Macintosh Blog Posts
Macintosh Year in Review
This year there were a lot of great Macintosh Posts, I had a lot of fun learning new Macintosh applications.
Only a few posts I feel that stood out from the 52 posts made this year.
Nine Blog Post that are worth reading again
BBEdit Shortcuts - Some of my popular BBEdit Shortcuts
- iterm2 Status Bar - The iterm2 Status Bar can give you a good snapshot about your environment.
- LaunchBar Instant Send - Learn how to get more out of LaunchBar Instant Send.
- Managing the Mac Dock - Get more out of your System Dock
- New 27-inch iMac - I got a new iMac this year. Read up on what I learned from the buying process.
- Archey - Spice up your terminal login with this cool terminal tool!
- Triggers with Hot Corners - A cool trick with Screen Corners
- Dynamic Desktops - Create Desktop background images that changes all day long.
- Mosaic - Learn how to better organize your Application windows
I plan on doing smaller simple posts, and not try to cram a software review in a single post. After reviewing a lot of posts, I feel that smaller post would have more value.
Expect to see more posts around media and tools for the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display.
Every year PhotoScape X does a big update at the end of December. The 2019 update occurred on the 16th.
The nice thing about this update is that it's free! PhotosScape X is a great must-have tool for anyone on a Macintosh.
There are a lot of neat features in this release, here's are my favorite items:
- Users can now record actions, which makes it easy to apply duplicate actions on similar photos.
- You can now add your filters as Favorites, which makes it easy to reach common filters
- There's a new Replace Image filter in the Transformation section. Looks like all it does is replace the currently selected image. I am not sure the value this has.
- Lots of great Stickers - Faces, Flags and Floral. These come in handy every once in a while.
- 233 Geometric Figures which can add a unique touch to any design - These are in the last items in the figure menu. Try applying Drop Shadow and Outline for more of an effect.
- There are three new brush shapes, these are located in the Tools -> Paint. There's a new Shape option next to the Subtract brush. You can use an angle brush, square brush and a rectangle brush.
Check out the release note for all the changes in the big 4.0 update.
Aerate is a Macintosh image compression program. It's design so that you simply drag and drop an image and instantly you get a quailty image.
There are 2 compression engines:
Opti - Faster Compression. (Not a whole lot of information on this.)
Zopfli - Higher compression into gzip and zlib formats but takes a bit longer than Opti. You get better results, but it will take more time to get there.
You can convert PNGs into JPGs, which can come in handy when wanting to convert a bunch of PNG and JPG images.
ShortPixel is Better
I tested Aerate against some other image compression programs and here are my notes:
Aerate wasn't able to compress all my images. Some of the images actually went up in size, but Aerate let me know that no space saved this time. However, using the exact same image on ShortPixel, I was able to save 57%.
Screenshot to show ShortPixel was able to compress a particular image where Aerate said that it couldn't.
Aerate is free, the Pro version cost $14.99. Aerate Pro gives you access to Fast and Extreme compression modes. In addition, you get to use the Multi-core CPU to compress a lot of images. In addition, you can Bulk-compress multiple images.
I got Aerate as part of a BundleHunt promotion. I paid about $5 for the Pro application.
Honestly, I don't think it's worth the cost. ShortPixel worked so much better, I would recommend using their image compression.
Keyboard Maestro with Slack
Recently the Engineering team at Slack made changes to when Markdown actions get applied.
However, when users paste in content they have to type in Shift Command F for the markdown text to be applied.
This is inconvenient to remember to type the command every time I paste in text. Especially a lot of the content that I put in Slack is from Keyboard Maestro.
People all over Twitter were complaining about the changes.
Keyboard Maestro to the Rescue!
Then I thought, this is a perfect use of Keyboard Maestro. All I had to do was add a new action to any existing Macro, and
Here's an example of Macro with the new Keyboard Action:
One More Thing
One thing that I can do, is create a new Macro that would always apply the Shift Command F whenever I paste in clipboard content.
