Over the past few months I have been using Apple’s iCloud Drive as part of my everyday backup. The family subscribed to the 2TB plan.
Here’s my review of the good/bad of using the iCloud as personal storage
Eight Things I Learned
- Very useful when you have limited space. My iMac has only 500GB on an internal SSD drive. Having the iCloud makes it easy to backup files that I don’t use frequently. I can get access to them any time.
- Not Searchable. The advantage of storing files on a personal Thumb drive is that I can put them in and search within documents. With the iCloud, I have to download the files to search inside documents.
- Available Between Computers. I used to use DropBox to quickly move files between computers. Now I just move them using iCloud. Many of my favorite applications have their own iCloud folders where I can store files.
- Instant Free Storage. When I move files from the Desktop to a folder on the iCloud I get the space back.
- Files Always Available. I store all my fonts in a folder on iCloud Drive. Anytime I need a particular font I can grab it and instantly use it. I can then remove it from the system. Did you know: Fewer fonts installed helps the computer performance.
- Remove Download. MacOS automatically manages how long to keep downloaded files from the iCloud based on the last usage. However, I and right-click on any folder and select “Remove Download” to free up space.
- Downloaded Folders. Folders that are downloaded are temporary stored in xxxxx
- Cost. The 2TB plan costs $9.99 a month. On Amazon, you can buy a standard 2 TB drive for $60. While it sounds cheaper, in the long run, to buy local storage it may not be. Apple’s storage is well protected to make sure it’s always available. If you ever lost a hard drive or a flash drive, you know the value of cloud storage.
At the End of the day...
I have thought of buying a new external drive for storage, but having used the iCloud drive for a couple of months convinced me that Apple iCloud is a better option. It's easy to manage the drive space and even easier to get files that I want.
It's nice to know that the files are protected and I don't have to worry about the hard drive crashing.
Path Finder 10
On December 8, 2020 Cocoatech shipped Path Finder 10. The last major update to Path Finder was October 2019.
This is the list of the major changes from CocoaTech:
- Airdrop Integration! For devices discoverable by “Everyone”
- Share to AirDrop, Messages, Mail, Notes, etc.
- Fully redesigned for macOS Big Sur with Native support for Apple Silicon.
- Improved Dark Mode.
- File Browsing on and file operations on USB connected iOS devices.
- Improved Drop Stack
- Improved Batch Renamer
- Brand new Big Sur style icon
- Lots of miscellaneous fixes, tweaks and improvements all over the app.
Notes on the Update
Airdrop - Airdrop feature is neat. It's nice to be able to drag and drop files between computers. You can't just drag and drop an object on the "AirDrop" icon. You have to click on the icon, and then drag your object to the device you want to move it to.
Fast AirDrop - You can quickly share an object by right-clicking and selecting the Share option.
Updated Icon - I did notice the new icon, I actually like the old icon. But I understand that particular icon style is where most developers will be using.
Browse Your iPhone or iPad - The iOS device connection is great. You get a lot more information than from iMazing. Very useful when you want to do a manual backup of your device. I particularly like that I can get the folder size, so I can find which areas are taking up the most space.
No More Cover Flow - The Cover Flow Module is gone. This wasn't a module that I used anyway, so I am not disappointed.
Dual Browser Tool - There is a new tool in the toolbar called Dual Browser. This allows you to quickly enable the Dual Browser feature - where you see two folders in one window. This is very cool!
No Other Surprises - I did a side-by-side comparison of Path Finder 9 against Path Finder 10 and don't see any other significant feature changes related to the update. The text seems to be a lot easier to read in Path Finder 10 than in 9. (I see that Kimberly Adams is now on the Marketing team.)
At The End of The Day
Path Finder is a great tool to have when you're doing Disk management. It will save you a lot of time - from finding large files to moving things around.
I like Path Finder and the update to version 10 is a very nice upgrade. Check out some of the cool features that I highlighted in Path Finder 9.
BBEdit Canonize Command
The Canonize command in BBEdit allows you to do a search and replace based on a user-configured file. Basically, each line is a search/replace statement. This is useful when you want to run the same search/replace job as a weekly task.
If you do a lot of blogging, you may have some external links to certain sites. Usually, you make reference to them at least once in the post.
