Well, I took the dive into ActiveWords. There is a lot of potential here, and I think the vision that the company has is awesome. For now, it's a great way to get my stuff done a little faster. I have found that it has also inspired me to learn more keyboard shortcuts in order to speed up my computer use even more, not to mention reducing the strain on my mouse hand. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to speed up their computer usage.

That said, as a developer, I've run into quite a few issues that sometimes make it difficult to use. The one in the front of my mind right now is the "undo" problem. ActiveWords tries to undo your typing if you trigger the last word typed by sending delete keystrokes to the application. A true solution to this problem is difficult. What about if the user is in a list box and their activeword scrolled the listbox? What if they have text selected and their activeword replaced the text? Or to make things really fun, what if the userĀ hadĀ just pressed Alt and are in the menus for a very complex program? Cases like this can hamper productivity, thus defeating the purpose of ActiveWords. To really make this work it almost needs to be built into the operating system and supported by all applications - a keystroke undo that has some minimal history to it. An alternative is for ActiveWords to somehow determine the type of context you're in and do an appropriate undo (e.g. ctrl-Z in many applications).

Fortunately, the ActiveWords team also created the ActionPad to handle cases where using an activeword is not feasible. When using the ActionPad, which is similar to Win-R replacements like SlickRun, you must first type a shortcut (Ctrl-Space is the default) before typing your activeword. The ActionPad has the advantage of all the built in scripting capabilities of ActiveWords, which are very powerful and I'm sure will improve.

One other thing - to really appeal to your average non-technical user ActiveWords is going to need to populate their wordbase with a lot of common stuff (App Paths reg key for example) and making automatically populating the wordbase easier (import all .lnk files in a folder, such as the Start Menu).

One thing I've been impressed by is ActiveWords customer responsiveness. Despite the challenges I've faced in using ActiveWords, I bet they'll improve their product quickly and in the right directions because of their openness to suggestions and the relationships they build with their customers.