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.

Keyboard Maestro macro for plain-text pasting anywhere

I discovered the plain text paste Keyboard Maestro macro on tjlouma’s GitHub page.

Here’s what it does:

  1. Remove any formatting from the clipboard.
  2. Inserts the clipboard text by typing.

Here are a few of the scenarios when this comes in handy:

  • any time you want to ‘paste’ text but do not wanted any formatting kept
  • any time you are faced with a text field that does not respond to a ⌘ + V (paste) command
  • any time you need to enter a phone number into one of those stupid web-forms that uses three different fields for a phone number (area code + prefix + suffix) where you can’t use ‘paste’ because it will put all of the digits into the first box

I use this keyboard shortcut almost every day. I use it when I know I don’t want formatting and am not sure if where I’m pasting will keep the formatting or not. I use it to login into websites or apps that don’t allow pasting. For example you can’t login into an encrypted disk image by pasting. It’s not allowed. So instead of typing your password copy it to the clipboard and past it in using ⌥V.

You can download the Keyboard Maestro macro here, courtesy of tjlouma at Github. tjlouma has a bunch of other Keyboard Maestro macros available on his Github account as well.

Keyboard Maestro Macro – Getting URLs from Safari

I read all of David Sparks MacSparky blog posts. This post by David Sparks from a few days ago caught my interest. It provides a useful utility for getting URLs from Safari. I followed David’s instructions and created the Keyboard Maestro macro. For the life of me, I couldn’t get it to work. It would always stall at ⌘L. Safari would give me a drop down with “Top Hit”. I finally emailed David for some help. It took David a few days to get back to me so in the mean time I started to research this on the web.

A few days later Dr. Drang over at wrote a response to David’s post on his blog. His post offered a different way of doing the same thing. I tried Dr. Drang’s method and it worked perfectly.

Here’s Dr. Drang explaining what his macro does.

The utility is a Keyboard Maestro macro that gets the URL of the active tab in Safari, puts it on the clipboard, and then pastes it into whatever text you happen to be working on. I’ve been using a utility similar to it for almost a decade, and I can’t tell you how much time it’s saved me. You may think it’s no big deal to do “by hand” what this macro automates, and if you’re the kind of person who almost never sends links via Twitter or Facebook or texting, you might be right. But if you do much web communication, you’ll want to use David’s macro. Or something similar to it.

As it happens, the utility I currently use for this is also a Keyboard Maestro macro, but it has a long and convoluted history. It started out as a Python script (for absolutely no good reason, as most of what it did was run AppleScript) that was triggered by Quicksilver. Remember Quicksilver? Those were the days… Then I converted it to a TypeIt4Me snippet that ran a short AppleScript. Then I switched it to a TextExpander snippet that ran basically that same AppleScript. Finally, it became the Keyboard Maestro macro I use today:

Dr. Drang also has a KM macro ;surl which puts up a window with a list of all the tabs in the front Safari window, from which you can select the tab whose URL you want. You can find both macros here.

I use these two macros almost every single day. Thank you Dr. Drang for the post.