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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Mar 11

“This Program can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer”

Apple are getting tighter on which software they allow you to run on your computer. This is good because it avoids you getting any malware on your computer from bad software developers. But it also means that some legitimate software won’t run. If you are trying to download software from somewhere other than the Apple app store and you trust the source you are downloading your software from, here’s how to manually turn on the security settings for it to run.

Continue reading ⟩
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Feb 10

Before you upgrade to OS X Catalina you may need to stop and assess the applications that will stop working. Catalina is what is called 64 bit. They are not at all compatible. Previous OSX version (e.g. Mojave) would have given you a warning about 32 bit applications that you are running. So I knew that Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and some other apps would stop working when I upgraded to Catalina. But I was not prepared for how many applications would stop working!

Here are just some of the apps that stopped working wth my upgrade to Catalina:

Bento

I used it a lot to edit my Apple Address book contacts. It’s the only program thatI know of that can interface directly with Apple address book and export your contacts into a CSV file. A shame that there is no alternative.

Quicktime player 7

I had the pro version which allowed me to do some nice video editing and compression. The newer versions of quicktime do not have a pro version.

Data Rescue

Requires $150 to upgrade to the newer version.

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

These products now only come as a subscription so I purchased Affinity Designer to replace them.

Sibelius First and Dragon for Mac.

These still worked on OS X Catalina until I purchased a new laptop. The Serial number validators don’t run in Catalina. That means Dragon and Sibelius will continue to run as long as you keep the same computer. I just upgraded my laptop and both Sebelius and Dragon asked me to re-verify my serial number. There is no way to enter a valid serial number under Catalina. So Catalina killed those two apps even though the apps them selves are 64 bit.

Fujitsu Scansnap Scanner drivers.

I have a Fujitsu Scansnap S1500 scanner that I used to import all my documents into Devon think pro. The Fujitsu scanner drivers that work in Catalina do not work with older Fujitsu scanners so now my $800 scanner is rendered useless even though it was working perfectly.

The bottom line is when you install Catalina a lot of your existing apps may stop working and you may need to buy new ones or upgrade them. For some applications that just means forking out some money but there are other discontinued applications that there is no alternative for Catalina. (e.g. iDVD, Bento, Quicktime Player 7 Pro, CSSEdit.)

I’d suggest waiting till you have a fair bit of free time before upgrading to Catalina, and after you upgrade give all your Apps a test to make sure they still work.

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Dec 12

I’d like to set up some iPads so that our musicians can all follow along with what’s on the mac’s screen. This may also be useful for helping visually impaired people to see what is on a projector screen. Previously I’ve used VNC but it’s a bit complex to set up. There are various options around but sadly none of them worked seamlessly. Here’s a discussion that may save you some time!

Continue reading ⟩
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Oct 02

I’ve been trying out the world of Android Phones recently with a Google Pixel phone. Overall I have been surprised at how simple and effortless it has been to use my Google pixel phone alongside my Macintosh OS X.  I was expecting it to be a lot harder to synchronise the Google phone to my Macintosh computer but if anything I have found it easier than my old iPhone.

Each individual  application syncs its own data across the internet between the Google phone and OS X. Everything else gets synchronised by Google. I have found this approach surprising simple. It’s just a matter of finding the best application for each job.

Here’s a list of applications  that  I have found that will nicely share data between OSX, iOS and Android.

Continue reading ⟩

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Nov 09

In OS X you can install software using the App Store but there is no option there to uninstall the software. Here are two ways to delete software in OS X. Continue reading ⟩

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Oct 11

I have a friend who  has a 120 GB MacBook Air and his hard drive was filling up. There were lots of suggestions on the Internet as to what might be causing it – Spotify cache,  system files, movies,  but what’s the best way to find out what is using up your hard disk space?  An old but I think still the best application for doing this is Disk Inventory X.  I wrote an article back in 2010 on how to use it here: Disk Inventory X.   Seven years later disc inventory X is still the best app for this so here’s a bit of a reminder on how to use it.

Continue reading ⟩

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Aug 28

Over the past couple of months our family has discovered a strange little problem. Our emails have been getting mixed up! My daughters have been sending emails, but the replies have been coming to me. I have been sending emails, and they have appeared as coming from my wife. And in the worst case, some emails have been sent from a separate ical calendar that I don’t even check.

I have finally figured out what is happening, and I can’t believe I didn’t notice it earlier. Read on for what’s causing the problem and how to fix it!

Continue reading ⟩

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