Toggle Control Center with a keyboard shortcut in Big Sur

I installed Big Sur on my 2015 MacBook Pro the other day. One area that I wanted to customize was the menubar. There is so much blank space between the icons, it’s a gigantic waste of space and looks awful. Even after installing Bartender 4 to organize my menubar I wanted to move some items to the Control Center for better organization.

Now that I have items in the Control Center, that used to be visible in the menubar, I’ll be accessing Control Center more frequently. Rather than clicking Control Center, I wanted a keyboard shortcut to toggle it open and closed. I did this with a Keyboard Maestro macro.

Credit maxwellj02 for the apple script:

tell application "System Events"
    tell process "Control Center"
        tell menu bar item "control center" of menu bar 1
            click
        end tell
    end tell
end tell

By the way, my Big Sur install went perfectly and I haven’t had any issues.

How to get the trackpad to ignore touches while typing

Do you get frustrated with how the slightest touch of the palm of your hand or thumb on the trackpad causes the text cursor to jump to a different position when you’re typing? I have and it’s been bothering me for some time.

Here’s how I solved this problem. I turned off “Tap to click” in the Trackpad Settings. Now when I’m typing and my palm or thumb accidentally touches the trackpad the text cursor doesn’t jump to a different position. I’m guessing this setting is on by default because I don’t recall having ever turned it on.

When I’m not typing, I like having “Tap to click” turned on. Since it’s not convenient to go into Trackpad Setting to turn it on and off all the time I looked for an AppleScript that I could use to toggle it on and off.

I found this one and it works fine.

Credit: Wojtek Witkowski on Github

tell application "System Preferences"
	activate
end tell
tell application "System Events"
	tell process "System Preferences"
		delay 1
		click the menu item "Trackpad" of the menu "View" of menu bar 1
		delay 1
		click the radio button "Point & Click" of the first tab group of window "Trackpad"
		click checkbox 3 of tab group 1 of window "Trackpad"
	end tell
end tell
tell application "System Preferences"
	quit
end tell

I’m using this script in Keyboard Maestro with the hotkey ⌘+⌥+9 to toggle the setting on and off. This will also work with an Alfred Workflow.

Results of one of the largest password re-use studies ever

Last month a Turkish student Ata Hakçıl studying computer engineering at the University of Cyprus did one of the largest password re-use studies ever. He analyzed more than 1 billion-plus leaked credentials from data breaches at various companies. These data dumps have been around for several years, and have been piling up as new companies are getting hacked.

Out of the 1 Billion credentials, 168,919,919 were passwords. The most common password 123456 was spotted 7 million times per billion credentials. The average password length was 9.5 characters and 87.96% of passwords didn’t contain special characters. And 34.41% of all passwords end with digits, but only 4.522% of all passwords start with digits.

Cool Stats

  • From 1.000.000.000+ lines of dumps, 257.669.588 were filtered as either corrupt data(gibberish in improper format) or test accounts.
  • 1 Billion credentials boil down to 168.919.919 passwords, and 393.386.953 usernames.
  • Most common password is 123456. It covers roughly 0.722% of all the passwords. (Around 7 million times per billion)
  • Most common 1000 passwords cover 6.607% of all the passwords.
  • With most common 1 million passwords, hit-rate is at 36.28%, and with most common 10 million passwords hit rate is at 54.00%.
  • Average password length is 9.4822 characters.
  • 12.04% of passwords contain special characters.
  • 28.79% of passwords are letters only.
  • 26.16% of passwords are lowercase only.
  • 13.37% of passwords are numbers only.
  • 34.41% of all passwords end with digits, but only 4.522% of all passwords start with digits.

Here’s my takeaway from this:

  1. Massive amounts of people need to start using a password manager. This would allow for longer and more complex passwords and eliminate the need to re-use them.
  2. Only 12.89% of passwords contain special characters and only 4.52% of passwords start with a digit. So pick a password that starts with a number and includes special characters to avoid brute forcers.

If you’re not using a password manager then get started now. I’m using is Bitwarden. Bitwarden is open source, simple to use and best of all it’s FREE.

If you would like to see if any of your passwords have been breached you can check them at HaveIBenPwned.

Three finger swipe to undo

I had been writing an article in Ulysses for the last couple of days and was just about done with it. Last evening while lying in bed I was reviewing it on my iPhone and I noticed something that I wanted to change. So I selected the change and deleted it. Unknowingly I had somehow selected the text of the entire article and everything I had written was gone. Ah Shit!

I couldn’t figure out a way to get what I’d written back. I checked for a Ulysses backup but to my surprise, Ulysses doesn’t backup external files and folders and the article was in a Dropbox folder. Next, I tried a google search for a Ulysses undo action and again no luck. So at this point, everything that I’d written was gone.

This morning I was listening to an episode of Accidental Tech Podcast and Casey Liss happened to mention three-finger swipe for undo. I don’t remember in what context he mentioned it but it sure got my attention. I immediately thought I wish I had known this yesterday. It would have saved my ass.

Here’s how it works. Swipe left with three fingers on the active app to undo your last actions. To redo your last action, swipe right with three fingers. This works on iOS and iPadOS.

