Software to buy for 2021

Along with a host of adjectives, 2021 will be a big year for productivity and efficiency. From creating templates, to better note taking, to better organization, to increased use of macros and shortcuts. I've did a lot of this for 2020, and it worked out well. I will continue the trend, especially since we will continue to be 100% remote through 2021. Perhaps permanently remote. I have no issue with that, it only means improving my process and workflow. I have an excellent toolset, now I want to focus on my usage to get the most out of them. First step in organization and productivity? Get a Mac. There are simply better software choices available. There isn't one calendaring app, ToDo app, note taking, word processor, or document manager. Each offering comes with different features to suit different kinds of users with different kinds of workflows. There is no one size fits all solution, so there shouldn't be a single […]

How I Use Mini Note

Mini Note is a simple, yet effective note taking tool from Fiplab, I have installed on multiple machines, including my iPads. I use it on a daily basis for quick notes, to save a link, store a Zoom meeting ID, or jot down some test data. Whatever it is becomes available everywhere. I regularly paste SQL queries from Jira tickets, send them over to my iMac which uses our secure VPN connection. A second later, that query is available where I need it. No need to save a file to Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud. As another example, I repeatedly copy links into Mini Note for review on my home machine. Sure, it's right behind me, but it's not on until the end of the day. With this, those links are available as soon as the machine wakes up. It's usually for a YouTube tutorial, a piece of software to test, an article to read after dinner, or a series […]

Improve Your Writing With TextSoap

Along with PaperEdit, I'm using TextSoap, as a proofreading tool. Not the editor itself, but it's ability to combine RegEx with text highlighting and capitalization to call out words and phrases for improvement. My original "cleaner" had a list of common words I wanted to avoid, such as "just" and "that." I've made several enhancements to look for past tense words, prepositions and others. These are in separate "cleaners" I can call on as needed. Or I can chain them together in a single pass. For example, I've added \b(been|has been|being|to be|was)\b to call out specific past tense words. There is also a check for words ending in "ed," which is usually past tense. Of course, Ted isn't past tense, so it's not foolproof. \b(was \w+ed\b) Same goes for adverbs and "ly." Again, Lily isn't an adverb, so you have to take the good with the bad. \b(\w+ly\b) I've also created a list of prepositions, just to see how often […]

How I Use the Shell

I am by no means a master at programming the shell. I'm not even sure my skills would be considered novice. However, even with just a few commands, the Terminal/Unix Shell of the Mac can be an incredibly powerful tool. Things get more exciting when you couple it with Keyboard Maestro. A few of my most common shell commands include grep, split,find, mv,cp cat, wc, head, tail and rsync. Even with just these few you can perform some very clever tricks and save yourself a ton of time. Grep is used to find text within a text file. That may not sound like much until you try it with a .CSV file that's 1.5GB in size. Go ahead and look for a customer, SKU, or phone number in that mess. With grep it's light work and results can be piped off into a much smaller file you can open. In fact, grep was my re-introduction to the Shell when using […]

Affinity offers big discounts and extended trials on Photo, Designer and Publisher

Affinity is back with another big discount and extended trial versions to help out those working remotely or who need to finish their projects. In their own words: A message from the Affinity team As a way to lend support to the creative community during these difficult times, we’re once again offering a 90-day free trial of the Mac and Windows versions of the whole Affinity suite, for anyone who wants to use them (even those who have previously completed a free trial). We’re also bringing back the 50% discount for those who would prefer to buy and keep the apps, including our iPad versions. This is a fabulous discount from a great company. Affinity