Macintosh Blog Posts
October 18, 2019

Recent Applications in the Catalina Dock

One of the features that Apple changed in macOS Catalina is the Recent Applications in the Dock. You can no longer see a grid of Recent Applications. In Catalina, you can only a select number of recent applications appear in the dock.

It's really easy to bring back the "old" look.

Bring Recent Apps Folder Back

How to Enable the Recent Application Back in the Dock

Here are the simple steps:

  1. In the Finder type Command - F (This brings up the Spotlight Search.)
  2. Next to the 'Kind' drop down menu, select 'Application'
  3. Click on the '+' to the right of that row
  4. Select 'Last Open Date' and then 1 day
  5. Click the Save Button, which is located just above the '+' that you click before.
  6. You can name it anything, but "Recent Apps" would be good.
  7. Make sure the check box next to the "Add to Sidebar" is checked and click Save.
  8. Now you should see the "Recent Apps" in the Sidebar.
  9. Drag and Drop the "Recent Apps" icon to the Dock - just to the left of the Trash Can.
  10. Right Click on the icon in the dock and select "Grid" under "View Content As"

Bonus: Try Tags with Applications

The nice thing about this tip is that now you know you can put any Smart folder in the dock.

So for example, one thing you can do is tag certain applications that you use - for example, applications use to modify Images. Then create a Smart Folder that searches for that Tag. Then place the Smart Folder in the Dock for easy access.

October 11, 2019

Mosaic

Light Pillar's Mosaic is a window's management utility. It makes it easy to organize various windows that you may have open. For example, you can easily layout Chrome Window and Evernote, so they layout evenly on the screen.

Mosaic Layout

Five Things I have Learned Using Mosaic

  • When you move a window, you can see a Drag and Drop Zone where you can position the window on the screen. (There's a setting where you can change the Drag and Drop Zone so that it only appears when you have the option key down.)
  • You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to different layouts - avoiding the need to use the Drag and drop.
  • One of the first things I did was remove the default Gutter. I never really need to see my desktop when I position the windows.
  • Groups are a good way to only show layouts that matter in the Drag and Drop Zone.
  • When I was changing the layout on a 5K display I was getting Resizing Window warnings. In the General Setting, there's a checkbox to disable the warning.
October 4, 2019

Shapes vs OmniGraffle

If you're looking for a quick way to create simple diagrams, Shapes might be the right tool for you. It's a good application that makes it easy to create diagrams and flow charts.

Product Description

Description from the shapesapp.com website:

Shapes is an elegant Diagramming app for Mac OS X, that is both simple and powerful. Shapes give you all of the most important features you need in a Diagramming tool without all the extra cruft, at an affordable price.

Shapes is great for Programmers and Web Designers looking for a simple tool for quickly designing Charts, laying out wireframes, or visualizing Model Relationships.

Share App

Five Things I Learned about Shapes

  • I wasn't able to test how Shapes handled opening EPS files since you can't open files during the trial.
  • There's plenty of tools that I haven't seen anyplace else, such as a Dialog Window, Person and Double Tearaway. What is the purpose of the bracket tool?
  • It's very easy to connect objects. When an object is selected, simply click on the circle below and choose your line type: Line, Segmented Line, Smart Path, or Arc.
  • I discovered if you drag the main window edge, by the tools, you can see the tools names and the short cut keys to access them. I wasn't able to find the shortcut keys in any documentation.
  • There's a search box to search for tools, some good queries are 'box', 'house', and 'line.' It makes it easy to have like tools available as your working. However, there no documentation on available queries.

OmniGraffle vs Shapes

OmniGraffle has a lot more capabilities and certainly in't fair to compare the two apps. If your just creating basic chart diagrams and don't need a lot of flexibility, then Shapes is your tool.

Some differences between OmniGraffle and Shapes that I found while exploring:

  • OmniGraffle has large library of reusable objects, there's no library in Shapes.
  • OmniGraffle has the ability to control line hops. Which is nice when you have points that cross.
  • With OmniGraffle, I can control of how objects are connected. For example, I can add additional anchor points on an object.
  • OmniGraffle has nine fill types, while Shapes only has three.
  • Shapes doesn't offer any help pages to explain tips and tricks
  • Shapes is much cheaper than OmniGraffle $9.99 vs $149.99.

Trying Out Shapes

Shapes is available on the Apple Store for $9.99.

You down download a fully functional version of Shapes from their website and try it out. During the trial you can not import or save changes.

