April 2011

04/30/2011 11:45:05

Just my 2 cents

The more days pass, the more I’m shaking my head, the stronger I believe in the following:

Google really had the chance to build a better “computer-similar” thing, but they just screwed it up.

04/29/2011 15:00:06

Non-Random Follower Backlink: One Thing Well

I would just quickly recommend one of my favorite blogs at the moment: One Thing Well.
One Thing Well is about things that do "one thing well". The posts are short and the tools mentioned are probably not a “home users’ cup of tea”, but geeks are going to love it!
This should be an instafollow!

04/29/2011 13:00:06

AppleScript for Non-Programmers: Magic Script Creator

Many people struggle with creating their own AppleScripts. Now, there’s an app for that!

Magic Script Creator allows to create AS scripts for most common tasks like:

The app is a tad pricy with €19.99 (about $25) and I haven’t tested it, but from the looks it seems like it’s solving this sole purpose.
For those never able to write their own AppleScripts check it out on the

04/28/2011 15:00:06

Syncing Contacts and Calendars to an iPhone/iPad without MobileMe

MobileMe with it’s subscription based service is a turn-off for most people. What most really need is a free cloud-based contacts and calendar sync. With tools like Google Sync and Yahoo! for iPhone a cloud-based solid sync is available for everyone.

Calendar Sync

As far as calendar syncing goes, Google Calendar is a pretty good candidate. The only problem Google has is that you need to create a separate delegate calendar for each calendar (in iCal!).
I would recommend using a, non-free, tool like BusyCal instead, or decide to edit your calendars only in your browser. This way it is much easier, and cleaner, to get your calendars to Google’s servers.

Once all calendars are syncing with Google you can enable Google Exchange for Calendars(!).

(Personal experience: I tried using Google for my contacts as well, but sometimes they change “something” and after the next sync a couple of fields are screwed up. Like “home phone” becomes “other”, so I decided to turn off contacts syncing and switched to Yahoo! for contacts.)

To finally allow all calendars to show up in iCal on your iPhone. You need to enable each of them in your sync preferences.
Google tries to be smart here, they track your location and give you a page that’s localized to your language. I see a page that says “This page is not available for your device” (in German). In that case tap on “Change language” and then choose “English”.

Contacts Sync

For Contacts I switched to Yahoo! Recently. Their contacts sync seems to be way more stable than Google’s. Setup is straight forward.

  1. Enable Yahoo! Contacts Sync in Address Book. (Preferences → Yahoo!)
  2. Open Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendars on iPhone/iPad.
  3. Add a new account.
  4. Follow Yahoo!’s instructions. (Link again)

Contacts should now be syncing fine.

Two more things

You might want to delete all contact and calendar information that was on your iPhone. This can be done in iTunes or directly on your phone.

You also might want to view in cloud contacts and calendars in Calendar/Address Book only. Open either Calendar/Address Book and tap in the upper left corner. The menu that appears should be self explaining.

04/27/2011 19:00:06

New Favorite App: Tea

I have a new favorite app on my homescreen. It’s called Tea.
Me and my girlfriend are both pretty nerdy about getting a good cup of tea. We drink tea only. (Except water of course)

Tea for iPhone is a very neat app that keeps track of teas brewed and teas available.
You can create a list of teas you have at home and tell Tea you’re going to brew a tea at 91˚C for exactly 3 minutes with 3 tea spoons of tea and 1L of water.
You can even put “tasting notes” along with every new Infusion, as they call it.

Check it out at the

04/25/2011 21:00:06

Cleaning Up an iTunes Library

Yesterday I did a complete reinstall of my system. I had this system running, and only upgraded every new OS X release, using “Archive & Install”. The underlying operating system therefore never really changed and my misconfigurations remained.
A complete reinstall on OS X is actually not a big deal. I might even make a screencast about it. Today though I want to tell you about a couple of features, one I found today, you can use to clean up your iTunes Library.

1. Hunt Duplicates

To find duplicates in a playlist, smart playlist, category list (Apps, Podcasts, etc) or the Library itself. Go to File → Display Duplicates, which will the show all duplicates obviously.
Most people don’t know that holding ⌥ while that menu is open Display Duplicates become Display Exact Duplicates.

