Use Alfred to launch Safari URL in Chrome

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. Thanks to Alfred I have a very simple way to automate this. Whenever I come across a site that isn’t working well in Safari I hit ⌥⌘G and it takes the current Safari URL and loads it in Chrome.

Download the Alfred workflow.

You can also do the same thing using Keyboard Maestro if you’re a KM user. I wrote about how to do it here.

My thoughts on Ulysses moving to a subscription model

Ulysses, my favorite writing tool moved to a subscription model last week. When I first read the news I was stunned.

I purchased and started using Ulysses in August of 2016. I purchased both the Mac and iOs apps. That was a hefty $60 bucks out of my wallet. Now a year later I’m faced with an annual subscription.

Not Happy!

At first, I wasn’t sure what I would do. Dr. Drang’s blog post talking through subscription based apps, in particular, with regard to Ulysses, helped me make a decision.

Another disruption in the Apple universe today, as the text editor Ulysses went from being a regular paid app to a subscription app/service.

I don’t have a dog in this particular hunt. I don’t use Ulysses and didn’t plan to even before the pricing change. If I were a Ulysses user, I’d do my best to figure out what it’s worth to me—including the direct and (especially) indirect costs of switching to a new text editor—and try to make a rational decision based on the world as it exists now, not the world as it existed yesterday or the world as I wish it to be.

If I were interested in Ulysses but hadn’t yet given it a try, I might see the subscription service as a positive. Ulysses used to cost $45 for the Mac and $25 for iOS. Now I could give both versions a good, solid two-month trial for $10. If they don’t fit my way of working, I walk away $60 ahead and knowing exactly why I shouldn’t continue the subscription.

After reading Dr. Drang’s post here’s what I’ve decided to do. I downloaded the new app for my Mac and iPhone. As a previous user, I have 8 free months which I’m going to use up before committing to the subscription model. In the mean time, I’m going to try Byword and see if I can get along with it in place of Ulysses. My writing is simple. I write blog posts and publish to WordPress.com and Medium. If using Byword works I won’t need the Ulysses subscription.

Web Finds August 6, 2017

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

This edition of Web Finds features a selection of copy and paste clipboard managers. My favorite is Copied which I’ve written about here.

Paste
Paste is a smart cloud clipboard history and snippets manager for Mac. It keeps everything you’ve ever copied and lets you use your clipboard history whenever you need it from all your Macs. Paste recognizes and stores text, images, links, files and any other type of content and generates informative previews for easy browsing.

Copy’em Paste
Copy’em Paste for Mac is a simple-yet-powerful clipboard tool for dramatically speeding up your daily copy-and-paste workflow. It automatically keeps your copied text, images, links, screenshots, etc., and lets you recall/paste them anytime, right at your fingertips. Use it to copy items consecutively and then paste them (without the usual, back-and-forward copy/paste round trips), store favorite clippings permanently, take screenshots without clogging up your desktop, collect data for research, expedite pasting of clippings, transform pasted text, organize clippings into lists, and so on.

CloudClip
CloudClip syncs your clipboard between your Mac and your iOS devices. It’s the easiest way to transfer phone numbers, websites, addresses, and more.

Previous Web Finds are here

Launch your favorite Mac apps with keyboard shortcuts using Alfred

The other day I wrote about launching Mac apps with keyboard shortcuts using Keyboard Maestro. If you’re an Alfred user you can do the same thing with Alfred an workflow.

Here’s my workflow to launch Safari with the hotkey ⌥S. You’ll need the PowerPack to do this.

Step one is to create a new workflow.

Step two is to setup a trigger for the hotkey.

Step three is to add the Launch Apps action and drag in the application(s) you want to open. The easiest way to do this is to search for the application or file in Alfred and drag it directly from Alfred’s results into the action box.

Optionally, check the “Toggle visibility for apps” to tell Alfred to show/hide the app. Connect the action to the hotkey to quickly launch the app.

I prefer launching apps with Alfred for one main reason. I like the way the show/hide app functionality works in Alfred better than the way it does in Keyboard Maestro.

How to view your calendar while creating an event or reminder in Fantastical

I’ve been using Fantastical for a long time. Occasionally when creating a new event or reminder I need to reference my calendar. This involved saving the event or reminder > checking my calendar > getting the info I needed > and then reopening the event or reminder.

I often wondered if there might be an easier way to do this and there is.

I ran across this trick the other day while scanning through The Sweet Setup Quick Tip archive. Here’s how you do it. When you are in the new event or reminder window, tap and drag down the title in the red bar. This will minimize it to the bottom of the screen. To get back to the event, tap on the event window in the bottom center. You can actually have multiple event drafts at the same time. Double tapping the minimized events will launch them in a window where you can tap on the one you want to work with.

Tip – Caffeinate by Dr. Drang

Since I started following Dr. Drang’s blog I have learned some great Mac tricks. Some I use everyday.

Here’s a new one. Keep your screen awake without having to install one of the popular apps like Caffeine or Amphetamine. Dr. Drang explains how to do this with a terminal command. No new app needed.

Dr. Drang, writing on his personal blog

But you know me. Why would I use a nice polished program with a GUI when I can run a Terminal command? And even though I own Bartender, I’d still rather keep my menubar apps to a minimum.

So I use the caffeinate command, whose name, I believe, was lifted from Caffeine in what must be Apple’s lamest piece of Sherlocking ever. It’s a sort of limited version of pmset, the older, more powerful, and considerably more complicated power management utility.

Caffeinate has only a few options and the ones I use are -d, which keeps the display from sleeping, and -t which sets a timer to stop caffeinate in case I forget to. The command I used tonight was

caffeinate -dt 6000

which kept the display awake for 100 minutes (6000 seconds), enough for the 90-minute class plus a cushion.

I highly recommend Dr. Drang’s blog.

Web Finds for July 24, 2017

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

GoodNotes
GoodNotes for iOS lets you take beautiful handwritten notes and annotate PDF documents. The handwritten notes are searchable and are created using a pioneering vector ink engine. Thanks to iCloud sync, your documents in GoodNotes will synchronize between your iPad and iPhone automatically.

Pastebot
If copy & paste is a part of your workflow, Pastebot for Mac is an indispensable tool to improve your productivity. Quickly recall clippings that you have copied before and apply powerful text filters to format before pasting. You can even queue up multiple copies to paste in sequence. Pastebot is always running and only a keyboard shortcut away to command copy & paste.

Mellel
Mellel for Mac is a sophisticated, time-tested, word processor, designed for writing long and complicated documents, books, manuscripts, dissertations, and more.

Forklift 3
ForkLift 3 for Mac is the most advanced dual pane file manager and file transfer client for macOS.

Previous Web Finds are here.

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.