|Earliest: June 26, 2003||Latest: February 21, 2020||Total: 336|
Top 8 Macintosh Post of 2018
This year I tested and reviewed a lot of great Macintosh Applications.
This year I posted a lot of great tips and tricks on many applications that I use all the time, such as Pages, Affinity Photo, Photoshop Elements and Macintosh Tools.
Here are the top 8 Macintosh Post of 2018:
- Magnet for MacOS - Great tool to help properly align application windows on the screen.
- File Juicer - Great application to extract files from PDF documents or IOS Messenger.
- Wondershare Filmora - Looking for the next step up to iMovie? Checkout out Filmora, there’s lots of great transitions. The Text capabilities are very cool.
- Smart Converter Pro - I use this to batch convert lots of old media files to my iPhone XS Max.
- Apple System Services - Do you know about all the neat tools that are available in the Services menu?
- LaunchBar Actions - Learn some quick ways to perform simple actions using LaunchBar.
- Quadro Sync - Cool tool, but the company recently announced that they are discontinuing the application. Check out my review from January.
- Gif Brewery - If you want to convert any video to a GIF format, this is the software that makes it easy.
What's Planned for 2019?
I'll continue looking at new applications and giving my thoughts on them. Media seems to be the big thing that I might focus on, as well as storage solutions.
If you have any ideas, let me know!
Numbers - Year on a Page
Did you know that you can create a Year-on-a-Page calendar in Apple Numbers? Creating a custom calendar will be more productive to hang up near your desk work or on the back of a kitchen cabinet.
You can put all the important dates and customize the month's colors to your liking. This template gives you more flexibility than some websites. (I wasn't able to find similar functionality in Excel or Word.)
Five Things I Learned about the Calendar Template in Numbers
To get the Year-On-A-Page, simply open up Apple Numbers, select new, go to the Education category and select Academic Calendar.
To change the start date, simply, click on the month (September - by default) and then select the month. You can change the year by selecting the year and then up/down arrow the year.
There is a Month tab that allows you to fill in specific details for each month. Data entered here doesn't get carried over to the Description area on the Year-On-A-Page view. (That would be very nice)
You can highlight the background of days but you can't change the text, for example, add an Emoji on your birthday.
The Header text has no effect on the Calendar, so you can enter whatever you want.
On December 12th, Wondershare officially released the latest version of their video editor - Filmora 9. This update allows users to have up to 100 video tracks, audio keyframing, and more tools that people are looking. They are able to do this while keeping the interface as simple as possible.
Filmora 9 makes it super easy to create quality videos.
What's New in 9
The first thing Mac users will notice is the application window is now using dark mode.
The split screen functionality has been removed from the toolbar.
By default the title inspector no longer opens up a separate window, the area above the timeline becomes the title inspector. If you want the previous functionality click on the advance button to see the Title Inspector window.
Music category has been renamed Audio
You can now better sort the various assets under each category. Before you could only sort by large thumbnail or small thumbnail. Now you can do a list view, and group by category.
To get to the Instant Cutter Tool, right click on a video in the Project library and select 'Instant Cutter Tool'
When Exporting to YouTube, there are more options when identifying the Quality. Users can now separately change the video and audio tracks quality.
Getting the Update
Anyone that purchased the previous update and selected the Lifetime option of previous versions of Filmora. This is definitely a better option since Wondershare is actively working on making Filmora better and better. The current lifetime price is a one-time fee of $59.99.
You can download a trial of Filmora 9 from their website.
SoundConverter for Alexa
If you need to convert any audio file SoundConverter is the quick go-to app. All it does is convert sound from one format to another format. There's no editing capabilities and may crash if you try to convert a very large file.
I was working on transcribing a bunch of Real Audio files so that I could play them on the Alexa. I simply set the desired output format and dragged and dropped the files on the SoundConverter Window and within a minute all the audios were successfully covered to the recommended format.
Amazon's own documentation recommends only has two methods to convert sound files: ffmpeg and Audacity. While you can write up a quick bash script to convert a bunch of files using ffmpeg, it's so much quicker to use SoundConverter.
Alexa SSML Settings
This is the recommended setting to play audio on the Alexa devices when playing it through a skill.
SoundConverter is available on the Apple Store for free. There are other applications that can convert sounds, but this is the quick app to convert a bunch of audio files in a batch mode.
The application is a bit old, and hasn't been updated in a few years - six years to be exact! It still works, it may crash every once in a while, but just restart the App and it just keeps on working.
