macOS

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Change The Default Finder Folder

Do you wish you could see a different folder to “All My Files” when you open a new Finder window in macOS?

If like myself you prefer to have your Documents (or any other folder) show it is extremely easy to change the default behavior to one that suits your individual requirements.

How To
In the Finder menu (usually showing when you click on your Desktop) select Preferences or you can just hit the key combination Command ⌘ + , which will show the Finder Preferences.

Click on the selection box below “New Finder windows show” and select the folder you would like to display (if your folder is not there click on other and navigate to your desired location) (img.1).

(img.1)

(img.1)

Each new Finder window will now open showing your selected folder.

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.

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.

iMazing Giveaway Winners

A blind draw was made today with all of the entries that I received for the iMazing Giveaway entered,the three winners were:

Lin

Wessel

Jack

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

Thank you to everyone at DigiDNA (the makers of iMazing) for generously providing the three copies of iMazing and also, thank you to everyone who took the time to enter.

iMazing Giveaway

The iMazing Giveaway has now closed

This week I have been very kindly given three Single iMazing 2 Licenses by my friends at DigiDNA to give away. If you have read my post about how to Use iMazing to Check the Health of an iPhone Battery you will be aware of some of the features available in the full version of iMazing but there is so much to this great piece of software.

iMazing 2 is for personal iOS device management, empowering users to simply do more with their Apple devices. It has been downloaded by over 10M users and is the number one software to transfer and save music, messages, and data from any iOS device to a computer. iMazing 2 introduced a safer way to back up, backups are automatically archived, so that digital memories are safe, and browsable in just a few clicks. It works with all iPhone, iPad and iPod models, on both Mac and PC.

Key Features

  • Old iPhone to a new one

It's easy to copy the content of any iPhone or iPad to a new one. Users can choose what data and apps they want to save and transfer.

  • Safe backups on any Mac or PC

Any iOS device can be securely backed up via WiFi or USB. Backups can also be browsed and edited before being restored.

  • Simple message transfers

Text messages, MMS, iMessages and attachments can be safely stored on any computer. Conversations can then be browsed and printed.

  • Easy access to music, photos and videos

Media files can be moved between any iPhone or iPad and a computer. Favourite pictures, homemade videos and music can be saved and shared, without using iCloud or iTunes.

Further Features

  • Full iOS 10 and 11 support
  • A time machine for iPhone
  • Battery health check
  • Photos to Device
  • Console and Logs
  • Manage iBooks
  • Install iOS
  • Automatic Wi-Fi Backups
  • Download and Manage Apps

As stated above I have three Single iMazing 2 Licenses to give away each of which is worth £34.99 and gives access to a License for 1 computer (Mac or PC), All iMazing 2.x updates and 24/7 support.

All you need to do to enter for a chance to win one of these licenses is to use the link below to send me an email with iMazing Giveaway in the Subject Line, please only one entry per person.

The iMazing Giveaway has now closed

I will conduct a blind draw to determine the three winners.

All entries must be in by 09.00 GMT on Thursday 8th March 2018. Winners will be posted on the website over the weekend of 10th & 11th March, I will also contact the three winners by email over the same weekend.

Thank you to everyone at iMazing by DigiDNA for their generosity in providing these codes. If you are not lucky enough to win please visit the iMazing website and see what this great piece of software can offer you.

Good Luck,

The Mac Quad

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.