What a great start to a new year. David Sparks is going all-in on MacSparky. He makes such great stuff and his new MacSparky Labs is an awesome idea. I’m constantly impressed by the quality of David’s work. Not to mention, he’s actually an incredibly nice person that just loves all of this nerdy stuff. Go subscribe to MacSparky Labs. It’ll be a joyful part of 2022.
Here’s a twofer. Not only does this article describe a bunch of cool office tools I like but it’s a good affiliate-linked holiday shopping list for you. Hey, I’m like the Wirecutter but without a paywall and I actually use the stuff. The Desk I got an Uplift desk. Well, I got two. I got a convertible standing desk with the “Commercial frame” for my Mac and various peripherals. I also purchased a fixed height desk to hold all of the Windows computers I have to use throughout the day.
Last week I was creating a presentation and wanted to use brand colors throughout. macOS has a built in color picker that allows for multiple color palettes and I thought that would be perfect. Here’s what it looks like: Creating a custom palette in Apple’s Color Picker was far more difficult than I expected. Here’s my runbook for creating one easily and also backing it up as a simple JSON file.
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.
These are a few useless words about the new M1 MacBooks. I’ve very excited for the future of Apple’s hardware. Notch problems aside, I’m no longer afraid to upgrade a MacBook and might actually be looking forward to it. I hope Apple regains its dominance in the laptop market because it was always a joy to see a audience full of nerds with glowing Apple logos. I’ve been using a new M1 MacBook Air for 6 months and it might be my favorite computer of all time.
PDFPen and Gaia GPS have both been acquired. I can’t think of many products that were better after they were acquired. I’m disappointed because I genuinely like Gaia GPS for iPhone. I’ve also been close to purchasing a PDFPen upgrade for a few weeks because it’s one of the most powerful Mac-native PDF editors. It’s not that I worry about lower software quality from new owners. I worry about the dark market of data skimming which seems to be so lucrative.
A couple of months back I was looking for an application to manage art assets. I’ve been creating logos and websites for my business and didn’t love the experience of browsing these in the Finder. I eventually just stuck with the Finder because it was too much effort to test alternatives. This week I discovered Eagle which is a macOS and Windows app for managing all kinds of art assets. I’m still in the demo phase but it seems nice.
Have you heard enough about the new M1 Macs? Of course you haven’t, that’s why you’re here. I’ve been using the new MacBook Air with M1 ARM processor for a few weeks. It has been mostly great. The battery life is unbelievable and it’s a very powerful computer. There are a few problems with my transition from Intel to M1 but they are minor. What Works 99% of everything I’ve needed to run on the M1 works.
Mac Keepers and Sleepers I’ve discovered a new universal truth of computer purchases. The moment I get a new Mac setup is the moment that I no longer have enough time to use the Mac. That’s more or less the story of my iMac Pro. After several years of neglect I’ve returned to using my Mac on a daily basis and I’ve enjoyed re-discovering what I love about macOS. Here’s a brief list of Mac apps that I truly enjoy.
If you want to spend more time typing on your keyboard and less time fiddling with your mouse, I highly recommend Alfred as a file navigator and replacement for Spotlight.1 The latest Alfred update brings some minor improvements like placeholder variables for text expansion, new workflow actions, and some better file handling options. I’m not even really into building Alfred workflows and I still think it’s worth the money. I mostly use Keyboard Maestro for complex workflows on the Mac but if you want to build your own tricks in Alfred, it’s pretty easy.