After converting the sounds, I used Fission to check the audio and Normalize some of the clips.
Photolemur is a great application that will make digital pictures look much better. You don't have to configure anything - there's no figuring the color temperature, tone or saturation / vibrance. Simply drag and drop any image and be amazed at the transformation.
Description from the Site
The world's first fully automated photo enhancer that makes all your images great automatically with the help of Artificial Intelligence.
Who says you need loads of free time and expensive software to perfect your images? Photolemur does all the heavy lifting, so you can spend more time having photo-worthy adventures!
Sample Before/After Images
Check out these two before/after examples:
Cape Cod Shore - Original on the left, Photolemur version on the right. I like how blue the sky is and the bring green color of the trees.
Disney Haunted Mansion at Night - Original on the left, Photolemur version on the right. Notice, in the Photolemur version, you can see more of the tree on the left of the haunted mansion. Also, notice that you can see more of the walkway brick under the light.
Five Things I Learned using Photolemur
Simply drag an image, and the software does all the work enhancing the photo. It might take 10-15 seconds. Afterward, you can see the before/after and then if you like it to save the image to your desktop, email or smugmug.
When exporting, there's advanced settings button. This is where you can set up presets to common settings - such as file location, naming, format and resize.
You can add additional Export Options by adding accounts to the 'Internet Accounts' in the System Preferences. This will allow you to export to Twitter, Facebook etc.
There are additional styles available that help enhances photos better in certain situations, such as fashion, street photography, sunsets, and landscapes. I have found that the default "No Style" had the best results. I did find it difficult to figure out which styles work best for which images situation.
The File Size minimum is 800 by 600. If you try to transform a smaller image you will get a warning.
Very Cool Application
I had this application in my app folder since July and finally paid for it during the Black Friday promotion. I have found that it's a great way to bring images to life. Pictures that I thought were just 'okay' transformed into amazing photos.
Applications like Luminar give you a lot more options, but if you want a quick image fix. I would highly recommend adding Photolemur
Photolemur cost $35 for a single license, there is a trial version where you have all the image enhancement capabilities of the full version. You're only limited to batch processing multiple images.
2018 Black Friday Watch
Every year I put out my list of things I am seeing if they offer any special deals during Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Most of my “watch” items are centered around the Macintosh.
Notion - Great App. Some people think it’s a substitute to Evernote, but I think it still lack key features - such as a web clipper. They are working on making it awesome. They may have some great incentive this weekend.
PhotoStyler - Cool application, but it hasn’t gotten an updated in a few years. At $29.99 it’s a pretty steep price.
Photolemur - I have seen deals around $35, I might pick it up if it goes just below that amount.
Wondershare Filmora - I have the application, but they may have some deals around the pack subscriptions
Services to Watch
uDemy - I have several courses that I have on my wishlist and if the price is right then I will sign up for them. They are running a $9.99 deal, which is pretty much the same deal they run several times a year.
Flickr - Earlier this month Flickr announced some changes to their membership plans. Who knows if they will have any Thanksgiving Deals. Worth a watch.
Dropbox - They haven’t had deals in the past, but who know’s this year could be different.
Creative Market - Haven’t purchased anything this year. Might have some good deals. Great place to find stock art and vector designs. They are a great source for font and templates.
envatoMarket - Large selection of graphics, audio and code. They do have some unique files that can’t be found any place else.
Fiverr - Thinking ahead to 2019 and to a new video intro for my YouTube channel. Fiverr is a great place to find it.
These are some of the things I am looking at in 2018:
- Mini-Tripod - Amazon is the place to find, but BestBuy or Target might have some deals.
- Levenger Circa Paper - My Annotation Rule paper supply is running low. They are currently running a 30% Black Friday sale.
- 128 GB Flash Drive - While I don’t really need one, but the prices have dropped a lot over the past year, so there might be some excellent deals. SanDisk Cruzer are currently selling for $24.99 on Amazon. Places like Walgreens and Best Buy are places to find the deals.
Not Everthing a Deal This Weekend!
Be sure to check out LifeHacker’s “When is the Best time to Buy Anything.” While you might see a lot of good deals this weekend, you can find good deals all year long.
Have a fun 2018 Black Friday shopping!
Convert Multiple markdown to HTML
MultiMarkdown is now showing up in more an more applications. It's an easy way to write content when you just want to focus on the content. It's also popular because you copy the content to different applications and keep the layout/formatting intact.
