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October 21, 2022

macOS Ventura

Getting ready for the upgrade

mac O S Ventura

Apple will be releasing macOS 13 Ventura next week. This next-generation macOS operating system contains a lot of new features. Here are three key features that I'll be looking forward to:

Enhanced Image Search in Spotlight - Find images in Photos, Messages, Notes, the Finder, and the web right from Spotlight. You can even use Live Text to search for an image based on text inside it. This feature may cause LaunchBar to issue an update.

Stage Manager - automatically organizes your apps and windows in a single view on any Mac, so you can stay focused while easily moving between tasks.

Continuity Camera - Use the iPhone as your computer webcam. Center Stage now you can stay centered in the camera frame during calls even when you move around.

New Improved Home App - The Home app has an all???new design that makes it easier to navigate, organize, view, and control all your accessories. Improvements to the underlying architecture enhance your smart home???s performance and make it more efficient and reliable.

Backup and Plan

It is this time of the year when most third-party applications are going to release a major update in order to take advantage of all the new features that macOS Ventura has to offer.

I've recently updated my TechSmith's Maintenance Agreement for another year, which cost $12.85. I think it's a great deal compared to a $34.99 upgrade to Snag-it right now.

As of today, TechSmith hasn't announced what new features that will be in

You might want to check the applications you have and upgrade any maintenance agreements that might save you money in the future.

Popular Application2022

LaunchPad

Using my computer's LaunchPad, I have set up the first page to show the most popular applications I use. This makes it easy for me to select applications that are most relevant to me.

There is only a limited number of apps displayed on the first page of LaunchPad, so I have to create a list of the "Top 35" apps that I care about the most.

This is an excellent way for me to be able to manage my apps and not have to deal with a lot of different apps, especially when it comes to free and low cost apps that I hardly ever use.

Next Week Blog

There will be a blog post next Friday about what it was like to upgrade to the macOS 13 Ventura operating system.

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October 14, 2022

USB Drives Lifespan

Practical Use for Long Term Storage?

When it comes to digital storage, you can???t get much more portable than a USB thumb drive. These little guys are super useful for anyone who wants to store and transfer documents, photos, videos and other files anywhere they go. They???re also incredibly affordable. You can buy a thumb drive for as little as $5 or so. Furthermore, the vast majority of USB flash drives are built to last for at least a few years of regular use ??? if not much longer. Most manufacturers advertise the lifespan of their devices as being somewhere between 100K and 1 Million reads or writes (typically indicated as ???read/write cycles???). But what exactly do those numbers mean? Do they indicate how long your thumb drive will last under normal usage? How long do most people actually keep their flash drives before they fail? In this article, we???ll answer all those questions and more!

Disk Thumb2022

What Do Read/Write Cycles Actually Mean?

When a manufacturer states a particular number of read/write cycles for a USB thumb drive, they???re referring to the lifespan of the device. Here???s how things break down: The lifespan of your thumb drive will be directly tied to the number of times you read from and write to the device. So, one read/write cycle would be one time you read data from your drive, and one time you write data to the drive. Keep in mind that data is constantly being written and read from your flash drive. That includes whenever you???re transferring data, or just plugging it into your computer or other device to access the data stored on it. Each time you read or write to a USB thumb drive, you???re using up some of its lifespan.

How Long Do Thumb Drives Last?

As we???ve discussed, each USB thumb drive is guaranteed to last for a certain number of read/write cycles. But how long do flash drives actually last for each of those cycles? It???s actually quite difficult to find accurate data on the lifespan of USB thumb drives. That???s because there are so many variables that affect the lifespan of a device. There are many different types of thumb drives, with different internal components. There are also many different ways to use them, and the way you use your drive can have a dramatic effect on how quickly it fails. Also, many different factors can affect how long it takes for a flash drive???s data to degrade, like the quality of the materials used in the device (e.g., plastic vs. aluminum casing), the size of the drive, whether or not it???s used in an environment with high humidity or temperature, and more!

Why Do USB Thumb Drives Fail?

So, if each flash drive is guaranteed to last a certain number of read/write cycles, why do they fail so quickly? For the most part, thumb drives fail due to regular wear and tear. After you???ve used a drive enough times to reach its read/write cycle limit, it???s not likely to fail immediately. Instead, the device will generally start to degrade over time. Eventually, it will simply stop working. There are also a few different ways that a USB thumb drive can fail more quickly. But most of these issues can be avoided with proper care and maintenance.

