Macintosh blog postings

Macintosh Postings

Earliest: June 26, 2003Latest: June 14, 2019Total: 300

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!

May 17, 2019

iterm2 Status Bar

One of the neat features of the Iterm2 is the Status Bar. This is available in the 3.3.0 build - which is still in beta as of this post. The Status Bar is a thin bar at the top of the command window which displays useful information.

item Status Bar

Status Bar Options

The status bar has 11 built in configurable components, with more sure to be added. You can configure the Text Color and Background color. These are the components in the current beta:

  • Battery Level - How your laptop battery is doing.
  • CPU Utilization - Is your computer getting maxed out?
  • ?Memory Utilization? - Check out your computer Memory Utilization before running a process.
  • ?Network Throughput? - If downloading files is taking a long time, perhaps its too much network traffic.
  • Clock -System Clock, with a customizable date format settings. ( I like the following date format: EEEE, MMMM d, yyyy h:mm:ss a z)
  • Custom Action - Easily Select any Menu item, great for those actions that you want to implement right away - such as 'Split Horizontally with a Profile' or
  • git state - Once you install the command utility 'it2git,' you'll be able to always know what branch you're working on.
  • Host Name - Show the current host that your working on
  • User Name - What the current user is - useful if you do a lot of user switching.
  • Job Name - What job/process is currently running.
  • Current Directory - Avoid typing 'pwd' and instantly know where you are.
  • ?Search Tool? - Find something on the current window, and that search term stays as you do work in the window - so you can make 'Exceptions' or 'Errors' will stand out as they occur.
  • Composer - Prep up a command before executing it. for example if you have a large SQL Statement but need to change a value in the middle, use this as a staging area before you execute it.
  • Fixed-size Spacer - Add flexible amount of space between components.
  • Empty Space - Just an empty space.
  • Interpolated String - Show some custom text with variables (See the document on some ideas.)
  • Call Script Function - Run a Python Function. (See the document on some ideas.)

Finding the Status Bar

If you're using iTerm2 3.3, you can enable the status bar using the Profile Preferences.

  • From the iTerm2 Menu select Preferences (Or use the shortcut Command ,)
  • Select Profiles
  • (The Default one should be selected)
  • Select the Session tab
  • Enable the check box next to "Status bar enabled" (Its the last item under Miscellaneous)
  • Then Configure your bar!

After you install the bar, you can right click on the bar and select 'Configure Status Bar.'

You will need to do this for each of your profiles that you have setup.

Installing Shell Integration

Some of the commands work better with installing Shell Integrations on remote servers. You can easily install the Shell Integration tool to get the most out of iTerm2:

  • SSH to any box
  • Select the iTerm Menu and then select "Install Shell Integration" which is the second to last menu item.
  • You'll be prompt if you want to install the Utilities tool. The additional tools allow you to see inline images via 'imgcat' command, List files with a thumbnail view using the 'imgls' command., Upload files via the 'it2ul' command among other utilities. (Full details on the iTerm2 Documentation page.)
  • You will need to login to try out the tools and see the effect of the Shell Integration.

Iterm2 is pretty powerful application and very useful to have if you doing a lot of shell commands on your Mac.

May 10, 2019

DragThing

There are very few Macintosh applications that have been around since System 7.5. BBEdit, StuffIt , DragThing are some that I can think of off hand. Many of these applications are still running strong.

Sadly DragThing is being discontinued. This is because Apple has decided to stop supporting 32-bit code. Perhaps you seen this alert when opening up some applications:

Drag Thing32 Bit

Apple has announced that it will no longer support 32-bit applications. This means in the next major release 32-bit applications will no longer work. This is very similar to when Apple started discontinue supporting Classic Apps from pre-OS X days.

DragThing Story Ends

After 24-years, the developers have decided to retire the application. According to the homepage message, this is because the application will have to be completely rewritten and they don't think there's any real value into that.

I haven't used DragThing, as I got use the Apple Dock, and other applications that made navigating the Macintosh easier. I thought it would be good to check out what I missed in DragThing all these years.

Drag Thing Shot
DragThing with the default setup

Five Things I learned Playing Around with DragThing

  • DragThing first shipped on May 1st, 1995. ( Steve Jobs would return to Apple a couple of years later. )
  • DragThing was shareware and cost $29 to register. (It's currently free since it's being discontinued.)
  • You can create docs for different tasks, for example if you in the Photo Mode, you can have a row of all your Photo Apps. This actually makes it really easy to navigate between different apps. Especially if your using certain apps together only when doing tasks.
  • There a ton of configuration options available. It's great to customize the dock anyway you want. The only thing I couldn't figure out is how to keep the dock always on top.
  • The ability to add code snippet was cool, I like how LaunchBar handles Snippets. It's a lot easy to navigate and search for snippets.

Some Alternative Solutions

Along with LaunchBar, Tab Launcher Lite are good alternative solutions.

  • LaunchBar - makes it really easy to switch around applications. You can easily running applications and switch around. I use the snippet feature all the time.
  • Tab Launcher Lite - Allows you to groups applications into folders, much how DragThing works. So you can have folders for Dev, Design and Play.

