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June 18, 2021

Keyboard Maestro Chrome Macro

Easily Launch Chrome Browsers

w has a lot of functionalities that can be enabled from the command line. This is handy when you want to launch Chrome with certain functions.

Using Keyboard Maestro, I can set up a taskbar menu of various configurations. This makes it easy to launch Chrome with a particular setting whenever I want. I don???t have to memorize commands and I don???t have to launch a terminal editor to run these commands.

I simply select the chrome action that I want and instantly Chrome launches.

Keyboard Maestro Chrome Command

Sample Keyboard Maestro Action

Here is an example of one of the macros.

Google Keyboard Incognito

Bash Command:

#! /bin/bash
/Applications/Google Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome --incognito

List of Chrome Command line Commands

You can get a list of all the Chrome Command options with some explanation on this site:

List of Chromium Command Line Switches ?? Peter Beverloo

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June 11, 2021

Word Count LaunchBar Action

Easily Count the selected text

Sometimes I need a way to count a selected group of text. Usually, it???s to see if it???s long enough for a particular field.

If it was on a website, I would copy that text into BBEdit or another text editor. Then I would look at the status bar to see the number of words or length of the copied text.

There has to be a better way,

So I decided to create a LaunchBar action. It was really easy to do and a good task to brush up on my JavaScript skills.

Launch Bar Word Count

Using the Action

Now when I need to get the information, I just follow these steps.

  1. Select the text
  2. Use the ???Instant Send??? keyboard short cut
  3. Click Tab
  4. Then type in ???Word??? and then click return.

I get instant info on my selected text.

Download the Custom Action

I figured other people may want to use this so I am making it publicly available.

Word Count.lbaction
Click to Download

Download the action. After downloading, double-click on the zip file to uncompress it. Then double click on the file to install in LaunchBar

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June 4, 2021

QuickTime Audio

Use Quicktime to quickly digitalize audio

Apple Quicktime has the ability to record video and audio files. This is a quick way to digitalize audio. For example, if you want to send an audio message in an email or a social media post.

There are two settings for audio:

Setting Description
High 44100 Hz AAC audio
Maximum 44100 Hz, uncompressed Linear PCM 24-bit AIFF-C audio

Quicktime Audio

Four Things I Learned

The output audio is off, by default. You have to adjust the volume to hear the recording.

Shortcut for creating a new audio recording is Shift Command N

The recording settings that Quicktime starts with are the same as the default sound input. This is defined in the System Preferences - select Sound.

When you have the QuickTime Inspector open, it shows you the current settings that you have set up.

Three Reasons to Use Quicktime

  1. Fast way to record audio. Pretty much hit record and you're on your way.
  2. Installed on all Macintosh computers. If the computer has Quicktime, you have the ability to record audio. (Seems like a tool that Mission's Impossible's Ethan Hunt might use to record a confession.)
  3. Apple Script Support! You can write Apple Script or Automator action to record audio based on an action - such as setting up a recording to listen to mystery sounds at the office at midnight.

Three Reasons Not to Use Quicktime

  1. Limited recording scope. You can't define recording by application. For example if you want to record audio from Safari. This can be done using Audio Hijack.
  2. No Menu Bar or Dock Record Option. You have to have the App open and then type the keyboard shortcut and then record. Too many steps to record something quickly. Best solution to this is Simple Recorder.
  3. Limited Audio Configuration - You can only record using two settings High and Maximum. Use apps like Audacity for more configuration options.

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May 28, 2021

Combine Files using BBEdit

Easy way to Combine Files in MacOS

Earlier this week I had a bunch of Apache log files that I wanted to combine into a single file. I was trying to figure out the best way to do it. A quick Google search showed me a solution from 2014. The purpose of this post is to say that it still works!

B Bedit Combine Files

In BBEdit

Here are the steps to quickly merge a bunch of files:

  1. Open up BBEdit
  2. Create a new Text Document (Command N)
  3. Go Under Edit menu and select Insert then ???File Contents...???
  4. Select the files that you wish to add then click Insert

Alternate Way

  1. Open up BBEdit
  2. Create a new Text Document (Command N)
  3. In the Finder drag and drop the text files into the BBEdit window

Using the Command Line

Another solution is to use the Cat Unix command in Terminal. Here's a sample of what that would look like:

cat access.log.* >> website.log

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May 21, 2021

Sleep via Keyboard

Useful LaunchBar Action

One of the complaints that people have with Apple's Mouse is the location of the charging port. It's located underneath the mouse. This means that you can't use the mouse when you charge it.