Using the BBEdit Canonize command, you can have BBEdit automatically put in the hyperlinks. Saving you time in putting in hyperlinks yourself.
You can build different Canonize files for different projects.
Sample URL file:
bbedit <a href="https://www.barebones.com/">BBEdit</a> Apple Computer <a href="https://www.apple.com/">Apple Computer</a> Google <a href="https://www.google.com/">Google</a> FireFox <a href="https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/">FireFox</a> Apple ios Store <a href="https://www.apple.com/app-store/">App Store</a>
Save the file in a commonplace - the BBEdit iCloud folder is a very good option.
Using the Canonize Command
The Canonize Command is located in the Text Menu. (There's no keyboard shortcut.)
Select the transformation file that you wish to use.
One of the downfalls of the command is that it does a global search and replace. I am still looking for a way to only replace the first match, not all matches.
I see that there's a way to do it in SED, Perl, and PHP. I just haven't figured it using an external data file.
TRRS Cable and iMac
This week I was playing around with various cables with my iMac. I was trying to figure out how I can import audio from my Sony cassette player to my iMac using Audacity.
It turns out that using a TRRS cable does not import the audio to the computer.
Things I Learned
I used a "Headset Buddy Line-Level Audio Adapter with Built-in Attenuation." I connected one end to the iMac and the other end was connected to a standard audio cable from the cassette audio out.
I tested this cable on my old iPhone and it worked. I was able to record audio from the cassette player.
When I disconnected it from the iPhone and plug it into the iMac it didn't work. No audio was being recorded from the cassette player. I was testing using Audacity.
I tested another device: Ultimate Lavalier Microphone - Lapel Mic Clip-on Omnidirectional Condenser.
The Microphone worked with no problem.
Not Giving Up
I'll test some other cables to see if I can get them working on my iMac. It very well could be that the "Headset Buddy Line-Level Audio Adapter with Built in Attenuation" doesn't work for my iMac.
Top 3 Macintosh Posts of 2020
This is the annual top 3 Macintosh Blog post of the year. There were 51 Macintosh Blog post this year, all of them posted on Fridays.
This year I am only going to highlight the top 3 posts. The criteria are based on the usefulness of the information and how I apply the information for my Macintosh experience.
Top 3 Blog Posts
Unlock your Mac using the Apple Watch - (April 3) This was a cool trick to quickly get back to my work after stepping away from the computer. Unfortunately, the IT department didn't like that and disable it for my work computer. However, the trick is still useful for my home computer.
Inkscape Spray Tool - (August 8) I really liked that you could spray any image in a the clipboard. It can create a cool effect.
Missing Disk in Sidebar using Big Sur - There is a bug in macOS 11 that prevents some SD Disks were not showing in the sidebar or in Final Cut Pro. I provide a couple of alternative solutions until Apple comes out with a fix.
Art Text 4
Art Text by Belight Software is a great application to transform text into art. You can make some eye-catching brochures and ads in litterly no time.
You can use 100+ text style presets, or be creative and design your own with lots of Fill and Effects.
There is an online store where you can purchase lots of great designs to make your text really stand out.
New in Art Text 4
Spray Fill - You can now add special effects like coffee beans, nuts, stones, glitter, and much more to your text.
Better 3D Reflection Masks
Text Design Store - The cool designs that you see in Letters is now available right in Art Text 4
Make your Facebook post stand out by using the Facebook 3D Photo effects
Shading Materials - There is 150 2D shading material that you can add to make your design stand out.
A touch up version of the Bokeh design
Using the Stone Spray fill
BBEdit Randomize Order
Bare Bone's BBEdit is a great text editor tool. Many people use it for programing developement.
I tend to use it for anything text related. When I am writing up some long text for email, Slack, or whatever, I am usually using BBEdit.
One of the new features in BBEdit 13.5 is the Randomize Order functionality.
This feature randomly sorts the selected text. The end result is selected text gets replace by a random sorted collection.
Release Note Description
Added "Randomize order" as an option for "Sort Lines". If turned on, this overrides all other sorting options, and will generate a random ordering for all lines in the document.
Why makes this useful to me?
