Tagged With mouse gestures

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.


Most of the multi-touch gestures available to iPhone and Apple laptop owners don't require anything special, hardware-wise—except a patent licence from Apple. Linux users, however, can get some of that multi-finger goodness in three quick steps.


Windows only: Application launcher Magic Formation adds a circular dock that can be triggered by hotkeys or mouse gestures—just draw a circle on the desktop to make it show up. Using the application is fairly simple—just invoke it with your mouse gesture; adjusting the mouse gesture sensitivity through the options dialog is probably necessary to trigger the dock more easily. There are plenty of other advanced options in the preferences, from using a hotkey to trigger the dock to assigning a mouse key instead—making this interesting application worth a look for anybody in the market for a better application launcher. Magic Formation is a free download for Windows only. For more ways to quickly access your programs, check out the five best application launchers, or get full-featured mouse gestures with previously mentioned gMote.

Magic Formation


Firefox only: Easy DragToGo is a Firefox extension which enables interaction with highlighted text and images via mouse gestures. Text actions are determined by whether or not the highlighted text is a URL or not, and by the variables you assign in the preferences menu. An example setup, and my current one, is that all non-URL text when highlighted and dragged becomes a Google search. Drag up to search in a new foreground tab, drag down to search in a new background tab. You assign gestures to opening new URLs, searching text, and saving images. The amount of movement required to trigger the assigned action in Easy DragToGo is minuscule, which makes for some wonderfully lazy mousing. Easy DragToGo is free and works wherever Firefox does.

Easy DragToGo


Windows/Mac/Linux (Firefox): Drag & DropZones is a clever interface tweak that allows you to perform nearly any action or search by dragging any page element—a link, email address, image, or page itself—onto a transparent grid you set up. In other words, instead of right clicking an image to save it, you'd simply grab it and drag it onto the "Save Image" box that pops up when you start dragging. Similarly, highlight and drag text to search any of the search bar engines you've set up. Drag & DropZones' context offerings go a bit beyond what Firefox offers, and it's fully customisable in colour, size, and transparency. Drag & DropZones is a free download, works wherever Firefox does.

Drag and DropZones


Synaptics, the driver provider for the majority of laptops with trackpads, is rolling out an upgrade that allows for two new types of finger movement and application control. Similar to MacBooks, the Synaptics upgrade lets touchpad users flick two fingers across their pads to scroll through items or change modes. More intriguing is the "ChiralTouch," which detects circular trackpad movement and converts it into scrolling or rotation. Synaptics says that more than 100 apps currently support the new motions, with more to come. To get in on the new scrolling, check with your laptop manufacturers' support site (or Windows Update) to see if an updated driver for your model is available.

ChiralMotion Technology


Linux only: Easystroke, a free mouse gesture manager for Linux systems, makes the often quirky business of summoning applications, web sites, and desktop actions with your pointer a simple affair. After installing Easystroke and adding it to your startup programs, it sits in your icon tray to register movements and add new ones. By default, it only records mouse gestures made when the middle mouse button is held down, and it's surprisingly intuitive at knowing what you wanted. Let's take a look at how to set up Easystroke to help you get at frequently-accessed site, desktop manipulations, and favourite programs with a flick of the wrist.


Windows only: Free application Mazzick is a simple mouse gesture utility that you can carry on your USB thumb drive. Using Mazzick is simple: just invoke it using one of the default shortcuts (like holding Shift, for example), then draw the gesture you want. Creating your own custom gestures—like my 'l' for Lifehacker gesture in the screenshot—is a breeze. If you're a fan of saving time and keystrokes with global mouse gesture tools like prevously mentioned StrokeIt but feel lost at a computer without your favourite gestures, the portable Mazzick could be just the ticket for you.



Linux.com has a great roundup of ways to use mouse gestures in nearly every corner of a Linux desktop. Newcomers who just want to try out a few shortcuts are walked through the previously mentioned Mouse Gestures Firefox extension and desktop corner activator Brightside, but those looking for universal gesture recognition can go further with the Gestikk and wayV packages. Both require a bit of terminal hacking to install and get running, but neither one will mess up your system if you decide to go back to the ol' trusty keyboard.

Using mouse gestures across Linux


Routines are a double-edged sword; they can boost your output, but they can also rob you of your "spark". Self-improvement site Pick the Brain advises us of the danger of getting stuck in a rut:

Going through the same routine, day after day, can be monotonous and depressing. It often leads to getting caught in a rut. To get out of it you need to temporarily change your routine. If you can, take a day off from work. Do something you don't normally have time for or something you've never tried. In the long run, taking a day off every now and then to get out of slump will make you happier and more productive.

For instance, today I plan on spending at least an hour with my newest art project - definitely out of my daily routine plan. What do you do to break your rut? Let's hear in the comments.

Stop Feeling Depressed