2. Liquidate Library Mess

(This is the new function I didn’t know of yet.)

Open File again, but this time go to Library → Organize Library…. The window that opens has two options:

  1. Consolidate files, which will move all music and video files into the iTunes Media Folder.
  2. Reorganize files in the folder “You Library Name”: Activating this will make iTunes go ahead and clean up the entire folder and move everything neatly into its place. (!)

3. Doug’s Scripts

No “iTunes whatever” blog post is complete without mentioning Doug’s AppleScript Repository. Actually there are a slew of AppleScripts Doug wrote that you might want to check out. I want to point out only one though:

Super Remove Dead Tracks

Surveys iTunes for tracks whose files are no longer available (so-called “dead” tracks, as indicated by a “!” next to their names) and removes them.

04/20/2011 19:00:05

Send pictures from iPhone to Mac (faster than PictureSync)

The Next Web has an interesting post about how they use Skitch and PasteBot to send pictures from and to a Mac.
I just tested it, and it’s blazingly fast, even faster as PictureSync would be able to do it.

What you basically need to set up is clipboard syncing in PasteBot. To send a picture from:

04/19/2011 19:00:06

3 OmniFocus Screencasts

04/19/2011 17:38:24

Screencast: How to Use Homebrew

04/18/2011 19:00:05

Screencast: Creating iPad Apps with JavaScript using Titanium

04/17/2011 18:17:55

iPhone & iPad Homescreens (Repost)

Due to homescreen.me limitations some people can’t view my homescreens there. So I’m reposting my (latest) homescreen’s of my iPhone and iPad here.
I also uploaded an overview of a couple of older homescreens to Flickr.




A couple of things to note here. I tend to do small tasks and communication on my iPhone. That’s why there are so many “communication” apps on my homescreen. I need quick access to a news reader (currently NewsRack), a Twitter client (No TweetBot? Awwww.). The iPad is where I create stuff. Project often start on the iPad, because it is so limiting to one specific. One mindmap app, one writing app (Trunk Notes, please go check it out), one drawing app. Single-tasking. I also want to mention that almost all articles at least begin on the iPad. Again wit Trunk Notes.
It’s also surprising to see an English dictionary on either device. You may know that I’m very interested in the English language. That’s why I always want to have access to a dictionary in case I forgot a word. I prefer English-English dictionaries, but sometimes I just forget a word and its description. Then I need to have a English-German dictionary at hand. Wordy! is an app that allows to upload StarDict dictionaries using iTunes File Sharing. Hasn’t seen a lot of development the last months, but it’s a nice app. Ultralingua is a nice looking En-En dictionary for iPad, Wordy! allows to use two different dictionaries at the same time, Speaking English Dictionary is good for practicing words. (I also have Mental Case installed on either device.) All the learning…!

04/16/2011 11:45:00

Searching for a Job Online

In nowadays world, using social media to explore new job possibilities is a must. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, there are tools that help you to get, or find rather, a new job. In case you’re geeky, you can also benefit from social media as most web pages offer subscriptions by RSS or Email.

LinkedIn, XING, Freelancer

These are easy. Go to a page like LinkedIn or XING. Search for something someone might be looking for. You get the difference? Rather than looking for official job titles, search for words someone could use as a job description. This way you open your search to a wider audience.
In my case I could be searching for “screencast” or “screencaster”, but I suspect not as many people are looking for that, as opposed to “tutorial”, “video ad”, etc.

Other pages like Freelancer.com even allow to save searches as RSS feed. This way you can deal with new job offerings while reading news.


Let’s get more advanced. I explained Twitter’s Search exhaustively in the Twitter Screencast I (which you might want to watch at this point)
These searches can either be saved to your Twitter Profile or, again, be subscribed to using RSS. I search for people who search for screencasters. The search therefore is:

screencaster looking OR need OR searching OR want

You see that the search is a bit more specific than the one for, e.g. Freelancer.com. This is because I expect people using Twitter to be more precise what they are looking for. Again I’m trying to facilitate a search that resembles a message someone could write on Twitter.
Actually this setup can be extended even further. You could use ifttt to send you an email or use Boxcar instead. There’s a slew of options available.


