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GeekBind - Useful window handling features Pick of the Week
GeekBind image The macosxhints Rating:
9 of 10
[Score: 9 out of 10]
  • Developer: Vincent Cuissard / Product page **
  • Price: Free / open source
** Note: The URL for the GeekBind homepage is actually http://geekbind.sourceforge.net, but it seems to have an error when loading, so I published the Sourceforge project page instead.

GeekBind is a handy little utility that offers some interesting window manipulation features, all accessible via global hotkeys. You can, for instance, press and hold a hotkey to make the current window invisible. Or increase or decrease its transparency in small steps. Or move windows (or the cursor). Or resize windows. All via hotkeys. Here's a picture of the full feature set:



As you can see, I don't use all the options...but there is one feature there that I've quickly found to be indispensible -- Move window. While you hold down the defined hot key, the window under the mouse is filled with a color (user controllable for color and transparency level), and an overlay showing the name of the app. Now just move the mouse, and the window moves! No more moving to the drag edge; just press and hold the hotkey, then move the mouse. I've set a mostly-transparent light color overlay, so I can still see the contents of the window I'm dragging around. It will even move background windows without activating them, automatically.

To make it even easier to use this window dragging feature, I reassigned a mouse button to activate the defined hotkey. So now I can move any window just by pressing and holding a mouse button, then moving the mouse. I love this -- no more looking for the right spot, and since I'm moving the mouse to move the window anyway, having a button activate the feature is perfect!

GeekBind runs as a faceless background application; a small "G" icon lives in your menubar, through which you activate and define the hotkeys, and quit the program. The program is PowerPC code, and though it would load on my Intel Core Duo mini, none of the features seemed to work. It was last updated in the middle of 2005, so I'm not sure what the odds are for an Intel version. I downloaded the source and tried a compile on the Intel box, but it failed ... perhaps someone with talent can get it working.

Thanks to macosxhints' reader blafusel for sending me the pointer to GeekBind.
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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: jeb11382 on Apr 18, '06 11:19:54AM

I use this off and on. Too bad it hasn't been updated in almost a year now. I just wish I knew how to code well enough to help out and add in the functionality to let you use the f-keys without a modifier key (i.e. ability to do 'F1' instead of having to do 'cmd+F1'.)

Nice app though, and free. :)



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: jeb11382 on Apr 18, '06 11:22:37AM

Oh yeah, and the window-moving functionality doesn't play nice with drawers (like the drawers Mail used to have, or the ones OmniWeb uses for tabs). It leaves them behind. However, apple does seem to be leaving drawers behind. Other than that though, it's great functionality for my laptop.



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: variousbronson on Apr 18, '06 11:38:13AM

how did you reassign a mouse button to activate a defined hotkey???



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: robg on Apr 18, '06 01:04:21PM

I have a Microsoft Mouse, and its control software has a Buttons option -- I can assign any combo of keystrokes there (though I did have to add the Shift key to make it work, for some reason).

-rob.



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: dave1212 on Apr 18, '06 02:30:57PM

http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/17779

ControllerMate. Like USB Overdrive, but free, if you just need to set one or two mouse buttons to a command.

I bought it so I can use my gamepad and an extra mouse and keyboard for music performance.



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: G-Mantle on Apr 18, '06 11:41:31AM

Does this work for switching iTunes in and out of mini-mode? I've been looking for something to do that automatically.



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: televisionmind on Apr 18, '06 12:01:43PM

You can get iTunes in/out of mini mode by assigning a keyboard shortcut to the "Zoom" menu item (which corresponds to the green window control button).

In System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse:
- click the "+" button to add a new keyboard shortcut
- You can select iTunes, but I set it to "All Applications"
- put "Zoom" for the Menu Title
- enter the keyboard shortcut combo of your choice

note: using the Option key can produce some very inconsistent results.
I used Apple + Shift + Z (but this replaces "Redo" in a lot of apps, like SubEthaEdit)

If you decide that you want this functionality across more apps, repeat the instructions for the same key combo, but for the Menu Title "Zoom Window"



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: macdad82 on Apr 18, '06 01:07:04PM

iTunes, at least in version 6.0.4, already has a command to zoom/unzoom the window. it is ctrl + command + z



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: G-Mantle on Apr 18, '06 03:51:28PM

I tried setting up a custom shortcut before, but all it did was blink the window menu (where the "zoom" command is normally). The window remained the same.

This isn't a critical function to me, so I don't really want to go through the effort of troubleshooting it. Thanks for your suggestions, though.



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: kL on Apr 18, '06 12:47:26PM

It doesn't work for me. In column with hotkeys I get only "Error" entries and I can't set any hotkeys :(



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: UniAce on Apr 18, '06 01:16:05PM

Any chance this thing can make a given window float above all others?
If not, anyone know of something else that can do that?

This is still one of the functions I'd most like to have, somehow.



