Macstock this year was a blast. I came home with a feeling very similar to what I used to get from Macworld. I got to connect with a lot of people I admire, and meet a lot of new people. Plus, I got to speak. It was the most fun I’ve had presenting, and I look forward to speaking at Macstock again in the future.
My talk was about using Spotlight and how to take it further. During the talk I mentioned that I’d be posting a version that got a bit nerdier than the 20-minute talk could. That will be up soon (hopefully this week).
In the meantime, here’s a copy of the slides from the talk. I’ve learned not to put too much info into slides, so without me talking it’s less interesting. If I can find a video of the whole shebang, I’ll link that.
I will mention here, though, that I received a lot of feedback on one particular point that apparently a lot of people don’t know: when building criteria (predicate editor) for a smart folder or search (in any app) holding down the Option key (⌥) turns the + symbols into …, and clicking that will create a nested group.
The new group can be set to Any, All, or None (OR, AND, AND NOT booleans). When that’s nested within another boolean group you can do pretty complex things.
For example, say you nest an ANY group inside an ALL group. The nested ANY group only has to have one criteria match to evaluate to true, and then it will count as true for the ALL group. So you could have three nested ANY groups inside an ALL, and if one criteria from each nested group is true, then the ALL condition passes.
To summarize, the big tip here is holding down Option to create nested boolean groups in predicate editors. Side notes: you can drag and drop criteria between groups, and deleting the top level container item for a group moves the contents up the chain rather than removing them all. That can be a boon or an impediment, depending on your intentions. More to come!
An in-depth look at the current state of the question “Can iPad really replace my laptop?”
The rest of this week’s web excursions are some of my current favorite (and most-used) Chrome extensions. I try a lot of them, so we’ll start with an essential for anyone who has more extensions at any given time than are ever going to be necessary.
And when you get to the point where you just have too many extensions, use Extension manager to quickly enable and disable them, and create sets of extensions for bulk enable/disable as circumstance requires.
This one scratches an itch for me. I use Toby and Pinboard to organize tabs, which is way easier if I can just save a whole window, but I hate having my sessions include irrelevant pages, and sorting them all is a pain. With Tab Manager, you can see all of your tabs as a list and manipulate them in myriad ways (close, move, re-order). See also OneTab…
A handy plugin (similar to my TabLinks extension for Safari) that copies all of your open tabs as a list of text links. Like TabLinks, it allows a template so you can, say, copy as a bullet list of Markdown URLs with page titles.
This one is indispensable for GitHub browsing. It gives you a full tree view on the left side of the page of the files in any repo. You can quickly navigate between files and explore repos where you wouldn’t even know what to search for in the GitHub quick switcher.
I apologize for the slow posting over the last couple of weeks. Between working on BitWriter, Marked 2, a couple of freelance projects, and entertaining a visiting family of 5, it’s been a rough period for getting any “extracurricular” projects done.
That being said, I did wrap up version 1.0 of a tool I’ve been using on my own for a while. It’s called the “ExtraInfo Service,” and is basically a reimagining of the ExtraInfo script for TaskPaper. I just wanted it to work everywhere…
Now you can use a tag like “@map(ExtraInfo Documentation)” anywhere in your notes, and running the service on it will open up a mind map that’s linked back to your current document. If it doesn’t already exist, it creates it for you, complete with placeholder variables so it’s ready to rock, and if it does exist it will just jump straight to editing it. It’s configurable, and you can change the @keywords, add and remove apps and template types, and start building a multi-app wiki of information.
A short screencast would make a lot more sense than this picture, but you know, time…
What you see is an nvALT note that was created from a line in an OmniOutliner document (which it links back to). The nvALT note contains a link to an iThoughtsX mind map, and the main node of that map links back to the nvALT note.
Softorino teased SYC2 a little while ago, and now it’s officially released. Instantly download videos and music, create audio, video, or ringtone files, and quickly add it to libraries on your Mac or iOS device. It works with more than just YouTube, too, including Facebook, Vimeo, Vevo, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and more.
I got this tip from the Systematic episode with Dean Pribetic. It’s basically high quality chainmail, designed for cleaning a cast iron pan without detergent. Wet, scrub, wipe dry. I bought it immediately and I can vouch that it’s a brilliant solution.
A few years ago I stayed at a (new at the time) hotel in San Francisco, and the pillows were so amazing I had to inquire at the front desk about where they were from. They emailed me an address for Down Etc., and I let it sit for a couple of years. Got one recently, and it’s as awesome as I remember.
Thanks to Andreas Zeitler and the Trading Cryptocurrencies video course for sponsoring BrettTerpstra.com this week!
