Mac

Sponsor - Keyboard Maestro, Conduct your Mac like a pro!

I’d like to thank my sponsor for this week, Keyboard Maestro from Stairways Software. Keyboard Maestro is a powerful piece of software that enables you to automate virtually every part of your Mac user experience.

Whether you are a power user or a just starting on your Mac journey, don’t waste your time on tasks that can be accomplished with a few simple keystrokes. Simply use Keyboard Maestro’s easy to learn interface to build a series of triggers and events (Macro) and the most tedious and time consuming of tasks can be done for you. Even the smallest things, like typing your email address, launching applications, or duplicating a line, all take time. Let Keyboard Maestro help make your Mac life more pleasant and efficient.

As well as Keyboard Maestro’s unrivalled automation features there are options that can make life a more comfortable experience for users with access difficulties, such as Clicking the Mouse (Move, click, double click and drag, any button, optionally with modifiers anywhere on the screen or in a window, and more.) and Menus and Buttons (Press a button, select a menu, and now you can show a menu leaving it open for you to select the desired item.) I even use Keyboard Maestro in conjunction with IFTTT to control some of my home automation devices while on my Mac, enabling more independence for a severely disabled user.

Some great features in Keyboard Maestro for everyone are:

  • Clipboard History (Keyboard Maestro keeps a complete history of your clipboards, so you’ll never lose your clipboard again. Copy three things, then paste them all into another application.)

  • Launch Applications (Launch any application at the touch of a key. Show applications, hide them, force quit them, bring them to the front, all at your command.)

  • Text Expansion (Insert any kind of text using a Typed String or Hot Key trigger. Type the text or paste in styled text or images. Expand text to insert your name, address, logo, signature, whatever.)

  • File Actions (Move, copy, rename, trash, delete files. Read and write images and styled text in a variety of formats.)

  • Manipulate Windows (Resize, reposition, bring to front, close, zoom, minimise and more. Position windows exactly where you want them.)

Please click here for a comprehensive list of Keyboard Maestro features.

I use Keyboard Maestro to make my Mac life a more pleasant and less tedious experience.

Please head over to Keyboard Maestro to find out more.

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.

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.

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.

Change Audio Output & Input In The Menu Bar

If you have headphones, speakers and internal speakers set up on a Mac and also a headset, microphone, and internal microphone, you’ll want to easily switch between different inputs or outputs. There is a quick way without going to the System Preferences each time.

How To
Hold the Option key and click the volume icon in the menu bar this will show a list of audio inputs and outputs. You can now select what you want. 

This enables you to quickly switch between audio inputs and outputs.

Find Your Mac’s Cursor

Many times the best place to look for something you’ve lost is down the back of the sofa, however, this is not helpful if the item lost is the cursor on you Mac’s screen. A feature that has been available since the release of El Capitan in September 2015 is the ability to make your cursor reveal itself by simply moving your mouse quickly or running your finger rapidly back and forth across the trackpad, this makes the cursor increase in size. Once you’ve located the elusive cursor, stop and it will shrink back to its normal size.

How To
Open System Preferences and select Accessibility.

Once the Accessibility panel is open select Display on the left side and ensure the ‘Shake mouse pointer to locate’ checkbox is ticked (img.1).

(img.1)

(img.1)

A quick way to find mislaid cursors. 

macOS 32 bit Application Alert

Since the macOS update to 10.13.4, Apple have been showing alerts when old or un-updated applications are being launched (img.1).

(img.1)

(img.1)

It is to warn that 32-bit applications will not run on any operating system after High Sierra, it was nearly a year ago that application developers were initially told of this, so there has been plenty of time for developers to address this issue. Since January any new applications or application updates submitted to the Mac App Store have been required to be 64-bit.

You can check which applications are 32-bit on your system by going to About This Mac in the Apple Menu and then clicking on System Report. Once this is done in the left column in Software click on Applications. When the results populate there is a 64-bit column in the top panel, I had to increase the size of the window to make this column visible. There will either be a yes or no here.

If there are applications that are not 64-bit they will not run on the next major macOS update (10.14). You may want to contact the developer to see if the application will be updated, find an alternative application or not upgrade to the next major version of macOS, usually released in the autumn.

It’s worth checking and preparing now.

Pin A Note To The Top Of Your Notes List

Many users make notes in the native macOS all of the time and would like to keep their most important note at the top of the list. Well there is an extremely easy way to do this.

How To
When in notes find the note you would like at the top of you list (img.1).

(img.1)

(img.1)

Right click on the note you would like at the top of you list and then left click on 'Pin Note' (img2).

