Macintosh blog postings

Macintosh Postings - Page 3

Earliest: June 26, 2003Latest: September 10, 2021Total: 417
April 23, 2021

TypeFace

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.

April 16, 2021

NSMenuItem

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.

April 9, 2021

Hemingway App

Do you want to write better blogs?

One way, is to use a program like Hemingway. Its purpose is to help you write better sentences.

How Hemingway Works

Information From their website:

Hemingway makes your writing bold and clear. It's like a spellchecker, but for style. It makes sure that your reader will focus on your message, not your prose.

Too often, our words are like our thoughts ? innumerable and disorganized. Almost any bit of writing could use some cutting. Less is more, etc.

So, the Hemingway Editor will highlight (in yellow and red) where your writing is too dense. Try removing needless words or splitting the sentence into two. Your readers will thank you.

Hemingway
Abraham Lincoln would have benefited from the Hemingway App.

Seven Things I Learned

  1. The Hemingway Application cost $19.99 via the company store. This is a one-time fee, there is no subscription. I purchased it in August 2015 and in January 2017 got a free update.
  2. You can export the text into 4 formats: Plain text, Markdown, HTML, Word Doc, PDF Document and PDF.
  3. You can also Publish the document to Medium or WordPress.
  4. You don't need internet access to use Hemingway - which is the case with Grammarly.
  5. The sidebar can give you interesting statistics about your content. One stats that I find interesting is the Reading Time. So if you are into SEO, you'll be able to create content that matches the desired reading time. You can get information on the Adverb, Passive Voice, Phrases, and sentence readability.
  6. Hemingway Editor didn't catch some basic grammar errors. For example, when composing this blog post, I wrote the words better twice, it was caught by Grammarly.
  7. Hemingway Editor is a good last step in the editing process. I don't see it as a good writing environment to composed content. The Markdown export is really good and clean.
April 2, 2021

Bokeh Effect in PhotoScape

There are a lot of websites that sell Bokeh overlays that you can apply to any image. If you have Photoscape X, you already have some cool Bokeh effects.

What are Bokeh?

Bokeh is adding a lighting overlay on an image to give it a bit more flair effect. It is supposed to show additional lighting towards the camera.

bakeh Effect Photo Scape
Sample Bokeh with the menu in Photoscape.

Bokeh in Photoscape

You can find all sorts of Bokeh in the Light -> Bokeh section of the editor. There are 17 default tools, with all sorts of configurations. You can change the Light, Scape, Angle, Aspect Ratio, and Shapes.

Five Things I Learned

There are 40 different shapes to choose from. Everything from stars, hearts, snowflakes to mix color circles.

You can adjust the center of the Bokeh light by using the controller in the center.

The bokeh is also available in the Batch mode, so you can apply the same unique effect to a group of images.

If your really good at applying bokeh, you can always use the scatter brush to create your own.

There is a Bokeh Blur in the Adjustments section, but that is to make the background out-of-focus. This isn't the same as adding a group of lights as an overlay on a photo.

March 26, 2021

SD Card iMac Speed

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display comes with a built-in SD Card reader. I hardly ever use it since I have a Satechi USB-C Clamp Hub that has a built-in SD Card Reader. It's so much easier to use. In the iMac solution, I have to put the card in the back and that can be tricky to do.

iMac Backside
The backside of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display.

I Wonder...

I was wondering, what SD card reader is faster? Should I really be using the built-in one? This is important now that I have multiple USB-C devices. I now have:

On the iMac, I only have 2 USB-C slots, and the Cinema Display and SanDisk are using both slots. When I want to use the Satechi, I have to disconnect the Display or the SanDisk.

Am I just better off using the built-in SD Card reader?

  • The built in SD Card reader is using 2.5 GT/s link speed.
  • The Satechi SD Card Reader is using 5 GB/s

Looks like we need to convert the GT/s to GB/s to get a better answer.

Convert GT/s to GB/s

To do the calculations, I visited the Units Converter site to get the information.

It turns out that 2.5 GT/s is the same as saying 20 GB/s.

Showing the Math
Thanks to Units Converters!

1 Gigatransfers per Second = 64000000000 Bit per Second
1 Bit per Second = 8000000000 Gigabyte per Second (SI def.)
2.5 Gigatransfers per Second = 20 Gigabyte per Second (SI def.)

Apple Wins!