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Liecoin, or Ripple, have seen an unprecedented gain in interest this year. Some websites claim 600% more users.1 And the total amount of money put into cryptocurrencies is now $114,000,000,000, up $37,500,000,000 since May 1st.2
And this is all happening at the same time where the typical bank gives us less and less interest on our hard earned money.
The question for you should be: where would you like to put your money?
Being frustrated myself with traditional investments, I turned to crypto. They say “never set more than you’re willing to lose,” so I started small. Really, really small. $5 was what I didn’t want to lose. These 5 bucks turned into over $500 in roughly three months. (If you don’t believe me, check out my public portfolio.) This means that I doubled about every 20 days. I can’t fake these numbers!
I cannot guarantee anyone the same gains. No one can. But I’m giving you the most important indicators so that you can do this by yourself.
My goal with my video courses is to give people a head start. Trading Cryptocurrencies is divided into three main parts: Beginner, Advanced, and Pro. I carefully picked topics for each and every stage in the trading game, and answer the most important questions at the right time. This way you get a broad overview of the topic in general, and a deep dive on only those topics that I think are especially important. For everything else, I made sure to leave annotations in the video where necessary. This way you can decide which topic you want to pick up by yourself and investigate further. There’s also an additional PDF containing a list of the most important books and videos recommended by my group of trusted traders, plus links for everything mentioned in the video.
The video is easy to consume and is downloaded in one high-quality file. Technically, the course is a Full HD MP4 with chapter markers. With these you can easily skip to the chapters that excite you the most.
Thanks to World Clock Pro for sponsoring BrettTerpstra.com this week!
A simple, fast and fun app to plan and organize across timezones
World Clock Pro is a fancy international time zone converter for Mac, ideal for anyone who works and interacts with people from multiple countries on a frequent basis. It will become the perfect everyday companion for planning and scheduling webinars, meetings, group activities, and calls. If your work involves world time zones or you simply wish to effortlessly compare multiple time zones to reveal the most suitable time to ring your friends or family, this time zone converter is a smart choice. Learning and checking what time it is in any part of the world is fast and fun with this world clock app.
Meticulously designed by a team of professional user experience designers at minimuminc.com.
Multiple time zone clock
Do you simultaneously work on several projects worldwide? Adjust group calls or corporate meetings easily. Add cities and timezones like GMT and UTC with a click. Enjoy a brand new experience in planning and scheduling!
Time zone map + time offset visualization
When it comes to arranging calls and meetings through a number of time zones, this world time zone clock makes a great solution. Select the related time zones and add them to Favorites, and visualize them on a map.
Time clock converter for everyday use
Convert times throughout the world in seconds, plan travel or check flight arrival times across time zones. Pick good meeting times for colleagues from different countries with a drag of a cursor, effortlessly finding the most preferable time for all of them.
Live weather in every part of the globe
See live weather and weather forecasts for the selected areas, not to mention every part of the world. Plan, organize and arrange any kind of outdoor activities, hassle free.
MacBook Pro Touch Bar support
The addition of Touch Bar support makes using this time zone calculator a more integrated and pleasant experience. Don’t settle for less, take full advantage of the latest Touch Bar functionality!
Feel gentle ‘clicks’ when scrolling time using a Touch Pad on newer Macs.
Easy, convenient, and fun to use, World Clock Pro is a must have for any avid project manager, or any person often calling partners, relatives and friends abroad.
Through the course of learning to cook there have been a lot of purchases necessary. Well, maybe not necessary, but having the right tools has made everything else so much easier. There are things I don’t like (or have learned not) to skimp on: Good sauce pans and skillets, good cast iron cookware, a few awesome knives, a decent food processor, blender, and mixer. You know, the kind of things where you regret not spending enough the first time around because they only make life harder if they suck.
On the flip side, there are dozens of inexpensive tools around my kitchen that I’ve picked up either out of need or curiosity, and am repeatedly amazed at both how durable they are for the price and how much they’ve helped make my kitchen life better.
I took a look around my kitchen after cooking and noted the top things that I got for $20 or less that I use almost every time I cook. I thought it might be worth compiling a list.
You can spend a lot on a digital scale. Simply an accurate scale that can hold a variety of containers on it suits my needs. This little one has a digital readout and touch buttons. Like any similar implement, it tares when you turn it on, and you can choose whatever measurement units you need. Turns itself off after a timeout period, and stores easily in my rack with my cutting boards.
This is one of those things I never thought about needing and tried on a whim. It’s a 5-bladed pair of scissors (a 5-pair?) that lets you quickly chop up fresh herbs like chives, cilantro, basil, etc. without using a cutting board. There are plenty of times I’m happier wadding up a bunch of leaves and chopping with a chefs blade, but these have come in handy many times.
