MultiTouch On Crack
One of the features I was most looking forward to when I ordered my MacBook Air was multi-touch and after 4 months heavy use I can report that my excitement was only partially justified. Some gestures have become second nature, while others feel decidedly unnatural. But as I have become accustomed to certain trackpad commands it has become increasingly apparent that Apples implementation of multitouch is somewhat of a walled garden, with little opportunity to customize gestures and too few apps that support them.
Step up MultiClutch. A donationware preference pane that may very well become my favorite app of 2008. MultiClutch allows you to assign keyboard shortcuts to gestures at a global level and in third party applications. It also brings a few new gestures to the table, namely ‘swipe up and swipe down’ as well as combinations of stock Apple multitouch gestures.
So, for example, I have used MultiClutch to customize trackpad gestures in Safari like so….
Rotate left = Back
Rotate right = Forward
Swipe left = Switch to tab on left
Swipe right = Switch to tab on right
This is combined with customized gestures at a global level….
Swipe down = Minimize window
Swipe up = Hide window
Pinch = Close window
Stretch = Quit application
After a few hours of using the trackpad in this way it’s difficult to go back to Apples limited multitouch implementation. In particular, swiping down to minimize a window to the dock feels satisfyingly natural.
There are very few drawbacks to Multiclutch. The most apparent limitation of the software is it’s inability to control Carbon apps (ruling out Finder and iTunes). I have also yet to find a way of assigning keyboard shortcuts that don’t use the command key. But these are small gripes that take nothing away from what may be the most useful app I have installed since discovering Quicksilver two years ago.
Filed under: Apple, Hardware, MacBook Air | 3 Comments