One of the downsides of a new iMac is that it doesn’t come with an audio import. You can no longer connect audio devices as imports - such as microphones or cables connected to a radio.
A long time ago I purchased a Griffin iMic to record audio with my G3 Macintosh . So I thought I take it out and see if it still works for the 2019 iMac computer.
iMic is not a microphone, but rather an Input/Output device using a 3.5mm jack, that lets you connect standard audio products such as microphones, headphones, home stereo equipment, VCRs, musical instruments and virtually any other line-level or mic-level audio device. It’s basically a “sound card on a cable” that allows you to record and play digital audio using your USB-equipped computer. Some computers (like the Macintosh iBook, G4 Cube, Titanium PowerBook, and numerous PC laptops) rely on USB for complete audio support; others have limited or no audio hardware. For these computers, iMic can be used for audio input and output.
TechSmith release Snagit 2020 officially on October 22, 2019. There has been five updates since then with the latest update on May 12, 2020.
This week I have been playing around with Snagit 2020, and thought it would be interesting to see what changes were not announced from Snagit 2019.
Here are some of the new things I have found
Right Clicking on images in the Snagit Library has 3 new options:
- New Share Options - Share Images to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Pages, Keynote, Messages, AirDrop, Add to Photos. Additional options are available if they are configured (DropBox, Box and Slack)
- Combine in Template - Users can now pick from layout options to showcase multiple images. Only the templates that match the number of images selected are displayed.
- Create Video from Images - You can now voice over screen shots so you can explain the error.
Snagit has a share feature that makes it easy to share a modified image within the application. In this release, they add a few new locations to easily share to Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Outlook, Pages, Keynote, Box and Slack.
For Slack and Box, you will need to configure your account options in the Preferences panel. Slack integration will require permissions from the App Manager before installing it.
There is a new Callout Arrow shape. This means you can have a text box with an arrow pointing to a place on the image. It's a simple feature that I can see using a lot. It saves the trouble of having two objects - an arrow and a text box.
You can have the arrow be a separate color than the text box.
Visual Guide Templates are an exciting feature in this release. Basically they allow you to combine images to tell the story of your bug/feature.
In this release there are 13 different templates. You can download the additional template as part of the TechSmith Assets for Snagit for an annual fee of $49.
One template that I think will be useful is the Meme one. Now it will be easy to create Memes and instantly share in Slack.
Better than 2020?
I would recommend getting Snagit 2020, just for the templates and the new callout. I don't use the Shared Library feature much. Most of the time I drag images out of the library to the desktop.
The slack integration is cool, but I'll need to have an administrator enable that. For me, it's just as easy to drag/drop the image to the Slack window.
Have you ever wanted to play audio on your Mac to your iPhone? You can't simply connect the phone as a Bluetooth device.
You need AirFoil
Things I Have Learned Using AirFoil
AirFoil is not the best tool for video playback. The sound will always be out of sync to the video clip, even if you use the audio delays.
The iPhone and Mac have to be on the same wireless network. If you don't see your iPhone in the device window it's most likely because it's not on the same WiFi network.
In addition, your iPhone has to have the iOS Satelite app open in order to be discovered.
You can pick the sound source to be from a specific application to the System Audio. The application is neat because you can play music from iTunes to an external device while keeping the local system sounds to the computer.
AirFoil allows users to adjust the sound volume on the device on the computer, so you can play music on the Apple TV on the other side of the house and control the volume.
Griffin PowerMate is a programable USB Multimedia Controller. Its a neat tech toy that makes it easy to adjust the volume no matter what application you are in.
Griffin PowerMate has a LED light that can be turned off
Four Things I Have Learned
- Released in 2001 as a UBS device, an upgrade wireless version came out in 2014. The entire product line was discontinued in 2018. You can still buy them on eBay for around $25.00
- My USB PowerMate still works fine in macOS Catalina (version 10.15.4)
- Griffin PowerMate Support website is still available with links to the latest User Guide.
- When I add a Keyboard Shortcut it appears to not to save.
Device Actions Available
- Rotate Left
- Rotate Right
- Long Press
- Rotate Left While Pressed
- Rotate Right While Pressed
Types of Commands Available
- Keyboard Shortcut - Speed up actions by adding application specific shortcuts.
- Scrolling - Scroll through webpages quicker.
- System Event - Available Events: Volume Up, Volume Down, Mute, Play/Pause, Next Track, Previous Track, Power, Eject, Show Desktop, Application Switcher.
