New Affiliates Page Added

I’ve recently added a new Affiliates Page to the website. This is mainly to generate some income in order to keep the website and podcast running, in the six months since the Paypal Donate button has been on the website none of the 12,500 + visitors to the site have used it, sponsors have dried up and I currently have only 5 patreons. Existing on disability benefits and the lack of income from the website or podcast means they are both extremely close to closing down and adding an Affiliate Page is the last throw of the dice.

I’d like to welcome my first affiliates, Smile Software, makers of the great TextExpander and PDFpen both of which are indispensable parts of my workflows. Please use these links if you are thinking of buying or subscribing to either of these products. Smile Software also offer a free trial of both TextExpander and PDFpen.

Recall your best words. Instantly, repeatedly.
PDFpenPro, Powerful Editing for Your Mac

As new affiliates are added I will post and let you know about them. There will not be hundreds of links and included links will have a relevance to to the Apple or Tech world.

I hope you find this new page useful and are able to use is in order to help keep the Mac Quad website and Mac Quadcast podcast running.

macOS Catalina and Macs That Will Run It

Apple announced their new operating system at WWDC on Monday, named Catalina, version 10.15 adds features such as the ability to use an iPad as a second screen, the ability for developers to easily port iPad apps over to the Mac (in the past we have known this as Project Marzipan but is now Project Catalyst) and the ability for motor impaired users to control the entire operating system via Voice Control.

Catalina Image

Catalina also sees iTunes split into separate components, Apple Music, Apple Podcast, Apple Books and Apple TV, a move that many have been requesting for a long time.

Apple have also announced which Macs will be able to run macOS Catalina and there’s not a vast difference between those that are able to currently run Mojave. The Macs that are compatible with Catalina are:

  • MacBook 2015 and later

  • MacBook Air 2012 and later

  • MacBook Pro 2012 and later

  • Mac mini 2012 and later

  • iMac 2012 and later

  • iMac Pro 2017 and later

  • Mac Pro 2013 and later

The full release of Catalina will be in the autumn, usually sometime in September. However, developers can get hold of the beta release now.

Major Ulysses Update

On Monday 27th May 2019 Ulysses will release an update to their award winning text editor for Mac and iOS. This update is free for Ulysses subscribers and has two major features added.

The first feature is the ability to publish directly to Ghost (img.1), Ghost is a , is a publishing platform that specialises in blogs and online publications. Due to its simplicity, security and speed, some of the most innovative companies in the world chose to rely on Ghost for their online publishing needs. Ulysses users can already publish directly to WordPress and Medium and every addition to this is more than welcome. The Ulysses press release states:

To date, Ulysses’ publishing function was available for WordPress and for Medium; with the new release, Ghost joins the two. Facilitating the publishing of blog posts and web articles, the feature is the most comprehensive and versatile of its kind in the world of writing apps. Ulysses’ users can upload their texts — including images, links, tags, etc. — to the named platforms with only a few clicks or tabs. Editing happens entirely in Ulysses; there’s no more need to copy, paste or manually format text.

(img.1)

(img.1)

The second feature added blew my mind when I heard about it as I didn’t think it was possible. Full-featured Split View Editing on iPad (img.2), yes two instances of the same application on the iPad enabling editing on two texts at the same time, a feature that many productivity specialists have been asking for and Ulysses is the first application to add this feature. The Ulysses press release states:

The ability to display two texts next to each other is handy for translating, for comparing two versions of a document, and for having an eye at reference notes while writing. On Mac, writers could do it for a long time, and Ulysses just recently improved it by introducing a native editor split view to its Mac app. Now with this release, split view editing comes to iPad. Ulysses’ users can not only display and edit two texts at a time, scroll both texts simultaneously, and portion the available screen space at will between the two editors. With a split view consisting of two full-featured app windows, they’re also able to navigate and to show an export preview next to an editor, to see what their output is going to look like while they write.

(img.2)

(img.2)

These two features will enhance an already great application and I’m sure I’ll be asking Max Seelemann (co-founder of Ulysses) about how they such powerful features when he appears on the Mac Quadcast in the near future.

Turn Dark Mode On In Mojave

In the macOS Mojave update released in the autumn of 2018 a Dark Mode was added. While in many people’s opinions it is a welcome visual enhancement it was also added to aid concentration and to ease computer use for those who work into the evening and night.

This feature is easy to turn off and on, the steps are below.

How To

Select the System Preferences icon (img. 1).

(img. 1)

(img. 1)

Choose the General icon (img. 2).

(img. 2)

(img. 2)

You can now toggle between Light and Dark (img. 3).

