Apps

    Today on AppAddict - Velja Browser Picker - a free and open-source app that opens URLS in the correct app (Discord, App Store Teams, Zoom etc.) or in the browser of your choice. Easy to configure and use.

    What's Your Browser Setup? Hundreds of Tabs? Multiple Windows? Something in Between?

    Two women shown from the back looking at a laptop opened to a web browser

    Recently, I posted on Mastodon, “I do not understand the 100+ tabs open at the time people. Not saying you’re wrong, I just don’t get it. Did you get attacked by a bookmarks.html file as a young child? Is yours the laptop with a petabyte of RAM? What gives?” Surprisingly, I got a lot of feedback from had been no more than a wisecrack. I’m interested in the way people do everything on their computers, from what apps they use, to, yes, how many tabs they work with. Please reach out and describe your browser setup if you’re up to it.

    At work, I normally have two or three windows open in Edge, my browser of choice (because it really doesn’t suck). At home, I only run two windows.

    Work Setup

    Edge has both profiles and workspaces. Profiles have separate settings, bookmarks and extensions. Workspaces have separate bookmarks bars and tabs. At work, I sign into a separate profile to access my university Microsoft 365 account. Group policies don’t allow the installation of any extensions, so it’s pretty bare bones. I normally have the following tabs open:

    • Company directory
    • Outlook email
    • Microsoft Admin Center (plus a tab each for Entra, Defender, Intune)
    • Asset management app
    • CBT Nuggets (for training)
    • Student Database
    • Six different Excel spreadsheets from Office 365 online

    Total work tabs = 15

    Personal Setup

    At work, I also run a window logged in to my personal profile with at least one of my personal workspaces. I do this to have access to extensions (like my password manager) and bookmarks. I have two personal workspaces: one for social media and blogging and another general workspace.

    My social and blogging workspace has tabs open for:

    Total social and blogging tags = 13

    My general browsing workspace has tabs for:

    • Gmail (personal email)
    • Yahoo mail (used only for newsletters)
    • Google Drive
    • Raindrop.io bookmarks
    • Gemini (google.com)
    • Reddit - Dive into anything
    • Plus whatever I happen to be interested in at any given moment, usually about a half-dozen tabs

    Total general browsing tabs = 12

    Total Tabs = 40

    Other Considerations

    I use the great Mac app, Velja, to let me pick what browser or app opens links. I have five browsers installed, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Orion and Arc. I prefer to open YouTube links in Freetube. And though I usually use the default web interface for Mastodon, I also use Ivory for its notification center actions. Inoreader is my RSS provider and I use an Edge PWA to access my feed.

    Today on AppAddict - Zavala, a free, open source, minimalist outliner with iCloud syncing. It’s a universal app for Mac, iPhone and iPad with some features (like font selection) that even the big boys lack.

    Today on AppAddict - MarsEdit which makes writing and publishing to Micro.blog and other platforms a breeze. Not a subscription, thankfully, and also available on Setapp. @danielpunkass

    Today on AppAddict - CleanShot X hits the sweet spot for price and features among the many screen shot utilities for macOS, including several new features just released in version 4.7. Thanks to @mattbirchler for his video yesterday introducing them.

    Today an AppAddict - Maestral, a free, open-source Dropbox client that lets you keep your files whereever you want, allows selective sync and doesn’t count against your three device limit. Works with paid and free Dropbox accounts.

    15 Example #Obsidian Vaults from Around the Internet

    Today on AppAddict - Dropzone 4 a pricey but versatile menu bar app (included with Setapp) that can make uploading media to Micro.blog a snap if you pair it with shortcuts from @jarrod

    Task Management with Things 3 and #Obsidian

    Many people choose to do their task management in Obsidian exclusively using different plugins and workflows. The tasks plugin is #5 in downloads at 1.2 million. As much as I love and use Obsidian, I don’t consider it an everything program. Task management applications like Things 3 from Cultured Code are popular for a reason. Their superior design, shortcut integration and feature set are all ready as soon as you install the app with no fiddling involved.