Google has an Alerts feature. These are basically periodic searches, which, once performed, can send you an email or again are available as RSS feed.


Be smart when searching for a new job these days. Especially in the tech business I would highly recommend using all the tools that are available to you. Make it easy and always mind the person looking for you.

04/13/2011 21:23:36

Getting Things Done with Hazel

I figured I should mention Hazel at least here on this blog, because occasionally I get people asking “We want a Hazel Screencast!”
You really didn’t think this isn’t planned already, did you? I made plans for this, such a long time ago…, but I want this screencast to be really, really good. What basically means I need to sit on it for a bit longer.

However, I didn’t want to leave Hazel unmentioned. Hazel is one of my favorite tools. When I bought it a long, long time ago1, I set it up so it keeps my file structure sane. How? Here’s how.


First, I have a folder in my Home that is named Current in there I got 5 more folders named:

The idea was inspired by the Kinkless GTD approach. Unfortunately this fantastic screencast series is not online anymore. (Am I really such an old Mac guy? Ten years now on a Mac,huh?) Anyway, using numbers to sort the folder makes it also very easy to navigate in there. I just press key 1 through 5 followed by ⌘↓ to get to where I want. Easy.

Hazel also watches a couple of other folders, and executes some actions accordingly. I explain the easier ones first:

  1. ~/Downloads 2: If a file has been downloaded and I didn’t take care of it within one day, Hazel will move this file/folder to 4 - junk.
  2. ~/Desktop: If I have something on there untouched for 4 days it will also be moved to the junk folder.

After a while junk will get quite big. This will annoy me so much that I go clean the mess and delete stuff I probably didn’t want to have in the first place. Not as drastic as deleting the files immediately (as Kinkless suggested). I know.

Are you still following? Good, because this was the easy part. Let’s get to Getting Things Done.


New projects usually start on my desktop. I use my Template Folder Maker Automator script that I call from Keyboard Maestro to create a couple of folders, copy some template files, as well as create an empty MindNode file to get me started. (Markus, if you read this: Yes, MindNode is really that essential.)
Then I go ahead and plan this new screencast (or whatever project I have). I collect material, I create reference stuff, I create a DEVONthink database. In short: I work.
When I finally realize “This is a project” all I have to do is tag it either with a Spotlight comment or OpenMeta named simply "pending".
When Hazel sees folders on my Desktop tagged like that, it automatically moves that folder into 1 - pending and send a Growl notification.

The Current folders are really the heart of this whole operation. When I got something that I realize that it won’t lead me anywhere I tag it procrastinate or idea.
When Hazel sees the changed tag and it will move the tagged folder to, who’d have known, 2 - procrastinate.
Or, when tagged idea go to 3 - idea. You get it….

If you tried doing something similar already, you may (very well and unfortunately) be aware of how vexing getting this set up is. Frankly, it took me a while to figure it out, but finally I did it!

The trick is: Hazel is able to run actions on folders subsequently. So you can set it to look for a folder and only operate on subfolders. All I have is Hazel watching Current. Using "Run on subfolder contents" Hazel will only work on subfolders, but I also don’t want to go any deeper, so I also limit this action to subfolder depth 0. This way Hazel will only mess about with items that are one folder level deeper from Current - not more.

Here’s the Run on subfolder contents rule:

This is the “Tagged as pending” rule. (Change other rules accordingly):

Hazel will give you erros with this, but it will do what I describe here.
I know one can nerd everything to death. Actually, I would have preferred the title “Nerding things do death with Hazel” for this posting, but I figured it would attract more people with the GTD thing. Oh, well…

  1. August 28th, 2007 

  2. Actually there are more actions attached to Downloads. One that unquarantines downloaded files, so I get rid of the annoying “Has been downloaded from Internet”-warning. One that opens downloaded disk images in the background, which also approves any “confirmation” dialogs. And one that unarchives files. 