So it looks like that I am better off using the built-in SD card reader. The only way that I can match the iMac speed is to have a USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Card Reader, which would use the Thunderbolt port.

So for now, if I need a fast way to download the files of an SD card, I am better off using the built-in card reader.

March 19, 2021

Soundtrack Pro

Last week I talked about Peak LE, this weeks post is about Apple's Soundtrack Pro. This is another audio application that I used to edit my audio files. This was a great application that had a lot of features that made it easy to change or enhance the audio.

SoundTrack Pro was part of the Final Cut Studio series of applications which also include LiveType.

SoundTrack Pro was discontinued in 2011 for GarageBand and Logic Pro.

Sound Track Pro

Process Menu Options

In the Process are many adjustments including:

Fade In, Fade Out, Normalize, Adjust Amplitude, Silence, Invert, Reverse, Swap Channels, Time Stretch, Set Ambient Noise Print, Convert to Mono, Resample, Set Poise Print, Reduce Noise, Show Realtime Effects, Flatten Audible Actions, and Flaten all Actions

Built In Effects

Some of the Effects include with SoundTrack Pro:

Dynamics - Adaptive Limiter, Compressor, DeEsser, Expander, Limiter, Multipressor, and Noise Gate.

Distortion - Bitcrusher, Clip Distortion, Distortion, Distortion II, Exciter, Overdrive, and Phase Distortion.

EQ and Filter - AutoFilter, Channel EQ, Fat EQ, High Cut, High Pass Filter, High Shelving EQ, Linear Phase EQ, Low Cut, Low Pass Filter, Low Shelving EQ, Match EQ, Parametric EQ, and Soundtrack Pro Autofilter.

Modulation - Chorus, Ensemble, Flanger, Modulation Delay, Phaser, Scanner Vibrator, and Tremolo.

Reverb/Delay - PlatinumVerb, Soundtrack Pro Reverb, Space Designer, Stereo Delay, and Tape Delay

Miscellaneous - Denoiser, Gain, Pitch Shifter II, Ringshifter, Spectral Gate, Stereo Spread, and SubBass.

Mac OS - Bandpass, Delay, Distortion, DynamicsProcessor, Filter, GraphicEQ, HighShelfFilter, Hipass, Lowpass, LowShelfFilter, MatrixReverb, MultibandCompressor, ParametricEQ, PeakLimited, Pitch, RogerBeep, and SampleDelay

Space Designer

One of the cool hidden tools in SoundTrack was Space Designer, a powerful tool for sound design.

Space Designer Sound Track

This "futuristic look" tool gives you the power to adjust the sound to any type of space environment, such as Bathrooms, Clubs Cathedrals, Concert Halls, and more.

Space Designer is now part of Logic Pro Effect collection.

March 12, 2021

Peak 3 LE

This week, I was looking back at some applications that I used a long time ago. This came about when I found this folder in my collection:

2002 Applications
This was a folder that listed all the importaint applcations for my new Mac.

Peak LE

Peak LE was my go-to application to create/edit audio. You could record audio and play it back and make all sorts of cuts. You can send audio output to iTunes or to an audio file. In 2006, Peak LE was selling for about $129.

I remember using Peak all the time to make any audio change. I can believe that I put it there with Photoshop and Microsoft Office X.

Peak isn't supported anymore, Bias stop selling it back in 2012. They now recommend SoundSoap+ which costs $249!

Fast Forward to Today

Today my audio edits are done using Rogue Amoeba Fission. Which only cost $29 - I purchased it back in 2016 - a good investment!

I remember Peak LE being a pretty powerful application that had lots of plugs for effects. I didn't take a screenshot of the application, I'll have to boot up one of my old computers to see if I can get it.

I just discovered that it's on my old desktop G4 computer, I'll have to boot it up and see if I can still run it.

Welcome Screen

When I tried to load up the application on my Powerbook G4 this is the screen that I see:

Peak LE Welcome Screen

I don't have my registration and I wasn't able to find anything in my database. I know it's on my G4 Desktop, so I'll try to get that working to show the comparison of Peak vs Fission.

March 5, 2021

Hide Desktop Icons

Sometimes you want to hide the icons on the desktop, this could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe your demo some feature and you don't want to clean up the desktop or perhaps you use your computer as a background in Zoom videos.

There are no macOS settings available to do this. Hiding the "Finder" doesn't actually hide the icons on the desktop.