(img. 3)

(img. 3)

Many applications that you run will automatically switch between Light and Dark Mode but some may require you to switch in the application’s preferences.

Text Shortcuts on macOS

I have written on the website about TextExpander, a utility that looks for pre-defined text abbreviations and automatically inserts a block of text assigned to the abbreviation. However, if you feel an application such as this is either overkill for your needs or you are unable to cover the cost of another subscription there is a solution, use the one that is built into macOS.

How To

Access System Preferences by clicking the grey cog (img.1) icon then choose the keyboard icon (img.2).

(img.1)

(img.1)

(img.2)

(img.2)

Once in the keyboard system preferences pane click on the text tab along the top of the window (img.3).

(img.3)

(img.3)

You will probably see an entry already in 'Replace' and 'With' columns which will be omw and On my way! This means that while in applications on your Mac if the characters omw are typed they will be replaced with the phrase On my way!

To enter your own text replacement click the '+' (img.4) enter the abbreviation you wish to use in the left column and then tab and enter what you want the abbreviation to be replaced with in the right column and then press return. In my example I have used the abbreviation mqem to be replaced with darren@themacquad.com (the mac quad email address) (img.5).

(img.4)

(img.4)

(img.5)

(img.5)

Now whenever mqem is typed it will be replaced with darren@themacquad.com saving lots of time when I need to type the email address.

This does not have the advanced features of TextExpander but is sufficient for basic text replacement.

Controlling a Mac Via Head Movement and Sip/Puff

In this videocast I show how I am able to have complete control over a Mac via head movement and sip/puff. The equipment used is a Tracker Pro and a Sip/Puff Switch which connects to the Mac via USB.

I hope you find this videocast interesting and informative as to how I produce my content despite being paralysed from the neck down and on a life support machine.

Interview on Chit Chat Across the Pond

This week I had the tables turned on me by Allison Sheridon who interviewed me for her podcast Chit Chat Across the Pond.

Firstly we discuss how I access my Mac using accessibility devices and then Allison uses my format on me asking about top Apple hardware, top iPhone, entries into the Mac Quad Digital Archive, etc.

It was a really enjoyable chat, so please have a listen.

Fantastical 2 Giveaway Winners

A blind draw was made on Friday (23rd November) with all of the entries that I received for the Fantastical 2 Giveaway entered, the three winners were:

Claus W

Sandy F

Dan M

Congratulations to the three winners, hope you enjoy the software and find it as useful as I do.

Thank you to everyone at Flexibits for generously providing the three licenses and also, thank you to everyone who took the time to enter.

iPhone X Series Basic Interaction

This screencast shows how to interact with the iPhone X series of devices now the home button has been removed. Covering the iPhone X, XS, XR, XS Max, and the new iPad Pros. Gestures shown include returning to home screen, accessing the notification center, accessing the command center and getting to the app switcher.

Fantastical 2 for Mac Giveaway

I have a great chance for you to get your hands on one of three licences for the macOS version of Fantastical 2, The calendar app you won’t be able to live without.

Fantastical 2 is possibly the best Calendar application for the Mac, a full Mac application with the benefit and and convenience of a menu bar window. You can easily add events and reminders using natural language, Fantastical 2 automatically recognises the location of your event and can even invite people from Contacts to your event. Fantastical 2 also lets you quickly toggle multiple calendars on or off with a single click, so you can focus on what’s more important in that moment. The days of going back and forth, clicking multiple times, just to hide and show your calendars are over. These calendar sets can also be shown atomically by your location eg different sets for work and home.

Other Features Include

* Full time zone support, including floating time zones

* The ability to set time and geofence alerts for your reminders

* View maps of the locations where your events occur

* Travel time and time to leave notifications

* Day, week, month, and year views

* Use multiple calendar accounts at once

Fantastical 2 for Mac is £48.99 and the team at Flexibits (the makers of Fantastical 2) have given me 3 licences, to give to my podcast listeners and blog readers.

The Fantastical 2 Giveaway Has Now Closed

Entries should be in by 12 midday GMT on Friday 23rd November and winners will be announced in the following episode of the Mac Quadcast and also posted on the Mac Quad website.

Thanks to all at Flexibits (makers of Fantastical 2) for this generous giveaway.

Bear Subscription Giveaway Winners

A blind draw was made on Thursday (8th November) with all of the entries that I received for the Bear Subscription Giveaway entered, the five winners were:

Neil T

Mieszko Ś

David S

Nash P

Karen A

Congratulations to the five winners, hope you enjoy the software and find it as useful as I do.

Thank you to everyone at Bear for generously providing the five subscriptions each for a year and also, thank you to everyone who took the time to enter.

