|November 16, 2018|
MultiMarkdown is now showing up in more an more applications. It's an easy way to write content when you just want to focus on the content. It's also popular because you copy the content to different applications and keep the layout/formatting intact.
Brett Terpstra wrote an excellent Service tool to make it easy to convert Markdown to any style that you want. Here's his description of the tool:
The Markdown Service Tools are a collection of OS X Services designed to make writing Markdown text that much easier. Services work in any Cocoa-based application (which is most of the apps on your Mac). The Services are prefixed with "MD" to keep them grouped in your Services menu.
Installation of the tool is pretty simple, and Brett does a good job explaining how to use it on the Markdown Service Tool page.
What's nice is that once you install the service tool, you can assign your own universal keyboard shortcut to trigger the service with the select text.
Easy to configure a shortcut, and use it where ever and whenever you need it!
There are many applications that can also convert Multiplemarkdown to HTML, and they may be a better option if your day-to-day job depends on converting then an application might be a better long-term solution. One of the "downsides" to Brett's Service tool is that is works based on the selected text. So if you're converting a bunch of Markdown file, this may not be the best choice for you.
|November 9, 2018|
Having a lot of DVDs and Books can be overwhelming. You may not what books you have and where they are - what is in the box in the basements or attic?
Delicious Library 3 solves that. It super easy to track inventory and find the books that you have.
Create Smart Group Shelves and always know which books you have!
Delicious Library cost $39 and worth the money in time savings. Also, you may find that you have some valuable books that could easily offset the cost of application.
Not sure if it’s right for you? Try the demo and see how useful it is to digitally organize all your stuff.
|November 2, 2018|
Did you know that you can electronically sign PDF documents? Simply add your signature to Apple's Preview application and you can sign off on documents without having to print them!
You don't need fancy software or hardware to add your signature, this can be done using your camera and a plain white piece of paper.
The whole process is very quick and probably takes longer to brew a cup of Nespresso coffee than it takes to create your signature file.
You can add as many signatures as you want. For example, you can have a professional business signature and a regular signature.
To add your signature to any PDF document:
Note: You should save your file as a different name, for example, expense-signature.pdf. That way you know which documents have a signature file.
Take a few minutes to do this now and you won't need to think about it in the future. This is because your signature image is saved in the Cloud. So when you log into your iCloud drive, you'll always have access to the signature.
How cool is that?
|October 26, 2018|
When opening up a CSV file from Jira, you may want to add a link to the tickets. The easiest way to do this is to create another column and then add the following Hyperlink function.
What the formula does is take the value in Column B and then appends it to the standard URL for your company Jira account. The final linked text is also the value in Column B. (Simply change the URL to point to the correct location.)
Apple Converts the formula to identify the columns.
Simple do the first item, then use the cell fill down functionality (Yellow dot in the bottom cell, and drag down)
Once completed, Hide column B so you don't see duplicate ticket ids.
I wasn't able to find a way to apply the HYPERLINK formula so that it uses an existing cell data. If you know of a way, let me know!
|October 19, 2018|
If your adding songs to iTunes, from outside the iTunes store, such as importing from CDs or something that you created in GarageBand, chances are that you'll need an Artwork.
The official way to add an artwork is to using the "Get ArtWork" functionality:
That's great, but iTunes may not find an Artwork for your song, especially if it's a custom audio clip.
No album ArtWork really shows up when viewing albums in iTunes.
The better way is to use Google Images to find the perfect artwork image.
This used to be a complex task, as I would have to search and then save the image to the desktop and then drag the image to the song. I then end up with a bunch of images on my desktop, where I would save them in a folder for "future" usage. In fact, I really don't use them again because it would be just as efficient to search for them image in Google.
I found a simple way.
Here's what I do now:
Doing this method, I can quickly get 10-15 songs added in minutes - especially with dual monitors.
Here's an interesting tip from Apple on the size of the Artwork to use in iTunes. This advice is for Podcast, but it probably a standard convention for any iTunes artwork:
"Artwork must be in the JPEG or PNG file formats and in the RGB color space with a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels at 72 DPI."" - itunespartner.apple.com
This is good to know so that your artwork will look good today and for a while.
Based on the suggested size from Apple, here's a few links to popular searches that I perform:
Remember: Images searched for through Google Images may be subject to copyright. Just don't steal people images and take credit for them. The above tip is good for personal use.
|October 12, 2018|
Using LaunchBar, you can easily set up all sorts of Location based reminders. Since they don't fire until you're near the location, feel free to add whatever you want!