04/13/2011 16:57:04

Sync DEVONthink using Dropbox

No matter whether you’re using DEVONthink Personal, Pro or Pro Office. All flavors of DEVONthink are able to sync over Dropbox. In case of Pro and Pro Office it’s even easier, because all created databases also sync flawlessly (not just the Inbox database, which is a limitation of DT Personal.)



The process is actually the same as if you want to sync iCal or the Address Book.

  1. Open ~/Library/Application Support
  2. Drag the folder DEVONthink Pro 2 to your Dropbox. (Mine is ~/Dropbox/HOME/Library/Application Support)
  3. Open Terminal
  4. Write ln -s /Users/YOURNAME/Dropbox/remaining/path/to/DT folder/ /Users/YOURNAME/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 2

This will create a symbolic link in your Library. Repeat the ln -s on every other computer that should use the synced data.
The syncing works like this: Whenever you open DEVONthink it will look in your Library for the Inbox data. It will find the link, which detours DEVONthink to the Dropbox folder where it sees the data file and opens it.

Resolving Problems


Remember: Just one DEVONthink instance is allowed to access the data at once. You have to close DEVONthink on one machine before opening it on another.
In case I ever run into this issue, I use Folder Actions (or Hazel):

  1. Create a Folder Action for a folder in Dropbox and attach a script.
  2. The script basically watches for a certain file. If it is in there it will go ahead and close all instances of DEVONthink.

This way I can remotely close DEVONthink and regain access to my data by dropping a file named “quitdevonthink” into Dropbox. This is the script:

on adding folder items to thisFolder after receiving addedItems

    repeat with currentFile in addedItems

        if (currentFile as string) contains "quitdevonthink" then
            tell application "DEVONthink" to quit
            tell application "DEVONthink Pro 2" to quit
            tell application "DEVONthink Pro" to quit
        end if

    end repeat

end adding folder items to


One last note: I would highly recommend trying DEVONthink Pro. Before I had DEVONthink Pro or Pro Office I didn’t know how big the differences really were. Personal users really miss out on some of the greatest features this software has to offer!

Download DEVONthink


04/13/2011 11:29:02

LaunchBar/Alfred/Keyboard Maestro scripts:

I just pushed a new update to the LaunchBar/Keyboard Maestro repository.

The new addition is a script called “Open Location”. Here’s the description:

Open Location: Takes a POSIX path from the clipboard and opens it in the Finder. Useful when, e.g., reading man pages that refer to a path.
Select text from the man page, trigger LaunchBar, type “open location”, ↩ and Finder will activate opening the path.
The script is even able to expand ~ and figure out whether a / is missing in the front (or a trailing slash is missing). In case it is, a slash is put in front and back. The script then tries to open that location.
If the location doesn’t exist, no matter how hard the script tried, it will simply quit and leave a warning beep to notify the user.

The script also runs in Alfred (Powerpack), and Keyboard Maestro.

04/04/2011 19:00:06

Tools I use because they are good: QuickCal

I gave QuickCal a shout on my German podcast previously already, but I like to repeat that here now.

QuickCal is a tool that assists you by adding new iCal events. New events are described using human language. You can write something like:

Clean Aperture Library from duplicates 13-15 today


And QuickCal will go ahead and and figure out an events’ description, time and so forth.
The tool used to be free for the Mac, but its price has now 'increased' to a whopping $0.99. QuickCal also used to be a Widget, which is still available (and free). So in case you have doubts and don’t want to risk your hard earned money, you can check out the Widget here.

Last but not least: QuickCal now integrates with Alfred. (I love this) Type:

cal Clean Aperture Library from duplicates 13-15 today


in Alfred, hit ⏎ and QuickCal will launch containing that string in the entry field. All you have to do is confirm the event with another ⏎.
Further integration has been announced and will eliminate launching QuickCal after the event description has been entered in Alfred. (I love this even more)

Below are download links for the iPhone and iPad version of QuickCal.

Help make this puppy a little bit less smelly! (That pun is bad. I’m sorry.)