September 27, 2019

Type Styler

Type Styler is an application that makes it easy to create logos and text graphics.

I learned about this application from a post in the Affinity Photo Forum and thought to check it out. I was curious to see how this compares to Art Text 3 -(Which I already Own).

Type Styler Dialog
Some of the options with TypeStyler.

Nine Things I Learned About Type Styler

There are 95 Text Styles in the library. (That's the colorful A's above.) Simply select some text then choose your text style. You can then configure the style afterward.

There are 45 distortions that can be made.

There are different document presets available such as Page, Poster, Banner, CD, Bag, Box, 3D Model, and Video. (The Video seems very interesting to explore.)

The Glyph Tool allows you easy access to all 4,613 glyphs. I didn't realize that there were that many in the Apple Symbols.

The Body text tool allows you to create new text body. There are 45 different text body types.

The Style Workshop is a creative way to play around with different effects for the text, such as Full, Shadow, and all sorts of effect.

Objects can be clip to the clipboard and paste into OmniGraffle, Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo and other apps. The final results

You can export to Photoshop, PDF, Illustrator, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, EPS, PICT, GIF.

When you export as Photoshop, all the objects are on their own layer as Pixel format. You have the option to set the resolution, the default is 261 dpi.

Type Styler Type Setting
Type Styler Type Settings dialog box shows some of the options you have.

Type Styler vs Art Text 3

The big difference I can see between the two apps is that Type Styler allows you to format a lot of text.

Art Text 3 is great if you need a logo or text style design. It's a very powerful application with a lot of capabilities. Great when you want to create eye-catching text.

Type Styler is great if you're designing a brochure or a bag and want to apply creativity all over the document. So if you're looking to create an eye-catching brochure - Type Styler would be your best option.

Type Styler Demo

Type Styler on the Apple Store hasn't been updated in a few years. Its last update was to support Mac OS 10.11 (El Capitan) - nearly 3 years ago. Their website has the latest version 10.6 - certainly the best place to get the latest version that works.

If you want to try the application you can from the Strider Software website.

September 20, 2019

OmniGraffle 2020 Calendar

OmniGraffle is a popular design tool. You can create flow charts, graphic designs, page layouts, process charts, easy-to-read diagrams, and quick drawings to present your points in a clear and concise manner.

I use the application off and on to illustration flow layouts and to illustrate points. The most popular use has been creating quarterly calendar planning.

2020 Omni Calendar
Sample layout of the 2020 Calendar

2020 Calendar

The year 2020 is right around the corner, it's never too early to start thinking of the new year. So I decided to create a 2020 monthly calendar stencil for Omnigraffle. This is useful when you need to figure out software releases, dance schedules, or birthdays throughout the year.

Simply download the 2020 Calendar GStencil, it's pretty easy add it to your Stencil collection:

  • Double click on the file to decompress it.
  • Double click on the "2020Calendar.gstencil" file.
  • When OmniGraffle opens it will ask if you want to move the file to OmniGraffle Stencils folder. Click on Move and Edit.
  • You can close out of the file.

Now the file is in your personal collection for whatever you want to do with it!

FYI: I did submit this to Stenciltown, when it get's approved I'll add the link here. This will allow you to search and install the calendar within the app!

September 13, 2019

Affinity Easter Egg

In Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo there is a cool Easter Egg that appears on Friday the 13th and on April 1st:

Affinity Designer Cats
The Style Menu changes to Cats!

In the late 1980s and the 1990s Macintosh Applications had all sorts of Easter Eggs. Most of them occurred when you performed certain actions. Every once in a while one would happen because of a date.

Some apps had Easter Eggs that would only be accessable via ResEdit. Check out my ResEdit blog post from a couple of years ago

My personal favorite was Dark Castle's Christmas Tree that would only appear on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I remember playing around with the system clock so that I could see it. I'll have to search my archive to see if I have some photo of it.

Thanks to RolandJuno on Flickr for sharing this classic Easter Egg:

Dark Castle Easter Egg

September 6, 2019

LaunchBar Instant Send

LaunchBar is a useful tool to make users more productive. Here are some sample tasks using Instant Send to demonstrate some of the capabilities of LaunchBar.

LaunchBar description of Instant Send:

The most efficient way to send files or text selections to LaunchBar, and then hand them over to applications, folders, email contacts, search templates, services and more.

