Roar Notifications

As much as it is a job and source of income, for me, building software is also a way to relax, a form of self-expression, play, and in the best moments – joy.

Today, I want to show off a project so far along the joy side of that spectrum that it blows past being silly and borders on pure ridiculousness.

Let’s reskin Notification Center on macOS.

And make it look like Winamp.

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A Better Way to Copy Two-Factor Codes on macOS

Back in June, I posted a completely un-serious post that described a ridiculous Rube Goldberg approach to grabbing two-factor authentication codes from your text messages on macOS using Keyboard Maestro (for those of use who don’t use Safari).

How dumb was it? Let’s just say that it relied on taking a screenshot of Notifcation Center and parsing the code out of the image.

A joke, yes, but also a fun distraction one evening.

To my surprise, very nice reader azorpheunt provided a real solution in the comment section earlier today.

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Capture Thing

I’ve been big into journaling for close to a decade now – at least in my personal life. But I’ve never been able to build up the same habit in my work / professional life – even though I know I would reap benefits there, too.

I’ve tried all sorts of workflows to make journaling my workday a regular and frictionless routine — everything from a Day One hotkey to some convoluted Keyboard Meastro macros and Drafts.app actions.

None of them stuck.

But what finally did work for me (at least for the last six months or so) is a tiny little Mac app called Capture Thing.

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The Title

This is something I’ve long intuited based on my own web browsing habits but never really put into words. When I stop and think about it, modern web browsers drive me crazy by limiting tabs to a maximum width because that width is almost never enough to show the full page title.

Well, except one web browser: Safari.

If Safari on macOS Monterey is heading in a similar direction where web page titles are going to be even more truncated, that’s going to make me sad. I guess we should do something about it.

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MeetingBuddy

A few weeks ago I built a niche little app idea dubbed MeetingBuddy. You choose a target app from a pre-defined list (or pick any app on your Mac) and a time interval and MeetingBuddy starts screenshotting that app’s windows.

Each recording session goes into its own folder where all of the screenshots are organized by date. But! while this is all going on, MeetingBuddy is also OCR-ing any text found in the screenshots and storing that alongside each image in a sidecar file.

You end up with a folder of recordings for each session. Images and their corresponding text contents.

Why is this useful? Honestly, I’m not exactly sure that it is just yet. But here’s what I’ve been using it for.

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Shelley

I’ve written previously about using Hazel on macOS to react to a new file appearing in a synced iCloud Drive folder and running commands. But I wanted a faster solution that I could trigger from almost anywhere – including an iOS Shortcut. A way to send a command directly from my phone (or maybe any other device?) to my Mac.

What I came up with is a tiny, macOS menu bar app I call Shelley – because as a friend told me, it’s a Frankenstein of a hack.

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Download Jigsaw for macOS

Jigsaw is one of those ridiculously fun (dumb?) ideas that come along and smack you upside the head one day and you can’t help but take an afternoon to build.

Apple already lets you sync the contents of your Desktop using iCloud. But, if you’re a visual person like me who often arranges their Desktop icons in meaningful ways, not having the positions of your files on screen also stay in sync is frustrating as I move between my laptop and desktop throughout the day.

Jigsaw solves that by syncing the positions of your Desktop icons over iCloud. Move a folder on your iMac, and a few seconds later it mirrors itself on your laptop.

Jigsaw is free to download.

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Visually Syncing Your Mac’s Desktop

For me, my Mac’s Desktop is my staging ground, my active workspace, the digital representation of my mental RAM. I’ll typically have all of the files related to the task I’m currently working on stored on my Desktop. Once it’s complete, I’ll either file them away or delete them and move on to the next thing.

Having the Desktop on my iMac at home stay in-sync with my work laptop eases the transition and context switching as I move between locations. Dropbox has been doing this for years, but actually getting into the correct folder in Dropbox always has just enough friction to keep me from using it with active files the way I do my Desktop. When Apple added the option to sync your Documents and Desktop folders into iCloud Drive a number of years ago, it was a perfect fit for me…

…almost.

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