I’ve been rethinking how I store my digital data. I used to keep it in plain text markdown files. More recently I have been keeping it in apps like Bear, Ulysses, or Apple Notes. I’ve never been comfortable with this method because of the lock-in. And, use I know Bear and Ulysses have export options.
What I gleaned from the comments was that more people favored storing data in individual files. Several people use Devonthink or EagleFiler while others use a folder structure in Finder. The subject of finding files/search came up. HoudahSpot was mentioned a few times as a Finder search app alternative to Spotlight.
For those of us who have shifted from folder hierarchies to search as our primary method of “filing,” Spotlight has become a way of life. And where Spotlight falls short, HoudahSpot steps in and fills the gaps. I’ve said it enough that it sounds cliché to me, but HoudahSpot really is steroids for Spotlight on macOS.
The decision I made was to go back to individual files. All my digital data is now in a shallow folder structure in Finder as individual files. I can access these files with any text editor on any platform. And searching with Alfred or HoudahSpot I can find absolutely any file I’m looking for.
One of the things that keeps me from using Apple’s Reminders for all my todo needs is the ability to forward an email to Reminders like I can in Things.
Well, according to Mac Geek Gab Episode 908 listener Dave, there’s a hidden and undiscoverable way to do just that. “It turns out that one can create a reminder from an email message by control clicking or right-clicking on the subject field of the email. When you do this, the contextual menu that pops up includes a share menu which contains among a few other things Reminders. Clicking anywhere else in the message will not work.”
I checked it out. It works. I found that selecting the subject then control clicking or right-clicking works better. It’s also fairly easy to add a date, time, or note to the reminder if you want to.
I don’t use Chrome but I know a lot of Mac users do use Chrome or a Chromium-based browser. Chrome 97 released yesterday comes with a significant Security & Privacy improvement that I want to bring to your attention.
Chrome 97 makes some changes to the Privacy and Security settings. You can now delete all the data stored by a website. Previously, you could only delete individual cookies. This new setting can be found at Settings > Security and Privacy > Site Settings > View Permissions and Data Stored Across Sites.
I typically have several Safari windows open, each with a different group of related tabs. When I want to switch to a specific tab it’s a tiny awkward dance of flipping through windows and then CMD-Shift-Backslash to open the Safari tab overview search. It’s not a great experience, especially if I have a Safari window in another space.
Restart the affected apps (or your whole computer).
Yes, I had deleted the old Grammarly for Mac app and installed the new Grammarly Desktop app. So, I’m going to assume that’s what happened. It appears that uninstalling the new Grammarly Desktop app also breaks “Check Spelling While Typing”.
Running the terminal command fixed “Check Spelling While Typing” for me.
Most major US Banks offer Zelle so I read this article in order to understand how the scam works. After reading it I realized that this scam would be very easy to fall for if you’re not aware of it. Please take a few minutes to read this article.
One of the more common ways cybercriminals cash out access to bank accounts involves draining the victim’s funds via Zelle, a “peer-to-peer” (P2P) payment service used by many financial institutions that allows customers to quickly send cash to friends and family. Naturally, a great deal of phishing schemes that precede these bank account takeovers begin with a spoofed text message from the target’s bank warning about a suspicious Zelle transfer. What follows is a deep dive into how this increasingly clever Zelle fraud scam typically works, and what victims can do about it.
Last Wednesday I needed to log in to a website and to my surprise the Bitwarden extension had disappeared from the toolbar. I went to Safari > Preferences > Extensions to enable it again and found that it was no longer listed. Then I noticed that the Goodlinks, and Wipr Extra extensions had also disappeared. What the hell!
I emailed Bitwarden and Goodlinks support, hoping to get an answer as to why this happened and how to restore the extensions. Here are the responses that I got and how to get the extensions back:
Then follow the instructions in this Alfred support email sent to me by Vero:
This is an issue in macOS Monterey that affects primarily users who migrate data from another Mac. We’ve established in this forum thread that rebuilding your Mac’s index in full resolves the issue for everyone:
The first steps to follow when results seem unexpected is to rebuild your Mac’s metadata. It’s usually because the data being provided by macOS is incorrect (even if it appears correct in the current Spotlight cache), and rebuilding ensures that all this information is refreshed by the OS.
Even if you believe you’ve already reindexed, please follow the steps below specifically (as it involves deleting a cache first and ensuring Terminal has suitable permissions).
******First, please pop open System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access and add Terminal**
Once you’ve done this, go to Alfred’s Advanced preferences, choose “Rebuild macOS Metadata”
******Ensure that you check “Delete .Spotlight-V100 before reindex”**
Follow the steps in Terminal, and keep a close eye for any error messages relating to your index.
Please let me know if there are any errors. Otherwise, if it proceeds smoothly, you may need to wait up to an hour for the reindex to complete. Once this is done, make your searches again and see if your results are more as expected.
If your issue persists, please provide the following information:
Your diagnostics file, by typing ?diagnostics into Alfred and attaching the resulting fileExamples of the File
Troubleshooting reports for the files you cannot find using Alfred
Details of exactly what you’re typing into Alfred and what results you are expecting to see
Some iPhone and iPad users have reported that battery life is suffering after updating to iOS 14.6 on their device.
My normal practice is to wait a few days before installing OS updates. I want to see if the update is presenting any new issues. I was alerted to a possible battery issue with iOS 14.6 in a May 26th blog post by Lee Peterson. Therefore, I did a some research and found that several folks were having problems with rapid battery drain. I’m going to hold off installing 14.6 and wait for a fix.