Instant Send Task: Combine List Items
  • Select a text.
  • Enable Instant Send -> Hold down the Command Space for a couple of seconds
  • Press the Tab key
  • Search for an Action: Join Lines with Comma and then click return
  • Type in Command C to Copy the converted text or type in Shift Return to immediately paste the results in the current active window.

Now you can Command V the converted text to any document.

Instant Send Task: Sort List Items

How many times have you need to sort a list of items? It's super easy with LaunchBar:

  • Select a list of text.
  • Enable Instant Send -> Hold down the Command Space for a couple of seconds
  • Press the Tab key
  • Search for an Action: Sort Lines Ascending and then click return
  • Type in Command C to Copy the sorted text

Easy Way to remember is just type in "Sort" after you Tab...

Instant Send Task: Convert Selected Markdown text to HTM

For this to work, you need to first install Brett Terpstra's Markdown Service Tool.

  • Select a text.
  • Enable Instant Send -> Hold down the Command Space for a couple of seconds
  • Type in "md -" to search for the "md - Convert - MultiMarkdown to HTML" services.
  • Click the Return key
  • Type in Command C to Copy the converted text or type in Shift Return to immediately paste the results in the current active window.

Once you do this a couple of times, the "md - Convert - MultiMarkdown to HTML" will be one of the options you'll immediately see when you tab, so it will be even quicker.

Info Browsing

You can get information on any file using the Info Browsing feature.

Simple Task: Find the image demensions of an image

  • Drag/Drop an image to the LaunchBar icon in the Dock
  • Click on the right-arrow key
August 30, 2019

Keyboard Maestro Command in BBEdit

I have been using BBEdit as my daily note tool. Why BBEdit? Here are my three reasons:

Three Reasons I use BBEdit as a Note Tool

  • Clean Simple Interface. I have it set as the "Right third" of the screen, and add notes when needed.
  • I use Markdown as my note formating - so I can focus on notes and not formating. At the end of the day, I can easily import to DayOne, or Evernote (For Evernote, I preview the contents in BBEdit and then copy/paste the contents of the preview into Evernote.)
  • I have BBEdit always open, so why not just use it.

Keyboard Maestro Implementation

Part of the problem with using BBEdit is that I don't need to see the Line Numbers or Gutter tool. BBEdit allows you to assign keyboard shortcuts, but I need to type in two separate commands.

Thankfully, with Keyboard Maestro, I can create a one-step command to show/hide the the Gutter and Line numbers. Note: This is more of a proof of concept than a real issue that was bothering me - can I create a Keyboard Maestro to trigger two menu item at once.

Keyboard Maestro Macro

This is the Keyboard Maestro Macro that I have setup so that it will Show/Hide the Line Numbers and Gutters.

KeyBoardMaestroBBEditKeys_sm.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Some Notes:

  • I set this up so that I type the same command to Hide/Show the Gutters/Numbers.
  • I have this in a Group so this command only works in BBEdit. That way I don't mistype the command in another application.
  • It was a bit tricky to figure out how to set up the condition statement with application menus.
  • I need to wait a few seconds before hiding/Show command. I can't quickly Hide/Show. Not sure if the issue is with BBEdit or Keyboard Maestro. But if I type in the shortcut fast twice, I'll get an error.

Download the Macro

If you have Keyboard Maestro you can download the Macro. It will save time typing in all the above information.

Default Language as Markdown

Since I start my day with using Markdown in BBEdit, I changed the BBEdit Settings to default every new document to Markdown. This is simple config change done using the Terminal Editor.

Simply open up Apple Terminal or iTerm and paste the following:

defaults write com.barebones.bbedit DefaultLanguageNameForNewDocuments -string "Markdown"

August 23, 2019

BlogStomp

Blog Stomp allows you to get your images ready for your blog. It's an easy way for bloggers to display their images perfectly.

The goal of the application is to allow bloggers to focus on the content and not spend a lot of time getting their images ready for the blog post.

Blog Stomp3

Five Things I Learned about BlogStomp 3

  1. I liked how easy it was to create a gallery of photos from a group of photos - you can pick the layout that works for you. You can even rearrange the pictures by double-clicking and moving images around. There are styles to add text below the gallery.
  2. You can define your own custom Style name - perfect when you want to keep the images the same on your blog - or social media posts. You can set border margins, background colors, Outer/Inner Strokes, Tab Heights, Rounded Corners, JPEG Quality. You can even add your Blog logo. There's no limit to the number of styles, so you can create similar styles with and without the logo. These come in handy when your batch processing images.
  3. Quik Mode is enabled when you drag and drop a bunch of images to the BlogStomp icon. You then select the style to apply and then click "Stomp It!" Super Easy way to get the images in the right size for your blog.
  4. You can sync up BlogStomp with all the popular blogging applications - WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, ExpressionEngine, and LiveJournal. More connections are coming soon.
  5. Social Media Posting - You can easily post your Stomped! images to Twitter with a text message. The Facebook connection was available until Facebook took away the API access. Now BlogStomp opens your Image Gallery in your Web Browser to make it easy to upload the images to Facebook.

