A friend showed me an interesting piece of software today over at Humanized. It's called Enso, and has been described by some as "The Command Line Comeback".
It's a very intriguing idea. Highlight a block of text that says "132/4", hold down Caps Lock and type "calculator". Presto-changeo, the highlighted text gets replaced with 33. There are several other commands to open programs, browse the Internet, or control windows. Head on over there and check out the demo!
The install was seamless. Click a web control and it's as easy as installing the Google Toolbar. Unfortunately, as a technogeek, I didn't want it installed where it automatically ended up (and I didn't see any custom install options). Obviously a very minor note.
The other problem that I had with it is that it's overly resource-hungry. This might be due to the fact that it's almost entirely written in Python, but for as simple as it seems, I don't think it needs 30MB of memory and 17 threads.
The possibilities for this piece of software are abundant. You can 'teach' it new commands and future versions are supposed to be extensible with Python. As a programmer, I'd love to have things like conversions between hex/decimal/binary or even a calculator that does bitwise operations.
This is definitely something I'll be keeping my eye on.