This way I won't ever have to remember to type in the command.
I haven't done this - yet. I don't feel that I need to do it every time. Who knows, maybe in the future - it's nice to have that option.
Black Friday Watch
This is my annual Black Friday watch posting. Every year I post on things that I am looking for on Black Friday. In addition, I let you know what resources I am using to find the best deals.
Here's the deals that I'll be looking for on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Top Five Items
- USB Storage - I need something to help store files. I am trying to keep my main computer free of storage files.
- HDMI color cables - My TV HDMI cables are a mess. It would make life easier to have different color HDMI cables.
- Udemy Classes - Looking for Python and Swift classes. Right now pretty much every class is discounted to $9.99
- Cloud Storage - Maybe DropBox or Google will have some special deals.
- Desk organizers - something to help get my home office desk into a productive state.
I don't need any software this year. However, I'll be checking the Apple iOS Store for some good deals.
I have heard about imazing software for a few years - and didn't think much of it.
For those that don't know, iMazing allows you to manage your iOS devices without the need for iTunes. It's a great single-source application that lets you manage your Music, Ringtones, Books, Photos, Messages and more.
I recently purchased it in the October BundleHunt deal. It was a good deal for $6.
This use to be called DiskAid, but was changed to iMazing in 2014 to better reflect the value of the application.
Five Things I like about iMazing
I like that I am able to move over Music and Movies onto the iPhone from my MacBook Pro and iMac.
Now that Apple split Music and Movies to different Apps, it is no longer fun to manage my device. iMazing makes it easy to manage the device in one application.
I can sort the Photos/Video listing by size. Now I can remove the larger files that are taking up too much space on my phone. A really good way to manage the iPhone.
I can now better manage files in the Books section. I can finally get rid of outdated books and add important PDF manuals. That I can read when I have no internet - such as BBEdit and the Affinity Photo Manual.
Backing up messages is cool! But backing up Voicemail is awesome. Now I can completely clear out all those old voice messages. I can also save the transcript to a CSV file - something that isn't possible in any Apple application.
Get iMazing if you want more control with your iOS device. It really gives you a lot more control on backing up your device.
You can download iMazing 2 for Mac and PC on iMazing website.
A single license cost $44.99 - however, you can usually find the software bundle with other apps for a much cheaper price.
Last month when I was setting up my new iMac, I was thinking if it was time to move on from using Panic Transmit. So I spent time looking for alternative FTP client software.
One of the applications that I encountered was Viper FTP. This was interesting because I hadn't seen it before and thought it would be worth checking out.
Eight Key differences between Transmit and Viper FTP
I played around with Viper FTP for a couple of days, and here are my observations:
There is a free version of Viper FTP which has limited capabilities. This is a perfect solution if you only have one FTP connection and need basic functionality.
There is a setting in Viper FTP that preserves the system date of downloaded files. This is neat. When I want to back up a production file, I want to keep the date of the last modification. In Transmit, this was possible with Transmit Disk mode was enabled - that feature has been discontinued in Transmit 5.6.0.
In Viper the connection favorites are kept on the left side of the window. This makes it easy to jump around on the server. In Transmit, it's in a small bookmark-type bar on the top of the listing.
In Transmit, you can assign custom icons to servers, making it really easy to see the AWS servers from the DropBox servers. You can't do that in Viper.
In Viper, you can put servers in the Toolbar. Which makes it really quick to access critical servers.
Transmit has the ability to connect to a lot more different server types. You are limited using Viper. Viper FTP Lite doesn't have access to Google Drive or DropBox.
Viper FTP Lite, the free version, only allows you to save 3 servers at once.
Panic Transmit costs $24.99 via subscription price or a one-time price for $45 per user for all your Macs. Viper FTP costs $18.99 for one user on one computer. To install it on multiple computers it cost $79.99.
Panic Create New Connection Dialog. This shows all available options.
