Sunday, September 14, 2008

Software Review: Mercury Mover

Mercury Mover Review

MercuryMover is a program designed for fast typists who hate using the mouse. For these people, clicking the mouse to access a menu or function is as obscene a gesture as showing one's middle digit in public! I too avoid removing my fingers from the keyboard and use either my Macbook trackpad or my Contour Rollermouse. MercuryMover allows you to move or re-size windows without having to move your hands off the keyboard, and implements the idea well.

MercuryMover runs as a System Preference, making it easy to install and remove. I run a fairly complex suite of applications and ran into no compatibility problems. The special modifier keys to move or re-size windows are fully customizable, so if there is a conflict with an existing program, the MercuryMover keys can be rerouted. By default, the program is set to use the control, option ,and arrow keys to initiate a re-size or move. After pressing the hotkeys, use the arrows or "jump" modifiers to move the windows one pixel or one screen at a time.

On a practical level, this program isn't going to change your life. The program shines when you want to have tiled or cascading windows open and need to move or re-size the windows. For example, I had iCal and Excel open as I was transcribing billing statements for client sessions I stored in iCal. In addition, I was remote controlling my desktop computer and MercuryMover allowed me to accurately re-size windows, which is a problem in a remote session due to "lag time" between mouse clicks.

Unfortunately, you can configure every key but the key to dismiss MercuryMover from the screen (it is set to escape and can't be changed). As a keystroke economist, I'd want the key to close MercuryMover closer to the modifier keys such as control and option. Fortunately, you can simply click somewhere and MercuryMover gracefully flashes off the screen.

My major concern about the program is price. I firmly believe in the shareware pricing model and know that developers should earn a decent wage. However $19.00 seems like a large sum of money for a simple shortcut application. I wouldn't be able to justify the purchase of this program based on the price, it simply isn't worth $19.00 to save mouse-clicks to move and re-size windows and the price is out of step with other keyboard shortcut programs of this type.

Pros: Quickly re-sizes and moves windows without using the mouse
Cons: Limited configurability, price

Three out of Five DogCows

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Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right