Along with being done with Apple Notes, I’m also done with iCloud Drive. After updating to iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 iCloud sync is a mess.
I should have never moved from Dropbox to iCloud in the first place but I did based the recommendation of the same folks that were singing the praises of Apple Notes. Well, I’ve never had an issue with Dropbox and I’ve used it since it was released in 2008. You know the old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. I should pay more attention to that saying in the future. So last night I moved all my files out of iCloud and back into Dropbox.
Those of you that follow my blog will remember that I replaced Gmail with Fastmail several years ago and have never looked back. Up to now, I have been using Fastmail IMAP in Apple Mail on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Now I’m using the official Fastmail app on my iPhone and iPad and Fastmail’s webmail on my MacBook Pro so that I can take advantage of snoozing emails. So far I’m very happy with the Fastmail apps.
As a quick side note, I used Unite 2 to create a native Fastmail Mac app. This works out really well since Fastmail doesn’t offer an app for Mac.
If you would like to try Fastmail use this link to get a 30 day free trial and a 10% discount for the first year.
Over the last few months, I have become increasingly frustrated with Instapaper as my read later app.
Here’s why. I read a lot of how-to articles and right now is a prime time for that sort of thing with all the articles about iOS 13 and iPadOS and soon macOS Catalina. These articles typically use images for illustration. For me, the illustrations add a lot to my understanding of what I’m reading.
So, here’s my rub with Instapaper. The majority of the time images are missing in articles. Because they are missing I then have to open the article in Safari and then switch to reader view. This is a waste of time. Unfortunately, Instapaper has never done a good job handling images and videos.
Having used Pocket in the past I know that it does do a good job handling images and videos. And, If by chance images are missing in an article I can switch to web view right within the app. No need to go to Safari. I also prefer Pocket’s tags to Instapaper’s folders for organization.
As a side note Pocket is now part of Mozilla and since taking it over they have removed sponsored ads from lists in the free version of Pocket. They also just released Pocket for Safari extension for Safari 13.
Overall I’m finding Pocket to be a much better experience.
I’m going to do a 1 year subscription to Drafts 5. Under normal circumstances, I would continue using the free version because that’s all I need. But today the developer posted a tweet with a special offer that I’m interested in.
Now through the end of the day tomorrow, Sept. 18, 2019, all proceeds from new Drafts Pro subscriptions will be donated to support the @_RelayFM St. Jude Fundraiser. Details:. I’ve been thinking about donating but as of yet I haven’t done so. This is a perfect way to do it. I get Drafts Pro for 12 months and the developer is donating the proceeds of my purchase to the RelayFM St. Jude Fundraiser. That sounds like a win-win to me.
Thanks to Greg Pierce for this great offer.
This is an update to my Alfred or Keyboard Maestro or both article that I wrote the other day.
I’m back using both Alfred and Keyboard Maestro. After using just Alfred for a few days I discovered a couple of Keyboard Maestro macros that I use that I wasn’t able to replicate in Alfred. So since I need Keyboard Maestro for them I switched back to Keyboard Maestro for all my automation.
I like the way Keyboard Maestro macros work better than Alfred workflows and as a side note, they execute much faster. I also prefer the way web searches are executed using Keyboard Maestro. It’s several keystrokes quicker.
I’ll be upgrading to version 9 very soon.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Alfred and Keyboard Maestro.
Alfred was one of the first apps that I discovered after moving from a PC to a Mac. I use its features many times every day.
I discovered Keyboard Maestro a little later on. Since Alfred was already ingrained in the way I used my Mac there were a lot of its features that I didn’t use. There’s a lot of feature overlap between Alfred and Keyboard Maestro. Over time I created or accumulated a couple of dozen Keyboard Maestro macros some that I used often and others that I rarely used.
When Alfred 4 came out in June I immediately upgraded without a thought. I think the cost was around $15. Today I received an email from the developer of Keyboard Maestro letting me know that version 9 is now available with lots of new features and an upgrade price of $25. But, I’m having trouble justifying the upgrade. After reviewing what’s new I’m not sure I’ll use any of the new features or actions.
