From Caps Lock to Search Button in 4 easy steps

Google decided they’d had enough of the CAPS LOCK key.  For the Google laptop, they changed the caps lock key, instead they called it the Search key.

Of course, classicists were shocked, but in a modern context it makes sense.  The caps lock key is seldom used – if you want caps, for shorter lengths of text you can use the shift key, for longer text you can select the text and use an application like OpenOffice, Word, or whatnot to convert the selected text to all caps.  Search is now a common computer use, so it makes sense to have a quick key for it.

I read a couple tutorials on how to reproduce this on a Mac, here I present a simple distillation of those instructions.  It should take only a minute or two to do.

Step 1.

Download and install the free apps Alfred and PCKeyboardHack.  You’ll have to reboot after installing PCKeyboardHack.

Step 2.

Launch System Preferences, and click on “Keyboard & Mouse”.  Click the “Modifier Keys” button and set Caps Lock to “No Action”.  Click “Ok”.  You can close the Keyboard preference window.


Step 3.

Launch System Preferences, and click on the PCKeyboardHack control panel.  Expand “Caps Lock, Control” and check off “Change Caps Lock”.  Double-click on “keycode” for that line and set it to 105 (that’s the keycode for the F13 key).  You can then close the PCKeyboardHack window.


Step 4.

Launch Alfred, which will open the Alfred Preferences.  Click “General”, then click on the Hotkey box and CAPS LOCK.  Alfred should say it’s F13.  You can close the Alfred preference window.



All Done!  Now when you press the CAPS LOCK key, it will launch Alfred’s quick search.  You can type in a search term, and you will instantly see options to launch applications, or search Google, Wikipedia, and other sources.  This is configurable in Alfred, if you want to customize it.

The Ghost of Gallstones Past

So a while back, I had gallstones.  This meant suffering semi-random gall bladder attacks, which left me pale and writhing on the ground in pain.

After several ER visits and doctor examinations, my doctor recommended surgery.

Naturally, I wanted to see what else I could try before it came to actually being cut open and getting my gall bladder removed.

There was a popular remedy I’d seen online, involving fasting and drinking epsom salts to clean you out, then drinking olive oil.  So I gave it a shot.

It was horrible.  Drinking olive oil straight is dis-gus-ting, so bad that even today, years later, the smell makes me a little queasy.  It also didn’t help at all.  Ultrasounds before and after showed, if anything, more gallstones after the olive oil.  I ended up getting the surgery, which was meant to be outpatient but due to a complication ended up being 3 or 4 days in the hospital.

Flash forward to today – the surgery has been effective, and life without a gall bladder is largely the same as before I had it out.  If you’re curious, the only real change is if I have a fatty meal, I’ll have to go to the bathroom 30-40 minutes later.

My mom just forwarded me a quote she found, thanks to Google Books, from Ellingwood’s Therapeutist, an eclectic medical journal from 1914:

If there is an infection of the gall bladder with gallstones, give an ounce of olive oil twice daily, which has a tendency to liberate the stones. This remedy was first suggested by Dr. Horatio Firth of Brooklyn, N. Y., and is on record.

Dr. Horatio Firth is my great-great-grandfather, on my mother’s side.  So it turns out that drinking olive oil, the popular remedy I found on the internet, was actually invented or at least popularized by my direct ancestor.

Small space-time continuum, eh?

p.s. Thanks for nothing, great-great-gramps!  Bleh.