You can download software to make it easier, a couple of popular solutions include CoverDesk: Desktop Utility and HiddenMe! utilities.

However, if you have Keyboard Maestro. You can easily add a Menu action. There's no need to install any more software. You can create a Menu Macro like this:

Keyboard Maestro Hide Desktop

Configure the Macro

To cause the Desktop to hide the icons, you need to do a simple hack to hide the Desktop. This is done via the UNIX command. In Keyboard Maestro, you simply use the "Execute Shell Script" action.

Here are the steps:

Hide the Desktop icons

  • Open up Keyboard Maestro editor and select a group.
  • Create a new Macro. (Shortcut: Command N)
  • In the Title, use "Hide Desktop Icons"
  • In the Triggered by any of the following, select "The status menu item is selected."
  • Now type in Command Control A and type in "Shell" then return - This is a quick way to get the Execute Shell Action.
  • Paste the following:

#!/bin/bash
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop false
killall Finder

Show the Desktop icons:

Now create a Macro to Show the Desktop icon:

  • Open up Keyboard Maestro editor and select a group.
  • Create a new Macro. (Shortcut: Command N)
  • In the Title, use "Show Desktop Icons"
  • In the Triggered by any of the following, select "The status menu item is selected."
  • Now type in Command Control A and type in "Shell" then return - This is a quick way to get the Execute Shell Action.
  • Paste the following:

#!/bin/bash
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop true
killall Finder

Sample Entry

This is what the Hide Macro should look like:

Hide Desktop Keyboard

Easy to Use

Now when you want to hide the Desktop, you select the "Hide Desktop Icons" from the Keyboard Maestro menu bar.

February 26, 2021

FFmpeg Tips and Tricks

In the past few weeks, I have been using FFmpeg to modify some video and audio files. I been having found a few productive tips/tricks that I thought would be good to share.

If you have anything good to share, please feel free to leave a comment below.

ffmpeg Tips Tricks

Loop Video

If you have a short video and would like to extend it for a long duration. For example, if you have a bokeh design that you would like to loop over and over again.

This loops a GoPro video file 4 times it's current length:

ffmpeg -stream_loop 4 -i GH010375.MP4 -c copy output.mp4

Loop Audio

Looping audio works the exact same way.

This is useful when you want to extend a background sound, such as Apple's Playful for a longer duration.

This code snippet extends the 1-minute clip to 25 minutes. This saves me time in having to duplicate the clip multiple times in Final Cut Pro.

ffmpeg -stream_loop 25 -i PLAYFUL-EndlessLoop.m4a -c copy LongPlayful25.m4a

Combine Video

This is very useful when dealing with when the camera splits a video clip because of the 4GB limit. (This is something that the GoPro does.)

In this first example, We create a reference file and then combine the video clips.

cd ~/Desktop/GoPro/
printf "file ?%s'n" *.MP4 > clips.txt
ffmpeg -f concat -i clips.txt -c copy GoPro.mp4

In this example, we call out the files on the command line, without using the reference file. Here's an example:

ffmpeg -i "concat:GX010197.MP4|GX010198.MP4" -c copy ~/Desktop/output.mp4

February 19, 2021

PhotoLemur Update

Back in 2018, I blogged about Photolemur 3 and how it is a great photo touch up application. (Read the blog and checkout the before/after sample images.)

After I updated my main computer to macOS Big Sur (Version 11.2.1) Photolemur stop working properly. The image rendering would be fine, but when I went to save the document to the computer it would crash.

Other people also encountered this issue and wanted Skylum to fix this issue. Skylum Community forum has a thread of the conversations.

Obviously this prevented me from using the application. This was a known issue to the Skylum team. However, the developers were focus on the launch of their new update to Luminar.

In order to use Photolumer on some images, I ended up using another computer that I didn't upgrade to macOS 11.2.

Photo Lemur3 Update2021

Now Works!

Earlier this month, Photolemur was updated to version 1.1.1 (7265) which included the fix so that it would work in Big Sur (macOS 11.2.1).

The update came just in time, I was about to buy Luminar since that was working fine and did offer a lot more flexibility than Photolemur.

The one thing that I learned about this is that the application may not get that much attention for updates in the future. I should look into Luminar at some point.

Check out PhotoLemur

If you do any digital photography, be sure to checkout Photolumer. Your pictures will look much better after running them through the application.

The application works fine, don't worry about the "lack of attention." It's still a perfectly good application.