|February 23, 2018|
There’s an easy way to create a number sequence directories. This is useful when your creating directories for days of a month. I did this for a while organizing blog postings.
To create ten directories starting with the number 21:
If you need to create a directory with a leading zero:
mkdir $(printf "%02i " $(seq 1 20))
To do a directory in this format: MM-DD Simple use this:
mkdir $(date ‘%b-%d’)
Hope this gives people ideas on different ways to create directories.
|February 16, 2018|
Designers use pixel fonts when they need a good font that looks good when the text is really small. Usually this for text on photos or for navigation buttons.
There are two-pixel font families that are in just about every Macintosh font library - Mini7 and Tenacity. These aren't there by default, you'll have to download them.
Pixel fonts work best in bitmap programs such as Photoshop, Pixelmator. Turn off any anti-alias.
Mini 7 looks great at 7 points, making it one of the smallest font types available. Mini 7 is only available as an uppercase font style. You can't get any fancy character types too. Sorry names with accents but it won't work with Mini 7.
Despite the limitations, Mini7 is one of the most popular pixel base fonts on the Internet.
Mini 7 is available in Condensed, Condensed-Bold, Extended, Extended-Bold, Tight, Extras and Bold
Tenacity is a more developed font and looks good at 10 or 20 points.
Tenacity also comes with additional styles such as Caps, Condensed, Condensed-Bold, Extended, Extended-Bold, Extras and Bold.
A few years ago, I did a quick page (before blogs was a thing) on the best caption font. Here's a reprint of my findings.
The following are examples of several Macintosh font types being used as captions.
I believe that Verdana 10 Point and Tenacity Condensed 10 Point are the best choices for using as caption fonts.
Download a larger high quality compairson: Full Caption Stack (675k)
Which font do you think is the best Pixel based font?
|February 9, 2018|
Taking Panorama photos is a good way to get a landscape view of any environment.
Apple includes a Pano mode in the camera app, but it takes some skill to hold the camera right. Also, the lighting doesn't mix well.
In my tests, the pictures that I take in Panoramic mode tends to have weird lighting and be very flat. That is, you can't raise the camera up if you want to include a full view of a tree or Building.
Stitching a bunch of photos post-production is a good way to create a more effective panoramic photo. You can then crop the photo to your needs.
Using the stiching method, I was able to create this cool focus effect. Notice how the picture is focus in a couple areas. You can’t do this in Apple’s Pano.
I have been using Affinity Photo for my stitching, and it has been working well. I recently heard about DoubleTtake and thought it would be interesting to see which app gives you more control.
I took seven pictures of the Back Bay T Station in Boston, Massachusetts. I then ran it through DoubleTake, and Affinity Photo's Panoramic functionality. The only modification that was made was to crop out the excess picture.
Here is the result of the Challenge:
DoubleTake does a fairly good job of setting up the Panoramic shot. You do have to move pictures around to fix the alignment. There are lots of adjustment capabilities within the software. You can move handles to fix to make the photo transitions smooth.
DoubleTake focuses more on getting the largest possible view. In my test, the final crop image was 6718 x 2549.
Affinity Photo does a great job of putting the picture together. Basically, I accepted the Panoramic shot, and then crop to opaque. There was no adjustment needed.
Affinity Photo seems to focus more on getting the best picture. In my test, the image was 6187 x 2051.
Granted I have used Affinity Photo for a while, but it was so much easier to use.
|February 2, 2018|
Shedworx's Smart Converter 2 tool is a great way to convert a media file from one format to another. It's a great quick media converter that just works well.
There are two Smart Converter versions, here's the key difference between the free version and the paid version:
In the Smart Converter Pro 2 version:
Smart Converter Pro provides a faster, higher quality conversion than every other converter:
I like Smart Converter because It can easily convert classic media files - such as Real Media files to MP4. It's a quick way to once again access old media files. (Without Smart Converter I would have to wait for Quicktime to convert old Sorxxx codec videos)
I also use Smart Converter to extract audio from MOV files. Useful when I just want the soundtrack and not have to watch the movie.
Haven't upgrade to the Pro version because I don't have the need for all the features of going pro. If you have a lot of files that need converting, then going pro is the way to go.
Some video screen capture files done in Snagit will not convert well. Apparently, there's a lot of masking between shots This means that you'll see some strange views in your final output.. (Not Smart Converter problem as Quicktime will have this same issue.) I have found ElMedia Player as a good converter in these cases.