How to Make Your Thumb Drive Last longer

If you want to make your flash drive last for as long as possible, there are a few things you can do. Here are some tips: First and foremost, buy a USB thumb drive with a high read/write cycle rating. Some of the best USB thumb drives come from reputable brands like SanDisk, Kingston and more. You can even find thumb drives with a lifetime warranty. If you???re using your thumb drive regularly, be sure to give it a break every now and then. If you plug and unplug your drive constantly, you can actually speed up the rate at which your drive degrades. If you???re storing data on your thumb drive for any length of time, make sure to clean it regularly. You can also store your data in more than one place ??? this is called ???duplicate??? or ???backup??? data! This can help prevent against data loss.

Bottom Line

Finally, if you???re using a USB thumb drive regularly, it???s a good idea to replace it every few years or so. If you keep using the same thumb drive for long enough, it???s almost guaranteed to break down. So, it???s better to just replace your flash drive before it fails completely! While USB thumb drives are extremely useful, they???re not indestructible. It???s important to take good care of your flash drive to make it last as long as possible. Doing so can help prevent data loss, prevent you from losing important files, and extend the life of the device!

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October 7, 2022

Apple Photos and Pro Raw

RAW Photo editing made easy

You might be surprised to know that the Apple Photos app allows you to edit PRO RAW photos. No need to buy an expensive app in order to edit your PRO RAW photos. (This is useful if you just got the new iPhone 14 Pro.)

There are a lot of steps involved in editing a photo but Apple makes it so easy that you don't have to take a course to learn how to do it, while still making it look amazing.

A RAW image can be adjusted in Apple Photos in thirteen different ways.

Apple Photo Raw

Light

In order to control the overall light in the picture, you can use the slider to adjust it as you would the sunlight.

Color

Use this option when you want to make all the colors brighter or make the photo black and white.

Black & White

When you want to transform an image into black and white, select this option. When you want your image to look better without color, this is a unique effect.

Retouch

Using this tool, you can fix up some spots on your photo such as sun glare or dust. I recommend doing this after you've adjusted your colors.

Red-Eye

Red-eye issues can easily be fixed with this quick retouch tool. Simply select the right size brush and indicate where the red-eye is located on the image.

White Balance

You can easily fix a bad color by pointing out where the white pixels need to be in the image. That is what the White Balance tool does. You simply point the picker to where the white pixels need to be in the image and it is instantly corrected.

Curves

The Curves adjustment allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, and the look of specific colors (red, green, blue), as well as adjust settings for the black point, mid-tones, and white point.

Levels

You can adjust the levels in a photo to lighten or darken areas and adjust the contrast in the photo. You can adjust settings for the black point, shadows, mid-tones, highlights, and white point. You can also change the look of specific colors (red, green, and blue).

Definition

It is possible to adjust the definition settings of a photo to add contours, shapes, local contrast, and definition of mid-tones. I have found this has the greatest impact on the sky colors.

Selective Color

Use the color picker to select a color in the image, once selected use the Hue, Saturation, Luminance, and Range to make that color pop out.

Noise Reduction

Use noise reduction to neutralize noise if your image was taken in low light. Sometimes this works, and sometimes other settings deal with noise reduction better.

Sharpen

Using the Sharpen tool on a photo, you can make edges crisper and more defined. This helps some areas to stand out more in a photo.

Vignette

Vignettes can darken the edges of a photo and emphasize the center of the image. You can adjust the size and darkness of vignettes to create the look you want.

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September 30, 2022

PhotoStyler

Abandoned Photo Design App

Earlier this week, I was trying to remember an application I saw that lets you import any image and instantly see previews of different designs and styles.

The reason I was thinking of this app is that I was trying to figure out a way to display a bunch of images in a unique way - instead of using some basic collage. On my own, I didn't remember the name of the app.

After many searches, I found the software: PhotoStyler by Neatberry. I never bought this application, but I had it on my watch list in 2017/2018. At the time, I thought it was a bit expensive at $29.99. My goal was to find out if it was included in various bundles and black friday deals at a lower price. That never happened, and I moved on to other apps.

Welcome Photo Styler
Welcome to PhotoStyler window appears whenever you open the App.

Abandonware?

There has been no update on the app PhotoStyler for a long time, and the app appears to be abandoned. It is not available on the App Store since it was abandoned. The application Created/Modified date is September 24, 2015.

Fortunately, I managed to find a Disk Image of the application and managed to install it under macOS Monterey (Version 12.6) without any issues. After it was installed, I got a warning about it being from an unknown developer. This was to be expected.

