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Disabling or changing mac keyboard shortcuts in the menu like minimize all

Hi! This is the story of a hidden feature in OSX and a tale of frustration and anger.

I needed to override the keyboard shortcut for "Minimize All" in OSX so I could use the keyboard shortcut to comment in Google docs.

First, a few things about me:

  • Use Google docs a lot.
  • Have a mac
  • Live by keyboard shortcuts.
  • Have a lot of opinions
  • Like to share them.
  • Stubborn as hell.

So when I'm reviewing a colleague's document in Google Docs, and I want to comment, I looked for the keyboard shortcut (⌥⌘M)

Unfortunately (and you would never know this): OSX already has reserved this combo for "Minimize all".

BUT IT IS NOT SHOWN IN THE MENU

Stop for a moment and consider that Google creates both Chrome and Google Docs...

The way to fix this is probably the worst bit of usability in OSX. It looks like one of those... "we better make this possible, but let's just put a stupid hack in for really insistent keyboard cultists."

To fix:

Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> App Shortcuts.

Now, enter in EXACTLY the name of the menu item you want to override (Minimize All - but how the hell would you know this), and put in some random keymashing that you will never

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Google Drawings is pretty cool, now what is it for?

Google released a new product in its app suite, Google Drawings.  It's kinda like Adobe Illustrator, Visio and Microsoft Paint decided to have a baby and it got the so called genetic short end of the stick.

I'm not saying it isn't impressive, it's massively impressive given that it provides real-time collaborative drawing in JavaScript.  I'm just not sure what it's good for yet.  

A couple things which really impressed me:

  • Nice collection of shapes and arrow heads
  • The integrated google image search is nice
  • Intuitive interface for adding text (double click)
  • You can copy drawings into docs

A couple things I noted which didn't impress me:

  • There is no "snapping" of arrows.  It looks like you can build flow chart style diagrams, but the arrows don't stay attached to shapes.  This basically makes it like Visio, without the part worth paying $200 for.
  • Adding shapes is a chore.  Compare to balsamiq which has a keyboard based interface for this, or visio with the stencils

Here's my take:

If your whole team has styluses (styli) and likes to use them, this might be a neat tool for collaborative white board experience for remote teams.

Another option: If you just want to quickly add some

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Memeo connect (gDrive wannabe rocks!)

Ever since Google announced that you could upload arbitrary files to google docs there have been a bunch of shakeups in this market.  The profits of companies like https://www.dropbox.com are obviously threatened by this announcement.

Sadly, The big G didn't announce that it was providing a rich desktop app for drag-and-drop uploads, synch, etc.

A company called Memeo did.  I did some evaluation today, and I really love this app.

Memeo Connect.png

 

Their pricing is really attractive (just $9 /head per year).  However, I think their only hope of long term survival is a Google buy-out and somehow, I just don't see that happening as they Google will likely do something fuse based and/or build it in HTML 5 and just wait for the masses to catch up / drive the browser market.  Another open source solution I looked at but couldn't get working in 30seconds on my mac is http://code.google.com/p/google-docs-fs/.  It's a FUSE based implementation.  Likely not as feature rich, but nicely integrated.

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