Keep in mind that the final conversation is only as good as the source. Smart Converter can't make a video compress with Sorenson Codec look better in MP4.
Some mp4 files will not convert to audio-only. Haven't figured out why this is the case. ) I use Fission to extract the audio.
If you're not able to find your audio clip in iTunes it's because iTunes thinks it's a movie file.
Here are all the file formats extensions supported by either version of Smart Converter:
avi, mp4, mkv, mts, m2ts, m4v, mp3, m4a, mov, flv, mpa, wmv, wma, wav, 3gp, 3g2, 3gp, 4xm, IFF, ISS, MTV, RoQ, aac, ac3, adts, aea, aiff, alaw, amr, anm, apc, ape, asf, asf_stream, ass, au, avi, avm2, avs, bethsoftvid, bfi, bink, c93, caf, cavsvideo, cdg, crc, daud, dirac, dnxhd, dsicin, dts, dv, dvd, dxa, ea, ea_cdata, eac3, f32be, f32le, f64be, f64le, ffm, film_cpk, filmstrip, flac, flic, flv, framecrc, gif, gsm, gxf, h261, h263, h264, idcin, image2, image2pipe, ingenient, ipmovie, ipod, iv8, lmlm4, m4v, mkv, matroska, mjpeg, mlp, mm, mmf, mov, mov, mp4, m4a, 3gp, 3g2, mj2, mp2, mp3, mp4, mpc, mpc8, mpeg, mpeg1video, mpeg2video, mpegts, mpegtsraw, mpegvideo, mpjpeg, msnwctcp, mulaw, mvi, mxf, mxf_d10, nc, nsv, null, nut, nuv, ogg, oma, psp, psxstr, pva, qcp, r3d, rawvideo, rcv, rl2, rm, rpl, rtp, rtsp, s16be, s16le, s24be, s24le, s32be, s32le, s8, sdp, shn, siff, smk, sol, sox, spdif, svcd, swf, thp, tiertexseq, tmv, truehd, tta, txd, u16be, u16le, u24be, u24le, u32be, u32le, u8, vc1, vc1test, vcd, vmd, voc, vqf, w64, wav, wc3movie, webm, wsaud, wsvqa, wv, xa, yop,
|January 26, 2018|
ParticleShop is a unique brush effect tool, it makes the brush come alive and adds all sorts of special effects. Basically, the brush comes alive as you apply it to the image. Based on the color/size and brush you get all sorts of unique special effects.
This is not your standard brush tool. It's a way to paint effect to your photos, such as fire, smoke and bubbles.
I originally purchased ParticleShop as part of the "Create Your 12 App MEGA Mac Bundle" from Bundle Hunt. I saw the description and thought it would be worth trying out. (It was priced at $49.99) I got the 12-App bundle for $19.99.
Leave the physics to us; no static stamps here! Experience the strokes of grab-and-go living brushes that spring, flow, gravitate and glow based on your unique expression. Artistically enhance photos, designs, and illustrations with the realistic awe-inspiring results.
Craft your visual masterpiece with brushes that are built to perform with a pressure-sensitive tablet, touchscreen or mouse. Free yourself to create, ranter than configure by exploring an array of artistic brushes that require minimal setup and a clean and simple user interface in which to create.
Are you ready to get started? You can access ParticleShop resources online to find exciting new brushes, get help, and learn more about the product.
Not a great artist, but I added a couple of effects to an image.
ParticleShop is a cool tool, it comes with 11 brushes in the Core Pack. However, once you start playing around with it you quickly feel that 11 brushes aren't enough and you could do so much more with more brushes. In order to get new ones you have to purchase them on Painter's online store.
The prices for extra packs range from $29 to $79 - you can get the entire collection for $95. I think it's pretty expensive for my budget, but I guess if you're into brush touch up then it would be a reasonable amount of the creative brush effects that you get.
I don't think I'll be using ParticleShop too much, it's a cool tool for people that spend a lot of time touching up photos and graphics files. Looks like having a pressure sensitive Wacom tablet would be practical to get the most out of the tool.
ParticleShop is a Photoshop Plug-in and does not work with Affinity Photo. Since I don't use Photoshop Elements 13 that much, I don't think that I'll be using ParticleShop.
|January 19, 2018|
Quadro Sync is a cool way to control your computer from your Smart Phone. You have the ability to assign specific functions so that when you open up the application your smartphone screen changes to display buttons of tasks to perform.
