personal, windows comments edit

UPDATE: Based on comments from readers and trying a few suggestions out, I ended up going with ClipX, a free product that does exactly what I’m looking for.

Clipboard manager, clipboard organizer… whatever you call it, what I went searching for yesterday was something that would help me with multiple copy/paste selections so I could re-use earlier items I’d copied. (In my case, I was doing several commits to source code repositories - fixing the same thing in different versions of software, so I wanted identical log messages but didn’t want to keep all of them in Notepad or whatever.)

Office comes with a clipboard manager but it only works when an Office program is running and, frankly, it’s not my favorite. I can’t put my finger on why - all I know is I see that thing and I’m instantly confused. Maybe I’m just uninitiated.

For the record, there is one feature missing from every single clipboard manager I’ve tried: I want to be able to select an item from the list and automatically have that replace whatever is currently on the clipboard. Every single one of these keeps track of what you put on the clipboard, but if you want to put one of the saved clips into your application, you have to double-click it and let the application do the “paste” action for you. I don’t want that. I want to be able to select the clip, then go back to whatever application and hit Ctrl-V myself. Trying to make sure the app the clipboard manager is going to do the paste in is the correct app is cumbersome and almost more trouble than it’s worth.

If someone knows of a [preferably free] clipboard manager that allows you to select an item and have it become active on the clipboard, let me know. If it’s good enough, I’d even consider paying for it. That’s how much I want that feature.

Oh, and several clipboard managers I came across use databases to store their stuff. No thanks. I don’t need another service running just to help manage my clipboard. I want this thing to be lightweight and self-contained.

Anyway, when I went searching I found a few different products. Here’s what I came out with:

LW-Works Clipboard
RecorderLW-Works Clipboard Recorder: This is the one I’m currently using. There are two “views” for it - this little floating window (pictured) and a larger window that allows you to select one of the clips and preview it. It has support to preview several data types on the clipboard and is fairly configurable. You can set it up to show with a Windows hotkey, you can specify what sorts of things you want to be able to keep on the clipboard list, you can allow (or not) duplicate clippings from the same application… it’s pretty good. I like the detail with this one - two views, the primary view being a super-compact window that conserves space but isn’t so small it’s unusable; the fact it puts the icon of the application it grabbed the clip from right next to the clip; the fact it minimizes instead of closes if I hit the “X” button in the corner of the main window. If it had the selected-item-in-list-is-active-on-clipboard feature, this would be The One.

There is a free version and a professional version. The free version has anything you need for a general clipboard manager. The professional version adds the ability to have multiple clipboard lists, save lists for later retrieval, send clipboard items to another computer, and paste multiple items at the same time to an application.

Clipboard.NETClipboard.NET: This is an open source project that is fairly young but is shaping up to have some nice features. The notion of having a plug-in framework for the clipboard monitor is appealing to me, and this has that. Several of the features (“Paste As HTML,” “Google This,” etc.) are implemented as plugins, and that’s cool. The UI could use a little help as it is fairly large to have running all the time and has a lot of wasted space. There are a lot of options that could be added as well. Unfortunately, I spoke to the author and he doesn’t have much time to dedicate to this lately, so unless someone else steps up, we may not see this come to fruition.

DittoDitto: This is a pretty popular open source project that has a lot of features. Too many features, in fact. So many, I almost can’t even tell you what the thing can do. I mean… well, let me show you, rather than tell you: Ditto
Options Notice how there are six tabs’ worth of options? Each tab has the bajillion options on it that you see here. The working of the application is about this complex. Maybe it’s just me - I bet this thing would do all I need it to if I could only wade through all the options and figure out how to get it to work.

It feels like this started out cool but ended up with huge feature-creep. Definitely by programmers for programmers. My mom would never be able to figure this out. And, honestly, I’m not eager to personally take something like this on.

So there you have it. I haven’t yet found “the perfect clipboard manager.” Like I said above, though - if someone has one that they think can satisfy me, I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment with a link so I can try it out. The key feature - in fact, it might have the worst UI ever but this feature would make it worth it - is to select an item and have that become the active clipboard item. None of these do that.

General Ramblings comments edit

Saturday found Jenn and me going to Laserport with Jason, Tracy, and Adam for a couple of rounds of laser tag. (My legs are killing me today, indicating that I clearly do not get enough exercise - a fact I’m well aware of but somehow never really do anything about.) Laser tag is hella fun and our team put the good ol’ smack down on anyone we faced.