(img.2)

(img.2)

Your note will now be pinned to the top of the notes list (img.3).

(img.3)

(img.3)

An easy way to keep you most important note at the top of your list.

Jump To Right Most Tab In Safari

Last week saw the release of updates for all of Apple’s platforms including macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, as well as bringing improvements to performance and stability it also added a few new features.

Safari.jpg

This quick tip will show one of the little features added in this update. If you have several tabs open in Safari, something that happens to me on a regular basis when doing research, it can be a pain to tab across your tabs in order to get to the right most one.

With the release of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 you can just hit the key combination Command ⌘ + 9 and you will be automatically taken to the right most tab.

A shortcut I will definitely be making use of.

Audible Added To Sonos

It’s been a long time coming but solely going from information on my Sonos system (Two Play:1 Speakers) Audible has finally made a return to Sonos. It has been a service that many users have been crying out for but has been consistently put back by Sonos, audiobooks have been available on Sonos via the Audiobooks.com service, however, this service has a much smaller user base and a severely reduced catalogue compared to Audible.

After adding the Audible service in the usual way on Sonos (on the Mac Controller click ‘Add music service’ then choose Audible and follow the instructions to add your existing account or create a new one) the option of Audible is available in your services list. My Audible service shows accounts for several countries, even though I only have an audible.co.uk account (I don’t know if this is a glitch on launch). Once in your appropriate region all of your audiobook purchases should be available.

I am unable to verify if this service is available to control via Alexa on the Sonos One as I do not have a unit available to test. I would like to test a Sonos One in order to do a comparison with the HomePod but obviously there are financial constraints.

The addition of Audible is extremely welcome to users of the Sonos ecosystem and I know I will be making use of it extensively.

Show Full URL In Safari

When Apple released Yosemite in October 2014 one of the changes that went virtually unnoticed by casual Mac users was that Safari stopped showing the whole URL in the search/address field. This means instead of Safari showing https://www.themacquad.com/home/2018/2/15/homepod-a-review it only shows themacquad.com this probably not an issue when browsing in Amazon where the URL can be several lines long but if you are in a smaller website you may want to know the complete URL of the article you are reading.

You can click on the search/address field to display the full address but you can also change Safari’s settings so the default is to show the whole URL.

How To
Open Safari’s preferences (Command ,) or preferences from the Safari menu.

Now select the ‘Advanced’ tab (img.1).

(img.1

(img.1

Then tick the Show Full Website Address checkbox (img.2).

(img.2)

(img.2)

Safari will now always show the full website address.

Twitter Cuts Mac App

In an alleged move to make their user experience ‘consistent’ across all platforms Twitter have announced that as of 16th February the Mac app will no longer be available for download and not be supported at all 30 days hence (see img.1 for tweet).

(img.1)

(img.1)

Will this move happen across all platforms? In my view, of course it won’t, I feel it is entirely a move to force Mac users to transfer to Twitter’s web portal and save on investment in an operating system and community that has been vocal over the lack of action by the company regarding abuse towards many sections of the Twitter population. If Twitter were to have announced the removal of the Windows app at the same time the explanation may have been more credible.

I was always a fan of Twitter over Facebook for personal use and any projects I was promoting but with the levels of abuse rising, the unwillingness to open their newer features to third party apps (which despite this restriction are immensely better than the native app or the web portal) and now support for the Mac being eroded, it may be time to look for an alternative (maybe Micro.blog). The issue that arrises here is that one of the alternative services must become embedded in the general public’s consciousness before a wide audience can be reached, a thing Twitter has already accomplished and which, therefore, adds more complexity to completely discarding it.

The other worry with this move is how much further into the future will Twitter allow third party apps to have access, however, are there many non tech geeks realise there are apps such as Twitterrific or Tweetbot out there or are willing to pay for a Twitter client.

At the moment I would recommend to those who use a Mac and dislike the web portal to spend a little cash on either Twitterrific or Tweetbot and look at other social networking options, hopefully one of these will become a credible alternative.

Automatically Hide & Show The macOS Dock

This is a follow up to the post of 9th January about automatically hiding and showing the menu bar, you can also automatically hide and show the dock, I find this really helpful while playing games in windowed mode.

How To
Select System Preferences (img.1).

(img.1

(img.1

Choose the Dock icon in the top row of the window (img.2).

(img.2

(img.2

Now tick the, Automatically hide and show the Dock, checkbox (img.3)

(img.3

(img.3

When you tick this box, the dock will reappear as you move your cursor towards the bottom of the screen, allowing you to get at all your dock actions while keeping your screen uncluttered.