You can customize the button assignments and button designs. Giving you full control over how Quadro Sync works.
Quadro is an excellent application to help with common tasks that you encounter every day. If you been thinking about getting an external controller pad, consider trying Quadro first.
This is a two-bit application; there's the desktop app that is always listening! and interacting with iOS! and there's an iOS app that has to be running. After a few minutes of inactivity, the iOS app will go to sleep -saving your screen and device power.
If you're just going to charge your phone at your desk, why not put it to great use?
Here's a description from Quadro.me website:
Power up your workstation
Control your applications with a simplified yet enhanced personal interface. Automate any recurring iteration and optimize your workflow. Reduce the gap between ideation and execution. And have fun doing it.
Personal computing, truly
Personalize any function and representation of your actions. Use color, icons and images to convey meaning and smoothen your path to action.
Automate your workflow
Direct activation is cool again, but that's not enough. Sequence any action easily to create your cross-application macros and let Quadro do the dirty work for you.
I spent a lot of time in BBEdit for PHP development and text cleanup. I spent some time thinking about what tools would make sense to make a Quadro action:
Obviously all of these commands can be performed by keyboard shortcuts. Making them as action buttons in Quadro makes it quicker to apply these actions.
For example, I am opting to backup my documents to Evernote more often because the big green button is there to remind me.
If you have any old devices that are just sitting in storage, you may want to dust it off and make it your new Quadro pad.
The Quadro iOS App will work on any devices that can run iOS 8.0 or newer, according to Apple these are the devices that will run on iOS 8:
To get started, visit the Quadro website and download the application.
|January 12, 2018|
PhotoBulk is a neat little application where you can apply four different tasks to an unlimited set of images.
This past summer, I got the application as part of the The Next Web software package deal. In September, they came out with an update - my purchase wasn't eligible for the free upgrade. However, they will offer a 50% discount on previous purchases, which is very good.
The screen difference between the old view and the new view.
There are four different watermarks that you can apply to each image:
This is useful if you want to transform a bunch of images to a similar size. You can change By Width, By Height, Percentage, By Max file size, Free Size.
You can reduce the size of images (JPG and PNG) files. The only bad part is that you can’t tell if the compression will cause a serious quality problem with the images.
In my test, it actually did a pretty good job optimizing. I used the mid-point, called ‘opt’ and checked the files and they looked fine, I couldn’t tell any visual difference.
Note: There is no preview functionality in the September update
Rename a the drop images. This is useful when you want to rename a bunch of common photos. Such as vacation photos.
When you start the action, the tasks will always create a new folder and put the new images in the folder. You don't have to worry about the original file.
There are some useful functionality however, I think your better off using functiionality in GraphicConverter or PhotoScape X. These applications offer a lot more features. At the end of the day, you get more bang for your buck.
The watermark feature in PhotoBulk is nice, but not something that I would be using frequently.
|January 5, 2018|
On December 20th, 2017, Photoscape X was updated with nine new features an unspecified number of bug fixes. The application is shaping up to be a very useful tool, and I certainly would recommend it as a compliment to Affinity Photo or Pixelmator.
Here's a breakdown of the new Features released in the December update:
Menus Options of the new features
There are now 11 new Draw Brushes. These brushes are useful to add additional effects to the images. There's a lot more capabilities in Affinity Photo and Pixelmator, including the ability to create your own brush.
I played around with this and can see this would be a good way to quickly enhance images, especially using the Blend Mode.
Nice to see scatter brushes back! This is a favorite paint feature that I am glad to see back on the Mac! I first encountered scattered brush in SuperPaint. Scatter brush is a way to display some brush strokes randomly. Usually done with a special shape brush such as Heart, Confetti, Snowflakes, Dog Prints and more.
Photoscape X includes 11 brushes in this release. I am sure they will release some new ones in future updates. Very cool feature to use to add effects to images, such as snowflakes or adding Bokeh effects.
The Paint Bucket tool will change a specific pixel to any color that you wish. I can see this would be useful if you have a solid color background and wanted to change it to some other color.
I played around with this feature for a bit and don't see it very useful for photos. I think it will be good to touch up graphics files.
The Magic Color filter is a quick way to brighten up your images. Now you don't have to play around with various Clarity and Brighten settings. Simply click on the "Magic Color" checkbox and instantly see the image improve.
