Sep 02

I’ve just purchased a new 2020 13inch MacBook Pro and rather than use migration assistant to copy everything across I’ve started fresh. I have installed my apps one by one. So here’s a list of the first few ‘must have’ apps that I just installed…

1Password.

I can’t live without it. It’s the first thing I installed as it contains all the passwords and serial numbers to my other apps and email logins etc. It’s one of the one monthly subscription apps that I’m willing to pay for.
A great password manager

Dropbox.

I use dropbox to sync my working documents across all my computers. The free tier allows you to sync limited data across 3 computers but if you’re only syncing a few folders you can get away with it.
dropbox

Jumpcut.

Can’t live without it. Allows you to go back through your copy/paste history and find an item you pasted earlier in the day – like a browser history for the clipboard. For example writing this article I just went and gabbed the link to Jumpcut using Jumpcut, from when I installed it earlier today.
Jumpcut – multiple copy and paste

Dragon.

It’s quite unique but I prefer to dictate rather than type, for example I’m dictating this article right now. You can no longer buy Dragon for the Mac but it still works fine in Catalina and thankfully it’s a 64-bit app so should still work for a few more years. If you buy a second hand copy make sure that the serial number has been deregistered on the sellers computer otherwise you won’t be able to use it.
Dragon Naturally Speaking – keeping it going with Catalina

Karabiner Elements.

I have an extended keyboard with lots of function keys up to F15. I like to use these as shortcuts in apps but some apps do not let you use the function keys as shortcuts. Karabiner Elements lets you map keys to other keys. So for example I can map my F13 key to Option-F13 and use it as a shortcut in apps.

https://karabiner-elements.pqrs.org


NValt.

A fast, simple app for keeping notes synced accross computers and phones. I sync them with Simplenote on the Android and iPhone. An older app but still works with Catalina.
Notational Velocity (NValt) and Catalina

Quicksilver.

Hit the command key once and then type the name of any app or document to launch it. So fast! Probably the second app I install after 1Password.
How to use Quicksilver

AutoMounter.

Automatically mounts my Synology Network drive which contains my movies and images. From NZ!

https://www.pixeleyes.co.nz/automounter/

Keyboard Maestro.

Allows me to easily run Applescripts. I have a great macro one to copy bible verses into any document with a single hotkey. There are times when I have used it to automate repeated tasks.

https://www.keyboardmaestro.com/main/

ImageOptim

I can drag images onto this app and it shrinks them before I post them to a webpage. It’s free.

https://imageoptim.com/mac





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Aug 28

OS X has lots of files you can’t see. This is to make it look prettier and also so you don’t break things. Sometimes you may want to see a hidden folder. For example there’s a Library folder which can contain settings for Applications. To show hidden files in OSX from the finder, click in a finder window and press “Shift Command .” (Shift – Command – Period).

It will look something like this when you can see the hidden files. All the slightly opaque files are hidden files.

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Jul 02

This week Fujitsu surprised everyone by releasing new software that allows older scanners to work with OSX Catalina. The software is 64 bit and works works in MacOS 10.15, it supports older models like the ScanSnap S1500, and it fully integrates with Devonthink Pro. Thankyou Fujitsu!

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Jun 24

With COVID our church has moved to putting the talks online.  The most important thing when recording talks is good audio quality.  Your eyes can put up with poor video,  but poor audio gets irritating very quickly.  Thankfully it’s very easy to get clear sound.

The key is to use an external microphone so that the mic can be close to the person who’s talking. Don’t use the mic that’s built into your laptop or phone.  This is especially important if you are in an online meeting where you are listening as well as speaking.

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Jun 15

I am starting an FAQ about dragon for users who would like to keep their current version of Dragon going for as long as they can. (Dragon have closed down all their technical support, including their old forums.) Read on for details.

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Jun 07
NValt

My favourite quick note syncing utility – NValt broke with Catalina. I was getting error that it could not find my notes folder, but when I tried to select another notes folder it did not work

I was able to get it up and running again, but it took a bit of fiddling. Most of the forums have given up on it, but it does still work. The trick for me was completely re-installing the app from scratch.

  1. Make sure your notes are synced using Simplenote.
  2. Delete the notational velocity notes folder from your ~/Library/application support folder.
  3. Delete the ‘net.elasticthreads.nv.list’ from your preferences folder.
  4. Delete the Notational Velocity App from your Applications folder.
  5. Download NValt 2.2.8 again from https://brettterpstra.com/projects/nvalt/
  6. Re-sync with Simplenote and it will download all your notes again.
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May 07

Most new printers have PostScript built-in although if you are trying to print to an older printer or you are in a workplace with lots of PCs they may not have built-in postscript. If this is the case the default drivers in OSX will not work.

Here’s how I got my a non Postscript Fuji Xerox printer working with my 2020 MacBook Pro running Catalina.

  1. Give the printer an IP address. (e.g. 10.0.0.200)
  2. Download the latest drivers manually from Fuji Xerox. (https://onlinesupport.fujixerox.com/processDriverForm.do?ctry_code=SG&lang_code=en&d_lang=en&corp_pid=DCVC2263&rts=null&model=DocuCentre-V+C2263&type_id=2&oslist=Mac+OS+X+10.15&lang_list=en)
  3. In System Preferences: Printers go to Add new printer, select IP then put in the options as follows:

I needed to select LPD because IPP didn’t work.

I needed to select FX Print Driver for Mac OSX. The default DocuCentre drivers (Called FX DocuCentre-II C4300 v3016.103 PS) did not work. The specific drivers for a printer rely on the printer having Postscript, whereas the FX generic print driver does not need the printer to have Postscript installed.

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Apr 16

An apology to international readers – some of the details in this post apply specifically to Australia, although there will be principles here that you can apply. I live just 5 km line of sight from a regional Australian city and our internet comes by ‘fixed wireless.’ Fixed wireless is essentially a dedicated 4G connection with a local directional antenna. The problem is that most of the towers are oversubscribed, and upload and download speeds are very poor. (5Mbps down and 1Mbps up).

My experiment

For the past 3 months I’ve been experimenting with various configurations of 4G carriers and modems to tweak the maximum speed I can from the 4G data network. The results have surprised me!

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