Software Recommendations

This is a very cool tool to have if you post a lot of images - such as a photographer or food critic. It's certainly a good way to keep your images the same throughout the website.

I don't publish enough images in the blog posts to justify getting this software. The more I played around with it, the better understanding of how cool it would be to have. It's certainly a great solution to standardizing the images on your blog.

Try Before You Buy

Download a trial version of BlogStomp 3 from Stomp Software website.The trial is unlimited - just the output images contain a watermark.

If you choose to purchase BlogStomp, it cost $49 for a single user or $89 for a studio.

August 16, 2019

BBEdit Shortcuts

BBEdit is one of my favorite applications. I have tried other applications, but more often I come back to the power and flexibility that BBEdit provides.

I have a lot of shortcuts set up to make it easy to use. This is the list of the most popular shortcuts that I use every day.

B B Edit Desktop

Top Ten Keyboard Shortcuts

ShortcutActionDescription
Save Current Selection as a ClippingThis quickly creates a BBEdit Clipping. BBEdit Clippings are snippets that appear as I am typing words. These save a lot of time typing the same thing over and over. I can go into the Clipping Folder to remove them if I don't think I'll use it again. This comes in handy when I am working on a short term project and need to type a name or phrase over and over.
Preview in BBEditBy default, Command-P is Print. I find that in BBEdit I don't print that often. However, I do preview a lot, so I changed the default Print option to Preview, as I am more likely want to preview a page than Print. This is very helpful when previewing
ScratchPadSometimes I just need to jot something quick down.
Live SearchQuickly find something on the page. Note the search matches are highlighted on the right of the window, making it easy to scroll to find similar matches. Simply type the shortcut and then search.
Backup FileI created an AppleScript which basically sends the the contents of the current window to Evernote. This is a super quick way to back up files. No more backup files cluttering the desktop.
Zap GremlinsRemove any unwanted characters that may cause problems. For example the curly brackets that Microsoft Word creates. The text is replaced with ASCII equivalent.
Show/Hide SideBarBBEdit automatically opens the sidebar when you have more than one file open - such as working on a project. Sometimes the sidebar can be distracting.
Hide/Show Line NumberUsually I have line numbers on by default, but when I am writing Markdown, line numbers don't cut it. So this is useful when I don't want to see them.
Hide/Show GutterSometimes having a gutter is useful, sometimes it's not. Usually I combine the Gutter/Line numbers actions. That's why I have the shortcuts setup with one off numbers.
Process Lines ContainingGreat way to filter out a log file. I can extract the lines that I care about into another file.
August 9, 2019

Haunted Mansion Wallpaper

In celebrating Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary today, here’s a couple of Personal Haunted Mansion Wallpaper images for your Macintosh.

Disneyland_ Birthday Blog
http://www.cryan.com/dialy/Disneyland_BirthdayBlog.jpg

This was taken on September 2009, when the Haunted Mansion was closed. It’s a rare opportunity to get a picture of the Mansion with nobody in it.

Walt Disney World Blog
http://www.cryan.com/dialy/WaltDisneyWorldBlog.jpg

This is one many image that I took at Disney World's Haunted Mansion. It's a very simple image to use as a background as it's not a distraction. I have other dark photos that I will upload at a later time.

How to Install the Wallpaper

Simple instructions to get this Wallpaper image on your computer.

  • Click on the above image to download the image to your computer
  • Right click on the dashboard and select "Change Desktop Background..."
  • Drag and Drop the downloaded image to the box in the top left.

You can use the drop-down to adjust how the image appears. The "Fit to Screen" option works best for me on my 2560 by 1440 monitor.

Enjoy!

August 2, 2019

MacinCloud

MacinCloud is a cool service that let's you have access to a real Macintosh. While it may seem silly if you own one, but if your doing some development work and need to make sure the application works in different environments it can be very useful.

Each box comes pre-installed with various developer tools including the latest Xcode, Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac with Xamarin components and more.