    Things 3 offers projects, areas, repeating tasks, different start and due dates and imports from Apple shortcuts as well as Siri integration and a robust collection of shortcuts. There is a great Raycast extension for it too. There is an active community on Reddit.

    I use two plugins to integrate Things with Obsidian.

    Things 3 Today Sync

     A screenshot of a today checklist from Things as shown in Obsidian

    Things 3 Today Sync puts a copy of my today view (the tasks with a due date of today)
    in the right sidebar of the Obsidian interface. The tasks come in as hyperlinks, so that clicking on them will take me to the task in Things. Checking the checkbox beside the task closes it and removes it from the list. If I add a task in things on the fly, it also appears in Obsidian. It’s a Mac only plugin, so If you are on a PC, you won’t be able to use it even if you have Things installed on your phone or an a Mac somewhere else. It’s dead simple to set up, requiring no complex configuration. Just enable it after installation.

    Things 3 Logbook

    A screenshot of Things completed tasks as shown in Obsidian.

    Things Logbook will periodically sync your completed tasks with your daily note. You can assign a hotkey and sync on demand if you want to. One feature I really liked was the retroactive syncing. I have been using Things much longer than Obsidian and when I ran the sync for the for first time, it created daily notes stretching back years with my completed tasks which has really proved useful since I can now search of those items with Obsidian. Completed tasks show up in your daily note as hyperlinks and if you are on a Mac, they will open Things to your logbook. This plugin works on Windows machines so that if you check off completed tasks on your phone or on a Mac, they will appear in your daily note on Windows.

    Things Sync

    Things Sync is a third plugin for Things and Obsidian. I don’t use it because I’ve never found a way to fit it into my workflow, but it allows you to create tasks in Obsidian that get synced with Things.

    Today on AppAddict - Bean a free lightweight word processor that’s kind of like WordPad on Windows, only better. Weighing in at only 8MB, it runs great, even on old hardware. For when you need rich text, tables and images in a document.

    It’s Saturday and I’ve updated my /now page with links to a full week or app reviews on AppAddict and my WeblogPoMo2024 posts, as well good TV from the BBC, my browsing finds and a new coffee maker for the masses.

    Today on AppAddict - FreeTube may be the most underrated app in the Mac ecosystem. It’s a privacy first, ad free player for YouTube that offers playlists, favorites and subscriptions - all without an account. It even downloads videos. Totally free and open source.

    My Favorite Actions for Hazel, the Preeminent File Management Software for the Mac

    Hazel, by Noodlesoft Software is a Mac utility for automating file management. You select a folder and provide criteria about what you want to happen to the files and folders in that folder and Hazel periodically checks it and runs the rules. Hazel can move, copy, rename and convert files. Criteria you can use include all of a file’s native attributes and even file contents. A lot of folks use it to scan PDFs of their bills for a specific account number and automatically move the file to a folder in their paperless record management system.

    These are my favorite Hazel Actions

    1. Unzip any compressed files in my Downloads folder and trash the zip file - This helps keep my downloads folder cleared of the detritus that occurs because I am a compulsive software addict.
    2. Install apps inside DMGs in my downloads folder via RapiDMG and then trash the DMG - When I download a disk image file with an app in it, I don’t have to do anything else to get the app moved to my Applications folder. It happens in seconds with no intervention from me unless I have to approve replacing an existing file.
    3. Import any image file I place in an Images folder into the Photos app (in the background) - I’m constantly copying photos from Facebook and various web sites. I have them to a folder I have designated in Hazel and they automatically get imported into my photos library with me even opening the app.
    4. Change any text file in my Dropbox to a markdown file and move it to my Obsidian vault (useful in sending emails to Obsidian) - I use an IFTTT applet that allows me to forward emails to a specific address. Those emails are save in a specific folder in my Dropbox account that Hazel watches. When a file appears there, Hazel changes the file extension from txt to md and moves the resulting file into my Obsidian vault. Auto-generated description: A computer desktop screen shows an open file manager window with a list of folders on the left and search options on the right, against a mountainous landscape wallpaper.
    5. Sort all files in my documents folder into subfolders based on file extension. - I currently have 42 sub-folders in my documents folder of different file types ranging from the usual suspects like txt and docx to the more esoteric like saved HoudahSpot searched and Etrecheck Reports.
    6. Purge old screenshots - between my day job and my blogging past time, I generate a lot of screenshots. Hazel moves any screenshots more than three days old into an archive folder to help give a semblance of order.
    7. Color code any application I haven’t opened in three months - I have 416 apps installed on my mac because, well, I just can’t help myself. Hazel will color an unused app red after not launching it for 90 days to help me decide whether to keep it or remove it with AppCleaner.
    8. Keep my desktop clean - I do not like to use my desktop as part of my file system. I rarely even see it since I run apps maximized most of the time. This rule moves any file that ends up on my desktop into a folder in my home directory. I exclude aliases from the rule because there are times when I want to make an app shortcut on the desktop, usually temporarily.