The Sweet Setup has a good article on text formatting gestures that you can find it here.

Web Finds for November 17, 2019

Web Finds are from my web surfing travels. You’ll find some unique and informative news, apps and websites that you may have never known existed. Enjoy!

IBM Finds Its Mac Users to Be More Productive Than PC Users
Today, during the keynote at the 2019 JNUC, Previn was back on stage to share research claiming that Macs enable IBM employees to be more productive, and also improve employee satisfaction and retention. IBM now has 290,000 Apple devices deployed in the company.
Via TidBits

Apple Research app
With the Research app, volunteering to help advance medical understanding has been greatly simplified.1 You can sign up for a study (or studies) right from your iPhone. If you meet the criteria for a given study, you’re in. It’s that easy.
Via Apple

Save Safari Web Pages to PDFs on iOS with Dropbox App
Dropbox has just updated its iOS app, and the latest version includes a useful new addition:

“Save to Dropbox” App Extension now saves PDF versions of websites from Safari (iOS 8 & 9 only) — to enable, you can tap the share icon in Safari and toggle the extension from the “More” section
Via Kirkville

How to Use iOS 13’s Text Editing Gestures on iPhone and iPad
With the release of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, Apple introduced a number of new text editing taps and gestures that can be performed on both iPhones and iPads. These taps and gestures make it quicker and easier to do things like select text, copy and paste, undo and redo edits, and move the cursor around the screen.
Via MacRumors

Previous Web Finds are here.

Store Ulysses files in Dropbox instead of iCloud

Ulysses is my favorite writing app. But I have had iCloud sync issues with it off and on since I started using it. Well, I have solved that problem forever.

With Ulysses 18 it’s possible to use Dropbox in place iCloud for sync. The ability to do that hasn’t been widely written about so I’m guessing a lot of folks don’t know about it. I stumbled across it in the Ulysses library settings. I searched for information about it on the Ulysses website and here’s what I found.

Ulysses 18 & External Folders

One of our most requested features, like… ever, was to allow Ulysses files to be stored on Dropbox (or any sync service for that matter). Well, with Ulysses 18, you can finally do it!

We’ve added the option to use native Ulysses files in external folders, no strings attached. These files offer the full feature set, from Markdown XL right down to attachments, goals and everything else. So if you don’t want to use iCloud (or are not allowed to), you now have an alternative means of syncing your work.

I moved all my writing into Dropbox and disabled iCloud in the Ulysses library settings. So far everything is working flawlessly.

Convert existing external folders to Ulysses’ own format

If you already have lots of Markdown files in external folders and you want to benefit from the advantages of our Ulysses files, simply create a new folder, change the file format and drag your existing text files into the new folder.

Recommended iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS Catalina reviews

I read a lot of reviews when Apple releases their new OS’s. That way I’m up to speed on what to expect when I finally decide to install them.

MacStories reviews are always one of the best.

iOS and iPadOS 13: The MacStories Review
No stone is left unturned in iOS 13 – and that includes iPad too.
via MacStories

macOS Catalina: The MacStories Review
With Catalina, Apple has taken clear, though not always successful, steps to bridge the divide between the Mac and iOS. App functionality has been realigned, System Preferences has been rearranged, and new features have been added to make it easier to move from one platform to the other.
Via MacStories

iOS 13 Reminders app incompatible with macOS 10.14 and earlier

If you have iOS devices and an iPad or Mac you’re going to want to read this Apple Support article regarding the new Reminders app before you upgrade to iOS 13. This may save you a lot of frustration.

Upgraded reminders aren’t compatible with earlier versions of iOS and macOS. If you upgrade your reminders on your iPhone with iOS 13, your iPad and Mac using the same iCloud account can’t access your reminders until iPadOS and macOS 10.15 Catalina are available.

Brave browser not remembering per site Shield settings

The other day I wrote that I have been testing Brave on my Mac as my primary browser. So I’m in the process of setting everything up the way I want it. One issue I was having was Shield changes that I made on individual sites weren’t being remembered after quitting and restarting Brave. I tried finding an answer to this issue with a google search but with no luck.

So I did a little tinkering around and here’s how I fixed it.

Go to Settings > Additional settings > Privacy and security > Clear browsing data and make sure Site settings is unchecked in the Advanced and On exit tabs.

Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 DNS server issue

I thought I was having intermittent WiFi dropouts with my MacBook Pro. It started all of a sudden a couple of days ago. The odd thing is, it wasn’t happening on any other devices or my wife’s new MacBook Air.

It was getting frustrating. Websites would take forever to load. Sometimes they would time out. I rebooted my MacBook and turned WiFi on and off. I rebooted my modem and Eero. I ran a speedtest and that also checked good. And after all that the issue persisted.

At a loss for what to do next, I finally remembered that I’m using Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 DNS servers. Could that be it?

Yes! I switched back to my ISP’s DNS servers. After doing that everything was working as it should work. I then switched to OpenDNS servers and they worked fine as well.

I’m guessing Cloudflare is having some sort of an unresolved issue with there 1.1.1.1 servers.