MobileCubed m3cro 1.0

If you have used Microsoft Windows for any amount of time, you quickly learn the benefit of shortcuts and macros. These easy-to-use shortcuts increase productivity by cutting down on the time users have to search for a particular application to run or perform a particular function.

In the Handheld PC world, many of these same types of shortcuts exist and most are built-in to the H/PC device itself. For example, on the Jornada 72x series, the top row of keyboard buttons are shortcut keys to applications built into the ROM. These, via a control panel application, are customizable.

With m3cro from MobileCubed, this ability to create shortcuts and macros becomes almost limitless as any number of combinations can be used to open up applications or files. The beauty of m3cro is that all of these hotkey commands that users create are written to the registry. This means that the application itself does not have to be running in the background in order for these shortcuts to work.

The installation of m3cro is clean and easy with the install footprint taking a small 880 kilobytes. The installation also provides several macros. These macros, which can be assigned hotkeys, allow users to automate tasks such as checking the memory of their H/PC, emptying the Recycle Bin and checking power. Additionally, there are demonstration scripts that open taskbar properties or the control panel. These scripts are also good primers for understanding the scripting language the application uses.

m3cro has two primary tools: Hotkeys and Editor. Each tool, as their name suggest, are for creating hotkeys and editing or creating macros respectively. Both interfaces are clean and well developed with functionality being intuitive.

The Hotkey editor allows users to assign a specific function to any letter or number key on the keyboard when used in conjunction with the Window key. So, for example, to open the Control Panel, users hold the Window key then press C (WIN + C). Many common Windows functions are already built into m3cro such as Help, Stylus properties, Keyboard properties, Control Panel and so forth. However, even these hotkeys are reprogrammable, making the application truly user friendly.

m3cro's Hotkey interface allows for quick and easy assignment of hotkeys

To create a new hotkey, tap the letter or number that you want to assign the function too. Next, tap the directory button (the "…" button) and search for the executable or .m3c file (if it is a macro) that you want to assign to it. Note that m3cro can access applications both in on-board memory as well as Storage Cards. Once you find this, the Hotkey display will be populated with your selection. Tap Apply and Save and the new hotkey is created.

Using the hotkey interface, I now have a hotkey to open Conduit's Pocket Artist quickly

Once all of the hotkeys are created, close m3cro then test the created hotkeys. In my example, to open up Pocket Artist, I would press and hold the Windows key then press A (WIN + A). That would start the application for me far more quickly than searching through the Start menu. Further, it is easier to remember a hotkey combination than it is to search for the shortcut on the Start menu or on the H/PCs desktop.

The other primary interface in m3cro is the macro editor. To change to this function, tap the Tools menu then select m3cro Editor. Like the Hotkey interface, the editor is a simple, clean design with intuitive functionality.

m3cro's clean and easy-to-use macro editor interface

Creating and editing scripts with the editor is simple with an easy-to-understand scripting language. The best way to learn how the application reads scripts is to open one of the built-in examples. These examples have commentary in them explaining the logic behind the script. They will also give you a good feel for how the script works and which commands perform specific functions.

Use the built-in scripts to see how the scripts are built logically so you can build your own

In order to make script building easier, m3cro has both a System Syntax and Keys Syntax menu. These menus eliminate the guess-work by automatically inserting a system or key command into the script you are creating. These are particularly helpful for users who do not have a strong scripting background.

The System Syntax menu inserts specific system level commands into the script. These commands include such things as RUN, Pause, Insert Date, CAPS lock and so forth.

The System Syntax menu in m3cro's Editor

Meanwhile, the Key Syntax menu inserts key touches or combinations there of. So if you are creating a new macro that requires the Windows button to be pressed, using the Key Syntax WIN + will "virtually" push this button in your script.

The Key Syntax menu

Once a script is created, it can be saved and used in conjunction with the Hotkey editor.

Overall, m3cro is an easy application to use and functions very well. Further, there is nothing that I believe needs to be improved. It is well written and functions as advertised. What really makes this application stand far above similar programs is the fact that m3cro itself does not have to be running in order for the hotkeys to work. This saves on system resources and shows the well-groomed logic of the programmers at MobileCubed.

In the future, it would be nice to see MobileCubed develop a script library of sorts where users can download scripts for a minimal fee. Perhaps also offer a user-based script library for users to share scripts with each other.

MobileCubed sells m3cro for $12.95 (US) with sales and promotions running at various times. It is well worth the cost and will quickly contribute to the functionality of your Handheld PC. More information about m3cro can be found at the MobileCubed website.

System Requirements:

Windows CE 2.11 (HPC Pro) and 3.0 (HPC2000)
SH3, SH4, StrongARM, MIPS

Rating  
Cost: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional
Usability: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional
Built-In helps: 3 Star Rating: Average
Customer Service: 4 Star Rating: Recommended
Overall: 4 Star Rating: Recommended

m3cro can be found at the following URL.
http://www.mobilecubed.com/

Clinton Fitch
Chief Reviews Editor