I manage a team scrum weekly standup. This allows me to sort the speaking order randomly. Prior to this feature, I would go to Random.org and use that sorting functionality. I was concern about the confidentiality of the data. I am not sorting a list of company passwords, but the list of names could be used for someone to cold call into the company. I am not being paranoid, just being cautious.
I can also use the random sort feature in a Text Factory run. In the following example, I apply the random sort and then add a line number.
BBEdit's feature makes it easy to randomly sort my list of names in an application that I already use all the time.
PhotoScape Color Picker
One of the neat tools in PhotoScape X is the Color Picker. This feature allows you to select a pixel and paste the HEX value into the clipboard. It's an easy way to get some color into an HTML document.
Four Things I Learned
When you find the right color, simply click the space bar to select the color and have the hex value pasted in your clip board
You can change the pixel view to a fine point the color you're looking for - particularly if it's an HD photo.
The Color Picker will save the last four options, allowing you to go back and get any previous selection. The background of the color picker shows the selected color.
The pasted copy doesn’t contain the ‘#’ symbol. This is weird because it shows in the dialog box when you select the color and in the color history section.
Paste Clipboard Content as Plain Text
I have clipboard management is enabled for both applications. I use LaunchBar for my primary clipboard management. I have found LaunchBar interface to be simple to navigate and easy to paste the content I want.
Keyboard Maestro is great, it just a little more powerful than what I need for everyday use. LaunchBar clipboard window is easier to manage.
Paste As Plain Text
When I want to paste clipboard content as plain text, I use Keyboard Maestro. The thing to remember is that when pasting from Keyboard Maestro to hold down the SHIFT key to make the content plain text.
Prior to using Keyboard Maestro, I would paste the content into BBEdit then copy it to make it plain text.
You can make LaunchBar paste content plain text by enabling "As Plain Text" in preferences. The only downside is that it always paste as plain text. If you want to over-ride that settings, you hold down the OPTION key to paste as Rich Text.
Over the years, I have found that I usually want to keep the RichText formatting as the default. Using plain text, I lose the hyperlink links, which is useful when pasting content in an email or DayOne Journal.
To make it easy to navigate between the two Clipboard management tools, I have a similar shortcut:
- For LaunchBar I use the default Command
- For Keyboard Maestro I set up Shift Command (This you have to set in Keyboard Maestro.)
Missing Disk in Sidebar using Big Sur
On Friday, I finally upgraded to macOS 11.0.1 (Big Sur). I have been trying for a week and kept getting an error during the upload process. This is the error that I have been getting:
When I tried on Friday the installation process was successful. I think the whole install took about 45-mins.
SD Disk Missing from Finder
One of the things that caught my eye was that an SD disk that I had in the computer wasn't showing up in the finder sidebar. The disk would appear in the Finder when the "External Disks" is selected.
Some reason the Finder sidebar wouldn't show the external device. This makes navigating a little tricky as that's the most common way I access my SD cards. I usually turn off the "External Disks" on the desktop because its just clutter.
Apple is aware of the bug, and a fix will be shipped in a later update.
There are several alternative solutions:
Simply click on the "Computer" in the sidebar (Should be Your Name) and click on that to see all the connected devices.
Learn the shortcut: Command - Shift - C (Which opens up the Computer window.)
Use PathFinder which doesn't have this issue. All the external devices show up correctly in the sidebar.
Quickly Change Wallpaper
When on Zoom calls, I like to have the computer desktop set to White. This allows a little bit of brightness so people can clearly see my face.
When I am not on Zoom calls, I like the desktop dark so that it doesn't blind me when I am working.
The traditional way of right-clicking on the desktop to Change the Desktop background is a lot of steps to do every time I start and end a meeting. There has to be a better way.
Thankfully there is a better way with Keyboard Maestro.
Keyboard Maestro has an action to change the desktop background. Now, I can select the Keyboard Maestro menu item and quickly switch between dark and light mode.
This makes it super easy to switch desktop patterns whenever I need it.
Keyboard Maestro Macro
Here's the Macro I have set up:
For the light version, I just created a small white image and used that as what to set the background too.
I used Dropbox as my source so that the Macro would work no matter what computer that I had Keyboard Maestro installed on.
PhotosScape November Update
In late October, Mooii Tech add some new features to PhotoScape X, a popular Macintosh Photo editor. This release has a lot of exciting changes.
