Improve your writing with TextSoap

While getting ready for 2020, it occurred to me I can use TextSoap’s regex engine to improve my writing by finding and highlighting common and overused words. There are 3 steps to the process: Use the “If Text Matches” action with a list of words I want to highlight Format the foreground and background colors of the text Set problem words to capitals so they stand out After checking a couple of websites, I created this short list of words to focus on. \b(and|or|for example|but|just|other|more|new|good|best|many|first|able|basically|interesting|honestly|literally|very|really|quite|seems|had|even|that|seriously|to be honest|ridiculous|know)\b From there I used the Set Text Color, Set Background Color filters, followed by the Convert to Uppercase action. When finished, the “cleaner” can run inside Scrivener itself, so I don’t have to leave my main app to get feedback. It’s a simple formatter, but I think this will have a powerful impact.

Keyboard Maestro makes a last minute appearance on the Party Barge

While researching Alfred, CopyLess and PopClip, I saw many references to Keyboard Maestro, but never quite understood what the app was for. It came across as a text expander, or a clipboard editor, or a keyboard mapper. So, taking a moment out to pause and reflect, it finally became clear to me. All those functions are a part of Keyboard Maestro. How is that possible? It makes a little more sense when Keyboard Maestro is presented as an extension or the next version of Automator. It uses a similar style of building blocks to chain actions together to accomplish tasks. At one end you can tie an action to a hotkey, and at the other, actions can be triggered by system events such as switching networks, or a USB drive being inserted. After downloading a copy, trying it out, watching some videos and assembling some blocks of my own, Keyboard Maestro jumps aboard the Party Barge just as we cast […]

Big F(U) for BestBuy and their ability to deliver appliances

So, to take a slight detour from my normal writings, I wanted to relate a story about BestBuy and another less than stellar experience I had with them. I don't simply want to shame BestBuy for the catastrophically bad job they did, but to highlight several lessons that can and should have been learned. The story starts with an appliance delivery. BestBuy had a good deal on a washer and dryer set, so I bought them for Black Friday. As I'm sure many people did. The problem comes right as they deliver the units. Or rather, when they should have delivered the units because they were a couple of hours late and didn't feel it necessary to inform anyone of that situation. How can you be so poor at time and task management when you only have the one job to do? Next, we have two misguided fools who I shall call MF1 and MF2. They were given full instructions […]

CopyLess and PopClip Jump Aboard the Party Barge

Since I’m building up a host of efficiency tools, I’ve added CopyLess 2 and PopClip to my arsenal. At first glance having CopyLess might seem contradictory since Alfred already has a clipboard manager. Under normal circumstances that would be correct, but I want to use a clipboard manager in a slightly different, but very specific way. Since I have multiple monitors (4), I want the clipboard manager to float on a second monitor and be visible at all times. It needs to be on top of other apps and not disappear when it loses focus. When filling out forms and working on certain test scenarios, I want to move back and forth as quickly as possible to copy and paste data. I don’t want to repeatedly press key combinations or go to the menu bar to make my list appear. There are a lot of really good clipboard managers out there, including the one built in to Alfred, but CopyLess […]

Alfred Climbs Aboard the Party Barge

To get in shape for 2020 I have been looking up productivity tools. Since Alfred is a name I see on dozens of lists, I have to ask myself, who is this Alfred chap and what can he do for me? Turns out, a lot. The goal of Alfred is to keep apps and task at your fingertips. With the launch bar you can find a file, open or close an app, send a query to a specific search engine or query a certain site. For example, you can open TextSoap or Scrivener by pressing Alt-Spacebar and typing scrivener. At this point, Scrivener will open. The same would be true to close Scrivener – Alt-Spacebar and type quit scrivener. That alone may not sound like much, but once you do it a couple of times, it's incredibly quick, especially since you don't need to put in the entire app name. Another big feature is the Web Search. Alfred provides a […]