Welcome to a new Affiliate on the Mac Quad website, Intego. Many people believe Macs don’t get viruses or malware but with the increasing use of macOS that is no longer true, malware and viruses are becoming increasingly prevalent on Macs. So protect yourself with security software that is specifically designed for the Mac, Intego’s X9 Security Software.
Hearthstone is a free to play online collectable card game made by Blizzard Entertainment, the makers of World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo and more. As a motor impaired Mac user I look for games that can be completely controlled via a TrackerPro and Sip/Puff Switch, basically a game that can be played via a mouse, and Hearthstone meets this requirement.
The home-screen, accessed via the Battle.net application, contains all mouse clickable options such as the basic play mode, solo adventures (where it is possible to play campaigns against computer opponents), The Arena and Tavern Brawl (which offers a different challenge each week). Settings are also available from this screen with the usual resolution, full screen/windowed and audio options. It is also possible to access the shop, your card collection and current quests from the home-screen.
Hearthstone is a turn-based card game between two opponents, using constructed decks of 30 cards along with a selected hero with a unique power. Players use their limited mana crystals to play abilities or summon minions to attack the opponent, with the goal of destroying the opponent's hero. Cards are played by clicking and dragging them onto the play board and turns are finished by clicking a button on the play board.
Players are able to play nine classes Warrior, Shaman, Rogue, Paladin, Hunter, Druid, Warlock, Mage, and Priest and all of the cards for each of the classes are based on characters and creatures from the World of Warcraft universe. Each class has unique cards and abilities as well as cards which are available across all classes. All cards cost a certain amount of mana crystals and each player’s number of mana crystals increases by one each turn to a maximum of ten. Cards can be Minions or Spells, Minions will be placed directly onto the play board and are used to attack opponent’s Minions or Hero they can also have special effects like Charge or Deathrattle, allowing the minion to attack instantly or making the minion do something special upon death. Spells have distinctive effects and can affect Minions and Hero on either side. The game is won by reducing your opponent’s Hero to zero health.
There are rewards for completing quests and for wins in a calendar month, which can include new card packs, gold to buy in-game purchases and card backs.
Hearthstone is a very addictive, easy to learn, turn based online card game which is able to be completely controlled via mouse making extremely accessible to motor impaired users.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Select the System Preferences icon (img. 1).
Choose the General icon (img. 2).
You can now toggle between Light and Dark (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.
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.
Access System Preferences by clicking the grey cog (img.1) icon then choose the keyboard icon (img.2).
Once in the keyboard system preferences pane click on the text tab along the top of the window (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 email@example.com (the mac quad email address) (img.5).
Now whenever mqem is typed it will be replaced with firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
The Mac Quad has a new Facebook Group where you can post question, ideas, hints and comments on the Website, Podcast and YouTube Channel. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/themacquadgroup/ to join.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
It was great to be on the Parallel podcast with Shelly Brisbin and Andy Ihnatko please have a listen at https://www.relay.fm/parallel.
Smart speakers have very much been a part of this fall's tech product announcement season. On this episode, we kick the various speakers and virtual assistants around, and give some thought to their place in our lives.
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.
* 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.
A big security hole in macOS for disabled users who rely on text input via an onscreen keyboard has been that it has been impossible to show the onscreen keyboard on the login screen, meaning that disabled users must either ask somebody to input their password or just have automatic login enabled. With the release of macOS Mojave this issue has been addressed, it is now possible to display the onscreen keyboard on the login screen enabling the disabled user to enter their own password. Below is a screencast showing how to enable this feature.
Select System Preferences
Select Users & Groups
Select Login Options
Unlock by Entering your Password
Select Accessibility Options
Ensure Accessibility Keyboard is Ticked
There is also an option to enable VoiceOver on Login
Lock in the Changes (Click the Lock Icon)
The macOS Onscreen Keyboard will now display on the Login Screen
Apple announced the iPhone Xr at the Gather Round Event yesterday (12th September 2018).
Here’s briefly what you need to know:
Available in White, Black, Blue Yellow, Coral, Product Red
Edge to Edge Screen
LCD Display (Liquid Retina) 6.1" (1792 x 828 Pixels)
True Tone Display
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