automation

Safari Tab Switching

My latest obsession is with improving my personal UX. Now that I spend most of my time on a Mac instead of bouncing between Windows and Linux, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in the pace of my work. When I do run into something inefficient, I jot it down and try to fix it. Lately I’m frustrated with Safari. I typically have several Safari windows open, each with a different group of related tabs.

Hotkey Memory

I have a confession: I can’t remember all of my hotkey combinations and I waste a lot of time repeating mundane tasks. Between macOS, Keyboard Maestro, Moom, Alfred, and every little app shortcut, I simply can’t keep them top of mind. Here’s what I can remember at this moment: CMD-Opt-T opens the Todoist quick entry panel. Ctrl-Opt-M opens Moom in grid layout mode to move a window. CMD-Opt-Arrow moves a window around a 2x3 grid on my screen (via Keyboard Maestro).

Keyboard Maestro Plugin For Shortcuts

Will you look at that! Stephen Millard generously created and shared a Keyboard Maestro plugin for Shortcuts on macOS. This looks like a great bridge to Shortcuts, which is still the best way to work with Apple Calendar data.

Some Obsidian Shortcuts and a Macro

One major shortcoming of Obsidian is that it does not integrate well with macOS or iOS so there are no conveniences for capturing text into an Obsidian note. I decided to learn a bit about the Obsidian URL scheme (which works on macOS and iOS) and create some Shortcuts to fill in the gap. New Obsidian Note This is a simple Shortcut that has one purpose: Give me a simple and convenient window to create a new Obsidian note on macOS and iOS.

Window Management with Keyboard Maestro on macOS

macOS Monterey comes with some new window management tricks but they feel incomplete and a little frustrating. I have one suggestion for the Apple team that works on Spaces and window management: Get a big ass monitor. I did. It’s a gorgeous 38" display that makes me feel like I’m working on a space ship. It was surprisingly hard to adapt to so many pixels but I’m loving almost everything about it.

Playbooks Before Automation

Jacob Kaplan-Moss in his “Simple Product Management Tricks” article: Playbooks are the middle ground I reach for in these circumstances. When I see a process like this, instead of either doing nothing or just diving in and writing some code, I’ll first write a playbook. A playbook is nothing more than a set of instructions for performing the task – a “recipe” if you will. The key is to be as specific as possible.

Keyboard Maestro 10

I’m so out of the mix with Mac automation that I didn’t even realize there was a new version of Keyboard Maestro coming out. Version 10 has a lot of new shiny features. I can’t wait to do some fun stuff with the new Menubar display but the new unlock and appearance change triggers will probably be saving me a lot of time with docking and undocking my MacBook Air.

Keyboard Maestro Master Class

Heck yeah! The new Keyboard Maestro Field Guide is the perfect intersection of my favorite Mac Utility and my favorite Apple Nerd. These are so great. Not only is the video a great way to learn Keyboard Maestro, but each segment includes a transcript and downloadable macros. I’ll buy pretty much anything David Sparks makes. It’s top quality and presented with enthusiasm and joy. For $24 I think this is a bargain.

A Siri Shortcut to Share as a Markdown File

The Problem I’m a big fan of Drafts for iOS. It’s a terrific writing environment and it can integrate with just about anything through URL schemes. But, URL schemes have a major limitation when I write long blocks of text. A URL can only support a finite number of characters (around 2000). I want to export text from Drafts and send it to other apps as a Markdown file. If I have a markdown header line with a “title” defined I want the file to be named with that title.

Lutron Switches, HomeKit Automation, and the Long Road Ahead

With two HomePods in my house (so far) I have moved on to giving them the keys to as much as possible. My second step was to deploy Lutron smart switches to replace some Hue bulbs. Why Not Hue Hue bulbs are excellent. They are responsive, last a very long time over traditional incandescent bulbs, and have a pretty good app. What I don’t love is that I have to cover every physical switch in my house because if you turn off power to a Hue bulb they magically stop working.