Fix Your Photos with PowerPhotos 2.0 (Sponsor)

We’re heading into a new year, and I’m guessing over the holidays you took a few pictures. How’s your Photos library doing? If it’s anything like mine, it’s a mess right now. 

Did you know there is an app to help you out with that? PowerPhotos is here to the rescue.

PowerPhotos works with the built-in Photos app on your Mac, providing an array of tools to help you get your photo collection in order. Find and eliminate duplicate photos, split up your library into smaller ones, merge libraries together, open libraries in separate windows, export photos/albums, and more. 

Best of all, PowerPhotos 2.0 is now available! There are some great new features in version 2.0: 

– Convert your old iPhoto or Aperture library to an equivalent Photos library
– Advanced export of photos/albums
– Full support for iCloud Photos
– New visual duplicate detection engine library groups
– Global menu bar item
– Multiple windows 

PowerPhotos adds all the features to Photos that Apple never will. You can download PowerPhotos for free to check it out, and purchasing a license will unlock all the features of the program. MacSparky readers can get a 20% discount with the coupon code MACSPARKY23, and existing iPhoto Library Manager and PowerPhotos 1.0 users can also use their old serial number to receive upgrade pricing, 50% of the normal price.

So make the Photos app work harder for you with PowerPhotos 2.0. You can get it today.

MacWhisper 8 Improvements

MacWhisper has been updated to version 8 with some new features, including a video player. Multiple apps use the Whisper model to perform transcription. I bought a license for MacWhisper early, and I’ve been using it a lot ever since.

MacWhisper application icon featuring a close-up of a white microphone in vertical orientation, on a stand, against a blue gradient background in the shape of a round square.

One example: We use a Notion database to manage all the MacSparky content (this blog, the MacSparky Labs and Field Guides, etc.). With the addition of Notion AI, we’ve found value in keeping text transcripts of released content in the database. This allows us to ask questions like, “When is the last time I covered MacWhisper?”

MacWhisper 8 adds new features:

Video Player

A new inline video player has been added that allows transcribing video files. The video player can be popped out into its own window. Subtitles display directly on the video, and translations appear as separate subtitles, too. This will make the above Notion workflow even easier

WhisperKit Support

You can now choose different Whisper engines like WhisperKit for your transcriptions. WhisperKit offers distilled models for faster transcription speed, and transcriptions stream in real-time. WhisperKit can be enabled in Settings → Advanced.

There are a bunch of other improvements keeping MacWhisper at the top of my list for transcribing audio on my Mac.

I will be curious to see if Apple incorporates the Whisper technology into the Mac operating system at WWDC. It seems like it should be built into the operating system. Moreover, if they incorporated it onto the chip, it could really scream. But it’s too early to tell exactly what Apple’s vision is for incorporating AI into macOS, and this may be a bridge too far. In the meantime, I’m very happy to have MacWhisper around.

Focused 204: Analog Productivity, with Jeff Sheldon

Ugmonk founder Jeff Sheldon is back on Focused to talk about designing and building physical products, how our environments shape our ability to focus, and finding joy in the analog.

This episode of Focused is sponsored by:

  • Zocdoc: Find the right doctor, right now with Zocdoc. Sign up for free.
  • Vitally: A new era for customer success productivity. Get a free pair of AirPods Pro when you book a qualified meeting. 
  • Harvard Business Review: The leading destination for smart management thinking. Subscriptions start at just $10/month with code FOCUSED.
  • Indeed: Join more than 3.5 million businesses worldwide using Indeed to hire great talent fast.

Microsoft’s M1 Moment

Microsoft has made a big deal about releasing its newest lineup of ARM-based PCs, which appear to be testing in the same ballpark as the M3. With the arrival of the M1, Apple caught the rest of the industry with its pants down. To compete, Microsoft needed an ARM-based platform, which it had been working on for a long time but really wasn’t ready for prime time.

This new lineup feels like a response to Apple’s M1 chip. In terms of processing, they appear competitive with the base M3 chip in performance. Moreover, several manufacturers are getting ready to adopt this platform with hardware that will be released as early as next month. That means there will be tablets and PCs with similar attributes to Apple silicon but running Windows. Microsoft is branding them as Copilot + PCs, with an emphasis on AI (like everyone else seems to be doing these days).

The above link contains videos and links to manufacturers, so if you’re curious about this, I recommend checking it out.

The net result of this will be that we get a lot of new hardware that runs in the ballpark with the M3 MacBook Air. It will be running Windows, but ultimately I think the competition will be good for Apple, and maybe encourage them to take a few risks with the types of platforms they use with their M-series SoC.

The iPad Pro Teardown

I enjoyed the latest iFixit teardown for the new iPad Pro. Apple made several improvements, including the ability to remove the batteries without taking the entire thing apart.

Also, you’ll see that the CPU runs down the center of the device, which makes it a lot more stable and allows it to cool more easily. In years past, the CPU was on the side. There’s also a cover over the CPU, giving additional rigidity across the long axis but not the shorter one, explaining why the iPad is doing better in bend tests along the long axis. Overall, it looks like a solid design.

Mac Power Users 745: “Inventing the Future” with John Buck

John Buck published a book covering the “Apple Technology Group,” a division within Apple that operated back in the 1980s and 1990s and experimented with many forward-looking bits of technology that we take for granted today. Join Stephen and me on this episode of Mac Power Users as we talk to John about his book Inventing the Future.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password: Never forget a password again.
  • Squarespace: Save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain using code MPU.
  • Zocdoc: Find the right doctor, right now with Zocdoc. Sign up for free.
  • Tailscale: Secure remote access to shared resources. Sign up today.

ScreenFloat 2: Power Up Your Screenshots

This week, MacSparky is sponsored by ScreenFloat 2, a major upgrade to the Mac’s built-in screenshot tool. With ScreenFloat 2, screenshots become so much more.

To begin, your screenshots will float, just like the name implies. You no longer have to dig through windows to find your screenshots. It’s right on top, waiting for you.

Then, there is a suite of screenshot tools: markup, annotate, colors, rotate, and trim. ScreenFloat 2 lets you record your screen and trigger screenshots on a timer. If you need to re-capture, there is a tool for that, so you don’t have to reframe the shot from scratch. You can even extract text and barcodes. If you need to redact, there are tools for that as well. You can remove text, faces, or barcodes. 

Shots float by default: anything you can capture on your screen can easily become a reference. It’s like Picture-in-Picture, only for screenshots and recordings. Shots can be effortlessly shared with a simple drag and drop, with extensive formatting and export options also available.

Also, every shot is analyzed for texts, faces and barcodes, which allows you to vuew, extract, copy, share and redact this information hassle-free. You can also search for a shot’s content in the Shots Browser, or with Spotlight.

Screenshots and recordings are stored in the Shots Browser, keeping the Desktop free of clutter, and allowing you to organize, categorize and find your shots. Shots are optionally synchronized via iCloud.

If you want to redact a text line, a face or a barcode in a shot? A simple right-click will let you do it without any further interaction on your part. But you can also go in and annotate, markup and redact manually. All annotations/redactions are non-destructive, so you can always go back and change or delete them.

I often want to get exact color matches out of screenshots, which is pretty difficult. But not so with ScreenFloat 2. The app has a built-in color sampling tool. If you want to use screenshots, you can drag and drop them out of the browser, or directly from floating shots. ScreenFloat 2 also includes a browser to organize your images with folders and tags, and it all syncs over iCloud. If you want to use your screenshots, you can dmrag and drop them out of the browser.

Check out ScreenFloat 2 today and learn just how much more useful screenshots can be.