Program Launchers and Spell Checkers

For the last month I have been testing a new program launcher, and spell checker supplied by ENSO now they are two products, so I shall treat them totally separately

ENSO Words

I have great difficulty with spelling (just ask the people I work with), so I rely on spell checkers a lot of the time, I won’t send an email without checking the spelling, this for emails and documents wasn’t really a problem, but when it came to other things like say naming variables or commands the problem became virtually impossible, short of cutting the word out and pasting it into word there was not a lot of choice, this would totally break the flow of what I was doing, and required word to load etc.

Enter Enso Words now in ANY application I can press caps lock and type spellcheck and any highlighted words are spell checked, if incorrectly spelt a browser like window opens and like word the incorrect spellings are highlighted and with a click of the mouse suggestions given. when I have finished checking the text, pressing caps lock again and typing done closes the window, and any corrections are copied to the highlighted text.

For the first time I am able to highlight function names and spell check them quickly and easily, names made up of two English words are easy to check as only highlighted text is spellchecked, so I can simply highlight one part of the function name.

The program has only crashed on me once, it was an unfair test to be honest as it was a complete HTML web page including tags, poor old words got a good way down before crashing out, but to my surprise it opened a browser, with a crash dump and space for me to write some text describing what I was doing, the support email came back within hours, and the problem was solved. 

I cannot say enough about the support these guys give, they are there with any problem, even as with myself just the other day when I tried out Words on my Vista machine, which I knew the web site said was not supported yet, they replied trying to help out, and promising a version for vista soon (it crashed trying to update itself, which it does by the way in the background without any prompting from the user)

And with a price tag of just $19.95 this is one program that will never be without again. its just the best solution for my spelling problem I have ever seen, and to be honest I have only just touched on its power, it also has a  thesaurus, a character count and you can find the dictionary definition for a selected word.

oh and did I say this was system wide, any program that you can select text in!


ENSO Launcher

Now before I start, let me say that I have been using Colibri for many months now (probably nearly a year), and it has been my defacto launcher for both my 2003 server development machine and my vista laptop, its quick to call simply hit ctr+space and start typing the name of the application you want to launch, it learns so to launch visual studio 2005 I simply have to hit the 5 key now as that is the top item in the list, all this and the only configuration I have done is to select the theme I liked for its UI.

So Enso Launcher had a great mountain to climb, I again have been using it for about a month now, and have done no configuration of the program, as even when I set shortcuts unless I use them many times I don’t remember them anyway, and the launcher has a great many commands and functions that I have never used in the month I have had it installed, other than to play with them when I first started the program.  One of the things I think is that a review should be honest, there is much functionality within programs that I will never use, (word being a prime example of the 10% rule, a user will use about 10% of an applications power most of the time)

I used this as a program launcher, now I tend to run word, visual studio 2003 or 2005, sql management studio, Internet explorer, firefox, and notepad2 along with my startup programs of outlook 2007 and sharp reader.  Now for the launcher to launch a program you have to hold down the caps lock key and type open, then a space and the name of the program you want to run, so for visual studio it would be visual studio, by which time the small list of available options would have both studios in and I could select either one, typing sql would normally display in the list sql management studio, although the position of the program within the list might vary each time.

Before I start complaining, let me say I wanted to like Launcher, it fitted well with the spell checker, both the programs mesh well together, and their is a lot of functionality available in the launcher application that I have never seen anywhere else, its just that I didn’t use it, for example given a highlighted sum it will solve it and provide the answer, go switches to windows by name, I tend to use alt + tab though, and many others for maximizing and minimizing the from window, and even closing it completely, I tend not to minimize or maximize windows, much.

So what I am about to say, is purely from the program launching point of view, and its simple Colibri is simply quicker, it takes fewer keystrokes to open a program, and application launchers for me is about the number of keystrokes it takes. the quickest I can open visual studio 2005 in Enso Launcher is to press [Caps Lock] type open and then 5 if I have set a shortcut, this is 6 keystrokes, with colbri its [control + space] 5, (after a couple of times using it) which is a best 3 keystrokes, half the amount. 

For me if ENSO needs to default to a selected command, for me this would be open, which would reduce the amount of typing I have to do to get the application running.  I early wanted to love this program and but I have to admit that at present Colibri still just wins on pure speed.


About Duncan Butler

Trying to be a very agile software developer, working in C# with Specflow, Nunit and Machine Specifications, and in the evening having fun with Ruby and Rails
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