You can adjust the setting to better improve the image.
I tested this feature with several images and it works very well. The images are nice and bright! A quick way to touch up an image if you don't have time to do it! This is a great tool to have and I certainly see this being used all the time.
In the above example, I ran the same photo through each application and selected the Auto Color Adjustment once. I didn't make any special changes to the image. I think Photoscape did a great job with bringing out the blue in the snow.
|December 29, 2017|
Many of this year's post were around those applications. Next year might see a shift to more developer and video applications.
In no particular order..
You can find all the Macintosh post over on the Macintosh Blog Listing page.
Lots of exciting Macintosh post are planned for 2018. If you have any tips/tricks that you would like to share, please let me know.
|December 22, 2017|
Have you ever needed to make a simple line chart in Affinity Designer? Wish there was a simple way to create a vector base graph?
Thankfully there is an app for that and it's free!
GraphSketcher is a simple, elegant tool for quickly sketching graphs and plotting data -- but you don't even need data to get started. It's perfect for reports, presentations, and problem sets where you need to produce sharp-looking graphs on the fly.
It's really easy to create charts for whatever data point that you want. Anytime you want a quick line graph, GraphSketcher is perfect.
What's nice about GraphSketcher is that you can copy the Graph in GraphSketcher and then paste it in Affinity Designer. All the objects are put in their own layers and in their respective types. So you can still change the text and points on the chart!
This is really cool when you want to put together a quick chart and use the power of Affinity Designer to touch it up.
The application was created by Robin Stewart in 2007 and refined by the folks at Omni Group. In 2014, the application was retired from the product line and the code was put into open-source.
There's only been one update since the code was put into open-source. That was to fix a bug with comma separated values.
Download the Binary file from GitHub and place the file into the Application folder. Double click to open and start creating charts.
Check out all the Inspector settings and see the capabilities of the application.
Once your done, click on the 'Copy as Image' and then paste it into your Affinity Designer document. Now you can do additional modifications to make the chart look better. (Try putting the chart on a chalkboard for a unique look!)
After you paste in the chart, I would recommend grouping the objects together (Command-G). That will make it easier to manage all the objects. So after you, Command-C, do a Command-G.
|December 8, 2017|
Do you manually move music to your iPhone or iPod? Have you ever encountered an issue where a song didn't get copied and you end up with something like this:
This has happened to me a lot and after playing around with the iTunes and the phone, I figured out why it's been happening.
Here's the possibilities:
Apple doesn't want you to copy a song that you already have available in the iCloud. So the grayed out song means that the song already exists in the Cloud or you downloaded to the phone. You don't see it on iTunes because iTunes is only showing downloaded music.
When you copy a playlist and a song exists in the cloud it will stop all the other songs that were to be copied over. You may see the grayed out song in the Playlist and not in the regular Song grid.
I usually encounter this when I copy a playlist to my iPhone and not all the songs got copied over.
The solution that I found to work: delete the grayed out song and try copying the other songs. For example, I would select the next four songs that didn't work or at least one at a time.
If the grayed out song is something that I downloaded from someplace else, I found that renaming it also worked.
|November 24, 2017|
Last year I had my list of software that I was going to watch for, so I thought I repeat the "Watch List" for this busy shopping season.
My budget is pretty tight this year. Chances are that I won't be making any big purchases on "Black Friday" or on "Cyber Monday." Here are the software and services that I'll be checking out this year:
Not watching any hardware deals this year. At the moment, I have enough disk space and don't really need a new Flash storage devices or cables.
It will be interesting to see what Apple deals are announced. I suspect that they include iTunes gift card with some purchases of MacBooks and iPads.
|November 17, 2017|
I wasn't able to find any information about Graphic Converter Page Curl Effect, so I thought I write a blog post on how to use the functionality.
The 'Core Image Filters' actually filter that is provided in Apple Swift 3. They are available for any Developer to use. The Core Image Filter Reference has information for developers. This is not really useful for consumers since the functionality can change per app.
Core Image is an image processing and analysis technology that provides high-performance processing for still and video images. Use the many built-in image filters to process images, and build complex effects by chaining filters. For details, see Core Image Filter Reference.
You can find the Core Image as the first pullout menu item under the Filter menu. Graphic Converter includes all the effects in the Apple's Core Image library- which is very cool.
You can apply the effect to the whole image, or use the Selection Tool to pick an area on the image that you want to transform.
