Modifier key order

I’ve learned a lot about the Mac from following Dr. Drang’s blog. A lot of what he talks about is over my head but some I’m able to pick up on and use in my daily workflow.

Did you know that there’s a proper order for stating the modifier keys in a keyboard shortcut? I didn’t. But I do now.

Dr. Drang explains the the proper modifier key order in stating a keyboard shortcut:

Control (⌃), Option (⌥), and Command (⌘) always go in that order. The oddball is the Shift(⇧) key, which sneaks in just in front of Command.

If you write about Mac keyboard shortcuts, as I did yesterday, you should know how to do it right. Just as there’s a proper order for adjectives in English, there’s a proper order for listing the modifier keys in a shortcut.

The order is similar to how you see them down at the bottom left of your keyboard.

The last bit of standard syntax is that the letter key in the shortcut (if there is a letter) is always presented as a capital, even when the Shift key isn’t used.

​When entering a keyboard shortcut, you’re not typing a letter, you’re pressing a set of physical keys on the keyboard in front of you. The symbols on the letter keys are capitals, so that’s the appropriate way to identify those keys.

iPad – Can it replace my Mac update

I switched to Apple products about 4 years ago. My first device was an iPhone 6 that replaced an LG Android phone. Shortly thereafter I replaced my ailing Windows PC with a late 2013 21” iMac. Next came my early 2015 13” Retina MacBook Pro. And I recently upgraded my iPhone to a 7 Plus. With this setup, I never felt the need for an iPad. In fact, I recently wrote an article Can iPad replace my laptop.

So here’s how I’ve ended up with an iPad. Several months ago a friend gave me a B&H gift card that I had actually forgotten about. After rummaging through some stuff the other day I ran across it and realized it was going to expire on October 30 which was only a few days away. Not knowing what to get I decided on an iPad. So I placed an order for a 2017 iPad 9.7” with Retina display and 128 GB storage.

I’ve been using it now for a few of days. The setup was pretty straightforward. I installed all the apps that I want on it and purchased a Speck Slim Balance Folio case for it.

Now how does this iPad fit in with my iPhone and Macs? My computing needs are pretty simple. I write, read, browse the web and manage my finances. Knowing what I do, I am sure I wouldn’t want to completely switch to an iPad. So far I like the reading and web browsing experience on the iPad is. It’s lightweight making it easier to handle than my MacBook and easier to read on than my iPhone.

Writing is not so great. My writing workflows include apps like Keyboard Maestro, Alfred, PopClip, and Marked 2 that improve my productivity. There are no apps like this for iPad. I have to jump through too many hoops to do the same things (if at all) I can do on my Mac.

Here’s the bottom line. I like having an iPad but I certainly don’t need one.

Now you can exclude apps from clipboard history in Keyboard Maestro 8

One complaint I have with Keyboard Maestro is the way passwords are handled in the clipboard history.

Clipboard entries that resemble passwords are obscured, deleted after they reach position ten in the clipboard history, and not saved to disk. You can option click on an obscured password to reveal it.

This way of handling passwords has always made me uncomfortable. I’m used to being able to exclude apps like you can in Alfred or Copied.

Now with Keyboard Maestro 8, you can exclude applications using the Keyboard Maestro Excluded Preferences. I added 1Password to the excluded list. Now when I copy a password it will no longer be stored in the clipboard history.

Thank you Peter.

How to show the PopClip menu on a selection

PopClip is one of my favorite Mac utilities.

PopClip is a Mac utility for working with selected text. When I highlight text with my mouse or trackpad an actions menu pops up with options to do something with the text. I don’t have to right-click, it just appears automatically. And if I don’t use it, it’ll disappear when I move my mouse.

PopClip includes standard actions like copy, cut, paste, and delete. There are also extensions to get the highlighted text into some of my favorite apps. Another action I frequently use is taking highlighted text and converting it to markdown. There are over 100 extensions that can be downloaded from the PopClip download site.

The only problem with PopClip is that occasionally the menu doesn’t appear when I make a selection or I’ll sometimes accidentally dismiss it. When this happens I have to re-select the text to get the menu back again. That’s a pain. Thanks to Brett Terpstra there’s a simple script to get the menu to appear. To solve this problem, I’ve set the script to a Keyboard Maestro hotkey trigger ⌥⇧P so I can get the menu to appear anytime I want.

Here’s the Keyboard Maestro macro:

Quickly quit all open applications at once on your Mac – Keyboard Maestro

As a rule, I usually have quite a few apps and windows open on my Mac and I switch back and forth between them through out the day. When I was ready to shut my Mac down for the day I would have to close each of these apps and windows individually. I thought to myself, there has to be an easier way.

I like to automate repetitive tasks as often as possible. To solve this problem I launched Keyboard Maestro and created a macro to exit all open apps and windows using a keyboard shortcut. Here’s the simple macro I use for this.

That’s it! Now every time I type the keyboard shortcut, all open windows and applications close.

If you have Alfred with the Powerpack you can do the same with a workflow which you can download here.

Open Safari URL in Chrome – Keyboard Maestro

Safari is my main browser. From time to time I come across a website that doesn’t play well with Safari. When this happens I open the site in Chrome. To do this I have to copy the URL from Safari -> launch Chrome -> and paste the URL into Chrome. To many steps. To simplify this, I have a Keyboard Maestro macro to automate the steps with the hotkey ⌃⌘G.

Here’s how to create the macro:

Can iPad replace my laptop?

Brett Terpstra recommended this article in Web Excursions for July 14, 2017.

An in-depth look at the current state of the question “Can iPad really replace my laptop?”

This is an excellent article that will help you decide whether an iPad or MacBook is better for you.

Can iPad replace my laptop? by Joshua Carpentier

In this post, we’ll have a look at the biggest changes to iPad with iOS 11, when an iPad is most suitable as a laptop replacement, and when a laptop is still the best choice. We’ll even look at a THIRD OPTION you’re probably not aware of that gives you the best of both worlds. But let’s start with taking a look at what you should think about (but aren’t) before making any purchase.

What to consider before buying a new computer

When looking for a new computer, many (I’d even argue, most) people claim they “need a laptop”—usually because that’s what they’ve always had. And so they naturally think that’s what they still need because they haven’t done these two things:

  1. Assess what they actually do on a computer
  1. Learn about the changes in technology since they last made a laptop purchase

I’ve always felt that an iPad couldn’t replace my laptop. I’m even more convinced after reading this article.

Productivity tools like Alfred and Keyboard Maestro are a major part of my daily workflow. These tools have no iOS counterpart. I use both many many times everyday and I’m not willing to work without them.

I prefer to do most of my writing on my iMac instead of 13″ MacBook Pro Retina because of the extra screen space. I’ll often have Ulysses, Marked, nvALT, DEVONthink, and Safari open at the same time. Safari may have up to 10 or 15 tabs open as well. I can’t imagine doing this on iPad.

After reading the article you’ll have a better idea on whether an iPad can replace your laptop.

Launch your favorite Mac apps with keyboard shortcuts | Keyboard Maestro

By using keyboard shortcuts to launch apps on my Mac, I can cut back on mouse or trackpad usage to perform actions faster and more efficiently. In fact, the Dock on both my Macs is hidden. I launch all my most popular apps using keyboard shortcuts.

I’ve created my keyboard shortcuts using Keyboard Maestro. Within Keyboard Maestro I have a Group called Launch Apps. All my app launcher macros live there. Here’s how to create the app launcher macro:

Repeat this for all the apps that you would like to launch using a keyboard shortcut.

If you create the macro the way I have, the hotkey will also show/hide the app once launched.