hear you but don't blame you at all. The problem I face is info-overload and forcing myself to let go.
There's just too much to do and too few hours to do it in - I've had to unsubscribe from several interesting blog feeds, for instance - there just isn't enough time to go through everything. I have even forced myself to stop upgrading software that I'm happy with. I don't know how to describe the feeling, it's just a slow-kill kind of frustration, there's a constant conflict between the perfectionist within who wants to do everything to the last detail and the pragmatist who is (by definition, smarter) but weaker who's feebly trying to let go. I probably sound completely insane so I'll just stop. :)

I probably sound completely insane so I'll just stop. :)
-nosh (March 11, 2008, 04:20 PM)
--- End quote ---

If that's insane then I guess I better not even start.  :o

. I have gone out and found a launcher tool which suits lazy people like me, because it builds its menu by watching what i run, from all sources. Finally a menu that doesnt need work. -iphigenie (March 11, 2008, 03:11 PM)
--- End quote ---

So what is your lazy launcher?
All dormice dislike unnecessary activity.  :)
-Dormouse (March 11, 2008, 03:57 PM)
--- End quote ---

Actually I did a tiny bit of work, to create 2 categories and move some software in it when the list became too big - by default you can set a max length and it creates a "more" overflow menu for items over that length, but i created some categories. It was as hard as going through the config list of detected software and picking a category for some.

I found this lazy launcher on my quest for a comfortable bookmark manager - it's called task commander (
There's nothing all that special about it, there are much more feature rich launchers out there, and many of the "non launcher" additional features it has overlap with some of my other tools - and in a way it's just like the "frequently used programs" bit on the start menu - except it is able to capture programs you start in other ways than the start menu. And somehow unlike many other launchers out there i find I do end up using it more than others. I reckon it is because it is so simple about its business so a lazy person like me can immediately use it.

Anyway it has the following features
* puts a little dot on your bar (can also be in explorer and ie if you want it)
* the color of the dot is a cheap cpu activity indicator
* hover over or left click on the dot and up pops a list of programs
* that list of programs can be manually edited, but it is automagically populated
* unlike the start menu one, it will also detect programs started say from a file manager (total commander), run box, command line, Farr etc. although some software that never opens a window can get missed
* once a program is in the list you can move it into a category, tell the software not to show it (effectively ignore it)
non launcher features
* you can also make any program minimize to tray, or show a tray icon instead of a task bar
* on top of this it has a task list where you can close things, do the same tray magic or stay on top
* it also has an alt-tab switcher thing, which i am not sure i like. thats mostly because by default it has a mouse gestures and mouse gestures and me dont mix (i wobble the mouse around when i think and trigger all and any mouse gestures at random as a result. no good!)

There are a lot of launcher discussions in this forum, and a lot of good programs highlighted, and most seem more clever and more powerful than this one. Yet I found I never bother to set up any of them, or used them much, not the way I use this.

I keep farr for the uncommon stuff (especially now that i have identified what made it slow and told it to ignore the lwa directory), and I think I will keep this for the regular stuff, knowing that whatever I call once in farr will then be visible in task commander. It's a shame they dont offer a co-buy rebate as that would have snatched the deal for the link commander bookmark manager tool ;)

I whipped up some screenies using the awesome Screenshot Captor which is just another tool which works really well for a lazy user like me :)
1) the menu thingie
2) the task switcher thingie
3) one of the config screens
4) the visual alt tab thingie


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version