I’ve received some feedback on our scanning episode of Technical Difficulties. Katie Floyd posted a nice suggestion to automatically redact specific sensitive phrases from PDFs using Hazel. For several versions now, PDFpen has had the ability to search a file for a string of text and redact that text. However, this functionality was not accessible via AppleScript. I begged with them to make it so. They came through in PDFpen version 6.
I’m not big into tagging but the support added to Mavericks has me interested enough to give it a try. I wanted a quick way to add or reset tags on files in the Finder so I decided to make a Keyboard Maestro macro that uses the Python script from Jonathan Wight.1 To get started, download and install the script as described. Next, make some Keyboard Maestro macros. These two macros operate on selected files in the Finder and are nearly identical except for the method call in the shell script.
Even if it is not inspirational to me, it is just a well told and funny story. Why I write ideas everyday
There’s been a couple of new note apps 1 since my real-world review. Most of them still can not compete with Simplenote and Omnioutlner. However, I have found three very good alternatives. Notely, WriteRoom and Notability. All three of these apps started out simple enough but they have evolved and matured into top of class text editors. Notely; $1.99 Notely started out as a relatively barebones text editors. It had some rudimentary Dropbox syncing that required a manual sync.
Most applications on the Mac allow you to hide all other applications. That’s a nice way to pretend that your workspace is clean, but it’s an illusion. I was thinking the other day that what I really want is something like a “Quit All Others” global hot key. But, wait… What I really want is a “Quit All Except for the Applications I Use All Of The Time” hot key.
I’ve been enjoying Dr. Drang’s tales of file format lock-in and his crusade against closed formats for his data. His stories always feel eerily familiar. I bounce back and forth between Macs and Windows machines in my daily life. My OS polytheism goes way back. I started with an old custom built 386 PC in high school. In undergraduate, I took advantage of the steep Apple student discount and acquired a Mac IIci.
I never miss an opportunity to learn more about Applescript and extending my applications in ways the developers never considered. I also work in text files for all of my notes. Background At home I'm on my Mac with Notational Velocity and Omnifocus close at hand. However, at work, I use a windows machine with Resophnotes. Resophnotes is a wonderful Simplenote client that is as close as you can get to Notational Velocity on Windows.
I am generally skeptical of file tagging systems. Tags are volatile and can be inconsistent. I much prefer the file naming systems described by Benjamin Brooks. However, some systems do not lend themselves to file naming as a method of organization. I keep all of my bookmarks in Pinboard which has very good tagging support. One issue I have always had with tagging is that as projects begin new tags get created to track resources.
Context This post is the first in a series focusing on managing and finding content and information. It provides a context for the remaining posts and a justification for a few systems that I will describe. Bit Hoarding Hoarding is built into our genes. We have an innate compulsion to acquire more of everything. 10,000 years ago this was a useful trait. Our ancestors would gather as much food and fresh water as they could carry.
I've written about Hazel before. It is the more successful big brother of Apple's Folder Actions. Here's an example from Practically Efficient of integrating with Hazel for automatic file organization. What I particularly like about this example is the use of TextExpander to quickly rename files with the date and triggers needed for Hazel. This trick is being added to my list of every expanding time saving shortcuts.