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Session Interaction with Quicksilver

Although it’s true that, on the whole, I prefer the OS X environment to that of the Ubuntu Linux environment I’ve been using at work for the last few months, the degree of that preference is not as high as I would have ever thought. Nonetheless, I have to confess that I have a tremendous preference for Gnome Do over Quicksilver for OS X. I know, that borders on blasphemy, right?

I prefer Do for a number of reasons that are beyond the intent of this post, but one reason is that I’ve been spoiled by having the ability to logout, restart, shutdown and otherwise interact with my user session. My inability to do so with Quicksilver has begun to frustrate me lately and tonight I finally figured out that Quicksilver has the same capability. Unfortunately, that capability is tucked away and obscured so that it’s not immediately obvious. Session interaction, as well as a few other nice tools, is tucked away in the Extra Scripts plugin.

Another of my frustrations with Quicksilver is the complexity of the interface, but I wanted to know what was in included with this plugin, so I dug it up in Finder. Since the plugin is really just a collection of shell scripts, it’s pretty easy to see what’s in there. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Get your current IP addresses
  • Eject and close the disk tray
  • Logout of your current session
  • Lock the screen
  • Switch to root
  • Put the computer to sleep
  • Shutdown or restart the system
  • Control the system volume
  • Empty the trash

More is available, but these are the functions that I thought were the most interesting or potentially useful to me. I can’t find a way to see a list of functions available in the Quicksilver UI, but if you’re interested you can see what’s included using Finder:

  1. Open the Quicksilver preferences
  2. Go to the Plug-ins “tab”
  3. Click the gear icon at the bottom of the window
  4. Select Show Plug-ins Folder
  5. Right click on the Extra Scripts.qsplugin “file” and select Show Package Contents
  6. Open the Resources/ExtraScripts directory
  7. Explore the subdirectories

Most of the scripts are pretty descriptively named. It should be pretty apparent what functionality they provide.

Firefox 3 Bookmarks in Launchy

Since upgrading to Firefox 3 oh these many months ago, my Launchy install has been woefully out of step. It’s been an annoyance, but I’m not on my Windows box all that much so it wasn’t exactly at the top of my hit parade. I finally had a free minute today, so I spent that minute understanding the problem and finding out how to fix it (and then another one writing this).

The problem, of course, is that Mozilla moved its bookmark “repository” to SQLite and the data is stored in a file named places.sqlite rather than the bookmarks.html file that has held this data since approximately the dawn of time. Fortunately, a simple change to about:config is all that’s needed to bring Launchy back up to speed.

To give Launchy access to your Firefox 3 bookmarks:

  1. Type about:config in your address bar.
  2. Type exporthtml in the filter textbox.
  3. Double-click the browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML line item in the result set. This should be the only item that appears and double-clicking it should change the value from false to true.
  4. Restart Firefox.
  5. Access Launchy > Options > Catalog > Rescan Catalog to rebuild Launchy’s index.

Update 7/30/2008: Tweaking this configuration setting also sets Quicksilver back on the right track. I had to monkey around a bit with the Firefox module in the Quicksilver catalog to get it to index properly, but I managed to get it under control after a bit of wall-to-wall counseling.

Update 9/5/2008: On my Linux box, I use Gnome Do (a.k.a Do) for the same purpose that I use Launchy and Quicksilver and this trick works nicely for it as well. I should note that I don’t know whether it’s necessary for Do – I updated the config setting before trying it without – but Do works perfectly with this setting in place.

Quicksilver is Making My CPU Its Bitch

I love Quicksilver. I don’t even use more than a third of its capabilities and I still couldn’t do without it. As nothing more than an application launcher, it’s completely indispensable to me. Because of it, I’m able to autohide my dock and, quite honestly, never see it. I don’t keep a single application icon on it (save those that are running, of course).

For the last few weeks, though, I’ve been noticing that Quicksilver has been absolutely monopolizing my CPU cycles to the tune of 65%-95% according to Activity Monitor. I don’t know when this started and I don’t recall any kind of “precipitating event” in the recent past that even might be the cause. If I only saw this kind of monopolization when it was reindexing, it would make some sense. That’s not the case, though. Usually, Quicksilver’s Task Viewer indicates nothing happening at all. The only thing I know for certain is that the application seems to have gone rogue on me. It’s out of control.

I thought I’d found a solution on Mac OS X Hints, but…no. And, by the way, if anyone else cares to try that hint, note that the Quicksilver caches are located in ~/Library/Quicksilver, not in /Library/Quicksilver as the hint indicates (the comments point this out as well). Deleting the specified directory (and a few others) briefly offered hope only to snuff it out. Cruel.

I don’t appear to be the only one seeing this, but it’s not something I’ve heard much rumbling about nor have I found a working solution. Has anyone else seen this and maybe dug up any kind of explanation, fix or workaround?

Update 7/31/2008: And then, just as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. Quicksilver seems to have righted itself and my CPU is happily idling along at ~4%. I don’t know what I did, but it may have something to do with the wall-to-wall counseling I gave it yesterday (7/30/2008).