Here's a list of changes, and where to find the changes:
New Text Effects: Long Shadow, Overlays & Masks, Background
These are new select items in the Text dialog, they are located below the opacity selector.
New Object Effects: Long Shadow, Overlays & Masks
These can be applied to objects such as Stickers, Shapes, Figures, Lines, and more.
New Filters: Gradient Opacity, Radial Speed Lines, Lines, Concentric, Geometric Collage
In the Adjustments section: Gradient Opacity
In the Effect Section: Radial Speed Lines, Lines, and Concentric
In the Transformations section: Geometric Collage
New Filter Objects: Mosaic #2, #3, #4, Frosted Glass
These are located under the "Filter" menu. Click on Insert, then on the Filter next to Tools.
New Text Warp: Gradient Upper, Gradient Upper 2, Gradient Lower, Gradient Lower 2
These are located in the Text dialog. On the bottom of the text box, click on Transform then click on the transform button. In the Transform dialog, click on the "None"
Added 119 Film Looks - New Looks category in the Film Section ( Click Film in the top toolbar)
Added 104 Film Extras - New Extras category in the Film Section
Added 150 Nature - New Nature category in the Light Section
Added 108 Comic Stickers - New category in the Stickers section.
Added 4 more Draw Brushes (Stipple) - These are the brushes found when drawing/ they are located at the bottom of the brush selection.
Added 1 more Text Outline Type - In the Text dialog, click on the checkbox next to Outline, you'll see that there are now three different outline types.
Added 6 Object Transform Skew Types - These are located in the Transformation dialog. These are below the object. For example, you can transform text to create a logo.
Added 8 Canvas Grid Types - This is the overlay grid that you see. This is located on the bottom bar, it's the dotted grid icon.
Art Text 4 Designs
Art Text 4 is a pretty powerful tool. It gives you lots of ways to create some creative text and graphic files. However, if you need a boost on the design side, they have a design gallery where you can download some very cool design.
Some of the designs you have to pay for, but the Holloween designs are free! There are 8 themed Helloween templates with multiple objects to help you create some cool social media or blog posts.
These are great to make cool looking designs - people think that you spent hours putting it together.
There is a "Winter Session" where you can get 10 Christmas designs. This collection isn't free as it cost $6.99 - still a bargain for the cool-looking designs.
I used the Art Text 4 template and changed the center graphic.
Runaway Kernel Task process
On my computer, I had multiple versions of Snagit installed. This is because every time that I did a major upgrade the computer kept the old version.
When the computer boots up it still uses the Snagit 2019 version and libraries. When I would do capture it would mix up which version to use and get stuck in an endless loop.
The quick solution was to remove all but the current version of Snagit. In my case, it's Snagit 2020. My computer performance had improved since removing the applications. (I also restarted the computer after deleting the apps)
I notice this was a problem when using Microsoft Teams and Zoom. I am not sure why using video apps would cause an issue. I think it's just the amount of CPU that is being used.
Try This Fix!
So if you are having problems related to kernel_task, you may want to check to see if you have multiple versions of Snagit. (I assume this might be true for other system base apps.)
Note: My problem was with Snagit, your situation might be a different application.
Your best bet is to restart the computer to properly test to see if removing the old applications fixed the issue.
Thunderbolt Display Cable
One of the disadvantages of Apple's Thunderbolt display is that the cable is not all stable. This is the main cable from the back of the computer that is used to connect to a MacBook or iMac.
I have seen many Apple Thunderbolt displays encounter a tear in them because of the angle that you have to put it in a MacBook. Over time,
Unlike the power cable, there is no way to take this cable out. The end of the cable is mounted to the mainboard. So if something happens to the connector cable, you can't replace it.
You can see the cable starting to have a tear. It's only a matter of time before it breaks.
Broken but Not Dead
However the display isn't technically dead. You can still use it as an external display. Simply connect another Thunderbolt 2 cable to the port on the back of the display and then connect it to your computer.
The Apple Thunderbolt Display uses the old Thunderbolt 2 connector, not the new Thunderbolt 3 connector - also known as USB-C.
You can find a Thunderbolt 2 display cable on Amazon for about $40. That's kind of expensive for a cable but it is far cheaper than getting a brand new monitor.