Macintosh Blog Posts
January 15, 2021

Path Finder 10

On December 8, 2020 Cocoatech shipped Path Finder 10. The last major update to Path Finder was October 2019.

New Features

This is the list of the major changes from CocoaTech:

  • Airdrop Integration! For devices discoverable by “Everyone”
  • Share to AirDrop, Messages, Mail, Notes, etc.
  • Fully redesigned for macOS Big Sur with Native support for Apple Silicon.
  • Improved Dark Mode.
  • File Browsing on and file operations on USB connected iOS devices.
  • Improved Drop Stack
  • Improved Batch Renamer
  • Brand new Big Sur style icon
  • Lots of miscellaneous fixes, tweaks and improvements all over the app.

Path Finder10

Notes on the Update

Airdrop - Airdrop feature is neat. It's nice to be able to drag and drop files between computers. You can't just drag and drop an object on the "AirDrop" icon. You have to click on the icon, and then drag your object to the device you want to move it to.

Fast AirDrop - You can quickly share an object by right-clicking and selecting the Share option.

Updated Icon - I did notice the new icon, I actually like the old icon. But I understand that particular icon style is where most developers will be using.

Browse Your iPhone or iPad - The iOS device connection is great. You get a lot more information than from iMazing. Very useful when you want to do a manual backup of your device. I particularly like that I can get the folder size, so I can find which areas are taking up the most space.

No More Cover Flow - The Cover Flow Module is gone. This wasn't a module that I used anyway, so I am not disappointed.

Dual Browser Tool - There is a new tool in the toolbar called Dual Browser. This allows you to quickly enable the Dual Browser feature - where you see two folders in one window. This is very cool!

No Other Surprises - I did a side-by-side comparison of Path Finder 9 against Path Finder 10 and don't see any other significant feature changes related to the update. The text seems to be a lot easier to read in Path Finder 10 than in 9. (I see that Kimberly Adams is now on the Marketing team.)

At The End of The Day

Path Finder is a great tool to have when you're doing Disk management. It will save you a lot of time - from finding large files to moving things around.

I like Path Finder and the update to version 10 is a very nice upgrade. Check out some of the cool features that I highlighted in Path Finder 9.

January 8, 2021

BBEdit Canonize Command

The Canonize command in BBEdit allows you to do a search and replace based on a user-configured file. Basically, each line is a search/replace statement. This is useful when you want to run the same search/replace job as a weekly task.

Hyperlink Database

If you do a lot of blogging, you may have some external links to certain sites. Usually, you make reference to them at least once in the post.

Using the BBEdit Canonize command, you can have BBEdit automatically put in the hyperlinks. Saving you time in putting in hyperlinks yourself.

You can build different Canonize files for different projects.

Sample URL file:

bbedit <a href="https://www.barebones.com/">BBEdit</a> Apple Computer <a href="https://www.apple.com/">Apple Computer</a> Google <a href="https://www.google.com/">Google</a> FireFox <a href="https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/">FireFox</a> Apple ios Store <a href="https://www.apple.com/app-store/">App Store</a>

Save the file in a commonplace - the BBEdit iCloud folder is a very good option.

Using the Canonize Command

The Canonize Command is located in the Text Menu. (There's no keyboard shortcut.)

Select the transformation file that you wish to use.

Limitations

One of the downfalls of the command is that it does a global search and replace. I am still looking for a way to only replace the first match, not all matches.

I see that there's a way to do it in SED, Perl, and PHP. I just haven't figured it using an external data file.

January 1, 2021

TRRS Cable and iMac

This week I was playing around with various cables with my iMac. I was trying to figure out how I can import audio from my Sony cassette player to my iMac using Audacity.

It turns out that using a TRRS cable does not import the audio to the computer.

TRRS Audio iMac

Things I Learned

I used a "Headset Buddy Line-Level Audio Adapter with Built-in Attenuation." I connected one end to the iMac and the other end was connected to a standard audio cable from the cassette audio out.

I tested this cable on my old iPhone and it worked. I was able to record audio from the cassette player.

When I disconnected it from the iPhone and plug it into the iMac it didn't work. No audio was being recorded from the cassette player. I was testing using Audacity.

I tested another device: Ultimate Lavalier Microphone - Lapel Mic Clip-on Omnidirectional Condenser.

The Microphone worked with no problem.

