Tools Roundup: Mouse Edition

I did promise a showdown between ReSharper and CodeRush by the end of November but I haven't really had the chance to give ReSharper a fair go yet. One of the reasons is that a lot of the work I have been involved in has been pointy-clicky (Sharepointy-BizTalky) mouse-heavy work. I have installed ReSharper now and I'm in the process of ramping it up. As my mouse hand has been so busy I thought the first Tools Roundup could focus on the mouse-related productivity enhancers I've been using.

RocketDock

RocketDock proclaims itself to be "The single greatest piece of software. Ever." First and foremost that makes it cool.

Secondly, a dock is a very useful tool for the productive mouse user. It allows you access to a number of applications and locations on your computer in a central location. Hang on, I hear you thinking. Isn't that what the Start Menu does? And the Quick Launch bar? Why do I need this? Here is a few reasons why I prefer RocketDock to either of those things:

  1. RocketDock is skinnable
  2. I can minimize my running apps to RocketDock
  3. RocketDock gets bigger when I hover over it (i.e. it asks for attention when I want it to and stays out of the way otherwise)
  4. RocketDock uses PNG images not ICO files so it scales nicely and handles transparency and alpha-blending very well.
  5. Nobody ever asks me what my Start Menu is :)


Check out the video on the homepage to see a demo where they minimize a video to the dock and it continues to play in the dock! After the initial install you'll need a few days to get used to it but once you've had a Dock, you'll find yourself instinctively looking for it on all PCs.

RocketDock

StrokeIt

StrokeIt is a mouse gesturing tool. It allows you to hold down the right mouse button and wave your mouse pointer majestically and it does things for you. What sorts of things? I have back and forward buttons in explorer, Internet Explorer and FireFox. Minimize and maximize. Close Window or Document.

I even have it mapped to my music and documents folders so I can quickly bring them up with a flick of the wrist without losing the context of whatever
I was doing.

StrokeIt can be trained to recognize new gestures and it is context-sensitive. By context-sensitive I mean that it can change it's behavior depending on which program is currently active. It comes with a number of gestures pre-learned for a number of popular packages including Media Player, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Visual Studio.

It will take dedicated training to get the hang of it but after a few days you'll wish this was on every machine you have access to. It makes it easy to see what you are drawing by tracing the line you are drawing as well.

StrokeIt

P.S. The latest news from StrokeIt seems to be from Feb 05 but the app works fine on WindowsXP. If someone can test it on Vista please let me know if it works that would be greatly appreciated.

If I've missed your favorite Mouse Productivity Tool tell me about it in the comments.

Posted by: Mike Minutillo
Last revised: 27 May, 2011 02:42 PM History

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