As a side note Apple has stopped signing iOS 14.5.1, blocking downgrades from iOS 14.6 according to 9to5Mac, so this is no longer a possible workaround.
Bitwarden has been my password manager since 1Password went subscription a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong I love 1Password but by comparison, it’s pricey. Bitwarden is free to use with Premium features for $10 a year. The free version will do everything most people need from a password manager.
This week Bitwarden introduced a cool new feature. Send for secure one-to-one information sharing. “Bitwarden Send is a lightweight utility used to share information with another person for a limited period of time. Bitwarden users can easily transmit a file or text, and rest easy knowing the sent information is protected with end-to-end encryption, and will not live forever. Users choose an expiration date for the Send link, after which it no longer works to access the information.”
“This new feature is available on all Bitwarden clients: Web Vault, mobile, browser extensions, and CLI, meaning users will always have a secure way to share sensitive information temporarily.”
Bitwarden Safari extension no longer works with the Bitwarden direct download application
Today I needed to login into a website so I opened Safari and went to open the Bitwarden extension and to my surprise, it wasn’t there. WTF!
Here is whats up: “Due to changes by Apple, Safari limits Web Extension use to only those obtained through Mac App Store downloads. As of the 2021-03-11 Release, users will not be able to use a Bitwarden Safari Extension obtained through a .dmg installation from bitwarden.com/download or any other non-App Store source. ”Safari Web Extension | Bitwarden Help & Support
According to Bitwarden Support Release Notes the Safari App Extension has officially been ported to a Web Extension for use with Safari 14 . Due to changes to Safari, Web Extension use is now limited to only those obtained through Mac App Store download. Release Notes | Bitwarden Help & Support
I unistalled the download version of Bitwarden and installed the Mac App Store version and all is good. A little advance notice on this issue would have been nice.
I was catching up on some reading today and one of the articles that I read was Get to Know Your Mac’s Dock by Kirk McElhern. I’m not a Mac newbie but even as an experienced Mac user (sometimes considered a power user) I still learn new things all the time.
“One of the key elements you use to interact with your Mac is the Dock. You can use the Dock in many ways: you can open apps, you can open files by dragging them on icons in the Dock, you can open folders that you’ve stored in the Dock, and more.”
In Kirk’s article you will discover the many configuration options available for the Dock, and the best way to turn the Dock into a high-powered productivity booster.
The 4 things that I learned
In the early days, the Dock’s magnification was on by default; these days, now it’s off by default. When you select this setting, the Dock icons increase in size when you hover your cursor over them. This has the advantage of providing a bigger target when you drag a file to the Dock, but you may, like me, find it a distraction.
The Dock preferences have a few settings for the way things animate in the Dock, or when you minimize windows by clicking the yellow button at the top left of a window or by double-clicking a window’s title bar.
Add files and folders
You can also add files and folders to the right (or bottom) section of the Dock; just drag them there, to the left of the Trash icon.
Click and hold menu
You’ll notice other settings in the menu that displays when you click and hold an app icon: you can have it launch at login, you can show it in the Finder, and, if you use Spaces, you can assign it to a specific desktop.
The changes I made
Previously I had the Dock on the bottom with Hide on and a smaller size than the default. Now I have the Dock on the left with Magnification on, and Genie effect Animation, and the same smaller size. I also removed a few apps that I rarely use. I’m liking my new Dock setup.
“Transferring photos and videos from iCloud Photos does not remove the content you have stored with Apple, but it provides a backup method and stores a copy of the content on Google Photos.” Not sure if this is something that I would use. 🤨
Those of who you have been following me for a while know that I’m a fan of Fastmail. Here’s one of the reasons I use Fastmail. “Recently, “spy pixels” have been in the news, with the BBC running a story about this marketing industry practice. Fastmail has blocked spy pixels by default for years. Your information is safe with us.”
“Fastmail protects you from spy pixels and other remote images. As the world’s oldest independent email provider, we’ve been defending your privacy for over 20 years.” Take a look at the Fastmail 30 day Free trial.
Oh yeah, I got my first of two Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations last Saturday. What a relief.
Lately, I’ve been doing more of my writing in Drafts. One thing that I miss is a keyboard shortcut for a markdown link. In other writing apps like iA Writer, Byword, Ulysses, and etc, ⌘K is the keyboard shortcut for a markdown link. Since I use links fairly often I miss not having it when I’m writing in Drafts.
I solved this by creating a Keyboard Maestro macro for ⌘K to insert a markdown link when I’m writing in Drafts. Now when I press ⌘K in Drafts I get the markdown link syntax ().
Here’s the macro setup:
First, you have to create a Drafts group. When you do this be sure to set Available in these applications: to Drafts.
Dropbox has taken a lot of heat from users lately. They aren’t happy with the app that’s now part of the Dropbox install. Like me, most users would like to have the Finder integration only. That said, I only have a couple of Dropbox folders that I would like to have on my Mac but I don’t want them enough to have the new Dropbox app installed.
Last week macosxguru mentioned Maestral in his 2020 Review. Maestral is a light-weight and open-source Dropbox client for macOS and Linux. It uses the public Dropbox API and integrates with Finder just like Dropbox used to do. I’ve been using it for a few days and have had no issues.
If you’re interested in Maestral an app bundle is provided for macOS High Sierra and higher and can be downloaded from the Releases tab on the Maestral GitHub page.
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.
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.
tell application "System Preferences"
tell application "System Events"
tell process "System Preferences"
click the menu item "Trackpad" of the menu "View" of menu bar 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"
tell application "System Preferences"
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.
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.
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.