It's very simple to use the 'Add to Reminders' action in LaunchBar. This is much easier to use than opening up the Reminder Application.
Click on the title to download the .ics file that has the reminder set up for you!
LaunchBar's 'Add to Reminders' action is very powerful. Just spending a few minutes with it now can save a lot of headaches in the future.
|October 5, 2018|
Itycal is a cool desktop utility that displays the current date in the menu bar. You can customize what actually gets displayed in the menu bar. When you click on the date, you get a view of the current month.
You can add Exchange and Calendar events to the calendar, the current day events also appear below the monthly calendar.
You can add a custom format, such as EEEE, MMMM d, y for Friday, October 5, 2018. Full details on the Unicode Locale Data Markup Language format support is available. You can hide the icon if you just want the full month to be displayed.
Using the Arrow keys you can navigate between months, making it easy to find dates in the future. For example, if you install this in October, click on the icon, then the arrow key twice, then the down key to see what days Christmas will appear in the future.
If you plan to reference the calendar a lot, you can set up a global shortcut to open up Itycal calendar. This is set in the General section application preferences. I have setup Shift-Command-0 as my shortcut on my computer
Once Itycal is open, type Command-N to quickly add an event on your calendar. This makes it easy to set a reminder when you on the phone and wants to add an entry right away.
Itycal is free, so there's no excuse on why you shouldn't get it.
|September 28, 2018|
JPEGmini, by Beamer, is a good image utility to compress images without losing the quality of the image. Simple drag and drop the image, and you don't have to worry about settings or seeing if the image looks good. JPEGmini makes sure that the image looks the best as possible.
I did a comparison with some other Macintosh tools and found that JPEGmini offered better compression without any loss of photo quality.
Photo comparison using a photo taken with my iPhone Xs:
|Original Image||2.8 MB|
|Photo Size Optimizer||2.8 MB||0%|
I was able to compress the same image much better on the JPEGMini website. The same image was compressed to 1.9 MB a savings of 47%
ShortPixel compression was much better. ShortPixel was able to reduce the image by 90% to 598 KB.
JPEGmini is a cool Macintosh tool to compress images, but ShortPixel seems to be the better value when compressing images.
JPEGmini is available in a Lite and Regular version. The lite version lets you compress 20 images a day. The regular version is $28.99 for an unlimited number of image compression. If your looking for a computer specific version this seems to be a better option.
ShortPixel offers 100 images a month for free, or various monthly plans starting at $5.
|September 21, 2018|
When Macintosh Users first start out doing videos on a Mac chances are they use iMovie. Two Key reasons:
After a while, as more video gets made, users start to see the limits of the application.
Soon you start seeing the same iMovie effects all over YouTube. Wouldn't it be great if you had a more powerful application to edit videos.
Final Cut is great and powerful, but it has a high price point and a steep learning curve.
Wondershare Filmora is definitely the next step up from iMovie. Its a nice application that makes it super easy to create awesome videos.
Once you start using it, you'll never open up iMovie again.
Two Things That I Like:
The really cool feature of Filmora is the Title Inspector. You have a lot more flexibility in your titles than you do in iMovie, check out this side by side comparison.
Filmora Title Inspector is on the top, while iMovie Text editor is on the bottom.
In Filmora, you have a lot more options to how the text is displayed in the video. There are 23 text style presets, in addition, there are 29 animation options. Giving the producer a lot more control over how the text appears in the video.
Oh, and if you like a particular style you can save it as a favorite to use in a different project - can't do that in iMovie.
In Filmora there are a lot of title options, lots of good ways to add lower third text to your video clip to introduce the scene. In fact there are 42 different designs to select from. In iMovie, you have only 53 titles in the entire library (including lower thirds and Standard titles)
Why settle for the boring Cross Dissolve when you transition between video clips? Filmora offers a lot more. iMovie only has 24 transitions while Filmora offers 37 just in the "Warp" category. Check out this screenshot of just a sample of the transitions in Filmora:
I have been using iMovie for years, loved it's simplified the interface and how easy it is to create videos. However, every time I make a video I get frustrated with the limitations.
Filmora does have some issues:
Despite these limitations, Filmora is a great product and I certainly recommend trying it out. They have a great team of support reps that show you some cool tips and tricks.