So that leads me to question whether I even needed Keyboard Maestro. I figured if I could recreate my KM macros as Alfred workflows I wouldn’t need Keyboard Maestro any longer. So that’s what I did. To my surprise, I was able to create Alfred workflows that would do the same thing that my KM macros did. To be fair to Keyboard Maestro I love the app but don’t need to apps that will do the same thing. Also, my macros were just scratching the surface of what Keyboard Maestro can do.
For now I’ve stopped using Keyboard Maestro and I’m using Alfred for 100% of my automation. Folks, this is what works for me but may not be what works for you.
I wrote an update to this article. You can find it here.
I love the Mac. It’s my preferred computing device. What makes the Mac great are all the apps that increase productivity. I’m thinking about Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, PopClip, Moom, and Hazel to name a few. You won’t find these in iOS or iPadOS
So, my Mac’s are getting old. Up to today, I have been concerned with what I would replace them when the time comes?
If you care about the Mac as I do you’ll want to read Marco Arment’s article Apple is Listening. After WWDC and reading Marco’s article I’m encouraged about the future of the Mac and that I will be able to continue to enjoy the Mac and the apps that I love using.
But there has clearly been a major shift in direction for the better since early 2017, and they couldn’t be more clear now:
Apple is listening again, they’ve still got it, and the Mac is back.
It sounds like the successor to nvALT is finally on its way. According to Brett, it is codenamed nvUltra. The final name to be determined later.
You can sign up for the email list, and get notifications and beta access as it comes out by signing at the bottom of Brett’s post over on his website.
Codename: nvUltra – BrettTerpstra.com
You’ve been hearing from me for years about BitWriter, the nvALT replacement I was working on with David Halter. Well, I failed at my part, then we lost touch, and it never came to fruition. Now that my health is back to working state, I attempted to pick the project back up. Turned out David was MIA (hopefully ok), and the code I was left with no longer compiled on the latest operating systems. Seemed like it might be time to let go.
Then I heard from Fletcher Penney. You know, the guy who created MultiMarkdown, and who develops my favorite Markdown editor, MultiMarkdown Composer. He was working on a similar project and invited me to join him on it. Now we have an app nearing beta stage that’s better than any modal notes app you’ve used. Code name: nvUltra.
The other day, I bought Moom after trying the free trial for about an hour. It’s an amazing Mac app for managing windows. As a side note, I’d tried it several times before but gave up on it because I found getting started confusing.
Before Moom, I was bouncing back a forth between Better Touch Tool and Magnet. I wasn’t really happy with either one and was looking for a replacement. This time around I was determined to understand how Moom works. So, after installing it I did a search for getting started with Moom. I came across this video Wrangle Your Windows with Moom by Kevin Yank that does a great job of explaining how to set up and use it.
If you’re looking for a way to manage windows on your Mac you ought to download the Moom trial and get started by watching Kevin Yank’s video. You’ll be glad you did.
This post by David Sparks aka MacSparky from a couple of days ago provides an Apple Script that he uses to get links to Apple Mail messages anywhere using TextExpander.
It’s easy to understand and there’s also a video that shows you how and why you would want to use it.
After reading the post and watching the video I decided that this would be something that I would use. Only one problem. I don’t use TextExpander. So after thinking about it for a few minutes, I figured I could accomplish the same thing using a Keyboard Maestro macro.
Here’s the macro:
This Keyboard Maestro macro works the same way as David’s TextExpander snippet. Now type “;elink” in any app that can take a URL and you create a link to the currently selected email message. I’m primarily using it in Things 3 and Bear.
Here’s the AppleScript if you want to copy and paste it:
Returns a link to the first selected Apple Mail message
tell application "Mail"
set _msgs to selected messages of message viewer 0
if (_msgs is not equal to missing value) then
set _msg to first item of _msgs
set _msgID to do shell script "/usr/bin/python -c 'import sys, urllib; print urllib.quote(sys.argv)' " & (message id of _msg)
return "message://%3C" & (_msgID) & "%3E"