February 2011

02/27/2011 19:00:07

Ever annoyed by a program/installer asking you to "Restart Now"?

I am! Always! The solution is quite easy, although not in the means of the application’ developer.
Simply hold ⌥ down while clicking the Dock symbol with your right mouse button (alternatively hold ⌃⌥ and perform a normal click). A new menu entry will appear saying “Force Quit”. This will quit the installer immediately without needing any interaction, e.g. a restart.
The obvious downside of this is that you will have to restart your machine at some point to get the updates installed.

02/25/2011 19:00:06

Tools I use for screencasting: TextEdit

To record the intro for Mac OS X Screencasts, I set up an almost blank TextEdit document. I use it as a teleprompter and video improver.
I use to set the background color to Cantaloupe, maximize the window and crank the brightness all the way up. Which makes this picture:

become this:

Way better isn’t it? All I add after that is a 3-Way Color Correction in Final Cut Pro and voila I look beautiful-ish.

02/17/2011 19:50:00

Export Tasks to Pomodoro App for iPad

I should rather be screencasting, I know, but there are those times where your inner nerd tells you you just have to write this particular script or else you’re going to suffer for the rest of the week. This solution was originated from one of those moments.

A little history:

Pomodoro App for iPad is one of the most feature complete Pomodoros Apps I’ve seen thus far.
My only complaint was that it’s not possible to export tasks out of (my bevoved) OmniFocus into Pomodoro App.
Thomas, one of the developers, just told there is a way. The app apparently uses JSON to write and read data files saved into Dropbox. (Dropbox sync is coming later)

The idea

I wanted to take my “to do today” tasks, that I’ve chosen after my daily preview routine, directly into Pomodoro App so that I can pomodoro away.
It turns out that OmniFocus copies selected tasks as a simple list of task names to the clipboard. Really, plain task names, nothing else, no project, no start, no due, nothing. The perfect job for AppleScript. (not)

How it works and limitations

I figured I could just take the list and ask the user for estimate input for each of them, then generate a JSON file and save it into Dropbox.
After successful import I could safely delete that file, or let the script do it automatically for me next time it’s running.

Please, keep in mind, that the more JSON files you have in your Dropbox, the more tasks you’re going to end up with in Pomodoro App, since it doesn’t check for duplicates. (which is fair enough)

My script turns out to be not only useful for OmniFocus. Rather everyone who keeps his/her tasks as a list in a text file, e.g. TaskPaper, could make use of it.

Here’s the script as a beautiful gist.

In a couple of hours this script will also be available in LaunchBar Scripts repository.

Stuck with Things?

Thomas, one of the developers, is using Things.
He modified the script so that it’s getting selected tasks from Things.
He’s using, for my taste, too many shell scripts where native AppleScript calls could be utilitzed. So I merged his and my script to get the best of both worlds. You can find his original gist here.

Download the modified version.

02/11/2011 19:00:06

Tools I use for screencasting: Final Cut

I recently bought a Final Cut Studio. The applications contained help me a lot and I can’t find words to describe how helping they are. You might not be able to recognize how exactly they are helping, but let me assure you, they do.
I fell in love with Motion, Compressor and, obviously, Final Cut.

02/09/2011 21:33:27

Customize Alfred Fallback Searches for enhanced productivity

Guys, guys, guys. I’ve never even tought about customizing my Fallback Searches, but now that I did I feel like Alfred changed my life. Again.

When you have purchased the Power Pack, which you should, you can customize Fallback Searches. Those appear when Alfred wasn’t able to find anything on your machine.
A couple of days ago I saw a screencast where someone showed how Translator Free (Mac App Store) and LaunchBar can be used to quickly translate text. Frankly, just another tool on my machine, is exactly what I need.

Here are my Fallback Searches:

Alternative title for this post: The one in which I tell Alfred to enslave Google.

  1. Vapiano is a franchise pizza bar and not only available in Germany. London has at least one and therefore there might also be one in Cambridge.