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A pair of thumbs up for Launchy, FreeMind

26 June 2008

As I have not posted in a while, I feel the need to post something. I’d like to recommend a couple of freeware applications I couldn’t do without.

Launchy is a keyboard jockey’s dream. It’s a Start Menu replacement application that can index more than just shortcuts. I like it to know about my documents as well. It has a GUI, normally hidden, that’s launched with a hot key (Win+Space, in my case). I start typing a few letters, and Launchy tries to autocomplete. Hitting Enter launches the application (or the default action for the file type). After using it for a bit, you can get to the vast majority of your most used stuff in two letters. If you use keyboard shortcuts in any of your applications, give it a whirl!

I also need some sort of hierarchical notes manager that I can use at home and work. OneNote is great but not free, and thus not an option at work. I used to use Tranglos’s KeyNote (not to be confused with Mac’s presentation creator), but it’s been abandoned for a few years, and it’s missing key things like RTF 2 support, which means I can’t cut and paste tables into it with any confidence of the layout remaining intact.

My co-worker introduced me to FreeMind, which does the trick. It’s laid out like a mind map, and moving nodes around is a breeze. I ran into an issue storing code snippets in it, because it likes to trim leading space and its automatic formatting is overzealous. However, it does allow composing nodes in HTML, so I’m able to proceed with the <pre> tag. I do like the ease with which you can embed hyperlinks (Ctrl+K, paste, Enter to set up, click on the node to launch). If you are looking for a way to keep your notes organized, give it a try! If you do, I’d recommend the beta (0.9.0 beta 18), as it has some compelling features, like sorting of nodes and a simple HTML editor.

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