Macintosh Blog Posts
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/daily/2019/DisneyLandHauntedMansion.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/daily/2019/DisneyWorldHauntedMansion.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.

July 5, 2019

Managing the Mac Dock

The Apple Dock is a great central resource to launch popular applications. Back in 2016, I wrote a blog post of what applications I have in my dock and a way to add spacers to the dock.

My Dock needs have changed a lot since 2016, today my dock contains:

Google Chrome, FireFox, BBEdit, Brackets, Transmit, Evernote, Dayone, Notion, iTerm, Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, PhotoScape X, Snagit 2018, LaunchBar, Keyboard Maestro, Slack, and Apple Mail.

Apple Dock Tips2

More Great Apple Doc Tricks

Here are some additional tips to manage your Apple Doc:

How to add a ‘Recent Applications’ folder to your Apple Dock

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{"tile-data" = {"list-type" = 1;}; "tile-type" = "file-tile";}'; killall Dock;

How to add a ‘Recent Items’ folder to your Apple Dock

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{"tile-data" = {"list-type" = 1;}; "tile-type" = "recents-tile";}'; killall Dock;

How to Highlight Hidden Applications

When you select to “hide application” the icon in the dock will be slightly transparent. So you know which Apps are hidden.

defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool yes; killall Dock;

Only Show Open Applications in Dock

When you only want to use the Dock to show active Applications. This is useful when your using LaunchPad or LaunchBar.

defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool true; killall Dock;

June 28, 2019

Trick with LaunchPad

The Apple Launchpad is a one way many Macintosh users find and launch their applications.

Apple's Launchpad is where you can find most of your computer's applications. It shows the applications in a very similar layout that users see applications on their iPhone. You can access the Launchpad by clicking on the F4 key.

Launch Pad View

Organizing the First Page

Like the iPhone, the first page of the LauchPad should contain your most popular applications. This can be tricky because as you add applications, the icon can appear on different pages, If you have a lot of applications, it can be time-consuming to find the files.

Quickly Sorting Your Icons

The trick to getting icons to the first page is to search for the application first in LaunchPad. Once you find the application, click and hold to cause the icon to wiggle - similar to what you do on the iPhone.

Once it starts to wiggle move it to the left, and then keep it on the left side of the screen until you get to the first screen, then drop it where you want.

Simple but Effective

This is a much easier way to organize the first page of the LaunchPad. Do this for a few minutes, and presto your first screen becomes a productive way to access your applications.

Now you can get quick access to the top 35 applications on your computer. You may find that you don't need to have as many applications in your dock since you can easily get access to them in the Launchpad

June 21, 2019

Brackets vs BBEdit

Adobe Brackets is becoming popular because it's open source and has a pretty active community writing some cool extensions. It's a pretty cool tool that makes it easy to edit code and text files.

Should you not upgrade BBEdit? Is it time to say goodbye to BBEdit?

While Brackets is pretty cool text tool, there's are some features that makes BBEdit still a strong resource for developers.

Bbedit Feature
Some BBEdit Features

Three things I like about BBEdit

Text Factory - Ability to save and reuse Search/Replace commands.

This is essential when you need to run multiple search/replace over multiple files. Text Factory allows you to perform 27 different action types - including running Unix Filter which essentially gives you a lot more options. This is a great way to clean up a large number of files.

Ability to Add Shortcuts to any Menu Item - You can add your own short cuts to any menu item. Which is great when you want to easily add HTML to any elements. Customizing menu options is every complex in Brackets.

In addition, you can easily customize what menu items display. So if you're not using Subversion, Git, or various HTML elements, you can remove them. Now your not distracted from getting things done, This is all done in a standard preferences window. In Brackets, you need to edit a json file to make configuration changes.

Search and Replace - The search and replace functionality has a lot more functionality: such as Grep, Search in Select Text and case sensitive.

In addition, you can extract matches, so if you're looking at a log file and want to see only lines matching certain phrases - it's a lot easier to do in BBEdit than Brackets.

BBEdit saves previous searches so you can reuse them later. There's a "history based" search - saving the last 16 searches, or you can save a common pattern to reuse later.

Bracks Screen Shot

Three things I like about Brackets

Split View - You can look at two files at once. This is great when your coding a new site and want to have a JavaScript or CSS file open up at the same time. While you can open two windows side-by-side in BBEdit, it's just easier to manager when everything is under one document window.

Emmet Support - Emmet makes it really easy to add new HTML. Emmet provides shortcuts to making HTML/CSS from classes and IDs. It's a must-have for anyone coding up a new HTML site.

There's lots of great short cuts to make coding HTML,CSS and JavaScript a whole lot easier

Multi Line Edit - You can make similar changes to multiple lines at the same time. This is convenient when your editing similar changes over multiple lines, for example adding a new CSS class to DIV.

June 14, 2019

Filmora Audio Key Frame Marker

Wondershare Filmora is a great video editor, certainly a step up from using iMovie. In version 9, you can now have multiple tracks - which is great when you want to mix sounds or clips to create some cool effects.

Audio Trick

There's one trick that a bit hidden in Filmora and that's the ability to add Audio Key Frames. With Audio Key Frames you can alter a particular area of the sound track. For example, if parts of track 2 are too loud you can use Key Frames to lower the volume.

