Mac Power Users 496: Keyboard Hacking with Brett Terpstra

Brett Terpstra joins us on the latest episode of Mac Power Users to talk about his keyboard hacks, planning workflows, some of his favorite apps, and the looming arrival of his new app, nvUltra.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

  • ButcherBox: Thoughtfully sourced meat delivered directly to your door. Get 2lbs ground beef + 2 packs of bacon plus $20 off your first box.

  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? You don't have to worry about that anymore.

  • The Omni Group: We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Automators 30: Some Favorite Automations

The latest episode of Automators is now available for download. In it, Rose and I share some of our most beloved recently created automations. 

Rosemary has an automation to help to deal with her garbage email address, and I have an email-related automation dealing with Basecamp. Rosemary built a magic album player using Shortcuts, and I used Shortcuts to help deal with meetings. Finally, Rose got a new Mac mini, and she's adding all sorts of automation to it.

This is a great episode with lots of exciting ideas. We've got several blog posts and sample videos linked to explain what we've done and there something in there for everyone. If you haven't subscribed to Automators yet, you should.

This episode of Automators was sponsored by Creative Next: The new podcast future-proofing creatives.

Diagramming and Planning with inShort (Sponsor)

This week MacSparky is sponsored by inShort for macOS.

inShort is an advanced diagramming and planning tool that lets you specify processes, resources, and how they all fit together. All of this is built around a unique interface that enables you to drill down into the details of a project or move back up to the overview and see the project in its entirety. The interface is brilliant.

inShort is an opinionated application that makes planning and workflow easier. It gets regular development and recently they’ve added layers (for pro subscribers), which add a new dimension to your diagrams, successfully combining related schemes in a common space.

If your project works in cycles, there’s new logic available in the application that lets you take into account several schedules for one object. It even addresses failed tasks, letting you map out what happens if the task fails in your project planning. This lets you log and analyze how what happens if things break, and it even updates the Gantt chart to display the failure.

If you haven’t checked out inShort, you should. Check out inShort.

inShort Screenshot.png

Mac Power Users 495: Manning the Battle Bridge with Artist Thom Zahler

Comic book artist Thom Zahler uses his Macs and iPads to create some incredible artwork and manage his indie business. On this week’s episode of Mac Power Users, Thom shares his apps and workflows. 

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? You don't have to worry about that anymore.

  • TextExpander from Smile: Get 20% off with this link and type more with less effort! Expand short abbreviations into longer bits of text, even fill-ins, with TextExpander from Smile.

  • Linode: High performance SSD Linux servers for all of your infrastructure needs. Get a $20 credit.

  • Pingdom: Start monitoring your website performance and availability today, and get instant alerts when an outage occurs or a site transaction fails. Use offer code MPU to get 30% off.

Keyboard Maestro Script for Automating Contact Creation with Cardhop

Here’s a small Keyboard Maestro script that I use just about every day to create contacts on my Mac with Cardhop. The problem this is designed to solve is Basecamp project email addresses. Every new Basecamp project I create has a specialized (and nearly unreadable) email address attached. Any email I copy or forward to that address gets added to the project. Handy. Right?

But the process of creating a new contact card for each project is tedious, particularly with the Apple Contacts app that requires much clicking and typing. So I made this script that queries me for the project name and then grabs the magic email address from my clipboard to create a contact in the Basecamp Projects group in my contacts database. Cardhop’s quick entry system makes all the difference.

You can download the script here:

KM Script Download

And see the script in action in the below video. Note there is a discount code for the Keyboard Maestro Field Guide at the end of the video.

Also, here’s a screenshot of the script.

Apple Music Digital Masters

Yesterday Billboard wrote:

On Wednesday (August 7) Apple Music announced the launch of Apple Digital Masters, a new initiative by the streaming giant that combines all of its “Mastered for iTunes” offerings into one global catalog. This is the company’s first public acknowledgement of the initiative, which it has been quietly unveiling for some time.

Please let this include Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.

Please let this include Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.

Please let this include Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.

Checking In On The Shortcuts Update

I am still in the honeymoon phase with the iOS 13 updates to Shortcuts. As I explained in a recent newsletter, I am in the process of recording an entirely new Shortcuts Field Guide. I’ve already recorded over 50 videos, and I have quite a few left.

This update to Shortcuts is way more than I expected. There are new triggers, actions, and the overall programming paradigm has been simplified, making it easier than ever for anyone to create automation on their iPhone and iPad. The last few betas removed some of the more interesting automatic triggers, but I understand they will be coming back. Regardless, if you have any remote interest in automation on your iPad and iPhone, you’re in for a treat in September.

Today while working with the new Shortcuts, I was pondering the state of affairs a few years ago when Apple first bought the Workflow application. At the time I thought there were two possibilities: they’d bring it into iOS but remove it’s more powerful elements (like they did with Siri) or they would scrap it entirely and re-distribute the very talented team to other projects.