Not Giving Up

I'll test some other cables to see if I can get them working on my iMac. It very well could be that the "Headset Buddy Line-Level Audio Adapter with Built in Attenuation" doesn't work for my iMac.

December 25, 2020

Top 3 Macintosh Posts of 2020

This is the annual top 3 Macintosh Blog post of the year. There were 51 Macintosh Blog post this year, all of them posted on Fridays.

This year I am only going to highlight the top 3 posts. The criteria are based on the usefulness of the information and how I apply the information for my Macintosh experience.

Top 3 Blog Posts

Unlock your Mac using the Apple Watch - (April 3) This was a cool trick to quickly get back to my work after stepping away from the computer. Unfortunately, the IT department didn't like that and disable it for my work computer. However, the trick is still useful for my home computer.

Inkscape Spray Tool - (August 8) I really liked that you could spray any image in a the clipboard. It can create a cool effect.

Missing Disk in Sidebar using Big Sur - There is a bug in macOS 11 that prevents some SD Disks were not showing in the sidebar or in Final Cut Pro. I provide a couple of alternative solutions until Apple comes out with a fix.

December 18, 2020

Art Text 4

Art Text by Belight Software is a great application to transform text into art. You can make some eye-catching brochures and ads in litterly no time.

You can use 100+ text style presets, or be creative and design your own with lots of Fill and Effects.

There is an online store where you can purchase lots of great designs to make your text really stand out.

New in Art Text 4

Spray Fill - You can now add special effects like coffee beans, nuts, stones, glitter, and much more to your text.

Better 3D Reflection Masks

Text Design Store - The cool designs that you see in Letters is now available right in Art Text 4

Make your Facebook post stand out by using the Facebook 3D Photo effects

Shading Materials - There is 150 2D shading material that you can add to make your design stand out.

Sample Images

Merry Christmas2020 Art
A touch up version of the Bokeh design

Cape Cod Beaches Art
Using the Stone Spray fill

December 11, 2020

BBEdit Randomize Order

Bare Bone's BBEdit is a great text editor tool. Many people use it for programing developement.

I tend to use it for anything text related. When I am writing up some long text for email, Slack, or whatever, I am usually using BBEdit.

B B Edit Random Sort

New Feature!

One of the new features in BBEdit 13.5 is the Randomize Order functionality.

This feature randomly sorts the selected text. The end result is selected text gets replace by a random sorted collection.

Release Note Description

Added "Randomize order" as an option for "Sort Lines". If turned on, this overrides all other sorting options, and will generate a random ordering for all lines in the document.

Why makes this useful to me?

I manage a team scrum weekly standup. This allows me to sort the speaking order randomly. Prior to this feature, I would go to Random.org and use that sorting functionality. I was concern about the confidentiality of the data. I am not sorting a list of company passwords, but the list of names could be used for someone to cold call into the company. I am not being paranoid, just being cautious.

I can also use the random sort feature in a Text Factory run. In the following example, I apply the random sort and then add a line number.

BBEdit Random Text Factory

BBEdit's feature makes it easy to randomly sort my list of names in an application that I already use all the time.

December 4, 2020

PhotoScape Color Picker

One of the neat tools in PhotoScape X is the Color Picker. This feature allows you to select a pixel and paste the HEX value into the clipboard. It's an easy way to get some color into an HTML document.

Photoscape Color Picker

Four Things I Learned

When you find the right color, simply click the space bar to select the color and have the hex value pasted in your clip board

You can change the pixel view to a fine point the color you're looking for - particularly if it's an HD photo.

The Color Picker will save the last four options, allowing you to go back and get any previous selection. The background of the color picker shows the selected color.

The pasted copy doesn’t contain the ‘#’ symbol. This is weird because it shows in the dialog box when you select the color and in the color history section.

November 27, 2020

Paste Clipboard Content as Plain Text

If you have LaunchBar and Keyboard Maestro there are a couple of tricks on how to paste the contents of your clipboard as plain text.

I have clipboard management is enabled for both applications. I use LaunchBar for my primary clipboard management. I have found LaunchBar interface to be simple to navigate and easy to paste the content I want.

Keyboard Maestro is great, it just a little more powerful than what I need for everyday use. LaunchBar clipboard window is easier to manage.

Paste As Plain Text

When I want to paste clipboard content as plain text, I use Keyboard Maestro. The thing to remember is that when pasting from Keyboard Maestro to hold down the SHIFT key to make the content plain text.

