Software

    macOS apps I wish were better

    I am a long-time macOS user and over the decades I’ve tried a lot of different apps. Many I have used only briefly or they were discontinued after some time. However, some grow close to my heart, accompany me for countless years, and make my daily life easier. Nevertheless, sometimes some of them eventually lose their shine or fall behind, and I use them just out of habit or nostalgia, even though there are (supposedly) better alternatives.

    Currently, there are mainly three programs for me that fall under this category:

    DevonThink could have become the native macOS version of Obsidian for me, but with Version 3, I somehow lost access to it. Nowadays, I only use the app, which once shaped my workday, as a storage place for PDFs. That makes me sad.

    Launchbar hasn’t seen any real innovations for a very long time, and more significantly, sometimes it starts with a delay on my Macs, which leads to unwanted keystrokes in other programs. There is a plugin system, but I wish the community was as motivated and diverse as with Raycast.

    1Password was such a great password manager. Since the update to Version 8 and the switch to Electron, it no longer feels native, it’s sluggish and buggy. The Safari integration1 has become unusable for me, and I currently keep my passwords in both 1PW and Apple’s Keychain. I think with the appearance of Sequoia in the fall, I will probably say goodbye entirely. Even though it will be hard for me.


    1. for sure this is not only 1PW’s fault ↩︎

    Bartender Alternatives

    Bartender was acquired and neither the original programmer nor the new owner informed about it. Since the app requires extensive permissions to perform its service, including screen recording, and the communication about the sale apparently went rather catastrophically1, many users are somehow concerned and are looking for an alternative. Fortunately, there are some, but I have not dealt with them much, as I have been using Bartender since its initial release many years ago.

    So far, I have come across the following apps, which can now be looked at more closely with regard to their privacy policy and, of course, their suitability as a replacement:2

    Which one are you using?

    Most people seem to be very happy with Hidden Bar and Ice, both FOSS. And there is now an official (?4) response from Bartender’s original developer Ben Surtees you can read here or here. And another statement from the new owners was published on their blog as well.


    Updates

    • 2024-06-07: added footnote 4
    • 2024-06-06: added update above and a link to Michael Tsai in footnote 1 😎
    • 2024-06-05: added OnlySwitch, thanks to Marcus, link to the github version of Hidden Bar, and link to AppleInsider
    • 2024-06-13: added link to new developer statement
    • 2024-07-17: added BTT

    1. There is only one small note on their support page informing about a certificate change. The full extent of this has been very nicely summarised on AppleInsider. You can read some more responses to this whole saga on Michael Tsai’s blog↩︎

    2. Alternatively, one can potentially revert to a Bartender version prior to the sale (5.0.48) and additionally block its connections to the internet, e.g., via Little Snitch↩︎

    3. That’s the one I just started using without any particular reason and it works just great so far. ↩︎

    4. Of course, there are already speculations that the texts were not written by him and were created by ChatGPT. ↩︎

    Fun stuff with Obsidian and Dataview II - costs per week

    You can do so much fun stuff with Obsidian and Dataview. I added notes for all of my electronic gear and based on properties for purchase date and price an inline dataview calculates the costs per week for each item, every time the note is opened 🤩

    This is the actual inline calculation for cost/week:

    =round(number(replace(this.preis,",",".")) / number(durationformat(dur(date(now) - this.kaufdatum),"w")),2)

    with

    • preis: price property; as I am located in GER I use a textfield with an entry like “42,99 €”; therefore the replacement of “,” by “.” and conversion to a number
    • kaufdatum: purchase date property
    Obsidian dataview with costs per week based on purchase date and price

    Update 2023-12-05

    Here is a slightly improved version of the inline field:

    =replace(string(round(number(replace(this.preis,",",".")) / number(durationformat(dur(default(this.nutzung_bis, date(now)) - this.kaufdatum),"w")),2)),".",",")

    with

    • nutzung_bis: a properties date field that marks the end of usage; the cost is calculated either until this date or if it is missing until today

    and it changes the ENG decimal point back to the GER “,”

    Fun stuff with Obsidian and Dataview - pico-8 game launcher

    You can do so much fun stuff with Obsidian and Dataview. I added notes for all my pico-8 games, containing the cartridge png itself and added some Templater and Properties magic. With the help of Keyboard Maestro I can now click on the little play button in my Dataview table and the game just launches 🤩

    pico-8 games list in Obsidian with built-in launcher

    Indie App Sales 2023

    It feels like every day for weeks now is a special day and everything is and will be discounted. Oh, wouldn’t life be nice if things were just generally cheaper and my inbox was spared the flood of advertising? Anyway …

    There’s another Indie App Sale this year and there are now over 400 (!) programs listed for macOS and iOS. Fortunately, I already own the ones that interest me most and bought three additional apps this year:

    Nevertheless, it’s an impressive list that also includes many Mastodon developer accounts that I didn’t know about before. Definitely worth looking into.

    I also noticed the Apps campaign: 10 applications for you and your Mac. It really only lists great apps. And even though I use Moom, I’ve been dancing around Lasso for a long time, maybe I’ll buy it this time?

    App Defaults

    Shamelessly stolen from Robb  and inspired by Hemispheric Views 097 - Duel of the Defaults! here are all the apps I use in the various categories as written by Andrew:

    • Mail Client: Mail.app
    • Mail Server: iCloud with custom domain and posteo.net
    • Notes: Obsidian and some stuff left in Notes
    • To-Do: Reminders (and Things at work)
    • iPhone Photo Shooting: iOS Camera
    • Photo Management: Photos
    • Calendar: Calendar
    • Cloud file storage: iCloud Drive
    • RSS: Reeder
    • Contacts: Contacts
    • Browser: Safari
    • Chat: iMessage, Threema, WhatsApp
    • BookmarksAnybox
    • Read It Later: Readwise Reader
    • Word Processing: Pages (MS Word at work)
    • Spreadsheets: Numbers (MS Excel at work)
    • Presentations: Keynote
    • Shopping Lists: Pons
    • Meal Planning: Mela
    • Budgeting & Personal Finance: YNAB
    • News: Mastodon, tagesschau.de
    • Music: Apple Music
    • Podcasts: Overcast
    • Password Management: 1Password

    MS Office Reset

    TIL that you can easily uninstall your entire MS Office package under #macOS with Office Reset (https://office-reset.com/), then download only the app(s) you need from the Mac Appstore and use your existing Office 365 subscription. I always thought you had to purchase a new one somehow via Apple IAP. Cool, now I’m rid of all that garbage MS AutoUpdater.