Bear Subscription Giveaway

I have a great chance for you to get your hands on one of five subscriptions each valid for a year for Bear, one of the top note and writing apps on Mac and iOS.

Bear is perfect for everything from quick notes to in-depth essays. A focus mode helps you concentrate and advanced markup options are an online writer's best friend. Bear is also packed with beautiful themes and typography which makes your writing look great before and after publishing. The applications simple tools take the effort out of writing, whether you need to hit specific word counts and reading times, or you need to convert your writing into PDF and Word docs and with Bear's custom markup shortcuts, you can add style and links with just a tap or keystroke.

Features Include

* Advanced Markup Editor that supports and highlights over 20 programming languages.

* In-line support for images and photos.

* Cross-Note Links to build a body of work and quickly reference other notes.

* Hashtags to quickly find and organise notes.

* All your notes are stored in plain text for the ultimate in portability.

Bear Pro is $14.99 for a year and gives advanced features, including syncing between all your devices, application themes and exporting and the team at Bear have given me 5 subscriptions, each for a year to give to my podcast listeners and blog readers.

The Bear Subscription Giveaway Has Now Closed

Entries should be in by 12 midday GMT on Friday 2nd November and winners will be announced in the next episode of the Mac Quadcast and then posted on the Mac Quad website.

Thanks to all at Bear for this generous giveaway.

Apple Gather Round Event - iPhone Xr

Apple announced the iPhone Xr at the Gather Round Event yesterday (12th September 2018).

iPhone Xr

iPhone Xr

Here’s briefly what you need to know:

Available in White, Black, Blue Yellow, Coral, Product Red

Aluminium Body

Edge to Edge Screen

LCD Display (Liquid Retina) 6.1" (1792 x 828 Pixels)

True Tone Display

Haptic Touch

Face ID via True Depth Camera

True Depth Camera front facing Camera

Single Lens rear Camera, 12MP Wide Angle Camera, Improved True Tone Flash, Portrait Mode Photos, New Smart HDR feature

Same Front True Depth Camera as iPhone Xs

Battery Life - iPhone Xr 90 mins more use that iPhone 8Plus

Capacity 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Orders from 19th October & Available 26th October

Apple Gather Round Event - iPhone Xs & iPhone Xs Max

Apple announced the iPhone Xs & iPhone Xs Max at the Gather Round Event yesterday (12th September 2018).

iPhone Xs & iPhone Xs Max

iPhone Xs & iPhone Xs Max

Here’s briefly what you need to know:

iPhone Xs

Available in Gold, Silver, Space Grey, Increased Water Resistance, Super Retina Display OLED 5.8" (2436 x 1125 Pixels), 60% Greater Dynamic Range than iPhone X, True Tone Display, Wider Stereo Field, Capacity 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, Order from September 14th & Available September 21st

iPhone Xs Max

Available in Gold, Silver, Space Grey, Increased Water Resistance, Super Retina Display OLED 6.5" (2688 x 1242 Pixels), 60% Greater Dynamic Range than iPhone X, True Tone Display, Wider Stereo Field, Capacity 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, Order from September 14th & Available September 21st

Both Models

Face ID - Improved True Depth Camera and A12 Bionic Chip increases Face ID response time

A12 Bionic Chip - 7 Nanometer Chip, 6 Core CPU, 4 Core GPU, Neural Engine - 8 Core, Apps Launch 30% Faster, Real Time Machine Learning, Core ML 9x Faster

Camera - 12MP Wide-Angle Camera, Improved True Tone Flash, 12 MP Telephoto Camera, Front True Depth Camera 7MP, ISP & Neural Engine now work together to enhance photos, New Smart HDR feature, New Depth Editing feature, Record Stereo Sound on Videos

Battery Life - iPhone Xs 30 mins more use that iPhone X, iPhone Xs Max 90 mins more use that iPhone X

Dual Sim Capability via eSim Technology

Apple Gather Round Event - Apple Watch Series 4

Apple announced the AppleWatch Series 4 at the Gather Round Event yesterday (12th September 2018).

Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch Series 4

Here’s briefly what you need to know:

Edge to edge screen

Larger screens (40mm & 44mm)

New 8 Complication Watch Face

New Digital Crown includes haptic feedback

50% Louder Speaker

Dual Core 64-bit

Fall Detection - If immobile for 1 minute Apple Watch calls emergency services

Low heart rate alert

Irregular heart rhythm alert

ECG feature

All health & fitness data encrypted on device and in the cloud

18 hour all day battery life

Watch straps fit any generation of Apple Watch


Orders from 14th September & Available from 21st September


Watch OS 5 Available 17th September