- AppleScript - Select an AppleScript file.
Satechi USC-Clamp Hub
Last Fall, I installed a Satechi USC-Clamp Hub on my new iMac Computer. This is a cool mini-hub that puts a bunch of ports on the front of your iMac.
Satechi USC-Clamp Hub connected to my iMac.
- 3 USB 3.0 Ports
- Micro Card Reader
- SD Card Reader
- USB-C Port
Plug and Play
It was easy to attach this to the computer and easy to remove if needed. There's no software to install, simply connect the USB-C cable and then tighten the clamp to secure the hub.
Things I Learned
- Quick Install, really easy to do. Once installed you don't have to worry about it. I have moved my computer around plenty of times in the past 6-months and the clamp has never come off.
- Very handy to connect/disconnect thumb drives
- When inserting a Micro Card the card has to be upside down, which seems weird.
- There's a small light to let you know it's connected. It's very tiny and doesn't distract me when I am working with the lights down low.
- I don't have many USC-C devices, so I haven't had the need to use that port. The nice thing is that you don't lose the port on the back since it's in the front.
- The look and feel seems very natural - doesn't look out of place.
I would recommend anyone getting this for their computer. This also makes a great gift for that Macintosh User who seems to have everything. Note: It only works on the latest iMacs.
If you have any ZIP, Tar or Stuffit archives in your collection. The best application to uncompress these is the Unarchiver by MacPaw Inc.
The Unarchiver is the only app you need to open RAR on Mac. It’s times more powerful than the native macOS utility and supports infinitely more archive formats.
The Unarchiver aims to be the only unarchiving program you will ever need and to stay out of your way.
Four Great Reasons to Use Unarchiver
- Its there when you need it. You don't need to remember the name or where the application is. Simply double click on an archive collection, and Unarchiver goes to work. Install it once and let it work it's magic
- It works fast. In my test the application works way faster than Archive Utility (Apple's unarchive application.)
- Supports a lot of different Archive formats, Zip, Rar, 7-Zip, Lha, Zipx, Stuffit, Binhex, MacBinary, AppleSingle, GZip, GZip Tar, Bzip2, X2, Tar, ISO, CDI, NRG, MDF, GNU Tar, Unix Compress, Unix Tar and so much more..
- It's free and is updated frequently.
In the Application Preferences Extraction, set the "Extract archives to:" to the Desktop. That way when you extract content from flash drives and CDs you don't get prompt that there isn't enough disk space or the space is write-protected. It's a simple step now that will save you trouble later.
Open Search via LaunchBar
LaunchBar Makes it easy to search 48 different sites. You simply involke the keyboard shortcut and then type the search engine that you want. It’s quick and easy way to perform searches between different search engines.
Here's a quick overview of using LaunchBar to do a search. I use Google Image in this example because it's a fast way to go to Google Image section.
Available Search Sites in LaunchBar
Abbreviation Search, Amazon Deutschland, Apple Developer Connection, Ask.com, Bing, Bing Images, Cocoa Mailing List Archive, Connect to Local AFP Server, Convert EUR to USD, Convert USD to EUR, DuckDuckGo, ebay, Excite, Go to, Google Blog Search, Google Exact Phrase, Google Face Search, Google Groups, Google Images, Google Japan, Google Maps, Google Videos, Internet Movie Database, last.fm, LEO English-German Dictionary, Linguee, Lucky Google, Mac OS X HInts, MacUpdate, Make TinyURL, Manual Page, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, OpenThesaurus, PHP Documentation, Search Amazon for Books, Search Amazon for DVDs, Search Amazon for Music, Search Amazon.com, Search iTunes Store, Search iTunes Store for Album, Search iTunes Store for Artist, Search iTunes Store for Composer, Search iTunes Store for Song, Technorati Search, Wolfram Alpha, Xcode Mailing List Archive, Yahoo!, Yahoo! Images, Yahoo! Japan, Yahoo! Stock Quote, Yahoo! Video, YouTube
Image Borders in Affinity Photo
Here's a quick way to add an image border to any image in Affinity Photo. This is a useful step to remember. Once you do it a couple of times, it becomes second nature.
The Background Layer
First create a new Background Layer, this will be where the image border color will go:
- Type in Command - shift - N (Create a new Layer)
- Type in Command - [ (This will moved that command to the background layer)
- Command shift N
- Command [
This is a useful shortcut combo to remember for various tasks.
Now Let's resize the Canvas.