Here's an example of using Audio Key Frame in Filmora Wondershare 9:

Filmora Points Sample

Creating Audio Frames

Here's the simple way to add Audio Key Frames:

  • To add a new Key Frame Marker simply find a spot on the audio timeline and Control Click.
  • You should see a white dot underneath the mouse.
  • To Remove, simply Control Click on the same spot

Tips on using the Key Frame

  • You can add Key Frames wherever you want. You don't need to have to be listening to the audio to add the key frame markers
  • You need at least four point to impact an area. If you use less, and make changes to the volume, it will impact the entire audio timeline.
  • Adding multiple Key Frames can help add a nice smooth fade effect.
June 7, 2019

Triggers with Hot Corners

A few years ago, I wrote about an easy way to put your computer to sleep. The whole point of the post was to show that there was an easy way to put your computer to sleep.

The problem is that it's too easy. In fact, you may accidentally trigger the hot corner more that you would actually use it.

Fortunately you can add keyboard modifiers so that you couldn't accidentally trigger the hot corner.

Active Corners Mac
Just a sample of different triggers to add.

Using the Modifiers

  • Go to Apple Menu, then Preferences
  • Select Mission Control
  • Click on the Hot Corners button on the bottom left
  • Click on any of the Active Screen Corners
  • Then hold any combination of Shift, Control, Option, Command and you'll see the shortcut icon appear next to the actions.
  • Select the action you want to use.

Now there's no reason to use all the hot corners to Lock your screen or any of the of ten actions that Apple provides.

Want more actions? Try BetterTouchTool or Keyboard Maestro. They have the ability to trigger more actions.

May 31, 2019

Dash

Dash is an Macintosh application that gives you local access to hundreds of documentations. You can download the documentations that you need and search for information.

Product Description

Dash is an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager. Dash stores snippets of code and instantly searches offline documentation sets for 200+ APIs, 100+ cheat sheets and more. You can even generate your own docsets or request docsets to be included.

Dash Mac Window Fun
Dash is a useful tool to have when your heads down on a project and want to stay focus when searching for programing help.

Nine Things I Learned About Dash

  1. The trial version has all the features of the full version, just will get notified to purchase everyone in a while. The full version cost $29.99 for all computers. (Not a yearly cost!)
  2. You can bookmark pages, making it easy to switch between documentations. (For example you can easily switch between MySQL and Postgres date formatting.)
  3. I found it really easy to search the FontAwesome icon collection. When updating a website icon set. You can't copy/past content like you can on Font Awesome's website, but it's certainly easier to use when you want to quickly add an icon.
  4. There is a snippet functionality, but I found that Keyboard Maestro has a lot more functionality.
  5. You can integrate Dash with Bbedit. What this does is link the BBEdit's "Find in Reference" command to Dash. Simply select any command, such as "mysqli_connect" and then right click and select "Find in Reference." Dash will open up with that search query. It's a great way to find more information about a particular command.
  6. There is an iOS app, that allows you to have remote access to your desktop Dash app. This is handy because search queries made in the desktop will now show in the iOS. This makes it easier to minimize Dash on the desktop and read the documentation when trying to implement a code.
  7. Some of the Documentations have a "playground" area, where you can test the code using CodePen.
  8. With some Docsets, you can specify the version of the doc. For example, you can download MySQL 5,5, 5.6, 5.7 or 8.0 docsets. (Yes you can download all of them if you want.)
  9. You can learn a lot from reading some of the available docsets. For example, there's a Docset called "You Might Not Need jQuery" which shows you similar ways to perform certain jQuery tasks.

Cool Feature to Add

One feature that would be cool to have is a personal code library; sort of like the snippets, but noninteractive. Just a place to store re-usable code - and searchable like any other Docset.

May 24, 2019

Chalkboard in Art Text

Art Text 3 is a pretty powerful text tool. I wanted to learn how to create a cool chalkboard effect, similar to designs that I saw in BeLight Letter application.

Belight claims that all the Letter designs can be done in Art Text 3. What they don't tell you is that it is just a bit tricky to make it work.

Chalk Effect in Art Text 3

How I got it To Work

For the Background, I created a new background layer, Selected Fill, then Grunge, then gruge_29. If you want more realistic chalkboard backgrounds check out the Chalkboard Textures created by BMACHINA Labs. It cost $5 and you get 16 different variations.

For the Text, it's a bit tricky. There is a Chalk 2D Text, but it's only in Purple. (Not exactly sure why Belight did that.) So the secret is to create your own Brush in White so that it will have the chalk edge effect. (Note: I tried to figure out how to change the color from purple to while but the following steps is the only way I could get it to work.)

To get you started, download my 200 x 200 white image and add it to your collection:

  • Download the Smoke Image that I created.
  • In Art Text 3, go to Fill, then Shading, then pull down the menu to you see "Create a Material."
  • Click the button that says, "Create from Image"
  • Find the image that you just download.
  • Then Click Apply
  • Now the Smoke Image will appear in the "Custom Materials" section, ready to be applied whenever you want.

So now you can still select the Chalk 2D text as a Font Template, then switch it over to the Custom Shading that you added.

Art Text Chalk Text
You can see the new "Smoke" Custom Fill.

Bonus: You can easily create different color smokes effects for different color chalk effects. Simply create a 200x200 image in Affinity Designer or Pixelmator and use the paint brush to create your own creative design. Don't forget to save it as a PNG file!