Chameleon Clipboards

It’s no secret that clipboards in all the major platforms suck, hence any number of third-party apps to do things like save multiple buffers (like Vi did in the mid-80s). There’s also initiatives like Ray Ozzie and MS’s Live Clipboard for transferring data between web apps and the like. For many years, Sony researchers have been playing around with Pick’N’Drop, where you pick something up from one physical device with a stylus and drop it onto another – conceptually, the data is sucked into the stylus whereas of course the network and OS work behind the scenes to make the magic happen.

Anyway, here’s something I want: The ability to decide how an item is pasted. There’s a general concept – I don’t know what it’s called – where the paste format degrades to the level that the incoming application will accept. ie If you cut some HTML, the app you paste into can then receive it with links and all if it’s capable of doing so; otherwise the format might degrade to rich text; then regular text; then nothing at all if even regular text can’t be pasted. But sometimes you want to decrease granularity. If I cut-and-paste some coloured text from an email, I want to keep the text, not the colour. Similarly, I might want to paste other info relating the clipboard – e.g. paste the wordcount or paste the first frame of a video I’ve captured. And stuff like that.