So people end up just setting up a reminder to charge the mouse at night - once a week.

The problem with that is, if the computer is on, there's no way to quickly put the computer to sleep using the keyboard.

There's is if you have LaunchBar.

Launch Bar Sleep

LaunchBar to the Rescue

LaunchBar has a built in action for Sleep. Simple type in the Command Space short cut and then type in Sleep and hit return.

Your computer goes to sleep.

Want to shut it down instead, Simple search for Shut and then hit return.

This is just one of many cool things that makes LaunchBar useful. I would highly recommend getting it.

Not in Spotlight

There's no action available in Spotlight. When you search for Sleep and select it, you are presented with the Energy Saver System Preferences.

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May 14, 2021

Microsoft Teams Performance

Tips on how to make teams work better

Are you experiencing serious performance issues with Microsoft Teams? Are you having to close out applications like Slack and Chrome before you connect to a meeting?

Is Microsoft Teams maxing out the computer CPU?

Microsoft Teams C P U

Chances are that there's a simple settings adjustment that should be done. You'll need to disable the GPU hardware acceleration. On some older Macs, this may cause a considerable amount of slowness.

How to Disable GPU Hardware Acceleration

The GPU Hardware Acceleration is done in the settings panel of Microsoft Teams. Here are the steps:

  • Open up Teams
  • Click on your name on the top right and select settings
  • Check the "Disable GPU hardware acceleration"
  • Restart Microsoft Teams

This is what it should look like when completed:

Disable G P U Hardware

One More Thing...

I would suggest restarting the computer. It's not necessary as part of the steps, but it couldn't hurt.

You should see improvement in the next meeting. Your computer won't go to a crawl and you shouldn't have any drop frames during the meeting.

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May 7, 2021

Camera Permissions

Finding the Apps that use the Camera

Recently I connected a new camera to my iMac. After it was connected, I was wondering what applications had camera support that I could try out the new camera.

I know that Apple has apps like Quicktime, Facetime, and Photo Booth that support the camera. What about other Apps on my computer?

The easy way to find out what apps have Camera support is to look at the Camera permissions.

Camera Security

Finding Camera Access

Simple steps to find what Apps have Camera access:

  • Go to System Preferences.
  • Select the Security & Privacy category
  • Select the Privacy Tab
  • Select Camera.

Note: That you have to allow Applications to have permission to access the camera. If you haven't used the camera functionality in some apps, you may not have been asked for permission to use the camera.

Quicktime Movie Recording

Quicktime

Using the "New Movie Recording" in Quicktime Player was the fastest way that I found to get RAW video on the computer.

The keyboard shortcut: Option Command N is good one to remember.

This is the capture options that you have:

High H.264 video and 44100 Hz AAC audio
Maximum Apple ProRes 422 video and Linear PCM audio

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April 30, 2021

Zephyr Font

Old Font that Still Works today

Every now and then, I like to look back at some fonts in my CD collection. Some of the fonts that I have are outdated and can't be used in the latest macOS. There are a few that are still usable.

One of the fonts in my collection that I found interesting is the Zephyr Font. Benn Coifman, the developer, named the font after the Zephyr trains.

What caught my eye about the font is that it is very similar to the GoPro Logo font. Here's an example of the font:

Zephyr

Font Description

After you have installed the files, "Zephyr.suit", "CZHer", and "CZHeralds.bmap" in your font folder, restart your word processor and print out a copy of "Zephyr Legend" (If you don't have Microsoft Word, I hope your translator can handle the new fonts). The top 2/3's of this file demonstrate the Zephyr font. At the bottom, you will see a couple of special characters that are in CZHeralds font. Note that the California Zephyr logo is split into three letters so it will have a lower probability of crashing your printer.

Zephyr font, all of its accompanying files, and train icon are © 1994-5 Benn Coifman. (that looks so nasty now that I typed it)

Three Things I Learned

This still works in MacOS 11.3 even though it is 27-years old (Created July 24, 1995). In fact, the copy I had was from a CD that was also about 27-years old. This means that I installed the same font that was released 27-years ago - I didn't just download it.

