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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Sample Code to Make your Mac App Open at Launch and How to Handle Global Keyboard Shortcuts

After my post last week about the updates I made to my audio app Ears, longtime internet buddy @macrael asked:

@tylerhall Do you use libraries for the hotkey-setting UI or the start-on-launch stuff? I’m putting together my first Mac app and am looking into those parts rn.

I do, actually. In addition to replying to MacRae on the nightmare birdsite, I thought I’d post the two helper projects here for anyone else searching.

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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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GrannySmith

And so now I think about not just all the photos and videos – but the 65,234 comments across 16,752 items we’ve shared. (How do I know those exact numbers? I’ll tell you in a minute.) Each one may be insignificant by itself. But combined? They represent 2,596 days of shared family history.

And when I think about losing the post she made about our newborn son in the hospital? Or the one she commented on last week? Only because there’s no way to get access to that trove of data? It breaks my heart.

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Do You Hear That?

Shortly into quarantine at the beginning of March, I realized I had a problem. My iMac has too many audio devices, and managing them was becoming a pain in the ass. And it was all because working full-time at home again, in this new age of frequent work video meetings, Slack and Discord calls, and dealing with two young, screaming kids with no school to attend, created a perfect storm of audio requirements.

So I did what I always end up doing, and wrote the app I wanted for myself.

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