Honestly, it never occurred to me that they would incorporate Workflow into the operating system and vastly improve its capabilities. Even if the thought had occurred to me, I would have bet you a lot of money that they wouldn’t then double down a second year to make it even easier to use and more powerful.

I have always believed that automation is something everybody should be able to master and use. These improvements to Shortcuts are paving the way for just that. These devices we carry in our pocket do not need to be an interruption in our lives. With the kind of automation Apple is democratizing with Shortcuts, we can get our work done faster and get on to the more essential things of life, like making art (however you define that), playing with their children, and, of course, taking naps.

Focused 79: Reclaiming Margin, with Shawn Blanc

The Focus Course founder Shawn Blanc is back and on this week’s episode of Focused, he’s talking about the importance of margin, how it gave him the space he needed to work through a personal crisis, and life lessons learned from his orange 1984 Jeep CJ-7.

This episode of Focused is sponsored by:

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code FOCUSED at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

  • Hover: Make a name for yourself. Get 10% off any domain name.

Mac Power Users 494: Our Home Offices

On this week’s episode of Mac Power Users, Stephen and I talk about our home offices: how they are setup, what equipment and furnishings are used, and, of course, what nerdy toys are around. Then, we discuss the pros and cons of working from home.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? You don't have to worry about that anymore.

  • The Omni Group: We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad.

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

  • Linode: High performance SSD Linux servers for all of your infrastructure needs. Get a $20 credit.

Automators 29: The Dark Dungeon with Adam Tow

On the latest episode of Automators, Rose and I talk to Adam Tow, creator of MsgFiler and writer of a few amazing Shortcuts automations. From having photos taken on his DLSR automatically shared to him via iMessage, to playing text adventure games with Shortcuts, there is plenty of automation fun to be had!

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

Stop Hating Email with SaneBox (Sponsor)

This week’s MacSparky sponsor is SaneBox, the email tool that everybody could use. You may have heard about some of the innovative new email features like inbox auto-sorting, deferred email, and reply tracking. The trouble is that early implementations of those features were all app-specific. You had to switch to a different email client that you didn’t necessarily like to get those features.

SaneBox fixes that. SaneBox has all of those cool new email tools (plus many more), and it works with just about any email client. Over the last few years, I have been jumping between iOS email clients trying to find the right app for me. Throughout this process, my one constant has been SaneBox because no matter which email client I'm using, I can still get auto inbox sorting, deferred email, reply tracking, and a pile of additional email tools via SaneBox. The service gives me the freedom to try and use any email client that tickles my fancy. SaneBox makes Apple Mail feel like a bad-ass email client and that is saying something.

There is a lot more to SaneBox, but in addition to all of that, SaneBox gives you email client freedom. To learn more head over to SaneBox and sign up today. Using the links in this post, you’ll even get a sweet discount.

Pixelmator Pro Update Works with Photos on Mac

The new update to Pixelmator Pro acts as a massive upgrade to the Apple Photos app. With the updated Photos extension, you can can access all of the tools and features from the full application, including layers and machine-learning tools. You can also save Pixelmator Pro documents to Photos. The update has additional features (e.g., new zoom tool, improved crop tool, and a delete mode), but the story here is that Apple Photos + Pixelmator Pro just became a potent photo editing solution.

GoodNotes Journaling Files

I wrote up my GoodNotes journal pages a few months ago. Since then, I have found myself increasingly using a paper journal for much of this data, but I know a bunch of readers wanted to modify my forms. Links are below in OmniGraffle, PSD, and PNG format. (I built all of these using OmniGraffle.) 

These differ from the versions I made for myself in that I used a custom flavor of Futura that I purchased years ago. I changed the font to a system font for these downloads and changed some of the titles specific to me, such as working on a Field Guide every day, to something more generic. Enjoy, and let me know if you make something amazing with them.

Once you complete customizing your form, export to PDF, and you can then import and edit them in GoodNotes. You can leave them right in GoodNotes or, if you are a fancy Day One user like me, export the completed page as an image to Day One. Sort of related, Tom Solid made his own forms that are far superior to mine if you want more detail.

Regardless, click below to download:

Daily Diary Forms

Daily Plan Forms

Week Scorecard Forms

Week Review Forms

Go nuts!

Mac Power Users 493: My Life is an Edge Case, with TJ Luoma

On the latest episode of Mac Power Users, pastor and Apple nerd TJ Luoma returns to the show to catch us up on his journey with Apple's notebooks and the iPad. He also shares some of the apps that he uses every day to make his work more efficient, as well as his explorations in Internet filtering and content blocking.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? You don't have to worry about that anymore.

  • TextExpander from Smile: Get 20% off with this link and type more with less effort! Expand short abbreviations into longer bits of text, even fill-ins, with TextExpander from Smile.

  • Direct Mail: Create and send great looking email newsletters with Direct Mail, an easy-to-use email marketing app designed exclusively for the Mac.

  • Hover: Get 10% off any domain name — extensions for anything you’re passionate about.