Friday, February 25, 2011

Make It Short

If you use Safari, have a look at the Make It Short URL shortener Safari extension. When I need a shortened URL in my clipboard, this Safari extension is the quickest and most convenient way I've found to get it there. It can be configured to work with shortening services. I like, and I like how I can configure Make It Short to use my API key.

While you're at, have a look at their other excellent tools: Delivery Status touch is great if you'd like an easy way to track package deliveries on any iOS device, and it syncs very easily with the Delivery Status Dashboard widget.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Disabling the Front Row keyboard shortcut

The last couple times I got a new MacBook, I was occasionally annoyed by Front Row mysteriously launching. Eventually I discovered that ⌘-Esc defaults as the keyboard shortcut to hide and show Front Row. To turn it off, open the Keyboard preference pane, select the "Keyboard Shortcuts" tab, select "Front Row" and uncheck "Hide and show Front Row".

Saturday, February 12, 2011

BusyCal really is like iCal Pro

I've installed plenty more applications on my MacBook Air, but now that I'm using it at work (and no longer have my MacBook Pro) and now that I've started my new job, I haven't had much time for blogging. But the first application that occurs to me that I haven't blogged about is BusyCal. BusyMac's web site does a much better job selling it than me. But if you use iCal, and especially if you also use Google Calendar (or want to sync iCal with Google Calendar), then be sure to try BusyCal. (Also, if you're annoyed by iCal's reminders, with BusyCal you can individually or collectively snooze—for varied periods—or dismiss them.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Darkgate Comic Slurper

I believe I found out about The Darkgate Comic Slurper from Andy Ihnatko on the MacBreak Weekly podcast (months or maybe even years back). It is now my daily comics page.

Like Instapaper, there's nothing to install on my MacBook Air, but it does need to be configured for each now browser one uses it with. (I assume one's configuration for each browser is stored on the server but identified by a cookie.) Configuring is simply a matter of clicking on the red buttons beside the comics you wish to be automatically displayed in the web page in the future.

Here's the ones I read:
The Darkgate Comic Slurper allows me to read all these without going to each respective web page. (Unfortunately that means they don't get advertising revenue from me.) I do go to every time I see a new XKCD comic though, because I like to read the tool-tip.

The one comic that I'd like to see included in The Darkgate Comic Slurper is Tom Tomorrow's This Modern Life. I've suggested it (by pressing the Suggest button), but I guess I should take "It can take days/weeks/months or even years for new comics to appear here, so please be patient." to heart.

Are there any comics on The Darkgate Comic Slurper that I don't read that you recommend?

Divvy, the window management utility I was looking for

Resizing windows on Mac OS X is awkward. As you know, the upper-left corner of a window remains fixed while the window is resized by the lower-right corner. Resizing is less awkward in Windows because one can grab either of the sides or the bottom of a window (or any corner, I think) and grow or shrink the window in that direction only. So I went looking for a Mac OS X utility that would replicate the Windows mechanism for window resizing. But Mac Win Man (MWM), the one utility I found, was much more complicated that what I was looking for, so I abandoned my search.

Then my friend Ian Chesal mentioned something called Divvy on Twitter and I checked it out. It gives me just what I needed, even though it doesn't give me what I wanted. It's better than what I wanted. It's much more Mac-like. Check out the video at and see if you agree.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Next install is FastScripts

I've accumulated a number of AppleScripts, mainly for making iTunes a little easier to us. Some of them I run so frequently that I like invoke them using a keyboard shortcut. I find FastScripts very convenient for that.

I hope to make time soon to describe my iTunes, iPhone and podcast "flow" and the AppleScripts I use to help streamline that. But for now, I'm going to list the AppleScripts I restored from my Time Machine backup into my /Users/darylspitzer/Library/Scripts/Applications folder.

Here are my iTunes AppleScripts:
  • Disable Selected Tracks: I deselect tracks (often as part of a multiple selection) so frequently that I've assigned this to ⌘0.
  • Go To 0 Spoken Word for iPhone: There are certainly playlists I work with so frequently that it's handy to have a keyboard shortcut to go to. To go to "0 Spoken Word for iPhone" I use ⌥⌘0.
  • Go To New Podcasts for iPhone: "New Podcasts for iPhone" is probably the playlist I look at second most often (after the above), so I use ⌥⌘1.
  • Go To Music: ⌥⌘m takes me to my Music library.
  • Selected Tracks to "Spoken Word for iPhone": I typically select podcasts in my "New Podcasts for iPhone" playlist (I'll have to blog later on how I set that up) and then use ⌘1 to invoke this script.
  • Selected Tracks to "Spoken Word for Slow Listening": Most podcasts work for me to listen at 2x, but some (like those with music commentary, or the reading of fiction) don't. I use ⌘2 to add them to the "Spoken Word for Slow Listening" playlist.
  • Update All Podcasts: It's very annoying that I can't right-click on "Podcasts" (under "LIBRARY") in iTunes and select "Update", like I can right-click on my iPhone and select "Sync". But with this script, I can press F5 anytime I want to update my podcasts.
The only other AppleScripts I use frequently enough to associate with a keyboard shortcut is for the Finder:
  • Terminal At Selection: This will open Terminal (or iTerm, as I prefer) and cd to the directory containing the selected file.

Time Machine FAQ FTW!

I couldn't figure out how to use Migration Assistant to copy data from the Time Machine backup of my MacBook Pro to my new MacBook Air. I gave up and turned to this Time Machine FAQ: Question 17: "How can I see my backups, or the Backups for a different Mac?" and question 16: "How can I restore a file/folder to an alternate location?" told me all I needed to know to restore my iTunes data.