Since Apple will stand on a virtual stage tomorrow and tell us how much they love, value, and appreciate third-party developers, I want to be crystal clear about the value these apps (and many others) provide.
I could switch to Windows and Android. I wouldn’t like it, but I could make the switch. Except for all those third-party apps. I couldn’t give those up without significant effort – if it would even be possible to find replacements for each.
Third-party apps are what keep me locked into Apple’s lucrative don’t-call-it-a-walled-garden.
In any healthy software ecosystem, third-party developers and the platform vendor are a symbiotic relationship. To pretend otherwise is fanciful gaslighting.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to interrupt my not-so-regularly-scheduled posts about silly macOS workflows and tech complaining for a not-so-humble-brag.
TextBuddy received a lovely review in the June issue of Mac|Life – including an Editor’s Choice seal of approval.
“The bottom line. A marvel. If you work with text, you need this app.”
As a nerdy kid who grew up in the 90s browsing the magazine section of Waldenbooks for the latest issues of Macworld, boot, and Next Generation, seeing one of my apps in a print magazine is a huge thrill.
The pandemic changed how I took meeting notes at work. With video calls being the new norm, I found myself grabbing screenshots of the meeting window to capture shared slides, documents we were collaborating on, and the latest screens the design team was showing off.
So now, in addition to my detailed text notes, I found myself compiling a visual archive of my team’s communication as designs changed and evolved – as Gantt charts shifted over time.
But where the hell do I store all this stuff? And how do I keep it correlated to the notes I was taking?
Stick with me, folks. This is going to get super nerdy and may take a while to explain. It’s also going to cover some of my favorite topics: a custom-built Mac app, a small server-side script, Keyboard Maestro, the command line, and URL schemes.
Let’s talk about the stuff you need to do and the files, supporting documents, and reference material you need to accomplish those tasks.
Maybe I’m just an ornery old man yelling at the new kids running through my lawn. Maybe I should be content to retrain myself to hit ⌘H instead of ⌘W when I no longer want to see a non-document-based app but want to keep it running.
Maybe Apple has done the research and realized that a decade-plus of relearning computers with iOS had taught the over-60 crowd that fullscreen apps are the be-all-end-all. And Gen-Z, who grew up with touch screens, intuits that as well. Maybe there are diminishing numbers of us in the middle reluctantly dragging overlapping windows around like cave people?
Regardless, there is one specific UX sin that interrupts my workflow and annoys me more than anything else on macOS. I want to call out a few of those offending apps now before offering my dumb solution.
Let’s be honest. I’m an idiot. If it weren’t for technology holding my hand and functioning as a second brain, I wouldn’t be able to make it through this modern world.
That’s why I trust software to remember all the things I would otherwise forget.
And with the number of meetings I’m in now, it really helps if my calendar is front and center.
So, another week, another app. This time it’s a small little open-source calendar for your macOS Desktop I call Calendar Hero. I made it last week after I was late to a meeting because, well, I was vacuuming and not thinking about the day ahead.
I used another Mac app to do this, but it stopped working for me sometime during Catalina in 2019. I missed what it did, so I reimplemented a simple version of it last week.
This is Calendar Hero.
“You either die a programmer, or you live long enough to see yourself build a text editor.”
—Harvey Dent (or someone)
Two weeks ago, I released TextBuddy – a new text editor for macOS. And now I’m finally getting around to sharing why I built it.
Ten months ago I drafted a post about how incredible the Apple ecosystem is when all the pieces fit together. It was a month into the pandemic and I found myself walking through a real-life Apple commercial in the grocery store.
I was a bit stunned when I got back to my car and it sorta hit me just how well the entire end-to-end experience worked. As a lifelong adherent of the positive influence and power that well made software and hardware can have over our lives, I was taken aback.
And so while I was planning on finishing my thank-you post to Apple this weekend, that’s not going to happen.
Instead, let’s talk about receipts.
I don’t mean for this blog post to only be more complaining. It’s just my dumb solution to a Finder bug I’ve been running into for years. And also a great example of how a little bit of automation can go a long way. (And an even better example of how unique the macOS ecosystem is that tools like this can exist – and how scared I am that (despite assurances) we seem to be headed in a direction where powerful and clever apps are not wanted.)
Anyway, something must have broken in Finder around when Apple integrated iCloud Drive into macOS Sierra in 2016. That’s when I noticed that the files on my Desktop would stop appearing on…my Desktop.
An online friend emailed me after reading my previous standing desk post with a few questions about the monitor pictured on my office desk.
My reply kept getting longer and longer (go figure) until I decided I might as well publish it here in case anyone else finds it interesting. Without further ado, here’s another 869 words about ultrawide and multiple monitor setups.