May 18, 2017

Hot keys

Not wanting to manage KVM hygiene daily, a side-effect of the hot-desking policy, I began using my G610 at work three months ago. It’s a fine, if hefty full-sized keyboard, and that became a problem. I mean at the end of every work day, I unplug to shove it inside a 1’-0” × 1’-0” locker, leaving very little usable room in it for anything else.

Not wanting to buy yet another, I pulled my seldom-used Apple bluetooth wireless keyboard out. In many ways this is worse than its large, corded sibling. With portability, you inherit its handicap of missing keys — some of which are critical to be productive; this aside from the prospect of blowing one’s mind with jumbled hotkeys across OSes — Mac at home; Windows at work.

To recover sanity, I looked at ways to remap keys so I could use Mac hotkeys on Windows, and found AutoHotkey promising. But being a generic scripting tool, there is no way around the manual, and it so took a good few trial and error compiles to get to a set of usable hotkey mappings. I then compiled mackeyboard.ahk script together with a ⌘ key icon to generate mackeyboard.exe file.

Mac keyboard autohotkey in system tray

It runs fine in the background capturing all my hotkeys, pressed in Mac style, and transforming them into Windows hotkeys on the fly. It’s also good as a simple text expander, which saves me some repetitive typing. For logging-in (or unlocking) though, I still have to resort to using laptop’s built-in keyboard. While it’s still too early to say in this experiment, these last few hours have been promising.