Changes in Mavericks

Mac OS X Mavericks has changed my workflows. Although I’ve had the opportunity to work with Mavericks for quite some time, I now have the final, fully functional, polished version that was made available yesterday to all users for free. (nice!)

I haven’t had a chance to notice everything yet, but the first thing I did notice is its very tight integration with iOS 7. Apple seems to be moving in this direction. All their platforms, regardless of device have a more familiar feel, which is good. If things continue on this path, it shouldn’t be long before they all look almost identical.

The mobile devices, namely the iPad, iPhone, and iPod, that are running iOS 7, are getting more powerful. This capability will help with Apple’s grand plan of integrating everything seamlessly.

Anyway, I look forward to playing with iPhoto on the Mac’s integration with iOS 7. Being able to take a picture on my iPhone and have it sent to my Mac at the office within seconds can become very useful. Before Mavericks, I had a workaround. I had an If This Then That recipe that would forward all my iOS 7 photos to my Dropbox account. It worked fine, but there was sometimes a longer delay than I had expected. Nonetheless, it worked fine.

Sometimes I share portfolios with clients using Dropbox, and have Hazel delete the folder after a predetermined amount of time, freeing up space. I’m not sure yet if this is something Mavericks with iCloud will be able to handle. I will keep you posted.

iOS 7 Level Comes in Handy

Have you ever needed a level but you didn’t have one handy?

It happened to me. I had to hang a picture frame on my wall and I didn’t have a small enough level. iPhone to the rescue…

iOS 7 ships with a compass app. Open Compass, swipe to the left, and you have an accurate level:

almost level
iOS 7 Compass app – almost level

With a little adjustment, you should aim for this:

iOS 7 Compass app – level

The great thing is, it figures out if it’s being used sideways or flat and adjusts accordingly. I stumbled on it by accident and now I find myself using it a couple times a week… now if only it displayed degrees to 2 decimal places (or at least 1)… I could use it at my job sites. Until then, it’s fine for around the house.

Very handy; enjoy.


Adding a Yes or No Checkbox with Keyboard Maestro

Difficulty Level: Easy

Have you ever wondered how to add a checkbox in Keyboard Maestro? Although it’s not apparent, it’s extremely easy.

With all the incredible features Keyboard Maestro has, implementing user input has brought my scripts and macros to an entirely new level.

Here’s how to do it:

2 ways to perform a yes or no
2 ways to perform a yes or no

The first option will create a checkbox. It works with a 0 as false and a 1 as true with | (found above your ENTER key, and known as the pipe symbol) as the separator. Another way to look at it is this:

  • 0 is equal to false and also equal to box unchecked, or
  • 1 is equal to true and also equal to box checked

The second will create a dropdown menu with the 2 values also separated by the | symbol. In this case you have Yes and No.

These values are stored in their respective variables. In this case, I have named them: ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes or No’, but you can call them anything you like.

Yes or No dialog box using Keyboard Maestro
Yes or No dialog box using Keyboard Maestro

Of course, these 2 options by themselves are almost useless. Adding a conditional Action like an ‘If Then Else’ after the ‘Prompt for User Input’ will make this extremely useful.

Have fun with this.

Is the Moleskine Evernote Edition any good?

I just received my new Moleskine Evernote Edition in the mail today. I’ve been using Moleskine notebooks for years and have been looking forward to this item for a while now.

Here’s what it looks like:

Moleskine Evernote Edition
Moleskine Evernote Edition

Scribbling notes is as easy as any other notebook. From the iOS Evernote app, you can capture the page and store it in our Evernote account. You can even add little stickers (provided by Evernote, which are tucked away in the back folder) to each page which tells Evernote which folder you want your page to be stored into — that’s very cool.

Here’s what a document capture looks like within the new iOS 7 Evernote app:

Evernote iOS app document capture
Evernote iOS app document capture

The pages are supposed to be designed to allow better screen captures. As you can see, it does a good job. Then Evernote uses its OCR technology to scan the page so you can search your notes by keyword. That’s the best part: you scan your pages and never worry about having to file anything in the right place because as long as you remember something from it, Evernote will find it. As convenience goes, I give it top marks.



Are Solid State Drives Worth It?

Is it worth going to all the trouble of installing a Solid State Drive?

Absolutely! I recently switched to an SSD: it is like a brand new computer. It loads faster, it boots faster… it’s just so much better.

There are plenty of videos and tutorials on the web to show you how to do it. This post is only about whether you should do it. Again, yes, do it.

The Details:

Brand Name: Crucial

Model: M500 480GB SATA 2.5

What I installed it on: 2013 MacBook Pro

Difficulty Level: Much easier than I expected

My advice:

Before you buy the SSD, make sure you can handle the installation on the computer you have. For example:  on a late 2012 iMac, it is a major pain to perform this installation with many potential problems. Of course, you could hire a professional to do it for you if you’re not confidant enough in your skills. Research the process first, before you buy.

Fast Calculations with Keyboard Maestro

Difficulty Level: Basic

When I’m on the field taking notes, I use Apple’s Notes app on my iPhone 5. iCloud keeps my data on the phone and on the Mac in sync. It’s easy; it’s convenient. But it’s certainly not the prettiest.

But this post isn’t about note taking. It’s about accuracy and convenience. Often, I have many calculations to make. I’ve made mistakes in the past. Now, I still make mistakes, but not with my calculations.

Here’s what I used to do:

  • use the iPhone to take my notes on site
  • go to the office and open Notes on the Mac
  • with Notes open on the Mac, open the calculator on the iPhone
  • hope I tapped all the numbers correctly, get the value, and type them into the Notes app on the Mac

Very slow, boring and error-prone…

Here’s what I do now:

  • use the iPhone to take my notes on site
  • go to the office and open Notes on the Mac
  • highlight the calculation and hit a keyboard shortcut, and voilà, done!

Much faster, 100% accurate and fun…

Here’s how to do it:

Using Keyboard Maestro, you can call your macro whatever you prefer. For the hot key, I use the letter M because it’s short for Math. Whatever works to help you remember…

Keyboard Maestro Perform Calculation Script

For example, let’s say the calculation (the highlighted text) is:  239*57

  1. copy the highlighted text onto the system clipboard
  2. choose Filter Clipboard with Calculate, then Filter System Clipboard, with Calculate, which will simply calculate the highlighted text
  3. I type the Right Arrow which simply unhighlights the text and goes to the end of the text, ready for…
  4. the Return key, which sends it to the next line
  5. finally, I paste. The answer is already stored in the System Clipboard, so performing a routine paste will spit out the answer: 13623

You can easily modify steps 3-5 to your needs. You may not want to keep the original calculation; you may only need the answer. Tailor it to your needs. Apply formatting! Whatever you need. The end result will be accurate and fun to perform.