I can only use the application in Demo mode as I don't have a license key.

Sample Screen Shots

Photo Styler Presets

After you upload an image PhotoStyler works its magic and creates some designs for you. There are 189 possible presets. There are many that are not showing which I believe is related to the application not being updated in seven years.

Once you find the design you like. You simply double-click on the preview image to open up the editor.

Photo Styler Edit Window

Once you have the rough preset selected, you can change all sorts of aspects. You can replace the background, change colors, add lens flare and so much more.

After your done with your design, you can add it as a preset so that you can use it in future designs from PhotoStyler.

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September 23, 2022

Best Macintosh Apps

Over the past 5 years, these are the best apps I've used

It's five years ago today that I purchased Keyboard Maestro. It's a great application that I use pretty much every single day.

I was reminded of other apps that I purchased years ago and still use regularly, so I created this list of the most useful apps that I purchased over 5 years ago.

5 Years Macintosh App

BBEdit - (BBEdit 6 - September 6, 2000) - BBEdit is the only application that I have ever used since System 9. I have been using it almost continuously since 1997. It is a fantastic tool for dealing with text related issues on the Macintosh.

OmniGraffle - (OmniGraffle 4 - November 8, 2005) - It was with OmniGraffle version 4 that I started my journey with OmniGraffle and later upgraded to OmniGraffle Pro 7. This application is a great tool for creating organizational charts and laying out images.

Transmit - (Transmit 3 - September 27, 2006) - The Transmit application is my go-to application when it comes to transferring files. I use it for both work and personal files. It is easy to set up bookmarks so that I can quickly go to where I need to go for my files.

Fission - (Fission - March 22, 2008) - My favorite way to edit an audio clip is to drag and drop it on the Fission icon in the dock, which makes it easy for me to do simple modifications such as enhancing the sound and splitting an audio clip.

Affinity - Affinity Designer (October 18, 2016) and Affinity Photo ( December 11, 2016) - With the advent of the Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer, I am no longer reliant upon Adobe Software to edit my images and create my creations. These applications are simple to use and make it easy for me to create the results I wish to achieve.

LaunchBar - (November 25, 2016) - From opening applications, to simple calculations, to finding information quickly - LaunchBar is a great way to make using MacOS easier. It allows us to open applications, to perform simple calculations, to search the internet quickly.

Image2icon - (December 1, 2016) - It is very important to me to have colorful folders. That is why I use Image2icon to create folders with images and symbols. This makes it much easier for me to quickly find the folder I am looking for. I use Image2icon any time I need to clean up my computer.

PhotoScape - (September 11, 2017) - My favorite image tool is Photoscape X. I use it frequently to resize images, fix some minor problems and more. It is one of the easiest and most useful tools I use.

Keyboard Maestro - (September 23, 2017) - With Keyboard Maestro, my words are incredibly powerful. I can use macros to show the correct date format in the application I'm using, insert common feedback snippets, and get the latest weather information. The application is really powerful, and once you learn what it can do, you'll be eager to use it.

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September 16, 2022

6 Tips That Will Help You Get The Most Out of Affinity Photo

Design Ideas to fix Designers Block

Creativity is a tricky beast to tame. But with the right tools, you can find inspiration in unexpected places. There are so many ways to get creative that you might struggle to keep track of them all. Affinity Photo is one of the most underrated photo editing tools on the market. Not only does it have some great new features for professional photographers and enthusiasts, but it also comes with a range of useful filters and options that can help you get more from your images. These tips will give you a brief overview of the best Affinity Photo features and how they can be used creatively in your work as a photographer or digital artist covering everything from angles to lighting effects, user-created filters, and more.

Affinity Photo Tips

Basics: Get to Know the Tools You Have

The first step towards getting the most out of Affinity Photo is to get to know its basic tools. This is true for every program you use for photo editing, but it's especially important for Affinity Photo because of its wide range of features. Many of these aren't immediately obvious, but they can make a huge difference to how you approach your images. Here are some tips on the basic tools and features you should be aware of when getting started with Affinity Photo. - Selection tools: These are important for everything, but especially for retouching. You'll want to use the selection tools to find and remove anything you don't want in your image. - Transform tools: These let you move and manipulate parts of your image. You can use them to adjust the perspective, size, rotate, and flip the image. - Layer tools: Every image you create in Affinity Photo will be composed of layers. These are very important and let you do things like changing the position of the layers, adding filters, and stacking images together. - Histogram: This shows the brightness levels in your image. It's important for retouching and color correction.