Easiest Way to Convert Markdown to HTML
Brett Terpstra wrote an excellent Service tool to make it easy to convert Markdown to any style that you want. Here's his description of the tool:
The Markdown Service Tools are a collection of OS X Services designed to make writing Markdown text that much easier. Services work in any Cocoa-based application (which is most of the apps on your Mac). The Services are prefixed with "MD" to keep them grouped in your Services menu.
Installation of the tool is pretty simple, and Brett does a good job explaining how to use it on the Markdown Service Tool page.
What's nice is that once you install the service tool, you can assign your own universal keyboard shortcut to trigger the service with the select text.
Easy to configure a shortcut, and use it where ever and whenever you need it!
What about Utility Applications?
There are many applications that can also convert Multiplemarkdown to HTML, and they may be a better option if your day-to-day job depends on converting then an application might be a better long-term solution. One of the "downsides" to Brett's Service tool is that is works based on the selected text. So if you're converting a bunch of Markdown file, this may not be the best choice for you.
Notion and Bear
Having a lot of DVDs and Books can be overwhelming. You may not what books you have and where they are - what is in the box in the basements or attic?
Delicious Library 3 solves that. It super easy to track inventory and find the books that you have.
Create Smart Group Shelves and always know which books you have!
Seven Things I learn about Delicious Library
- iOS Scanner App is a quick way to scan books in a library. If you have a lot of out-of-date books Delicious Library may not have an image for it.
- In Delicious Library, you can set up shelves to where the books are located. This is how you can separate books in the attic and the basement. You can also create ? virtual shelves? so you can have a quick view of all your business books.
- There is a ? Charts? feature so that you can see your current inventory levels. Here?s where you can find the items that are worth the most on the market.
- Delicious Library is useful to determine what should be sold at a yard sale (in a $5 box) and what should be sold on eBay.
- The Wishlist is a good feature to track things that you may want for the birthday, simply drag items from Amazon.
- You can share shelves with friends, so they know what you have and can borrow books your not reading.
- Delicious Library isn?t just for books and DVDs, you can tag tools, which is great when you're looking for a blade for a particular saw.
Not Free - But Worth the Cost
Delicious Library cost $39 and worth the money in time savings. Also, you may find that you have some valuable books that could easily offset the cost of application.
Not sure if it?s right for you? Try the demo and see how useful it is to digitally organize all your stuff.
Add Signature in Preview
Did you know that you can electronically sign PDF documents? Simply add your signature to Apple's Preview application and you can sign off on documents without having to print them!
Adding Your Signature
You don't need fancy software or hardware to add your signature, this can be done using your camera and a plain white piece of paper.
- Get a clean white paper (any size) and sign your name as you would regularly do. Use a dark pen or pencil for your signature.
- Open up the Preview Application
- Go to Tools, Annotate, Signature, Manage Signatures then click on Create Signatures
- Follow the instructions on the Manage Signatures dialog box. Tip: I would recommend putting another while sheet of paper behind the signature sheet so that you get a nice clean scan of your signature.
The whole process is very quick and probably takes longer to brew a cup of Nespresso coffee than it takes to create your signature file.
You can add as many signatures as you want. For example, you can have a professional business signature and a regular signature.
Adding a Signature to a PDF Document
To add your signature to any PDF document:
- Open up the PDF Document
- Go to Tools, Annotate, Signature and pick your signature (There is no Keyboard Shortcut)
- Drag your signature to the correct location.
- Save your file.
Note: You should save your file as a different name, for example, expense-signature.pdf. That way you know which documents have a signature file.
Set it and Forget it
Take a few minutes to do this now and you won't need to think about it in the future. This is because your signature image is saved in the Cloud. So when you log into your iCloud drive, you'll always have access to the signature.
How cool is that?
Adding Hyperlink in Apple Numbers
When opening up a CSV file from Jira, you may want to add a link to the tickets. The easiest way to do this is to create another column and then add the following Hyperlink function.
Easy way add a link using Apple Numbers
What the formula does is take the value in Column B and then appends it to the standard URL for your company Jira account. The final linked text is also the value in Column B. (Simply change the URL to point to the correct location.)
Apple Converts the formula to identify the columns.
Couple of Basic NotesRight-click the column that contains the values that you want to have links to and select the 'Add Column After'
Simple do the first item, then use the cell fill down functionality (Yellow dot in the bottom cell, and drag down)
Once completed, Hide column B so you don't see duplicate ticket ids.
I wasn't able to find a way to apply the HYPERLINK formula so that it uses an existing cell data. If you know of a way, let me know!