An elegant version of a micropayment version of the web, with a decent spread of publishers already on board. No extension necessary, your login cookie automatically causes sites to hide ads and disable trackers. Free trial, affordable subscription.
I love the idea of directly supporting publishers—who continue to own their content—so they can skip the ads and trackers. Scroll isn’t the first attempt at this, but it has more potential for wide adoption than some others I’ve looked at. Here’s how Scroll works.
A terminal multiplexer (inspired by i3) with out-of-the-box support for search, mouse-controlled scrollback, and i3-like keybindings. I love tmux but I can live without the scrollback/copy rigamarole it entails.
So I needed to update my menu screenshots for the nvUltra documentation, which meant revisiting my NiftyMenu setup. In case you haven’t been raptly following the progress on that little side project, it’s a little tool that replicates any macOS app’s menus in HTML and allows for more flexible and consistent screenshot creation.
I added two new features to get me there: the screenshot (.shoot()) command now allows you to specify a filename, and there’s a Nifty “terminal.” The former means I can script menu screenshots and save them with filenames that match (and therefore update) existing screenshots in my documentation. The latter simply avoids the step of opening the Web Inspector, which is more a novelty than a requirement.
I will reiterate at this point that the screenshot capability of this tool only works in Chrome. But it works so well in Chrome that it’s worth running Chrome for it even if it’s not your primary browser.
I just keep that snippet in a text file in the same folder as my Markdown documentation, updating it as I add new screenshots. Whenever I paste it into the Nifty Terminal and run it, it instantly saves the updated screenshots to Downloads (occasionally shooting so quickly that I have to tell Chrome to “allow multiple downloads”). The weird %% suffixes on the specified filenames trigger a Hazel rule that then creates 1x and 2x versions, optimized and ready to move to my documentation folder.
Because the .find() command is fuzzy (it will find the closest menu item title match, even if the letters are non-contiguous), it’s resistant to changes to the menu ordering and wording. This means that as new menu items are added and I need to update the screenshots, I just have to regenerate the menus themselves (simply running the niftymenu.rb script); the script to generate the screenshots rarely has to change. And I can switch it to shoot in Dark Mode or with a different wallpaper just by editing the .config() call.
The latest version with these changes is up on GitHub, if anyone else is tempted by the siren call of automating mundane tech documentation screenshots.
As part of a larger roundup this last week, Michael Raphael was kind enough to remind people on Twitter that I do, as a matter of fact, have T-shirts for sale. I figured I’d remind folks here, too.
Updated, with apology: Not having anything in my own culture or heritage that I consider off limits for a joke, I’m not always sensitive to the culture and heritage of others. I realize, though (a bit late, obviously), that the Spirit Animal t-shirt was likely offensive to some, and I’d rather not perpetuate that. I’m pulling that one from sale, to be replaced with something unoffensive when I come up with a way to humorously express the same sentiment in a more culturally sensitive way. I apologize to anyone I offended. The ones that have sold thus far are officially “limited edition,” but if you want a replacement, just let me know. I’ll eat the cost and get you something else if needed.
I don’t make a huge profit margin on the shirts and other accessories, but this is one way I can ask for support and provide something tangible in return. Donations to my “coffee fund”, of course, have a higher profit margin for me. As a consequence of being self-employed, I don’t make anything on all of my dev time until a product (cough nvUltra) ships, so your support of my non-commercial pursuits and all of the stuff I share for free helps me get through.
Thanks to PDFpen for sponsoring BrettTerpstra.com this week!
PDFpen and PDFpenPro is your ultimate PDF viewing and editing app for the Mac. You can add headers and footers, along with watermarks to your documents. It also includes a precision edit tool, plus you can OCR documents and edit content in table cells.
PDFpen 12 is out, and it adds in several useful features:
Optimize your PDFs for smaller file sizes with customizable image compression settings.
Built-in DocuSign support for digitally signing PDFs.
Magnifier Window: Magnify any part of a document independently of the document’s Zoom level.
PDFpen for Mac supports macOS Catalina, and PDFpen for iPad & iPhone supports iOS 13 and Apple Pencil.
Brace expansions are a shell syntax that lets you perform operations on a series of arguments with variable components without having to type each one out in full. Bash can do a lot with this that Fish can’t, so it’s taken a little work to replicate some common commands in Fish. But not much.
Thanks to A Fine Start for sponsoring BrettTerpstra.com this week!
A Fine Start is a new tab page for your web browser. It lets you create a clean and minimal list of links that you can group and sort however you like.
A Fine Start gives you just the right amount of functionality — without cluttering your new tabs with unnecessary screenshots and other space-hogging user interface elements. It’s just hypertext, so it loads quickly and gets you where you want to go, fast. With its clean and chill aesthetic and support for light and dark mode, A Fine Start is a joy to use for anyone who appreciates minimalism in design.
You can use A Fine Start for free. There’s an extension available for Chrome and Firefox, and a web version available for other browsers. Your bookmarks are saved directly in your browser, and you can import/export them at any time. If you would like automatic syncing between browsers and devices, you can get a Premium subscription for just $5 a month, no password required.
A big thanks to SoundSource from Rogue Amoeba for sponsoring BrettTerpstra.com this week. I’ve used almost every app Rogue Amoeba has made, but SoundSource has become an especially indispensable tool on my Mac. And they’re offering BrettTerpstra.com readers 20% off!
(I wrote a bit about SoundSource back in February, when I mentioned it was my top pick for audio control on my Mac.)
SoundSource gives you powerful control over all the audio on your Mac, right from your menu bar, with:
Per-Application Volume Control
Change the volume of any app relative to others, and play individual apps to different audio devices. Mute your browser, or send music to one set of speakers and everything else to another.
Improved Sound Quality
Use Magic Boost and Volume Overdrive to hear your audio even in loud environments. The built-in equalizer can sweeten the sound, and more advanced users will love the ability to apply Audio Units to any audio.
Fast Device Access
All the settings your Mac’s audio devices are just a click away. Adjust input and output levels, tweak the balance, and even switch sample rates, right from your menu bar.
One More Thing… If you have a DisplayPort or HDMI device that fails to offer volume adjustment, SoundSource can help there too. It gives those devices a proper volume slider, and the Super Volume Keys feature makes your keyboard volume controls work as well. Neat!
I’ve been trying out and letting go of code snippet managers since the early days of Code Collector Pro. I think I’ve tried just about every solution out there (I think Quiver and SnippetsLab are excellent applications), but I always come back to keeping all of my snippets in a folder of Markdown files.
Sanebox is one of my favorite services, keeping my email manageable and providing a bunch of handy tools. As always, I recommend checking it out (and here’s my affiliate link), but this post isn’t about Sanebox. It’s about the huge bundle of savings they’ve put together for a lot of folk’s new normal of working from home.
With services ranging from actiTime to TextExpander, there’s a bevy of coupons ranging from deep discounts to totally free services. Asana, ClickUp, CloudApp, Milanote, XMind, and more. Even FocusAtWill, a service I love for generating “work soundtracks”, has 50% off all plans. And, of course, SaneBox is offering $25 towards any subscription.