Category: technology

Scannable: mobile scanning made easy

Scannable became a part of my workflow shortly after its release by Evernote Corporation earlier this year. In contrast to Evernote’s ever-expanding feature set, Scannable does one job well. This free mobile scanning solution captures documents and dispatches them to your favourite cloud storage service. At the time of writing, Scannable is only available for iOS 8 and higher. An Evernote account is not required. Overview Scannable activates the camera when the application launches so you can get straight down to business. The application detects document edges when you hold your mobile device above a page. Image capture, cropping and...

Nic McPhee via flickr cc

One simple approach to instantly improve your writing

Everybody writes. Whether it’s an email to a friend, your resume, a sales proposal, website copy or the next best-selling book, readers expect clear and error free writing. The problem is that it’s really hard to proofread your own work. Your brain sees what you meant to write, not what’s actually on the page. I wish I’d known about this easily overlooked tool years ago. It’s been a huge help in finding errors in my blog posts, books and other important documents that were invisible to me before. Text to speech is a simple way to find and fix typos,...

Overloaded motorbike

How to migrate your stuff from Toodledo to OmniFocus

After using Toodledo as my trusted GTD system for around four years, I recently switched to OmniFocus. OmniFocus is one of the applications at the top of the task manager food chain, so I was surprised how few import options there are. I’ve recorded the process that worked for me and I’m hoping others making the transition will find this useful. If you’re migrating to OmniFocus from another task manager, most of this will apply as long as your current task manager can export data in CSV format. You cannot import Toodledo’s CSV output into OmniFocus without first massaging the...

File folders in a records centre

Mac convert tip #5: Fix Finder frustrations with XtraFinder

The smallest things can sometimes cause the greatest friction. It’s a very close call as to which Finder “feature” is responsible for the most expletives since I switched to Mac about six months ago. The contenders are: using return to rename files instead of opening them; and alphabetical sorting which mixes folders together with files. I prefer the Windows approach of displaying folders ahead of any files. Thankfully, a recent discovery has resolved both these frustrations. Perhaps it’s just conditioning from using Windows for so long, but grouping folders together ahead of files makes more sense to me. Judging by...

Padlock on green door

Mac convert tip #4: Locking your Mac

I went to university with a mischievous group of friends. You were asking for trouble if you left your computer unattended and unlocked. Someone was guaranteed to have reconfigured your system to cause the chaos possible. Some classics included: setting the volume controls to maximum (often accompanied by adding embarrassingly inappropriate sounds to system events); setting the mouse double-click speed to maximum making it impossible to open applications; or setting the mouse acceleration to warp speed on one axis and a snail’s pace on the other — try accurately positioning your pointer with that setup. I quickly learnt to always...

MacBook keyboard

Mac convert tip #3: Dealing with missing keys

Something isn’t quite right about the Mac keyboard. My PC keyboard has a useful block of keys above the cursor keys which aren’t present on my MacBook Air. I frequently used these keys for editing and navigation. Fortunately, these commands are still accessible on the Mac with some additional finger gymnastics. Navigation Function Windows Mac Move one word left Ctrl+← option+← Move one word right Ctrl+→ option+→ Move to beginning of current line Home command+← Move to end of current line End command+→ Page up Page Up fn+↑ Page down Page Down fn+↓ Move to beginning of document Ctrl+Home command+↑...

Frustrated with a Mac

How to switch from Windows to Mac without the frustration

Try this quick experiment. Grab a pen and paper and sign your name with your non-dominant hand. How did it feel? Awkward? Slow? Messy? It probably required conscious effort that isn’t needed when using your preferred hand. That’s how I felt for the first six weeks when I switched to a Mac after using Windows for more than twenty years. On more than one occasion I’d wondered if I’d made a big mistake. The frustration of adapting to a new operating system can be reduced by configuring your Mac to work more like Windows. The biggest challenge for me was...

BetterSnapTool window position and keyboard shortcuts

Mac convert tip #2: install a window manager

Hitting the Windows key together with one of the arrow keys provided a fast way to resize a window to fit the left or right half of the screen in the Microsoft world. For mouse users, dragging the window to the edge of the screen achieves the same result. This is really useful if you’re writing in one application while referring to research in another. I was pretty disappointed to find that OSX didn’t provide an equivalent capability. After a day or two of manhandling windows into position, I went looking for a better solution. Fortunately, there are numerous third...

Sort the Trash by Date Added to easily locate recently deleted files

Mac convert tip #1: sort the trash by date

If I want to recover a file from the trash, I usually know pretty soon after it’s been deleted. Windows made it easy to sort the Recycle Bin by delete date. You can do this on the Mac too, but it’s not quite as obvious on OSX. Here’s how to sort the Trash with the most recently deleted files at the top. Open the Trash. Select View, Show View Options or press ⌘+J. Select Date Added to display the Date Added column. Click the Date Added column heading in the Trash window to sort in reverse date order. The most...

google timer - set timer 15 min

4 ways to use Google’s online timer

Google is an awesome search engine but it has other practical applications which are not quite so obvious. Google Timer can help you to focus on a task for a period of time without continually watching the clock. Sure, you can set a timer on a smartphone, but the countdown timer is faster and easier if you’re already working in a browser. I’ve even created TextExpander snippets for time intervals I frequently use. How to start the countdown timer Just type set timer followed by a time interval into the Google search box. Here’s some examples to try out: set...