May 3, 2019

Caboodle

Last year I purchased Caboodle as part of Mac App Bundle from TNW Deals. This is one of 15 applications that I purchased for $25. I am a big EverNote fan, I didn't think Caboodle would replace it, but thought it would be nice to add to the collection. (I had to pick 15 apps to get the deal.)

I hadn't installed Caboodle when I purchased, so this week I thought I install it and see how it compares to Evernote and Notion.

Description from their Website

Caboodle allows users to store and organize varied bits of info. Everyone comes across information that they want to refer to later. Maybe gifts you've received or sent, product serial numbers, recipes, directions to someone's house, a photo of your pet, or anything else.

Caboodle Review

Eight Things I Learned About Caboodle

  • Cost $12.99 and available in the Mac App Store, where as on the Before Dawn Solutions site it cost $19.99
  • Last updated 1 year ago - current version is 2.0.4
  • The menus/options seem very basic. There's no "back up to cloud" support, so if your computer crashes - oh well.
  • Under the Help menu it references the #bdsCaboodle twitter handle with no tweets. (Strange for an account that is 2 years old.)
  • Many of the other Help menus reference documents on the Before Dawn Solutions Website, and are broken links. (Frequently Asked Questions is one example)
  • Caboodle is not AppleScript friendly - the application doesn't show up in the Script editor.
  • You can create child entries, which is pretty cool.
  • When you drag and drop an image into a note you can't resize it within the note.
  • You can export notes in HTML, Plain Text, Rich Text and Microsoft Word

Worth Getting?

I would recommend not getting Caboodle. The application appears to be abandoned. There are many good alternative solutions available.

April 26, 2019

WC command

The WC command is a simple command to display the "word count" of anything passed to it. You can even pass in PDF documents to see how many OCR words are in the file.

Look at a PDF document

wc /Users/root/Desktop/HotelHistory.pdf
340 1408 31827 /Users/root/Desktop/HotelHistory.pdf
[340 lines 1,404 words 31,827 characters]

Find the number of Errors in a Log

This will count the number of times an error appears by a certain date. You can loop this in a BASH script to see how many times it appears on some days.

cat /mnt/xd/server/debug.log | grep 27/Apr/2019 | grep "Exception" | wc -l

General Reference

wc -w gives only the word count.
wc -l gives only the line count.
wc -c gives only the byte count.
wc -m gives only the character count.

Why This Post?

As part of the A-Z April challenge, today's letter is 'W.' Oddly enough, there are not that many interesting things on the Macintosh that start with W.

One Option I had was to review Watermark Pro, but I thought it was more interesting to learn more about the 'wc' Unix command. I also wanted to share some of my knowledge.

April 19, 2019

Quick Printing using the Printer Pool

If you work in an office environment with lots of printers, it can confusing to print something now and know what printer is available. Sure printing to the closest printer is the solution, but if everyone else in the office is doing that - it may take a while to get your print.

Luckily you can set up a personal Printing Pool so that you can let the computer figure out the best printer to use - almost like a Waze for printing. Your computer will print to the next available printer - you don't need to spend time figuring it out.

The good news is that this is part of MacOS X you don't need to purchase a printing utility.

Quick Printing Pool

Setting up your Personal Printing Pool

Here are the steps to getting your own printing pool setup. (Tip you can set up multiple pools, based on location or printer types!)

  1. Open up System Preferences
  2. Click on the "Printer & Scanners" icon.
  3. Select multiple printer (Hold down the shift key to select the printers.)
  4. You see the right frame has "Multiple Printers Selected. Click on the "Create Printer Pool" button.
  5. Name the Pool - I suggest something simple such as "6th Floor Printers" or "Color Printers near me" and click "OK""
  6. You'll see the group appear with your other printers.
  7. You can make this the default group by selecting the name in the "Default printer" menu.

April 12, 2019

Keychain Secure Notes

If your looking for a safe place a store sensitive piece of information - your best bet may be Apple's Keychain Secure Notes. The data will be accessible via computer or any iOS device.

This is a good option since third party applications don't have access to this. In addition, it's a bit complex to view a secure note, so you know people won't accidentally find/delete the note if they are playing around with your computer.

Note: Name and Content will not appear in Spotlight Searches. It's a good hiding spot.

Keychain Secure Notes

Adding a New Secure Note

The only way to add a new secure note is via the Keychain Access application. Using LaunchBar simply type KeyChain and return.

Open up the application. In the Window, select a Keychain to store your note. I recommend using iCloud. Then Shift Command N to create a new note.

I wasn't able to find any limit to how big the note can be, so this might be a good place to store the top secret book that your working on.

You can't store image files in the Keychain.

Viewing a Secure Note

To view any note, simply double click on the note and then type in your computer password.

Need More Power?

If you want more than just basic notes, you might want to check out 1Password. (I haven't used them, so I can't attest to how easy it is to use.) One nice thing is that they have 1 GB of encrypted storage for all your documents.

This is a good way to secure and backup all your work documents!