- Type in Command - Option - C ( This opens the Canvas Setup Dialog)
- Type in a percent, such as 105% for a 5% border.
- Type the Tab key and Click the space bar if the lock isn't connected. (This makes sure that the percent is the same for the hight.)
- In the Anchor section make sure that the large white box is in the middle. This ensures an equal distribution of the resizing.
Now you have the ability to do anything you want with the main image.
- Use the "Knock on Wood" Styles to add a Wood Background
- Use simple solid color backgrounds
- Use Layer Effects to add an Outer Shadow or Outer Glow for a nice drop shadow effect.
Adobe Tip and Trick
Adobe has a cool graphic on their help site. Many of these can easily be applied in Affinity Photo.
Unlock your Mac using the Apple Watch
Did you know that you can unlock your Macintosh computer with your Apple Watch?
This is a very cool feature of the Apple Watch because when you wake up the computer, it will check your watch for authentication and pretty much "instant on" your computer
How to Enable
Simple steps to enable the Apple Watch:
- Go to System Preference under the Apple Menu.
- Select the Security & Privacy option (Its the Home icon with a Safe dial on the front.)
- Go to the General Tab
- Check the box, "Use you Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac"
Three Things I Learned
This is great, now you don't have to remember your password - especially useful after a long vacation.
Your Apple watch has to be connected to your account that you're using on your Mac. Note: Look at the System Preferences default screen to make sure you're using the right account that is sync to your Apple Watch.
Using the Watch is a secure way to unlock your computer because it will only work if you unlock your Watch - so if you leave your watch next to the computer it won't unlock your computer. You would have to put it on, enter in the password for the watch and then it will be enabled for your computer until you take it off your wrist.
Path Finder 9
On October 1st, 2019 Cocoatech release a major update to their file management application - Path Finder 9. This is the first major update since Path Finder was released in May 20th, 2018.
Four Major Features
Path Finder 9 brings back collapsible module shelves - which were missing in Path Finder 8. There are 17 modules - basically utility and info based on the selection. For example, you can have the "trash" module at the bottom of the window making it easy to delete files. You can now collapse these so they are out of the way when you don't need them.
More Robust and Stable Functionality - The big part of this release is to fix a lot of code for future enhancements. If you're a long time user of Path Finder, you should see some speed improvements when performing some transactions. Specifically, it shouldn't crash as much.
Improved compatibility with macOS 10.15 Catalina
Other small features, which hasn't been identified even in the release note.
While playing around with the Path Finder 9, I found a few features that I didn't see before. One cool thing is the search feature. You can search in specific volumes - even multi-volumes.
This means that I can select all the external USB thumb drives for files and move them to my main computer. For example, I can search for all EPS files, and simply copy the ones I want to my main computer.
This isn't something you can do with the regular finder. You can even save the searches so that you can find the files in the future.
Broadcast to AppleTV
Did you know that you can broadcast anything on your computer to an Apple TV? This means that you can play DVDs and show them on your large screen TVs.
This is all possible via Apple's Airplay Mirroring. You can enable this in the System Preferences > Display and check the box next to "Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available."
Five Things I Learned
In order for this to work properly the computer and AppleTV have to be on the same WiFi network. So if you have multiple WiFi networks both devices have to be the same network.
It doesn't matter where in the house the two devices are. So you can play a movie from wherever your devices are.
To enable the Airplay, click on the status icon and select the Apple TV. When you're sharing the screen contains the icon in the toolbar turns blue.
You can set it up so that only music to the Apple TV. This is done via System Preferences > Sound. Select the Output and you should see the Apple TV there. Note: This applies to all audio from your computer, so the Slack notifications would play on the Apple TV
In the Safari app on your Mac, navigate to the web video you want to play. Compatible web videos have an AirPlay icon. Click the AirPlay icon, then select your Apple TV.
Disk Inventory X
Do you have a bunch of USB thumb drive around? Ever wanted to get a glimpse of what on the device? How about finding out what files are taking up the most space?
Disk Inventory X makes it all possible. It's a good way to get a snapshot on what's on your device and what's taking up the most space using a nice color layout.
Sample Output from one of my thumb drives.
Five Things I learned
It takes a while to do a scan on a thumb drive. Some of my tests took upwards of 10-minutes. I found that Mac OS Extended formatted thumb drives scanned faster than MS0DOS (FAT32)
You can not save/print the scan results. So you have to generate a scan the directory every time you want a breakdown of your device.
