Tip of the Day, July 30th, 2008

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See that row of keys across the top of your keyboard? The row you never use? How about making those keys do something useful, like opening your mail program, or Safari, or (yuck) Microsoft Word? Here’s how you do it using a FREE program called “Spark.”

Step One: go to versiontracker.com and download Spark. Here’s the link.
Step Two: double-click the download from Step One, and if things go right you’ll see something called Spark on your desktop. It will look like this:

Open that, revealing this. That’s the Spark application. Drag it to your Applications folder.
Step Three: open up the Applications folder and open up Spark. You’ll see something like this (without the shortcuts yet):

Step Four: click the little gear at top left, hold it down, and slide down to “Application.” Now you get another box:

All you need to do is fill in the box. Click where it says “click to edit” and then press the “trigger” key. Click where it says “Choose…” and choose a program to open. “Calculator” is a nice one– why not make Calculator be F5? Try it– there’s really nothing like getting your hands a little dirty.

From that point on, your key will work– forever, for free. Pretty neat.

If you have trouble, send me an email.

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