    Today on AppAddict - Music Harbor helps you stay on top of new releases and videos from the artists you listen to. It’s so good it told me about the new Johnny Cash album and The Man in Black has been gone for more than 20 years.

    8 Use cases for Drafts - The First Automation App I Ever Installed, Still on my Dock 10 Years Later

    Auto-generated description: The image displays the logo for the Drafts app, a URL agiletortoise.com/drafts, and an Apple App Store download badge.

    Drafts was the first app I installed when I became interested in iOS and Mac automation. The power users of the world explained it to me as the universal quick capture app for my phone. I was advised to always enter text into Drafts no matter where I eventually wanted it to end up. I dutifully put it into my dock and it’s been there ever since. In this post I’m going to go over eight different ways I use Drafts. It’s important to note that it pays off to give it a prominent place in your iOS sharing setting for ease of use. On macOS it should show up in the share settings by default.

    1. Copy to Obsidian Inbox

    I am all in on Obsidian the massively popular note’s app with a robust 1600+ plugin architecture. It does a lot of things amazing well but mobile quick capture is not one of them. To solve that, I use [this Drafts action](Send to Obsidian | Drafts Directory (getdrafts.com)) which saves the text to the default save location in my vault and uses the first line of the text as the note title/file name. I use a couple of other Drafts to Obsidian actions including Add to Obsidian Daily Note and Add to Daily Note Plus which add text to my daily note in different ways using a time stamp and a geolocation.

    2. The Things 3, Fantastical, Day One Combo

    The Quick Journaling Action Group lets me keep one running note that I can process at day’s end to send the individual lines as entries into Fantastical, Things 3 and Day One.

    • Lines starting with “-“ are collected and sent to Day One as a journal entry
    • Lines starting with “⁎” are sent to Things inbox
    • Lines starting with “@“ are sent to Fantastical

    3. Things Parser

    Using Task Paper syntax I can create a note in Drafts complete with due dates, areas, projects and tags that get correctly imported into the Things 3 task manager using the Things Parser. I use this with a Drafts template to create daily and weekly checklists for reoccurring tasks. I also use the action group, Things for Things which includes actions for:

    • Inbox
    • Today
    • This Evening
    • Tomorrow
    • Pick date
    • Work
    • House
    • Personal
    • Pick a Project
    • Make a Project
    • Selection to things
    • Bunch of todos
    • Process notes from
    • Prompt for new task

    4. Mail to Evernote

    Yep, I still use Evernote for some tasks. Old habits die hard. Evernote eliminated AppleScript a while back and their API has become more and more problematic , but one feature they still support and that works equally well on iOS and macOS is the mail to Evernote feature and this Drafts action accomplishes that without you ever having to use your mail client.

    5. Micro.blogging

    This blog is hosted by Micro.blog and I can create entries in Drafts and have them posted online by running an action. I use the action Post to Micro.blog with Title by the great blogger Matt Birchler.

    6. OMG.LOL Status

    I am a big fan of the almost indescribable web community at OMG.LOL. One of the fun features there is a status board you can share with other members, post on your website and cross-post to Mastodon (where all the cool kids hang out). The OMG.LOL Status action does it all.

