The Worst Default Setting on the Mac

Found under the Mission Control System Preference, “Automatically rearrange Spaces based on recent usage” takes any Spaces you’ve set up and scrambles them every time you open a new app. So it just adds a bit of chaos to your day. I’ll never understand why this is turned on by default.

P.S. I just checked. It’s also turned on by default with a macOS Ventura install.

Fixing the Print to PDF Trick for High Sierra

One change from the High Sierra macOS update is a slight modification to the command to print to PDF. Years ago I shared a tip about printing to PDF by holding down the Command key and pressing P twice. It’s a great tip and people still use it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in High Sierra. That is because Apple removed the ellipsis from the command. To fix this, go to your keyboard shortcuts and remove the ellipsis, and all will be good again. See the screenshot below and video for help.

“Hey Siri, Send”

For the first week I used my Apple Watch, it drove me nuts that I still had to tap the screen to confirm sending text messages I’d dictated via “Hey Siri”. Then I decided to try dictating the button press. When presented with the confirmation button before sending a text message, saying “Send”, which is most intuitive, doesn’t work. However, saying “Hey Siri, Send” does. In fact, for any confirmation button that shows up while dictating into the watch, all you have to do do is say “Hey Siri” and then the name of the button.

“Hey Siri, Tell Daisy I’m in jail. Bring bail money.”


“Hey Siri, Send.”

It is strange that you have to preface every button press with “Hey Siri” and this behavior is different from the iPhone, which asks you to confirm and you just say “yes” or “confirm”. The iPhone method is better. However, if you want to send a text message from your Apple Watch hands free, get ready to say “Hey Siri” a lot.


Turns out, the iDownload blog figured this out before I did and even made a clever video.

The iPhone Extension Trick

Have you got any contacts that have extensions in their phone numbers? If you do, you’ll know that adding extension information to your contacts can give your iPhone fits when placing calls. There is, however a trick.

When creating a contact, instead of this:

866-5309 x1982

Do this:


The semicolon is secret code to your iPhone to wait once the call connects and gives you the option to dial the extension when you tap it at the bottom of the screen.

I use this for telephone extensions and also for my conference call dial-ins—that seem to always have ridiculously long conference ID numbers.

Alternatively you can use commas to have the phone delay slightly and enter a digit for you. For instance, if you frequently have to call your cable company to reset your cable box and you know the tone sequence to make that happen, you could have a phone number like this.

Cable Box Reset

Assuming you got the numbers in the right order, that sequence would actually penetrate the bureaucracy and reset your cable box.

You can set the commas and semicolons in the Contacts app on your Mac, which is obvious. Not so obvious is the fact that you can add commas and semicolons on your phone too. To do so, press the symbol button on the dialer and then “pause” for a comma or “wait” for a semicolon.


Permalinking SquareSpace with TextExpander

I get a lot of requests about how I put permalinks at the bottom of link posts. People think I’ve done this with some clever bit of web programming but the answer is really just a TextExpander snippet.

Here is the snippet text:


You’ll have to replace the “macsparky” bit with your own domain. The trick is to grab the name of a pending post and put it in your clipboard. You do this in the Options tab for a new SquareSpace post.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 4.10.13 PM.png

As you can see I’ve highlighted the blog post name and the copied it (⌘+C). Then I flip back to my post text and put the cursor at the bottom and fire off the above snippet. (I uses “pperma” for my shortcut.)

That produces the following markdown.


This shows up as a permalink.

Use Hazel to Find Dates Inside Files

Timotheus over at has a workflow for using Hazel to pull dates out PDFs. Basically, he uses the Contents field to look for strings of text matching common date formats. Clever.

He is selling the rules for $4, which I can understand because it clearly was a lot of work setting them up.

14 Days in Mountain Lion Calendar Week View

There used to be a really handy terminal command to open debug mode in iCal. One of my favorite settings was the ability to display two weeks in week view. Unfortunately, the command stopped working in Mountain Lion and it doesn’t appear anyone has figured out how to resurrect it. (I tried for 30 minutes.)

In the meantime, there is a terminal command to set the number of days to display in week view. Mac OS X Hints shows the way but here it is.

defaults write CalUIDebugDefaultDaysInWeekView XX

Substitute the number of days for XX. If that blows your mind, run it again and change the number back to 7.