Simply start with one effect and the Core Image dialog box opens. Now you can easily move to a different one. It's kind of neat to see how each effect transforms your image.
Check out all the Tile effects that can be made out of your image. This is a creative way to come up with some background ideas. The Distortion Effects are pretty cool too.
Nothing gets applied until you click on the 'Apply' button.
In the Transition section is the Page Curl effect, which is a pretty cool tool. It does take a bit of understanding.
To make the Target Image and Backside Image to work you need to "Drag and Drop" an image to the icon below the text. (It took me a long time to figure out how this worked!)
Simply find an image and then drag it to the preview box under the text.
|November 10, 2017|
I currently have an Apple Airport Express (MB321LL/A) sitting in my desk drawer in my office. I was thinking that there must be something that I can use the device for. So I decided to investigate the capabilities of the original Airport Express.
By default the AirPort Express Ethernet port acts as a WAN port. This simply means that you plug in a cable from a DSL Router and then you can broadcast a wireless signal. This would be good if you wanted a special wireless for visitors.
You can set the AirPort Express Ethernet port acts as a LAN port. You need to set up the “Extend a Wireless Network.” Then simply connect any Ethernet device to the Airport Express. This would be useful if you have an old computer/Game Console that doesn’t have WiFi access. Simply connect a regular Ethernet Cable to the computer and the Airport Express.
If your wireless can reach outside your house, you can play music using the Airport Express and some cheap outdoor speakers.
Plug in the Airport Express in the opposite wall of the office and make your computer sounds be in stereo mode.
The Operating Temperature is 32 F to 95 F (So there's no chance of putting this outside to play Christmas Music.)
Most modern printers have built-in wireless capabilities. I am guessing it would be useful for an old printer. There's nothing really
If you have AirPort Express 802.11g (1st Generation) download Apple's Setup Guide to get you up and running.
|November 3, 2017|
PhotoScape X is a great photo utility to process images. Its really handy to have when you want to make a quick image change.
It also packs a lot of neat graphics enhancements that I haven't seen any place else. Things like 3D Objects, Kaleidoscope, Tiny Planet and Scissors.
|Viewer||View images in any directory|
|Editor||Make changes to your image. This is where I spend 90% of my time in the application.|
|Batch||Make batch mode changes, useful if you want to add a signature to your images.|
|Collage||Easy way to make any type of collage with text overlay and enhance images. You have more flexibility than Turbo Collage.(There's 350+ Collage Templates)|
|Combine||Combine screenshots to show Production/Development side-by-side comparison.|
|Create GIF||create a GIF from several images.|
|create thumbnail galleries.|
|Tools||Screenshot, Color Picker and Rename. Nice to have but I rarely use any of these.|
|Store||Buy additional add ons. The Pro version is a good investment. Once you get the Pro package you can skip the entire store. I occasionally check to see if there's anything new.|
There are lots of cool tools to the Editor. I recommend loading up an image and spend a few minutes clicking around all the different Effects and Transformations. Along with the standard Resize, Crop, Miniature, Bloom, HDR, and Dehaze there are:
Check out all the different Frames effects too. You don't have as much flexibility as Frame apps like LightFrame and ImageFrame, but it's certainly good enough for a quick touch up. I like the Film and Notebook frames, they add a neat touch up. There are 170+ Frame designs to select from in PhotoScape X.
Lots of tools to inspire your creativity.
I like to combine multiple screenshots into one image. This is super simple to do in PhotoScape X - simply select the images and then the margin and spacing all done in about 5-4 mouse clicks.
Here's a neat trick after you combine the image in PhotoScape X:
After you combine the images and have it laid out the way you want - Use the keyboard shortcut Command-C. That will place the new combined image in the clipboard. You can then past that image in the 'Editor' of PhotoScape or into any other application. (Too bad you can't paste it in Jira or Slack)
Check out the 28 videos on PhotoScape X website. You don't need to purchase the software to watch them. It's a great way to learn how to use the tool. In particular pay attention to how quickly things can get done.
Affinity Photo is still a very powerful image tool, and I use it when I need more control. For basic edits, PhotoScape X seems to be my new go-to tool. I believe that in the long run the $29.99 for the Pro Version is worth the cost.
Currently 105 people have given it 5 Star rating in the App Store.
You can learn a lot about the applications by just spending some time and seeing all the capabilities, perhaps the app will inspire you to do something different with your images.