Moving your windows around the screen manually can be a pain. In this video I demonstrate how I use a few keyboard shortcuts with a great little screen utility, Moom, to make my windows dance.
My friend Casey Liss made a new iPhone app that that can put emoji faces over human faces, called MaskerAid. It’s a clever little trick and particularly helpful if you don’t want pictures of your kids on the Internet. Here’s a little video I made on my first run through the app.
The Legacy Contact feature that shipped with iOS 15.2 is grim, but smart. It only takes two minutes to set up and I made a screencast to show you how it works. No excuses not to set it up right now!
Today Flexibits announced the release of Cardhop 2.0. Cardhop has always had the Contacts app beat because of the Cardhop search bar, where you can access, create, modify, and act on contacts. (Flexibits also makes Fantastical, also known for its similar search/create bar feature.) The new version of Cardhop adds a lot of useful features, including:
The ability to take a picture of a business card and have the app extract the relevant data for your contacts database.
Diagram relationships between co-workers and family members.
Add multiple images to contacts
A full suite of auto-created and customizable widgets.
The ability to set up group invites in Fantastical with your Cardhop groups. It’s an impressive update. I did several videos for Flexibits showing off the new features. The overview video is below. In addition to the Cardhop update, Flexibits announced that Fantastical subscriptions are now converted to Flexibits Premium accounts. This means that if you’ve subscribed to Fantastical, you’re now also getting Cardhop for no additional cost.
The new Cardhop is available now for free for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The free version has limited features. A paid Flexibits Premium subscription enables all features for Cardhop and Fantastical on all devices and is available with monthly and discounted annual options.
Subscribers of Fantastical Premium are automatically converted to a Flexibits Premium subscription and will instantly receive all of Cardhop’s premium features at no additional charge. You can learn more at Flexibits.
Finally, I want to pass my congratulations to the Flexibits team for their ten-year anniversary. The company was built on productivity apps that make capture and data management easy for users. I remember meeting one of the company founders in the aisle at Macworld when Fantastical was a brand-new menu bar app built on the quick entry bar. In the ever-changing app market, they found a way not only to make it work but to flourish.
I couldn’t help myself and installed the iOS 14 beta on my iPhone. There are a lot of nice new features, but one obscure one is Back Tap. This new accessibility feature lets you trigger Accessibility functions by tapping the back of your phone two or three times. It also can trigger a Shortcut. So I made some simple shortcuts to trigger the camera and toggle the flashlight and added them to Back Tap triggers. Here is a video showing how it works.
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:
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.
A few weeks ago, I posted about my new two-screen setup. I explained that I have started using the second monitor as a “reference” monitor to the right of my iMac screen. I’ve received emails and questions in the forums about how I manage windows between the screens.
I explained in the post that I do use Apple’s Spaces feature—although to a much lesser extent—with the new two-screen setup. What I didn’t explain, however, is how I like to manage windows using keyboard shortcuts and our old friend Keyboard Maestro.
First, a Word about Window Managers
There are a lot of applications for the Mac that will manage windows for you. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and range from simple to complex. You can also manage windows with an AppleScript, if that’s your thing. If I had to pick one window manager, it would be Moom. I’ve used it for years, and I still have it installed despite the Keyboard Maestro shenanigans listed below.
Keyboard Maestro FTW
I think Keyboard Maestro is an ideal tool for window management for several reasons.
First, it is hyper-customizable without being hyper-difficult.
The second reason for using Keyboard Maestro is that it does so much more. I am a big fan of “stacked” automation. This is the idea that you take two relatively simple automation tasks that you often perform in order and stack them together in the same script. For example, when I want to plan a day, I often open up OmniFocus and my calendar, and I arrange those two applications in a certain way that makes it easy to see data in both. Moreover, in OmniFocus I will open particular tabs so that I can click through them quickly. I demonstrate this below.
These are all simple automation steps, but when strung together (or stacked), they become a powerful tool to manage my day. Using Keyboard Maestro for window management, not only can I make simple scripts to move the current window to the left side of the screen, but I can also stack more complicated scripts that create a working space based on the task at hand. Since I need Keyboard Maestro to do that second part, it might as well do the first part as well.
And Now, a Screencast
So now it’s time to dive into the technical details of how I do all of this. For that, I think a screencast is a lot easier than a bunch of words. Here you go.
The YouTube Plug
You may note with the above screencast that I’m distributing it through YouTube. I have finally set up a YouTube channel for MacSparky, and I’m going to be adding more content going forward. For that reason, I respectfully ask that you subscribe and push whatever other buttons you’re supposed to push to make me feel special.
Finally, Some Screenshots
• Support for French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese (including full text parsing and localized address and phone formats)
• Smart groups: create dynamic smart groups that automatically update based on specific search criteria
• Template preferences to customize fields and labels for new contacts
• Printing support: print customized envelopes, labels, and lists of contacts
• Quick Action for printing: type “print” or use a Quick Action button to quickly print a contact or group
• “Add Notes with Timestamp” option to quickly insert the current date and time into the notes of a contact
• Typing into a related name field now suggests other names in your contacts
My favorite feature continues to be how fast the app is. I can access or add to my contact data with just a few keystrokes. This makes Apple’s Contacts app feel very old and fidgety. Best of all, I made a video for them of the new features.
PDFpen for Mac continues to improve. Today Smile released version 10 with several new features:
- Adds watermarks
- Insert Headers & Footers
- OCR multiple documents in batch (PDFpenPro only)
- New Precision Edit tool selects, moves, resizes and deletes line art and text
- Improves move & resize of images
- Enhances page number styling
- Adds larger Library item view
- Prettier drawing colors
- Adds context menu options
- Various improvements and fixes
My favorite new feature is the watermark function. I am kind of particular about the typography in my watermarks (surprised, right?) and now I can import and create my Futura based all-caps watermarks to my heart’s content.
The app also got attractive new icons. Learn more about PDFpen 10 from Smile.
Finally, there’s a screencast from yours truly.