Prior to using Keyboard Maestro, I would paste the content into BBEdit then copy it to make it plain text.

LaunchBar

You can make LaunchBar paste content plain text by enabling "As Plain Text" in preferences. The only downside is that it always paste as plain text. If you want to over-ride that settings, you hold down the OPTION key to paste as Rich Text.

Over the years, I have found that I usually want to keep the RichText formatting as the default. Using plain text, I lose the hyperlink links, which is useful when pasting content in an email or DayOne Journal.

Keyboard Shortcuts

To make it easy to navigate between the two Clipboard management tools, I have a similar shortcut:

  • For LaunchBar I use the default Command
  • For Keyboard Maestro I set up Shift Command (This you have to set in Keyboard Maestro.)
November 20, 2020

Missing Disk in Sidebar using Big Sur

On Friday, I finally upgraded to macOS 11.0.1 (Big Sur). I have been trying for a week and kept getting an error during the upload process. This is the error that I have been getting:

Mac OS Big Sur Install Error

When I tried on Friday the installation process was successful. I think the whole install took about 45-mins.

SD Disk Missing from Finder

One of the things that caught my eye was that an SD disk that I had in the computer wasn't showing up in the finder sidebar. The disk would appear in the Finder when the "External Disks" is selected.

Some reason the Finder sidebar wouldn't show the external device. This makes navigating a little tricky as that's the most common way I access my SD cards. I usually turn off the "External Disks" on the desktop because its just clutter.

Apple is aware of the bug, and a fix will be shipped in a later update.

Alternative Solutions

There are several alternative solutions:

Simply click on the "Computer" in the sidebar (Should be Your Name) and click on that to see all the connected devices.

Learn the shortcut: Command - Shift - C (Which opens up the Computer window.)

Path Finder Big Sur

Use PathFinder which doesn't have this issue. All the external devices show up correctly in the sidebar.

November 13, 2020

Quickly Change Wallpaper

When on Zoom calls, I like to have the computer desktop set to White. This allows a little bit of brightness so people can clearly see my face.

When I am not on Zoom calls, I like the desktop dark so that it doesn't blind me when I am working.

The traditional way of right-clicking on the desktop to Change the Desktop background is a lot of steps to do every time I start and end a meeting. There has to be a better way.

Thankfully there is a better way with Keyboard Maestro.

Quickly Change Desktop

Keyboard Maestro has an action to change the desktop background. Now, I can select the Keyboard Maestro menu item and quickly switch between dark and light mode.

This makes it super easy to switch desktop patterns whenever I need it.

Keyboard Maestro Macro

Here's the Macro I have set up:

Desktop Change Dark

For the light version, I just created a small white image and used that as what to set the background too.

I used Dropbox as my source so that the Macro would work no matter what computer that I had Keyboard Maestro installed on.

November 6, 2020

PhotosScape November Update

In late October, Mooii Tech add some new features to PhotoScape X, a popular Macintosh Photo editor. This release has a lot of exciting changes.

Photo Scape November Update

Here's a list of changes, and where to find the changes:

New Text Effects: Long Shadow, Overlays & Masks, Background

These are new select items in the Text dialog, they are located below the opacity selector.

New Object Effects: Long Shadow, Overlays & Masks

These can be applied to objects such as Stickers, Shapes, Figures, Lines, and more.

New Filters: Gradient Opacity, Radial Speed Lines, Lines, Concentric, Geometric Collage

In the Adjustments section: Gradient Opacity

In the Effect Section: Radial Speed Lines, Lines, and Concentric

In the Transformations section: Geometric Collage

New Filter Objects: Mosaic #2, #3, #4, Frosted Glass

These are located under the "Filter" menu. Click on Insert, then on the Filter next to Tools.

New Text Warp: Gradient Upper, Gradient Upper 2, Gradient Lower, Gradient Lower 2

These are located in the Text dialog. On the bottom of the text box, click on Transform then click on the transform button. In the Transform dialog, click on the "None"

Other Additions

Added 119 Film Looks - New Looks category in the Film Section ( Click Film in the top toolbar)

Added 104 Film Extras - New Extras category in the Film Section

Added 150 Nature - New Nature category in the Light Section

Added 108 Comic Stickers - New category in the Stickers section.

Added 4 more Draw Brushes (Stipple) - These are the brushes found when drawing/ they are located at the bottom of the brush selection.

Added 1 more Text Outline Type - In the Text dialog, click on the checkbox next to Outline, you'll see that there are now three different outline types.