Disk Inventory is very useful to figure out what's on the device and to plan backup. I can see that I have a lot of videos and can offload some to the cloud as they don't need to be taking up space on my thumb drives.
If you right-click on the toolbar you can add some cool tools, such as "Reveal in Finder" where you go directly to the file/folder or "Move to Trash" to delete files you don't want.
The application gets frequently updated with the latest update on December 8, 2019. The application is not signed, so you will get a warning when you first open it. Simply use the "Open" menu command to proceed forward.
Disk Inventory X
The nice thing is that Disk Inventory X is free. If you find the application useful, you can make a donation on the website.
Getting a Screen Grab of a Video Clip
The best way that I have found to grab a snapshot from a video clip is to use Quicktime Player.
I have found that using the Copy Command is the best way to get an image. Simply paste the image in Affinity Photo or PhotosScape X and your done.
The problem comes if you want to grab multiple shots. It's a lot of work to copy/paste the image.
That's when Keyboard Maestro comes in handy. It's a quick setup that works every time.
First I created the group called Quicktime so that any Macro in the group will only run when I am running Quicktime:
Then I created simple Macro:
Screenshot of my Macro in Keyboard Maestro
Here's what happens, anytime you Copy a movie clip in Quicktime Player a new file gets created on the Desktop. The file has a unique name.
This is the file location I used, you can simplify this to match whatever format you want:
Obviously you can change this to copy the image to where you want, and change the format to match whatever type you want - PNG, TIFF, JPEG, BMP or GIF.
This works fine Quicktime Player as the only thing I would every copy in the Clipboard would be an image. Otherwise, I would have to add a condition to check to see if the clipboard content has an image.
The nice thing about this solution is that it works for any video types. I have found that other applications, will downsize 4k Videos.
Fix GoPro FishEye on a Mac
Using GoPro as a photo camera is cool because you can get a lot more in the shot. The downside is that you have a FishEye effect. Just about every graphic program has some solution to fix the problem.
I did a test against a photo taken of Copley Square in Boston. I used my GoPro Silver 7 camera.
Use Lens Profile Correction.
Under the Transformation section is the "Lens Profile Correction."
Select "GoPro" and then HERO5 Black - as that's the latest model available. It works pretty well.
Use the Lens Correction Preset.
Use the Develop Persona. On the right, you should see a Lens tab. (If it's not there, enable it by going under the View menu, select Studio and then Lens.) Select the Lens Correction checkbox. Under Lens profile search for GoPro. I like the "GoPro Hero 3+ black & compatibles".
The nice thing is that you can make it a favorite by clicking on the heart. So in the future, you can just go to the Favorites section without having to search for GoPro.
Inverse FishEye Effect
Under the Effect Menu, select "Lens Geometry"", then "Inverse Fish Eye." I found that the "Method 4" produced the best look for my photo.
On January 29th, DropZone 4 was officially released. According to the Developer's Blog post, the biggest change is that DropZone is now a subscription-based application. To use the App premium features it will now cost $1.99 a month or $24 a year.
DropZone 4 vs DropZone 4
5 Things I Have Learned about DropZone
- I use the application to transfer images to this Blog. It's very easy to simple drag an image up to the menu bar and drop it to the right location on my server via SFTP.
- As much of the application is useful to everyday tasks, I don't think I'll upgrade to version 4. There's nothing special that prompt me to upgrade at this time. I am not happy about the subscription service.
- At somepoint, I'll have to upgrade to use the latest features. I did see that SetApp service has DropZone 4. It costs $8.99 per month (annual). This has support for more applications. This might be a better way to go.
- The Applications that I have in DropZone are handy to have when I need them. They are miscellaneous apps that don't merit always being in the system dock, but having them in DropZone makes it easy to access.
- I started writing an Anchor Tag action. DropZone scripts are written in Python - which isn't a programing language that I am familiar with. DropZone provides a reference teaching at CodeCademy where you can learn more. I just haven't had much time to work on the script.
Error in DropZone 3
If your running DropZone 3 and running into the following error, let me know. There'a an easy fix to get this working again.
/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.6/usr/lib/ruby/2.6.0/rubygems/core_ext/kernel_require.rb:54:in `require': cannot load such file -- net/scp (LoadError)
Leave a comment below or send me an email: Webmaster@cryan.com. I'll help you out.
New Videos Coming!
I have gotten several requests to add video examples to the Macintosh Posts. Starting next week, I'll add a 5-minute YouTube clip for the Macintosh Posts.
Thanks for the feedback!