Download the Trial and see why 50,000,000 users love Filmora.
|September 14, 2018|
TechSmith’s Snagit Editor is a great editor to touch up screenshot images. It’s popular because it has a lot of the tools you need without a steep learning curve on how to use them.
Here’s a couple of feature highlights that make the Editor very cool to use:
One of the cool Snagit Editor effects is the Edges effect. You can quickly transform any image to look like it was torn out of a book:
Simple Steps to add a Torn Effect
I like adding a drop shadow or a thin border to give the image a pop.
This is cool when you have a screenshot of a social media post, or an email screenshot and just want to dress it up a bit better. This is much easier than using Photoshop or Affinity Photo to touch up the image.
Did you know that you can grab the text in the screenshot? This is useful when you may want to include the text version of what you captured, for example, if a spec was in a PDF and you can’t simply copy the text.
This shows how Snagit was able to grab the text from a screenshot
Simple Steps to Get the Text
This is useful if you want to include an ALT text in a blog posting, or if you want a description in Slack posts.
|September 7, 2018|
Last week Belight Software released a new MacOS app call Letters. This is a cool free application that allows anyone to be creative.
Letters is an application that transforms any letter or text into a professional looking graphic. You can choose from many styles and change the font/color and the 3D rotation. This application is great if you write blogs or want to add some creative text to your Slack Channel
Letters offers a multitude of text design templates easily customizable to your liking. Each text style is the result of long hours of professional design work on creating texture materials and photo objects, and carefully selecting proprietary fonts. Simply enter your text and voila! You get amazing graphics as a flattened image or a set of files with a background, a text object and various effects separated into several images.
You can get Letters from the Apple Store.
|August 31, 2018|
Aladdin StuffIt is an application that compresses files. Stuffit became popular in the mid-1990s because of the need to store large data on floppy disks and CDs.
Stuffit has changed hands over the years, and is now owned by Smith Micro.
I purchased the application in the 1990s, but never felt the need to update it. Once I was storing data onto CDs and DVDs I didn't encounter any max storage issues.
Here's the description of Stuffit from the Educorp Catalog from 1990:
Over the past few years the application had lost its effectiveness. Thanks to cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive:
You can still buy Stuffit from SmithMicro for $19.95. The cool feature is the new StuffIt Destinations Toolbar, where you can drag and drop your files to various destinations.
Stuffit still is an important app because of encryption and storage space. For example, you can encrypt project folders that you don't want to end up in file search results from Spotlight or on shared space in Google Drive or Dropbox. Since Spotlight won't index the files,
One of my all-time favorite screenshots:
That comes to 84,308,617 days or 2,309.82 Centuries. The Mar19_2517.jpg file should definitely be worth the wait.
|August 24, 2018|
Apple introduces Sherlock with Macintosh OS 8.0 on July 26, 1997. There were several versions of Sherlock and the software was discontinued in Mac OX 10.4 in favor of Spotlight.
Sherlock was never ported as a Universal Binary. So when Apple killed off Rosetta, it meant the end of Sherlock.
What made Sherlock neat was the ability to select the source of your search query so you know where your searching. It was a simple single source to find anything you want in one dialog box.
This is a great snapshot of internet search engine history. Notice that Google isn't listed? Know why? They were not a big player in 1999/2000.
When I tried to search for some of the internet sites, Sherlock crashed. I wasn't able to get any successful internet search.
I wasn't surprised by this, as I am sure most of the sites had removed the legacy code years ago.
|August 17, 2018|
I have been using BBEdit for many years. The earliest copy that I could find was BBEdit 4.3. Recently, I was looking through my applications on my Macintosh Powerbook G3 and found an old copy of BBEdit 6.0. I thought it would be interesting to see how the Anchor tag has changed over the years.
BBEdit 6.01 for OS X
BBEdit 12.1.5 (Latest Release)
|August 10, 2018|
A classic shareware game on Macintosh OS 9, was "If this, than That" by Mike Anderson. The game was created on July 11, 1993, and distributed via shareware.
If this, than that, is a logic game where you try to break the code the computer randomly generates. You have six tries to break the code. After your sixth try, the computer will display the code on the top part of the game.
It was fun playing the game on my Macintosh PowerBook G3 and figuring out the puzzle. The game is pretty hard to use at first since you need to figure out the correct pattern. You were never told which pattern was correct and where it's correct. To be successful at this game takes a lot of logic skills.
This would make a great iOS game. I checked and couldn't find one that worked the same way. If you know of one, let me know in the comments below.