The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

Quicksilver Usage

I've used Quicksilver on and off every since I started using a Mac. Upgrading to Leopard initiated my longest break from using this swiss army knife of an application. Spotlight performance had improved enough that I simply got used to using OS X's ability to launch applications and find certain documents or web pages.

It wasn't until Jamie Phelps started singing the praises of Quicksilver to me this past summer that I installed it once again. A couple months later, I'm glad that I did.

The problem with Quicksilver is that it's a bit daunting at first. You really have to spend some time up front learning how to use it and figuring out what is and isn't possible with the tool. But once you make that initial investment of your time, Quicksilver starts paying for itself very quickly.

By definition, Quicksilver is not a GTD related application. But I think that it inevitably improves a persons productivity by improving the efficiency of various workflows by helping complete certain tasks faster. I want to explore this more fully soon, but for now I wanted to share four ways this utility is helping me.

Photo conversions: As I mentioned last week, I'm using Quicksilver to batch edit photos. I need to take a large group of photos and resize them and save them in two different formats. This takes less than 10 seconds using the Image Manipulation Actions plugin that Quicksilver provides. That's the kind of speed that brings a smile to my face and makes a tedious task quick and easy.

Append to Files: I've also mentioned this in the past, but I update various files with additional information using the Append To action in Quicksilver. For example, I have a file for blog post ideas. Whenever I get an idea for a new post pop into my head, instead of opening the file itself, I simply invoke Quicksilver and update the file in three simple steps.

Upload to Flickr: Another handy task is to upload photos to Flickr using the aptly named Flickr Upload plugin. I still use my Automator folder plugin to do this as well, but when I want to edit the tags and other various information for some photos, I use Quicksilver. Once it's completed uploading the pictures, it opens up a window in your default browser right to the Flickr page that allows you to edit the details of each new photo (two caveats here—you need to enable this access in your Flickr account and if you are doing a really large number of files, other uploaders are probably a better fit).

Email Items Directly: Lastly, I sometimes send emails from within Quicksilver itself. Using the Apple Mail Module plugin, Quicksilver can use your mail server settings to send emails without having to navigate to Mail itself. Do you use Backpack or IWantSandy? Certain web apps allow you to email updates to your online account. This can also be done from Quicksilver in three simple steps (see below):

TWR Screens

It definitely takes time for this utility to become a benefit, but again, the investment is worth it in the long run. Try it yourself.

And if any of my fine readers are using this tool in other helpful ways, let me know. I'd love to hear about it.