ACTIVE WORDS -- I'm using some down time to play with ActiveWords and my first impressions are very positive. I can save steps looking for stuff and launching programs by typing in a key word at the top of my Windows screen. That short cut has saved me at least five minutes during my morning walkabout of the web. I'm using the program to launch Dreamweaver and CuteFTP without resorting to the icons for those programs. It's like being in a text-based Unix world. It's as quick as the command line of the AS/400--the only computer I've actually used to launch programs in a rocket-fast fashion. ActiveWords is like having a customised RUN command for every task you commonly use on a computer. ActiveWords can do more than launch programs--it can jump you directly to URLs, send email, substitute text, and search for things. I've done all those things in the first 15 minutes of use and haven't seen the tutorial yet. I'm going to use Active Words to write my next article for the Irish Examiner and see where that leads me. ActiveWords fits the category of "technology worth examining".
Update one week later: My XP laptop takes at least one minute longer to boot up and another minute longer to shut down. Sometimes it feels as though ActiveWords makes my laptop run slower, but no more so than with Photoshop 6 running. I'm using ActiveWords to streamline tasks and it's performing admirably in that function. I've easily shaved 10 minutes off my morning routines and added an extra 10 minutes to my lunch break because ActiveWords takes me directly to time-sensitive tasks faster than I can maneuver with jumplists or launch programs in the typical way using Windows icons. I'm impressed with the ActiveWords discussion board and the quickness of the tech staff.
For ActiveWords to really make an impact on your workflow, you have to think in terms of keystrokes. If you do not use shortcuts to maneuver around your workspace, you're simply relegated to the middle or lower tier of efficient knowledge workers. However, if you sit down to work at a keyboard, you're well aware of your keystrokes. You know more than CRTL-X to cut, CTRL+S to save, and CTRL+O to open. You try to get to the meat of your jobs by the shortest (keystroke) route. And if you already think like that, ActiveWords deserves to be in your universe. If you don't, you're simply less competitive in the knowledge worker space.
ActiveWords -- "Do things faster"
Buzz Bruggeman -- "A9+problem=good idea"
Dave Methvin -- "Keep it simple" (June 30, 2000)
Mark Orchant created an ActiveWords shortcut that handles the whole process of reconnecting to a WiFi node with a single word: fixwifi. (June 4, 2004)