Don't Be Afraid to Go Vertical

If you're a portrait photographer, you'll be familiar with being asked to take a shot in landscape format. In fact, you may have been asked this countless times, always with the promise of better photos. But is there any truth to this? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that you should shoot portrait format if your subject is people or animals. This is because it makes them look more natural and less distorted. In landscape format, you tend to have a slimmer figure, which is okay for buildings and scenes, but not so great for people. You might also choose to shoot portrait format if you're trying to draw attention to specific areas of your image. For example, if you're taking pictures of fruit, you may want to shoot in landscape format. This way, the focus is on the shape of the fruit. If you want to draw attention to the fruit's color, however, you should shoot portrait format. This is because you're only focusing on the top and bottom of the fruit.

Change Your Point of View

A good tip for getting the most out of your images is to change your point of view. This simple shift can make a world of difference. You might be so focused on capturing the perfect shot that you forget to look around and experiment with different angles. This is great for your creativity. It can also be helpful in terms of making retouching easier. If you have a pesky object in the way of your shot, you can try shooting from a different angle so that it's out of the frame. Once you have the final image, you can always move the object back into place. This is especially helpful for things like power lines or other distracting elements. It can be much easier to remove them from your shot when you don't have to try to edit them out later.

Don't Be Afraid to Use Filters

There are many people who believe that photo filters are used only by novices and people who can't take good photos. This is not true at all. You can use filters to experiment with new effects and create artistic images. You can apply filters to your images when you want to try something new or are struggling with retouching. The filters in Affinity Photo aren't limited to the standard effects, either. You can use them to create a wide range of different styles. There are also unique tools and options that let you alter the intensity of the filters. You can create your own filters, as well. There are many different types of filters and effects you can use in Affinity Photo. One of the most popular is the Black and White filter. This can be used to create a classic and artistic look. Saturated filters can help you find bold and vibrant images. There are also many creative and artistic filters that you can use to add a touch of creativity to your photos.

Let There be Light

Light can make or break an image. It can either create a beautiful and engaging shot or a dull and unappealing image. You can use light creatively to make your images more interesting, though. If you throw shadows and create silhouettes, you can create dramatic and powerful images. Keep an eye on the light and experiment with different positions for your subject. If there's not enough light, you can use artificial lights to fill in the shadows and create a beautiful image. You can also try different color filters to change the mood of your images. Experiment with warm and cool tones to find the perfect color scheme for your photos. You can even try manipulating the light to create interesting effects. If you want to create a streak of light, you can use an object to reflect the light.

Take Advantage of Shapes and Patterns

If you're struggling to come up with new designs or are just looking for some creative inspiration, try using shapes and patterns in your photos. - Circles: These can be used to create striking and eye-catching images. When you use circular objects, you can create beautiful and artistic photos. You can use these in your shots and in retouching and create some interesting effects. - Squares: Squares are another shape that you can use to create stunning images. You can use these in your shots by framing your subject in a square. You can also use them to create interesting effects during retouching.

Wrapping Up

Affinity Photo is an incredibly powerful program for editing and designing images, but that doesn't mean you have to use all of its features. There are many things you can do to get the most out of Affinity Photo, from understanding its basic tools to experimenting with different angles and filters. With the right approach, you can use this program to create stunning images without any effort at all.

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September 9, 2022

New iPhone 14 Max

PreOrdered the new phone

This morning I preordered an iPhone 14 Max. It???s been four years since I got a new iPhone. I am pretty excited about getting the latest iPhone.

I know there are some people that say that the iPhone 14 isn't that much different than the iPhone 13. It really doesn't matter to me what people say. Based on the specs of the iPhone 10 and the iPhone 14 - its really going to be an upgrade for me.

Things That I am Excited About

Always On Screen - I have my iPhone at my desk and it will be nice to use it as a clock and see other widgets at a glance.

48 Megapixels - I can't wait to see what 4x the resolution in ProRAW will do to some landscape photos - especially in the fall.

Telephoto - Taking telephoto pictures can change how I see everyday things. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to take a really good macro photo.

Depth Effect on Videos - This will be a cool effect to apply to videos taken after capture.

New Blog Posts!

Once I get the new phone, I'll blog about my experience with the new phone. The phone isn't expected to arrive until early October.

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September 2, 2022

Jira Search using LaunchBar

Get to Your Ticket Quicker

If you're a fan of the popular macOS utility LaunchBar, you know that one of its best features is its ability to search for and launch just about anything on your Mac. But did you know that you can also create custom search templates in LaunchBar?