Viper FTP Quick Connection dialog. Pretty cool that you can upload videos to YouTube!
At the End of the Day
While Viper FTP looks cool and has a few bells and whistles that isn't available in Transmit, I'll be sticking with Transmit. I think Transmit is a cool
New 27-inch iMac
Last month I upgraded my iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011) to the 2019 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display.
I spent a lot of time investigating the perfect computer, spent time researching different configurations and machines. Is the Mac Mini a better computer to get? How about a MacBook Pro?
After much research and talking with friends, I selected this configuration:
3.7GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz
8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory
512GB SSD storage
Magic Mouse 2
Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad - US English
Five Things I learned about the iMac
- I ordered the computer with an SSD drive and they had to customize it. It was scheduled to be delivered on October 14th, it actually arrived on October 4th.
- I gave up space for performance. As this computer has 1/2 the disk space than my old computer - this means that I have to manage my space on my hard drive better.
- Instead of having Apple install additional memory, I installed it myself. Doing it myself saved me about $450. It was incredibly easy to do, and it took about 3-minutes to install the memory cards.
- It's so nice to have a 27-inch screen vs the 21.5-inch screen. The extra screen space really makes a difference on multitasking various applications.
- Someone suggested that I upgrade to the wireless full-size keyboard - instead of the mini-keyboard. I do like the full-size board and found that it was a great idea. I like that it's wireless and that to charge it up, I just plug in a lightning cable.
I am actively updating my 27-inch iMac 2019 page on the ins and outs of using this computer. (Think of it as a mini-blog)
My goal is to update the site on my experiences using the new computer.
I have been a Macintosh user for a long time, and I have a lot of old gadgets and software - such as FireWire, and SCSI disks.
This this the first computer that I owned that doesn't have a built in CD/DVD drive. I already have an external USB DVD drive. (It supports both Firewire and USB2)
Luminar 2018 is a cool application that makes it super easy to stylize and image to the way you want it to look.
Things I Learned About Luminar 2018
There's a Sky Enhancer which allows you to get a better sky via artificial intelligence.
Out of the box, there are 60 one-click presets to quickly touch up the photos. You can always purchase more on seklum.com website - there are some free presets while others cost between $10 - $20.
When you select a preset, you can change all the options - to one that works best for your image.
Luminar 2018 gives you a bit more power than what's in Photolemur 3. For example, with Luminar I can alter a photo to look.
Batch Processing is pretty cool. This is where you can apply Presets, Format and resize all that the same time. For example, you can apply the Sky Enhancer to a set of common images. For example, you can make a bunch of Black and White thumbnail version of images as previews.
Batch processing is great for those RAW images that you have. You can use the technology in Luminar to render the images and then back up to various cloud services such as Google Photos.
The Luminar 2018 document is 155 pages long. There is a lot of information about all the various configurations. The nice thing is that the PDF document is searchable. If reading manuals isn't your thing there's a large collection of video tutorials available.
Replacement for Photolemur 3?
Luminar 2018 doesn't replace the need for Photolemur 3 - it just another image enhancing tool in the toolbox. Photolemur is great when I want a quick touch up, but when I want to be fancy or have more control, I'll use Luminar 2018.
Photolemur and Luminar 2018 are both created by Skylum.
Getting Luminar 2018
The best way to get Luminar 2018 is via the BundleHunt collection. You can get it for about $4 - about a $60 savings. This is a good price for the value that you get using the software.
Holiday Search in Spotlight
I am not sure if this is unique to MacOS 10.15, but I noticed something cool about the Spotlight search. You can put in holidays and it will find files that were created on that day.
Here's an example of Halloween:
Here's an example of Christmas:
How Cool is that?
None of the files found have the Halloween, Christmas or Easter text in them. So Spotlight had to have matched the event with the date.
I tried other dates such as my Birthday - to see if Spotlight would interpret contact data as part of the Spotlight search. That didn't work.
What do you think? What other Easter Eggs are being used by Sportlight?