The Jenaluca is the one I’ve used, but the Utopia Kitchen version is half the price on Amazon and looks to be just as good.
I am not a fan of box graters. Hard to clean, annoying to use. But I also rarely need to grate entire blocks of cheese, so I’ve never invested in a big rotary grater. After falling in love with the microplane (zester), I got a medium and large hand grater. I do not regret this.
I don’t use this for coffee. It would probably be great for it, but for me it’s a great spice mill. A large-radius crank, friction based assembly (not a lot of threading to slow things down), and it helps with cleanliness for me because it’s self-contained, grinding the contents into a removable chamber at the bottom.
This little knife sharpener has 4 different angles and a stone for ceramic blades. It just works. Two passes on this and my chef’s knife is razor sharp and free of nicks.
A note about OXO
I see the OXO brand all over Target. And Amazon Pantry. And everywhere. Its ubiquity was a sticking point for my snobby instincts (“a house brand at Target could never be the best you can get”). But when it comes to simple implements that are comfortable to use, you can’t beat the price. I’ve had a few items break thus far, and in some cases have gone ahead and replaced them with stainless steel versions, but a few things have held up amazingly well and saved me a lot of money versus the competitors.
For ten bucks, this thing changed a surprising number of habits for me. Zest an entire lemon in under a minute, plus it works great for finely grating cheese over pasta, adding a few scrapes off of a nutmeg to a sauce, or anything that just needs a good scrape.
I never realized how useful a mandoline slicer could be in the kitchen until I just went ahead and bought this on a whim. At its widest setting, I can slice an entire onion for caramelizing in 30 seconds, with perfectly consistent widths to the slices. Just make sure you use the guard and watch your fingers. Seriously.
This is one of those OXO products I’m assuming will wear out. It’s not terribly well constructed, but it’s held up through many a slicing and dishwasher run. If I replace it, it’s going to be with a stainless Steel mandoline slicer for about $30.
If you’ve ever watched cooking videos and seen the chef use a handy little scraper thing to move chopped veggies into prep bowls but then couldn’t find the right search term to buy them, then you’re like me and the phrase you’re searching for is “bench knife.” Beyond its intended purposes, it’s an excellent transport tool and also good for getting dough off your fingers. This one has an occasionally handy ruler on it too, for when you’re instructed to dice something in unintuitive dimensions and you have to double check for sanity.
I have an array of OXO peelers, scissors, spatulas, etc. around as well. The items without moving parts (e.g. spatulas) are unquestionably durable. I’m a little more wary about anything with multiple parts, though the Y Peeler with potato eyer has been great.
I’m including this because I work in a small kitchen. Space is at a premium. I have one good set of stainless steel measuring cups, but don’t have room to keep an auxiliary set around. These plastic measuring cups collapse to flat and take up very little space in a drawer.
I only learned about collapsible measuring cups because this set ($23.19) was already around in the kitchen. I haven’t used the Prepworks ones, but I listed them because that’s what I would buy if I didn’t already have the Food Network set.
I’ve been through enough measuring spoon sets to know where my primary frustrations lie. First, I want to be able to stick it into narrow cap spice jars. Second, I want it to be stainless steel because they can be dried faster when switching from liquid to dry measure. These fit the bill perfectly, and I love them. One of those things that I can smile and take pleasure in every time I use them.
The set even comes with a level that hangs with them on the ring, so you can stick the measure into a spice jar, place the level across the opening, and have it level the scoop as you pull it out of the jar.
For $13 you have a set of lightweight yet durable cutting boards in three sizes. They don’t gouge or scratch easily, so you’re not risking bacterial growth as you would in most wooden cutting boards, but they’re not so hard that they’ll dull your blades. They don’t stain easily, and they dry quickly. A quick wipe with soap and water, swipe with a hand towel, and they’re ready to store. Plus sustainability of resources…
I love glass prep bowls. Almost too much. I have a variety of sizes available, but I’ve come to love these 2-cup Pyrex bowls because they’re big enough to hold a chopped onion but not big enough to take up my whole counter. They have lids, so sticking prepped food (or leftovers) in the fridge is a one-step process. And they’re Pyrex glass, so they don’t retain odor, they’re dishwasher safe, and you can heat them in the microwave or oven, should that be a necessity.
In case I haven’t mentioned it, I have limited space. A vertical rack makes good use of counter space and frees up significant drawer space. I use this rack for the cutting boards, the digital scale, and my rocker blade pizza cutter.