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: Imaria on Apr 18, '06 01:20:17PM

I was looking for that, too. If I could make a floating window that was transparent from any program, I'd use it all the time.



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: borgendorf on Apr 18, '06 01:50:33PM

WindowShadeX does that. You can assign a hotkey to make a window float above others, then assign another one to make it transparent. Works great!

$10 http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/wsx

---
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit Flies like a bananna.



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NICE! We Posted it on ResEx
Authored by: tophfisher on Apr 18, '06 04:43:49PM

Hey Rob, good find. I am going to link to this from our site, www.resexcellence.com and give you a plug!



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: n8gray on Apr 18, '06 05:05:49PM
No more moving to the drag edge; just press and hold the hotkey, then move the mouse.

Just like Alt-click in many *NIX window managers! :) This was one of the very very painful losses when moving to OS X. Mac users like to scoff at Linux for being unsightly and offering too many options but there are some real ergonomics wins to be found among the various X window managers. Luckily, I'm not the only geek who's switched, so I can usually find a utility like GeekBind to make OS X not so unlike my trusty X system.

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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: murali1080 on Apr 18, '06 06:07:32PM

Within the GeekBind directory that you downloaded (Volumes/Anaconda/Code/Objective C/GeekBind) create a directory called doc and create an empty doc.texi file inside it. Similarly create an empty TODO file in the GeekBind directory itself. Now try 'Build' in xcode. I am using the latest xcode and it works on PPC. It should work on Intel Macs too.



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No it won't work in Intel...yet...
Authored by: dl on Apr 18, '06 06:50:24PM

I get 5 errors all related to PPC Threading and someone will have to figure out what to use under i386 in the injection code. It's probably simple (famous last words ;-) :
/Users/daniello/tmp/GeekBind/src/external/mach_inject.c:102: error: 'ppc_thread_state_t' undeclared (first use in this function)
/Users/daniello/tmp/GeekBind/src/external/mach_inject.c:102: error: parse error before 'remoteThreadState'
/Users/daniello/tmp/GeekBind/src/external/mach_inject.c:107: error: 'remoteThreadState' undeclared (first use in this function)
/Users/daniello/tmp/GeekBind/src/external/mach_inject.c:135: error: 'PPC_THREAD_STATE' undeclared (first use in this function)
/Users/daniello/tmp/GeekBind/src/external/mach_inject.c:136: error: 'PPC_THREAD_STATE_COUNT' undeclared (first use in this function)



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: toshoklabs on Apr 18, '06 08:57:58PM

1) you can just remove those missing files from the target

2) to compile for intel or Universal Binary, you need to update the mach_inject code to the latest version which does support Intel architecture, and then you need to set the target to x86 or PPC + x86, and also make sure that you use the 10.4 universal SDK. I have created a UniBin, and will be submitting the patch to sourceforge shortly...



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: neojipc on Apr 18, '06 08:35:16PM

I found Geekbind a very useful tool until I discovered another free utility that has some overlapping functions called Window Dragon. It's key features include the ability to:

1) move current window by clicking anywhere on the window, not just special regions.
2) scale from any "quadrant" of the window not just the bottom right region.
3) move all windows of your current application.

Window Dragon is actually a module for Unsanity's Application Enhancer. I'm not affialted with the author but it has become (and consequently Application Enhancer) an indispensable part of my arsenal!

That said, Geekbind is still solid in its own right and further liberates your hands from the mouse.



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: dashard on Apr 19, '06 08:47:14AM

I know that this is pretty much not the right forum for this, but does anyone here have some definitive view on the whole Application Enhancer experience (since it was just mentioned)?

I have heard so many things against it, and Unsanity comes out with their version of facts to refute the complaints, and on and on it goes. I have not reinstalled APE since reformatting/reinstalling my system, but miss Detour BIG TIME!

What's the experience here? Rob - Survey question?



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: RobertBen on Apr 20, '06 12:22:14AM

I have been using APE and now have the latest APE (1.5.1) installed and my system is as solid as a rock. Don't remember the last Kernel Panic, think it was last summer due to my Cube overheating (didn't notice the fan stopped working).



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Tiling, Saving Workspaces
Authored by: stewf on Apr 21, '06 09:21:43AM

Is there a similar utility for tiling open windows and saving "workspaces" (as in the feature of Adobe CS2 apps)?



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: ehashi on Apr 21, '06 09:56:43AM

Great! That experimental window interaction should be developed, I could see it being useful.

Also, does anyone know how to remove the icon from the Finder menu? I don't really need to access the preferences once it's set up, and it needlessly takes up menu space.



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GeekBind - Useful window handling features
Authored by: Lobo-X on Apr 26, '06 10:43:30AM

What a fun app!

As fun as useful, thx a lot.

=)



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Partial failure on MacBook Pro
Authored by: SeanAhern on Jun 25, '06 05:43:09AM

On my new Intel MacBook Pro, GeekBind appears to only partially work. It seems unable to move windows, exactly the feature that I installed GeekBind to access. :-(



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