With a little bit of effort, you can create custom searches for just about anything, including websites, files on your computer, or even specific items within those files. In this blog post, we'll show you how to create a custom search template for LaunchBar.

In this example, we'll create a custom search for your company's Jira board. Simply paste in your ticket number and a new browser window will open to that Jira page.

How it Looks

Jira Launch Bar

How to Setup

First things first: open up LaunchBar's Index (you can do this by pressing Command-Space to bring up the bar, then type Option-Command-i).

Click on the "Custom Search Template". Then, click the "+" button at the bottom of the window. In the resulting dialog box, enter "Jira Board" as the action name and paste your board's URL into the "URL template" field. Finally, click "Save." Your new search action will now be available whenever you launch LaunchBar.

Note: The asterisk should be placed where you want the ticket to appear. Example: https://jira.company.com/browser/*

Completed

Custom Jira Search Example
Completed Example

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August 26, 2022

Mission Control

Focus on Your Apps

Mission Control is an essential application for anyone using an Apple computer. It provides a centralized location from which you can manage all of your open windows and applications.

To open Mission Control, press the F3 key on your keyboard, or click on the Mission Control icon in the Dock. From there, you can use the tabs at the top of the window to switch between running applications, windows within those applications, and spaces (multiple desktops). You can also use Mission Control to quickly move windows between spaces.

Mission Control2022

If you have multiple displays connected to your computer, each display will show up as its own space in Mission Control. This makes it easy to move windows back and forth between displays without having to drag them across your desktop.

Mission Control is a great tool for focusing on one task at a time. You can, for example, have separate work and home spaces. This way you can keep your work life and personal life separate. You can also use Mission Control to focus on specific tasks. For example, if you need to study for an upcoming test, you can create a space specifically for studying and then close all other applications except the ones that you need for studying.

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August 19, 2022

Airport Express Setup

It is not possible to set up Airport Express with the latest version of Mac OS

During my recent move, I discovered a few Airport Express stations that I forgot that I had. While setting up my home office, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could still use them to set up my Epson Stylus CX7800 printer.

My Printer

The Epson Stylus CX7800 printer is a scanner/printer that I got many years ago. It doesn't have any wireless capabilities that are pretty much standard in today's printers. The printer was released on July 27, 2005, and has not been officially discontinued by Epson.

The newer version of this printer is the Epson Stylus Photo RX595 All-in-One Printer. It still doesn't contain any built-in wireless functionality.

Setting up the Airport Express

Airportmacos Monterey
AirPort Express is not found!

I tried using the latest Airport Utility on my iMac running macOS 12.5 (Monterey). The computer was not able to detect the Airport Express. I tried connecting the ethernet cable from the Airport Express to the iMac and setting it up that way, but the AirPort Utility didn't recognize the device.

In the above screenshot, you can see that another AirPort Express device was found. This was set up using my Powerbook computer:

Airport Powserbook2004

The only way that I was able to set up the Airport Express was to use my Powerbook G4. It's currently running Mac OS 10.5.8 (macOS Leopard). When I plugged the Airport Express in a nearby wall outlet - the AirPort Utility was able to detect it.

Note: The location of the Airport Express isn't an issue as the two computers are sitting next to each other.

I learned that the iMac/Monterey is no longer able to setup an AirPort Express device. However, when it is set up, I can connect to it to print or to send music.

Airport Express Fail

After playing around with all the various network settings, I wasn't able to get my Epson Stylus CX7800 printer to work with the Airport Express. It turns out that the AirPort Express won't work with the default Epson drivers. I would have to download alternative drivers and that's just to print. Who knows what quality and limitations I'll have. In addition, the scanning feature of the printer would not work using AirPort express.

iFelix.com has an Unofficial List of Compatible Printers that work with the AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express. My key take-way is that I can't use the scanner part of the printer - which kind of defeats having a printer/scanner.

Alternative Tool

There is a Launcher for Airport Utility for those that are running macOS 10.15 "Catalina." The utility allows you to run AirPort Utility v5.6.1.

This utility will not work if you are running macOS 12.5.

Basically if you have updated the macOS since COVID-19 you will not be able to use the Launcher for Airport Utility. You will need to use an older system to configure your AirPort Express.

My Recommendation

If you really want to get your AirPort Express working, take it to a friend's house that has an older Mac and manually set it up there.

Download the AirPort Express Setup Guide and follow the instructions on manually setting up your AirPort.

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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

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