Added 6 Object Transform Skew Types - These are located in the Transformation dialog. These are below the object. For example, you can transform text to create a logo.

Added 8 Canvas Grid Types - This is the overlay grid that you see. This is located on the bottom bar, it's the dotted grid icon.

October 30, 2020

Art Text 4 Designs

Art Text 4 is a pretty powerful tool. It gives you lots of ways to create some creative text and graphic files. However, if you need a boost on the design side, they have a design gallery where you can download some very cool design.

Art Text 4 Halloween

Some of the designs you have to pay for, but the Holloween designs are free! There are 8 themed Helloween templates with multiple objects to help you create some cool social media or blog posts.

These are great to make cool looking designs - people think that you spent hours putting it together.

There is a "Winter Session" where you can get 10 Christmas designs. This collection isn't free as it cost $6.99 - still a bargain for the cool-looking designs.

Sample Designs

2020 Halloween

Spiderween
I used the Art Text 4 template and changed the center graphic.

October 23, 2020

Runaway Kernel Task process

If you have been experiencing some weird issue with Snagit - like poor system performance. Maybe the kernel_task is more than 100%. There might be a logical problem.

Runaway Kernel Tasks

On my computer, I had multiple versions of Snagit installed. This is because every time that I did a major upgrade the computer kept the old version.

When the computer boots up it still uses the Snagit 2019 version and libraries. When I would do capture it would mix up which version to use and get stuck in an endless loop.

The quick solution was to remove all but the current version of Snagit. In my case, it's Snagit 2020. My computer performance had improved since removing the applications. (I also restarted the computer after deleting the apps)

I notice this was a problem when using Microsoft Teams and Zoom. I am not sure why using video apps would cause an issue. I think it's just the amount of CPU that is being used.

Try This Fix!

So if you are having problems related to kernel_task, you may want to check to see if you have multiple versions of Snagit. (I assume this might be true for other system base apps.)

Note: My problem was with Snagit, your situation might be a different application.

Your best bet is to restart the computer to properly test to see if removing the old applications fixed the issue.

October 16, 2020

Thunderbolt Display Cable

One of the disadvantages of Apple's Thunderbolt display is that the cable is not all stable. This is the main cable from the back of the computer that is used to connect to a MacBook or iMac.

I have seen many Apple Thunderbolt displays encounter a tear in them because of the angle that you have to put it in a MacBook. Over time,

Unlike the power cable, there is no way to take this cable out. The end of the cable is mounted to the mainboard. So if something happens to the connector cable, you can't replace it.

Thunder Bolt Display
You can see the cable starting to have a tear. It's only a matter of time before it breaks.

Broken but Not Dead

However the display isn't technically dead. You can still use it as an external display. Simply connect another Thunderbolt 2 cable to the port on the back of the display and then connect it to your computer.

The Apple Thunderbolt Display uses the old Thunderbolt 2 connector, not the new Thunderbolt 3 connector - also known as USB-C.

You can find a Thunderbolt 2 display cable on Amazon for about $40. That's kind of expensive for a cable but it is far cheaper than getting a brand new monitor.

October 9, 2020

Apple SuperDrive

One of the downsides of the new iMacs is that they don't have a DVD drive. This makes it challenging when you want to access old files or create DVD movies for events.

New External Drive

I thought DVD drives were all the same, so when it came time for me to get one I went cheap and purchased a $30 drive. What’s nice is the drive had both USB 2 and USB-C ports. I was excited because I could connect this to the USB-C port and not take up any other standard USB port.

Going cheap was a big mistake.

When I started burning DVDs I got a lot of failures. Only about 1 out of 4 disks were good. This happened using the USB3 port and the ISB-C port.

I also had this problem using different computers. So the issue was with the drive. The thing is that it works fine some of the time.

Apple SuperDrive

I got a SuperDrive for my birthday and what a difference it makes.

I have burned 20 DVDs and they were all successful. I didn’t encounter and toasted disks.

I have also access old DVDs without a problem. The drive seems much quieter than other external drives I have had in the past.

The morale of the story is to not be cheap when it comes to storage devices. Stick with brands you know.

Couple of complaints

The cable is too short. Basically, the device sits underneath the iMac monitor. Sure I can get a USB extension but that may impact the quality of data going to the drive. Come On Apple, make longer cords.

There is only one cable type - USB 3. It would be nice to have different cable options.