My knife set is not a set. It’s a motley collection of individually purchased blades with no knife block (and one set of 3 ceramic knives that defeat the purpose of a magnetic strip). So I found this flexible solution, which will hold between 10 and 16 knives depending the combination of lengths and how you configure them. It’s designed to fit in a drawer (17” x 5.25”), but I’ve been using it on the counter top where my knives are always within reach.
I bought this because it looked like a really good idea, like a filing cabinet for spices. I didn’t like the execution in the end, for reasons I don’t remember now, but I took the strips of jar clips and put them on the inside of the spice cupboard door. I had to space them so that they wouldn’t collide with shelves or rows of taller spices, so it’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, but it became the perfect spot for an array of paprikas and things like whole cumin, hazelnuts, and coriander seed (because I organize thematically, in ways that probably only make sense to me).
This is possibly my favorite spice cabinet improvement I’ve ever made. The 3-tier rack pulls forward and down to eye level. The front row of it can even be top-labelled jars, then, which is great for the stubby little containers that fit better packed together and you can read the fronts anyway. The shape of it leaves space behind it when it’s collapsed up into the cabinet for a row of less frequently-used spices. Like some kind of secret stash, shrouded in mystery.
I buy spices in the bulk section, and I try to reuse containers. This gets ugly fast. I’m working toward a unified set of spice jars, and unified labelling to make it easier to scan. This set of stickers, while pricier than I think stickers are actually worth, has covered every need I’ve had. I think there was one spice that it didn’t have a sticker for, but I’ve forgotten which.
You already knew this, and my mom always tried to teach it, but keeping the kitchen from becoming an overwhelming mess means cleaning as you go. Washing (or at least soaking) bowls and boards and knives and measuring spoons as you use them. And unloading the dishwasher before you cook so you can load it as you finish with items. If you share a kitchen, knowing the simple state of the dishwasher (clean or dirty) can be a hassle easily solved by the tried and true Clean/Dirty magnet. This is the one we have. It’s not fancy, and there are probably cheaper versions and it’s likely there are more expensive options. I like this one. It’s funny.
Yesterday I posted excitedly about full Hyper key functionality being available in macOS 10.12+. I included a snippet of a config file that has apparently led to some confusion, so I’m elaborating here on the full configuration.
The first thing you need is Karabiner Elements, and you need what is currently the bleeding edge version, 0.91.3. If you don’t already have Karabiner Elements installed, grab the latest version at pqrs.org/latest/karabiner-elements-latest.dmg. Open Karabiner Elements and go to the Misc tab, you can check your version and update if needed by clicking the “Check for beta updates” button.
Once it’s running, there’s a configuration file at ~/.config/karabiner/karabiner.json that you can edit. The options required for this are not available yet in the GUI, so they have to be added into this hidden config file.
The file is JSON, and breaking the formatting will cause Karabiner failure, so be sure to do any editing with care. Below is a complete version of my config file. It has no significant changes from the default other than the Hyper Key functionality. If you don’t have any other settings in Karabiner (e.g. Simple Modifications beyond one that, say, maps caps lock to something for Hammerspoon…), you can overwrite the contents of the karabiner.json with the code below.
If you do have other settings, you’ll need to follow different directions, so skip to the next part.
To edit just the Hyper key chunk into an existing config, you’ll add the chunk below into the “profiles” array in the first element:
Here’s the chunk that you’ll paste in. Be sure to keep the trailing comma after the last curly bracket.
Karabiner Elements should immediately detect the change and your Hyper Key should start working. You can test by going into any app that lets you assign keyboard shortcuts, such as BetterTouchTool, and adding or editing one. Holding down Caps Lock and hitting a key should give you the result ⌘⇧⌥⌃X. Hitting Caps Lock once should give you ⎋ (Escape).
Note that you should be able to modify the Escape part of the key to maintain Caps Lock functionality by changing to “to_when_alone” value in the JSON to “caps_lock”. Then hitting Caps Lock with no other key should still allow it to function as normal.
If you have issues, be sure to check that in System Preferences->Keyboard->Modifier Keys you’ve disabled Caps Lock (set it to No Action). Note that if you use multiple keyboards (like the internal laptop one and an external Bluetooth one), that screen will have a dropdown where you’ll need to set this for each available keyboard. Also ensure that you don’t have any “simple modifications” set in Karabiner Elements that would be trapping the Caps Lock key.
Thanks to MeisterTask for sponsoring BrettTerpstra.com this week!
MeisterTask combines simple, intuitive task management with powerful integrations and task automations. Best of all, the tool is real eye-candy, which makes working with it actually enjoyable. First launched in 2015, the tool has already grown a cult following among developers, designers and other creatives, and is quickly turning into one of the main competitors of established tools such as Trello, Asana and Wunderlist.
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