What do the new custom modifier taps do?

General discussions about LaunchBar
Nik
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What do the new custom modifier taps do?

Post by Nik » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:25 pm

There's a new preference for custom modifier taps, but I can't figure out how that's supposed to work. I've enabled them, but hitting the modifiers (double shift or double command) doesn't seem to do anything.

Dennis
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Post by Dennis » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:07 pm

The Modifier Taps settings are for invoking LaunchBar and Instant Send with only a modifier key (Command, Option, Control, etc.). For example, with "Search in LaunchBar" set to "Double Command", I can hit the Command key twice in quick succession to open LaunchBar.

I find this feature to be particularly useful for Instant Send. I have mine set to "Double fn or Control" since those keys appear in the lower left corner of the US keyboard on the MacBook Pro. Makes it even easier to quickly send selected items to LaunchBar.

-Dennis

sjk
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Post by sjk » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:06 am

Geeze, Dennis, now you've gotten me curious how you're using other shortcuts and which you've changed. :)

I've only changed the Search in LaunchBar default to Control-Tab because I prefer letting Spotlight keep its Command-Space default. But I'm considering switching to Control-Space for SiL.

I like using Control as a modifier in shortcuts I change/add although more developers seem to be using it in defaults for their apps. I'd prefer FN keys and the Control modifier were user-reserved, but that's long hopeless. Where's some long-term relief from Apple?

<another tangent>
In general, especially after the LB5 beta announcement, I've been looking for examples of how people take advantage of capabilities beyond simple app launching (duh) and ideas previously gathered from the Usage Examples page (which obviously doesn't include LB5 tips yet). But I don't have much time/patience to comb old forums posts for them (who does?), which is where I'm sure some of 'em are buried.
</another tangent>

<light rant>
Sadly, finding gems in the rough is a common issue with most support-centric forums unless they're tagged somehow. Forums are good for discussions but usually lousy as "knowledge bases" (which they're rarely designed to accommodate). It baffles me why more forum software developers aren't better connecting the discussion and support aspects, encouraging more efficient and less redundant participation.
</light rant>

takeo
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Post by takeo » Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:45 am

Somewhat related to this, has anyone else noticed that the modifier taps stop working sometimes? I have my LB set to come up for both ctrl-tab and single ctrl taps. ctrl-tab always works, but the single ctrl tap stops working altogether every once in a while. I can't seem to find any recurring reason that would cause it...

takeo
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Post by takeo » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:49 am

nevermind, i think i found the problem. apparently, i had pathfinder set to use double-ctrl and doubl-fn for some stuff, and that would sometimes conflict. i turned those off in PF and everything seems ok now :)

Nik
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Post by Nik » Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:13 am

Thank you for the tip. I was under the impression that the shortcuts weren't working because they require a ridiculously quick tapping to make it work. Fn seems more forgiving, but double-command requires me to be woodpecker-like in order to invoke it. Still, it's easier one-handed launching, which is nice when I'm drinking my morning coffee. :)

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Post by Jono » Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:45 am

I'm using double Command for Instant Send & double Control for Search in LaunchBar & both seems fine for me. I don't have to be really quick hitting the keys.

Dennis
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Post by Dennis » Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:41 pm

I haven't noticed a need to double-tap really fast either. A regular speed double-tap seems to work fine.

-Dennis

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Post by rhywun » Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:05 am

I've been using LB for a couple years now and I KNOW I barely scratch the surface. But... I'm sold on just the web search templates. I guess a pretty basic feature, but what a timesaver. All my most common searches are down to one letter, like "W" for Wikipedia and "A" for AllMusic.

PS. Speaking of the tips page, I kind of never looked at it and instead I just search for what I want, without narrowing my search in the way the tip page usually demonstrates. For example, it would never occur to me to type something like "SAHI" to browse my Safari bookmarks. Instead I just go straight for the bookmark I want. And it works brilliantly. Maybe I have to arrow up and down a little more than expected, but to me it makes the most sense to just type in what I want to find, regardless of what it is.

norbert
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Post by norbert » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:50 pm

Nik wrote:Thank you for the tip. I was under the impression that the shortcuts weren't working because they require a ridiculously quick tapping to make it work.


We had to choose a rather tight response time, to prevent accidental triggers. We've tested this feature quite intensively with lots of different test persons, and it turned out that people often tend to press modifiers in order to type a keyboard shortcut, but then change their mind and release the modifier without completing the intended keystroke. And this often leads to wrong "single modifier tap" triggers, if we choose a longer response time.

So in order to express your clear intention to perform a modifier tap, you have to tap it quickly.

Nik wrote:Still, it's easier one-handed launching, which is nice when I'm drinking my morning coffee.


We considered to call this feature "coffee break mode", but then abandoned the idea ;-)

Dennis
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Post by Dennis » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:55 pm

Has anyone else noticed that the single or double tap modifier keys don't seem to work for activating LaunchBar when your cursor is in a password field in Safari? I haven't tested other browsers.

-Dennis

norbert
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Post by norbert » Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:48 pm

Dennis wrote:Has anyone else noticed that the single or double tap modifier keys don't seem to work for activating LaunchBar when your cursor is in a password field in Safari? I haven't tested other browsers.

This appears to be true. For obvious reasons Mac OS X refuses to dispatch keypress events while you're typing in a "secure" text field. Although not strictly necessary this restriction applies to modifier keypresses as well. So LaunchBar simply doesn't "see" these modifier taps, since their dispatch is suppressed by the system.

Dennis
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Post by Dennis » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:36 pm

norbert wrote:Mac OS X refuses to dispatch keypress events while you're typing in a "secure" text field. Although not strictly necessary this restriction applies to modifier keypresses as well. So LaunchBar simply doesn't "see" these modifier taps, since their dispatch is suppressed by the system.


But wouldn't that also eliminate the use of Command-Space to invoke LaunchBar, which still works in this situation?

-Dennis

norbert
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Post by norbert » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:22 pm

Dennis wrote:But wouldn't that also eliminate the use of Command-Space to invoke LaunchBar, which still works in this situation?

No. It only affects keypresses that are targeted to the secure text field. Command-Space is a hotkey that is not sent to the text field, but directly to the application that has registered for this key, so hotkeys are not affected by this security measure.

Dennis
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Post by Dennis » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:36 pm

I see. Thanks for the clarification. I'll stick with Command-Space then.

-Dennis

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