    7. Run Shortcut to Save to Thoughts Inspiration Manager

    One of my favorite things to do online is to collect quotes from various sources, I save my quotes in an app called Thoughts Inspiration Manager. I don’t have a Drafts action to write directly to Thoughts but it doesn’t matter because I have a Shortcut that does. I just need to run the Drafts shortcut action explained in the user guide.

    8. Personal Assistant

    Drafts can serve as an interface with OpenAI by using the Personal Assistant action. (using your own API key) It’s a helpful action to run when you know you are going to use the AI generated text in another app. This action allows the user to get an AI-assisted response to a prompt:

    1. The user is prompted to enter input, which can be pasted from the clipboard or manually entered.
    2. The input is then sent to the OpenAI API, and the response is inserted into the current draft 3 lines after the cursor.
    3. If there is no selected text in the draft, the user is asked if they would like to use text from the clipboard. If the prompt is canceled or the input is empty, the action cancels.
    4. If there is no response from the API, the output is set to “No reply received.”

    Today on AppAddict - RapiDMG - a $1 App that automates mounting DMG files, extracting the app to the Applications folder, dismounting and deleting the DMG and highlighting the newly installed app. It happens in seconds.

    Question for people who have switched email accounts after a long time with one service - I’ve had the same Gmail account since 2005 but I’m thinking of switching to Proton or Hey! What were your biggest pain points?

    Today on App Addict - Blip - Free, encrypted, cross platform, instant file transfers of unlimited size

    There are 600,000 children in Rafah. They have nowhere else to go. If you support an invasion of Rafah, you’re saying the lives and well-being of those children don’t matter. If you saw those children as your own, opposing the invasion wouldn’t be a question. If you don’t see them as your own, it’s because they’ve been dehumanized to you. Otherwise no person with a conscience would look at an innocent child, let alone 600,000 innocent children, and agree they deserve to be bombed and killed.

    https://social.lol/@QasimRashid@mastodon.social

    #Obsidian Maintenance - The Steps to Take and Plugins to Use to Keep Your Vault Up to Date, Backed Up and Organized

    A woman using a laptop to perform tests on a network

    Depending on how you use Obsidian, your maintenance tasks may vary, but these are some good general tips. Set these as recurring tasks in your task manager of choice and keep your setup in good shape all the time.

    1. Update your plugins

    Click on the settings “Gear” icon > Community Plugins > Check for updates button. I also suggest using the community plugin Plugin Update Tracker. You’ll need to do this on every device where you use Obsidian.

    2 Update your themes

    Click on the settings “Gear” icon > Appearance > Current Community Themes > Check for Updates. Again, you’ll need to do this on every device where you use Obsidian.

    3 Organize your folders and notes

    If you use a folder system in your vault, you should periodically do some basic file maintenance. I have a couple of folders that serve as Inboxes for me. One is where the mail I forward ends up (How to forward email to your Obsidian vault) and the other is for clipped web pages and the default location where new notes go. I regularly go through those folders and move the notes in them to their permanent home. You can automate part of this process with the Auto Note Mover community plugin. which will relocate notes based on tags. If you use a calendar based scheme for your periodic notes or read it later imports, go ahead and move notes to the appropriate folders during this step.

    4. Clean up your tags

    One tip I give to anyone getting started with Obsidian is that if you are going to use tags, start using them from the very beginning. My starter vault contained a couple thousand notes I bought over from Evernote and thankfully they were all tagged. I suggest using the Tag Folder community plugin, because one of the things it does is show you all the notes you have without tags. Tag Wrangler is also good to have because it lets you edit and delete tags in bulk. If you need to add the same tags to multiple notes at one, use the Multi Properties plugin.

    5. Download and organize attachments

    I prefer to download the images in web pages I clip into my vault and I like to keep those images named according to the note they are in. I also like to have a central attachment repository. The two plugins I use for this are Local Images Plus and Attachment Management. I cover the whole workflow in this blog post.

    6. Check your backups

    There are several ways to back up your Obsidian vault - folder syncing to a secondary location on your hard drive to upload to a cloud service, GitHub or as part of a whole drive backup like Time Machine on a Mac. Regardless of the method you choose, you should check periodically to make sure all your files are getting added.

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