There is a similar font called Rail RoadRoman available on FontFreak. I wasn't able to find the Zephyr.suit font. There are other Zephyr fonts, but they didn't look the same.

Font was created using Altsys Fontographer 4.0.4D2 7/24/95

There are a couple of Easter Eggs in the font collection:

  • There is a Burlington Route logo when you type in # - this is a reference to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. To get this simply type in Shift 8.
  • There is a Face and a black cat. These are found by typing in Shift 2 for the face and Shift 3 for the cat. No clue on why these are there.

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April 23, 2021

TypeFace

A tool to manage your Font collection

I am a huge fan of FontDoc - an application that lets you see the various font faces that you have installed. You can select the preview word, and copy and past the content into any document while maintaining the font format.

Recently I became aware of another Font Manger called TypeFace. So I thought I check it out and see how it might be better than FontDoc. TypeFace cost $19 and FontDoc is Free.

Hamburgefonstiv

Six Things I Discovered

By default TypeFace uses "Hamburgefonstiv" as the preview word. This is a "filler text" use to test the appearance of a typeface. You can easily change it by toggle preview input.

I can "dig down" in the fonts and see all the characters.

There's no way to copy the preview text and font style into another document.

You can tag fonts! This is a nice way to organize fonts that you use for different projects. This way when you select a collection on the left, you can see all the fonts that is used. For example, you may have a collection for Facebook Posts, Holidays, or Videos.

You can easily import fonts from folders, this makes it easy to identify which fonts you want installed. When you find the one you want, right click on it and select Activate.

When you are done with a font, perhaps it's something that you don't use anymore, you can also deactivate it. This will remove it from the system font menu making it easier to find the fonts you want.

Will I Purchase this?

I am not going to purchase this application. It looks great and works great too! However, I really don't need this kind of font management.

I am more interested in finding font styles that work great for the text I am using right now. I don't think I'll be needing to create various collections.

Maybe someday, but not now.

This is a cool application, and I had fun playing around with it.

Available in SetApp

If you have an active SetApp subscription, you can just download TypeFace.

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April 16, 2021

NSMenuItem

What is the NSMenuItem functionality in the Finder?

I was looking for something unique to blog today. Since this day "N" of the A-Z April challenge, I was looking for something that started with the letter "N." Here are some of the topics that I was thinking about:

  • Apple Notes - I have been using it a little and thought it would be a useful topic, as maybe I can find some new feature.
  • Notion - Great note application. Its a tool that I use a lot since I stopped using Evernote.
  • News App - I don't use it that much, maybe its something that I should use?
  • Numbers - Maybe I'll discover a new feature or a tip?

None of those applications really sounded interesting to write about. So I decided to head over to the finder and do a search in Help for the letter "N."

To my surprise. I found something interesting. One of the search results was for NSMenuItem. I thought it was a weird menu name, so when I selected it, the help arrow pointed to an empty area above the word "Tag" in the File menu.

nsmenu

Is this a Bug??

I checked a couple of computers and they had the same results. There is no NSMenuItem in the File menu, yet it appears when you do a search for in. (Only in the Finder)

According to the Apple Developer site, the NSMenuItem is a command item in the app menu.

Apparently this is a legitimate item, but whoever worked on the Finder's File menu didn't hide the feature properly. This bug appears in macOS Catalina, so it's been there for a while.

Check It Out!

If you have a Mac, try this:

Select the Finder, then the Help menu. Type in NSMenuItem, or simply 'N.'

You'll see one of the search results will be the mysterious NSMenuItem, select it and you'll see that it points to the same place as the above screenshot.

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About

As someone who has worked on Macs since 1989, I will use my experience to share tips and tricks with you on Fridays. As a Mac user since 1989, I have seen the evolution of Mac software and hardware, and I know how Mac computers work. I also know how to troubleshoot and fix Mac problems that can arise.

Check out all the blog post.

Schedule

MondayMedia Monday
TuesdayQA
WednesdaySnagit For QA
ThursdayPython
FridayMacintosh
SaturdayInternet Tools
SundayOpen Topic