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TriX is a do-it-all keyboard shortcut tool that tries a bit too hard


If only there were a way to cram a kitchen sink through a DSL line, I'm quite sure TriX's author would have been one of the first to adopt this technology.

As it is, TriX must somehow make do with merely providing hotkey hooks for volume control, data export (more on that later), system power, zipping/unzipping, on-the-fly calculator, text to speech, eight different string processing functions (because we all need a systemwide hotkey for reversing text), a color picker, and a bunch of other stuff that you can find out if you ever download it.

If you somehow get the impression this tool tries to do too much, you're right. It's a damn shame, too, because the stuff that works does so very well. For one thing, the calculator is brilliant. Highlight a mathematical expression anywhere on your system, hit a hotkey, and a balloon tip pops up with the result. In effect, every text field becomes a calculator – that's awesome.

Data extraction is also interesting. TriX can extract only the email addresses or URLs from a large bunch of text containing many other strings (for example, the source of a Web page). That may come in handy every now and then, but I don't see myself using it all the time.

There is so, so much crud surrounding the few bright spots that they literally drown in the noise. The whole thing feels quite shoddy. For example, the configuration dialog is not a proper window but a "toolbox." It doesn't show up on Alt-Tab or on the taskbar, and if it disappears, it doesn't pop back up again (because it is open somewhere – the question is just where exactly?).

The coolest thing about this little program is the calculator; if it just did that single thing, I would be far more excited about it.

Tags: autohotkey, failware, freeware, hotkeys, shortcuts