July 2012

07/31/2012 12:43:21

Archive your movie disk without using much space.

On my vacation a friend told me how he archives a directory listing of the disks containing his movies for backup. Since movies can be replaced easily by redownloading the content, it’s normally not worth keeping a backup of the movies themselves somewhere.

I found that quite smart. I’ve been using ls -R to keep a history of my ~/Downloads for a while now, but wanted something that looks a bit nicer than ls.

Better output with tree

tree is a command line utility1 that lists directory contents in a tree-like structure, but has the disadvantage that when you output the command to a text file, the encoding throws off TextEdit.
Luckily some people point to this article by Murphy. He uses sed to format the output of find nicely:

find . -print | sed -e 's;[^/]*/;|____;g;s;____|; |;g'

The result looks pretty! To make this a command follow Sumedha’s instructions. Only replace the find line with the original from Murphy.

Then just type

`tree ~ > tree_home.txt`.


You can now automate the process with Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, or a Launch Agent (hint: Lingon).
It’s safe to run this command maybe once a day or a week. Honestly, how often do your movies change?

I use this command to output a file containing the date and time the command has run:

tree /Volumes/extHome/ > "$HOME/Documents/History/$(date "+%Y-%m-%d %H-%M") extHome.txt"


  1. Available in Homebrew, MacPorts and Fink. 

07/20/2012 20:25:47

45 minute NanoStudio tutorial by BitBurner

via iOS Musician

07/06/2012 14:52:07

Why automating task entering into OmniFocus is not a good idea.

I recently saw the posts by David Sparks and Michael Schechter who made an effort to make entering tasks into OmniFocus “easier”. I’ll oppose their workflow and I’m going to explain why below.

The setup generally looks fine. The snippets MacSparky try to make it easier to add general tasks into OmniFocus. For instance:

The problem I have with this is that the titles of these tasks are too general. They have no clear outcome. I tried this in the past but soon (about 1 week) I realized the tasks slip under my radar, because I just couldn’t remember them.

Why is that? I don’t know exactly, but after giving it some though I realized that I just need to make a conscious decision or else I don’t care. When I make things “easier” I need to take into account whether it’s something I really really really want it. In case I really want it, then I also set better tasks in my task management system.

"Set meeting with" may sound fine for most people, but when you look at it closely, it says zero to nothing what I actually want to achieve with that meeting. It’s just a task I’ve added so that it’s out of my way. I never even considered whether it’s something I want to do in my life.

It just came to me after reading their articles, when I did my ritual closing of unnecessary tabs in Safari. I look at one and try to think why I left it open in the first place. When it’s something like, and this is something that could be generalized with a snippet, “I want to come back to later” then I just decided that I still want to defer my decision until later. Later when I look at the thing again, this time in OmniFocus, it annoys me again because I still don’t know what to do with.

I never do meetings without a purpose. When I set a meeting, I want to achieve something. Meeting people is pointless otherwise. Calling someone re something is wasted time too. “Call Fiona to set a date when we go out for lunch later this week” is a task with a set outcome.

Read more on setting SMART outcomes.

07/05/2012 20:27:32

Resize and convert disk images with Disk Utility.

It seems to be a bit hidden that the Mac’s Disk Utility is able to resize and convert disk images (.dmg’s).

To resize a disk image simply open Disk Utility and drag your .dmg file to the sidebar.
Then hihglight the image and in the toolbar you’re going to see two symbols:

It should be pretty straight forward from here on. One thing to remember though, if you can’t resize your image (the dialog just goes away without anything happening) you may need to convert it before. Compressed images can’t be resized directly, those need to be converted to read/write images before.

07/04/2012 09:59:33

Screencast app, SwitchResX, on sale.

SwitchResX, one of the most essential screencasting apps, is currently on sale on MacUpdate.

The app allows me to switch my monitor’s resolution to “custom resolutions” which I need to set my Mac’s screen to a (real) 720p resolution. Normally the resolutions only come close to standard movie resolutions, but for my screencasts I need them to be exact. SwitchResX is an app that does that.

Get the app now for 50% off!

There’s another app that also changes the resolution, is free, but is far less usable.

07/02/2012 13:45:19

Keep todo items in your MindNode documents

I use MindNode to plan a lot of things, sometimes just to visualize see a problem “from above”, before I act on it. My Hazel tutorial was also planned out with MindNode.

Here’s an easy tip how you can have todo items in your mind map.

Simply add a special character sequence, in my case “!!!”, to the beginning or end of nodes. This way you can easily search for three exclamation marks and all todo items show up.
You find the search in MindNode touch in the outline view popover. Just scroll to the top to make the search field appear.