Check Storage On Your Mac

At the current time many of us are constrained by the limited amount of storage on Mac Desktops and Laptops due the use of SSDs and their cost.

It is prudent to keep it check on your disk usage and available space. The screencast below shows how to do this.

Screencast

Text Walkthrough

Check Storage On Your Mac

  • Check Storage On Your Mac

  • Click on the Apple Menu.

  • Select ‘About This Mac’.

  • The basic system information is displayed.

  • Select the Storage tab.

  • All attached Hard Drives are shown with disk usage.

  • In the manage section Apple has provided a convenient place to manage the space on the internal hard drive.

  • Back in the storage section available space is displayed above the Hard Disk usage.

I hope this screencast provides an easy way to check the storage on your Mac.

Automatically Hide & Show The macOS Menu Bar

Think that the menu bar is untouchable on macOS? Well think again, since El Capitan, you can hide and automatically show the menu bar.

How To
Select System Preferences (img.1).

(img.1

(img.1

Choose the General icon in the top left of the window (img.2).

(img.2)

(img.2)

Now tick the, Automatically hide and show the menu bar, checkbox (img.3)

(img.3

(img.3

When you tick this box, the menu bar will reappear as you move your cursor towards the top of the screen, allowing you to get at all your menus while keeping your screen uncluttered.

Type To Siri On High Sierra

Siri can be a useful assistant on the Mac and easy to access the information needed by just using voice controls. However, there are times when talking out loud to the Mac is inconvenient or unsuitable e.g. while in a meeting or in a library.

Apple has added an option in High Sierra that enables interaction with Siri without requiring voice commands, the method of input is via typing commands or queries in to Siri.

How To
First, select the System Preferences icon, I keep mine in the dock for easy access (img.1).

(img.1

(img.1

Once the System Preferences window displays you will see an Accessibility  icon in the bottom right of the window, you should now click on this (img2).

(img.2)

(img.2)

In the Accessibility window scroll down on the left and select the Siri option, then tick the checkbox ‘Enable Type to Siri’ (img.3).

(img.3)

(img.3)

Now when the Siri icon is clicked a text entry box is displayed for a command or query to be entered (img.4)

(img.4

(img.4

Remember to turn down the volume so you don't hear the response out loud.

An easy way to use Siri on Mac without using voice.

Get To Know The macOS Onscreen Keyboard

Welcome to a new screencast on The Mac Quad. In this post I will help you get to know the new macOS onscreen keyboard included with High Sierra, making it much easier for motor impaired users to enter text on the Mac.

Screencast

Text Walkthrough

Get to know the new macOS  Onscreen Keyboard.
    •    Previous post shows how to display the onscreen keyboard.
    •    This will show some of the features of the basic keyboard which is displayed when enabled.
The basic keyboard is for typing in a text editor and all other places where text entry is required.
    •    This includes modifier keys.
Above is a Typing Suggestions panel this enables quicker entry of text and learns use of words.
There are Function Keys which are like a standard Apple keyboard.
    •    Dim Screen & Brighten Screen
    •    Launch Mission Control
    •    Go to Launchpad
    •    Toggle Touch Bar (if you have a new MacBook Pro)
    •    Rewind, Play/Pause, Forward in iTunes etc.
    •    Mute/Unmute Sound
    •    Decrease, Increase  Volume
    •    fn key displays standard function bar
x Closes keyboard and must be reenabled from System Preferences (please see previous post).
… Minimises the keyboard but still allows access once the keyboard button is clicked.
Preferences Cog gives the ability to change the appearance of the keyboard.
    •    Zoom will change the size of the keyboard
    •    Transparency changes the amount of the background that shows through
    •    Fade after 15 seconds of inactivity fades the keyboard if the mouse is inactive for 15 seconds (amount of fade can be altered in the Accessibility Preference Pane)
    •    Show Dwell options on the keyboard
    •    Show Dwell options in the Menu Bar
    •    Always Dwell in panels means that whenever the cursor is over a keyboard panel dwell is active
    •    Customise allows the user to add their own panels to the keyboard increasing the functionality of the keyboard even further
    •    Preferences take the user directly to the Accessibility Preference Pane
Finally the Custom key shows customised panels that the user has added, I have created three.
    •    An extended keyboard
    •    A launch bar panel to make launching applications quicker
    •    A system panel for quickly shutting down, restarting, showing the system preference and more
I hope this video has enabled you to get more from the new Onscreen Keyboard in macOS High Sierra.