Mac In Cloud
https://www.macincloud.com/

MacinCloud can be useful when testing software and figuring out why some applications are working and not working in different environments.

Description from the Website

MacinCloud provides managed and dedicated cloud Mac servers, hosted private cloud solutions and DevOp pipelines. Users can access on-demand Mac servers for app development, Mac tasks, and enterprise builds. All of our plans and solutions are backed by genuine Mac hardware hosted in 7 professional data centers around the globe.

This isn't a free service, you have to pay to access the boxes - which can be a lot cheaper than straight out owning your own box at a colocation center.

July 26, 2019

Create your Own Blueprint pattern

PhotoScape is a great photo tool. It's my go-to application when I need to do anything graphic.

Recently I wanted a make a blueprint for a background. I was surprised how easy it was to do using the Replace Color tool in PhotoScape. The nice thing is that I can create this blueprint in any size that I want.

PhotoScape Blue Backgrounds

Making a Custom Blue Print

Here are the steps to make an awesome blueprint:

  • Open up PhotoScape X and Create a new document (Command - N)
  • Define any size and then select the middle box for the pattern.
  • Select the 'etc' group and a graph design. (I selected white with the black borders)
  • Click the 'OK' button.
  • Once the file is in the Editor, select Adjustments and then scroll all the way down to "Replace Color."
  • Use the color picker to select the white in the image.
  • Then use the Hue color picker to the right color blue you want.
  • You can use the "Color Range" to sharpen the image a bit more.

The nice thing is that you have the flexibility make whatever "blue print" color you want. Red, Pink, Green - whatever works best for your design.

July 19, 2019

Repeat Last Capture (SnagIt)

TechSmith Snagit is a great screen capture tool. It has lots of features that can help make touch up a screenshot to help tell more of the image.

Additional Capture Items

Snagit has a capture tool in the menu bar - making it easy to capture the screen. You can select from different options, include making your own preset.

One thing that users may not notice is that there are additional short cuts available - beyond the menubar options. These are located in the Snagit Preferences.

Snagit Captures Keys

Repeat Last Capture

The "Repeat Last Capture" is a great way to quickly take a screenshot of changes on a webpage - or application. Simply define the capture area using the "Select Capture Mode" then use the "Repeat Last Capture" to capture a change.

This is useful when capturing steps on a website, from page to page.

The nice thing about the "Repeat Last Capture" is that it's silent. The capture goes right into Snagit Library without opening up the application window. This allows distraction-free capture.

July 12, 2019

Bootstrap 4 BBEdit Tools

Recently I upgraded the website from Bootstrap 3 to Bootstrap 4. This was a big upgrade as there were a lot of files that needed to get changed.

No more Panel or Wells

One of the biggest changes is that Bootstrap 4 no longer supports panels or Wells. Instead, Bootstrap 4 now puts emphasis on Card types.

Slight Problem

This site used both types extensively. Which means that I had to do multiple search and replace. So I would need to edit multiple files with various changes.

BBEdit TextFactory to the Rescue

Bootstrap Text Factory
Download the BootStrap 4 Text Factory File

BBEdit Text Factory is the only tool that I have found that will perform multiple Search/Replace on a group of files.

I simply created a TextFactory will all the search and replace rules and the run it against various files on my site. It was easy to set up and certainly made the migration a lot easier than I thought.

TextFactory File

If you're migrating to Bootstrap 4, from Bootstrap 3, you should download my TextFactory file. I think you'll find it helpful with the migration process.

To install this into BBEdit, simply double click on the BootStrap.textfactory file, it should open in BBEdit. Then save the file in the ~/Library/Application Support/BBEdit/Text Factory/ folder.

Make sure to check out all the various search/replace options. You may need to adjust them based on your how your files are set up. BBEdit has more information about using the Text Factory.


Bonus: BBEdit Text Clippings

BBEdit Bootstrap Clipping
Download the BBEdit Bootstrap Text Clipping Library

I put together 60 Text Clippings for BootStrap 4. I separated them into two groups, Bootstrap and Bootstrap Colors. These will make it easy to use BBEdit to edit and create Bootstrap files.

To install these clippings, simply download the BBEdit BootStrap 4 Clippings file. Unpack it and move the BootStrap and BootStrap Color folder to your Clippings Folder. The easiest way to find your BBEdit Clipping folder is to open BBEdit and select the Clipping Menu - it's the C next to Help. Then select the "Open Clipping Folder." Drag the folders to the Clipping Folder.