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Posts in mac

Replacing QuickCursor with Keyboard Maestro

QuickCursor was a great app which allowed you to use your favorite text editor to edit text anywhere on the Mac. For example, rather than writing a blog post in a form field in your browser, you could press a keyboard shortcut and then whatever text you had written would be sent BBEdit (or any other text editor). You could finish writing your post using all of the features of your preferred text editor (and, most importantly, not have to worry about your browser window crashing or anything else that might cause you to lose your work). When you finished writing, your text would automatically be sent from your text editor back to the web browser. (If the awesomeness of this is not immediately obvious, watch this short YouTube video showing how QuickCursor worked.)

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Billings Pro Adds Mobile Estimates and Apple Watch Features

I've used Billings for invoicing and time tracking since shortly after I first started freelancing years ago. I recently (finally) upgraded to Billings Pro, and I've been testing out the most recent update to the apps for Mac and iOS. The latest version brings Apple Watch support, mobile estimates, and seamless integration of all of the Billings Pro features across all my devices.

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Gestimer: Effortlessly Set Timers on a Mac

When I think about what makes a great app, I don't think it needs to be packed full of every imaginable feature. It doesn't need to be as precisely and extensively engineered as Editorial or Tweetbot. A great app can just as easily be an app like Pedometer++ or Blink, apps which enable users to accomplish a specific task in a way that is delightful and useful. Which brings me to Gestimer, a Mac App that launched in late June.

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MindNode 2.0 for Mac

Mindnode has been a favorite at MacStories for a while, and I'm happy to see a brand new version for Mac available today. MindNode 2.0 for Mac is an entirely new app, with an introductory price of $19.99 US ($29.99 after the intro sale).

The new version includes a variety of features that expand MindNode's usefulness beyond simple mind mapping to make it a powerful tool for collaboration, polishing ideas, and writing (among the many things mind maps are great for). All this while maintaining the attributes that set it apart from the beginning: simplicity and elegance.

The new features include notes, something I'd always felt was an oversight in MindNode. I like to keep my topic titles as short as possible, and being able to expand on an idea or add extended thoughts via attached notes is vital. MindNode 2.0 does a nice job of indicating which nodes have notes with an unobtrusive icon while concealing the extra cruft. Notes can be included in the various export formats (PDF, Freemind, OPML, Image, Markdown, or text).

When I'm writing, mind maps are the first tool I employ to brainstorm, develop, and begin structuring a piece. The outline view in MindNode (new to the Mac version) means I can see a linear view of my content as I work in the less restrictive format of a mind map. Being able to include notes in the Markdown export means that I can even begin developing paragraphs right in the mind map.

That leads me to mention my favorite new feature: the ability to preview the rendered Markdown from a mind map while I work using Marked 2 (my own Markdown preview and writing tool). Click File -> Advanced -> Open in Marked and a full preview of the Markdown export, including notes, will update every time the mind map saves. (iThoughtsX has Marked integration, as well.)

MindNode had also been missing the ability to add icons and markers to nodes, but not anymore. The "Stickers" feature lets you choose from a custom set of tinted icons to set ideas apart. You can also add labels to connections to help make things more scannable.

MindJet MindManager users will be happy to hear that MindNode can now import your existing maps. I switched away from MindManager a while ago, but used it for years, accumulating a significant pile of brainstorms in mmap format. Being able to access Mindjet's proprietary format in my tools of choice is important to my sanity.

The MindNode update also boasts improvements in smart layout, theme customization, and visual refinements.

Also new to the Mac version, the MyMindNode web service allows you to publish your maps on the web and link or embed them in a blog or web page. Maps can be re-published at the same URL as they're updated.

If you're looking to up your brainstorming game, you can find MindNode 2.0 on the Mac App Store.

TextBar Puts Your Text into the Menu Bar

TextBar is an awesome app which solves a problem that I have been struggling with for at least three years: “How can I put some text into the menu bar, such as the output of a shell script?” TextBar can do that, but it does it even better than I had hoped, because it also:

  • Lets you configure multiple items
  • Copies the item to the clipboard when you click it
  • Easily enables/disables individual items
  • Updates each item on its own time interval (some items might need to be updated every minute, some every 5, some 10, etc)

Here are some ways that I have been using TextBar.

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Flashlight Adds 160+ Features to Spotlight

First drafts aren’t meant to be good, they’re meant to be a starting point.[1] Sometimes we see “first drafts” released into the wild and we think “Wow, that’s a terrible idea.” Sometimes we see them and think “That could be great.” Flashlight is an example of the latter. Late last year, it was released as a beta[2] which even its developer described as a “terrible hack.” But the idea was great, and I remember thinking: “Imagine if Spotlight could do all of these things.”

Today, Flashlight is being released as a 1.0, with much more polish, and much less of that first-draft smell. It’s also free and open source. It extends Spotlight to do a bunch of different things (there’s a list below) but even more importantly it offers an API for others who want to hook into Flashlight’s power to do new and different things. Its plugin system also means that you can disable features that you don’t want or won’t use.

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Apple Releases OS X 10.10.3 with Photos App, New Emoji

Apple released version 10.10.3 of OS X Yosemite today, bringing a new Photos app that works with iCloud Photo Library from iOS 8, 300 new emoji, and a slew of bug fixes. We're working on our Photos article – in the meantime, iMore has done an excellent job in covering iCloud Photo Library and the new app.

I use OS X twice a week at this point, so I only installed the public beta of 10.10.3 last week and took the Photos app for a quick spin. Since late last year, iCloud Photo Library has become my only photo management solution, where I've transferred about nine years of photos from all my devices. The new Photos app for Mac took a couple of minutes to download my library; after that, it showed the same collections and edits as my iPhone and iPad. The process was painless.

I've upgraded my iCloud account twice to put everything in iCloud Photo Library, and I couldn't be happier. There have been many cautionary tales about Apple's cloud services and photo management apps, but I think they nailed it this time. I'm happy with iCloud Photo Library because it's seamlessly integrated with my iPhone's camera and photos – I don't have to manually upload anything, and I don't have to think about managing photos. This is quite the departure from what I used to do, and I like how I'm not wasting time with scripts anymore.

For this reason, I welcome Photos for OS X. Even if not for me, I like knowing that my photos – the same photos I keep on other devices – will show up on my Mac as well.