Only thing beyond that notable for Saturday: We got stuck behind this fairly inconsiderate driver who turned right in front of us when they had the red light and a sign posted for them saying “no turn on red.” This is the first time I’ve actually been prompted to file a complaint against someone on Platewire.

Sunday was relaxing pretty much up until the very end. Jenn and I cleaned up some clutter that needed to be dealt with, we played some video games, and we ran a few errands. No big deal. We were enjoying the time until about 8:30p, when we were about to start watching a movie and heard this terribly loud barking coming from behind the house.

Now, we’ve had to talk to the neighbors before about their barking dog, but they really reined it in and it hasn’t been a problem for a long time. This time, though, was far worse than any of the other times - it was extra loud and the dog was whining, crying, and barking all at the same time.

Irritated, I opened up my back curtains to see what was going on and there was a beagle puppy in my back yard. No collar, no license, just running around barking and whining.

Jenn and I went outside to see how it got in. The gate into the yard was closed, there were no holes under the fence, and all the boards were in place - it didn’t get through the fence. We really don’t know how it got there, but we’re figuring someone dropped it into our yard. Fantastic.

Meanwhile, my cat’s tail is as big around as a soda can. She’s freaked out, alternating between stalking the dog through the window and hiding under the couch. To alleviate a little of that, we took the dog around the house and into the garage.

Here’s the problem: It’s late and animal control is closed to the public. Unless it’s attacking or it’s got a license, you’re stuck until morning. What do you do?

You call the sheriff’s office and they send an officer out to pick it up, that’s what.

Of course, if either Jenn or I went inside, the dog would whine and bark; if we were both outside with it, it was fine (albeit a little hyperactive). So we were stuck sitting in the garage with this dog that someone dropped off in the yard, waiting for the police to come get it. We fed it some chicken (it was super hungry) and gave it some water while we waited. It took about an hour and a half before the officer showed up to get it. Let me tell you, there was some serious magazine reading going on.

So we’re dog-free once again this morning, which is fine by me. I hope the dog finds a good home (I’m sure he will - he was cute), but mine is not that home.

General Ramblings comments edit

Oh, what a week it’s been.

Saturday Jenn and I went with my friend Torin to check out Night at the Museum. It was actually pretty darn good in a “cute” sort of way. I don’t know that I’ll be buying it on DVD, but I didn’t walk out feeling like I was cheated out of my money, either.

Sunday and Monday were a blur. Monday was a federal holiday, so we didn’t have to work, but Jenn had plans to hang out with her family, so I was left alone with the cat to play video games and watch movies. I’ve been watching The Pretender Season 1 and loving it. (Just ordered Season 2 so I can keep going. I can’t believe I didn’t see this when it was on TV.)

Tuesday and Wednesday some serious cold weather hit the Portland area and made the roads really icy, so Jenn called in sick and I worked from home. You can see some of the footage of people who decided to drive in it. Not good. My dad had some trouble sliding around, too, and is going to have to make a visit to the local body shop to get his car fixed up.

I don’t ever really feel productive when I’m home, though, because frankly there are so many more interesting things to do than work. But you gotta do what you gotta do, and I ended up on the couch with a TV tray and my laptop. Not terribly ergonomic by any means.

I’d have blogged all this yesterday, but we saw a huge spam increase at work and in order to stem the tide, hosts that sent spam to us were being blocked for access. Unfortunately, someone must have sent spam spoofing my domain or something because somehow my site got flagged as a spam site and I couldn’t connect. I’ve got the block removed, but now I’m working with my ISP and our IT guys to see why I got blocked in the first place and track down what we can do to stop it in the future (if anything). I’m in a shared environment, so there’s not a lot I can do from a server lockdown perspective other than having strong passwords on my accounts.

Which brings us to today - Friday - and even though it’s been a short week, it’s been a long week. I woke up this morning exhausted and with a distinct lack of motivation. I’m doing what I can to motivate myself chemically (Mountain Dew?) but it’s not working super well. I won’t lie

  • I’m just not interested in what I’m tasked to do, so it’s difficult to have a lot of zeal. Hopefully there will be something more fun to deal with next week.