Archive for August 7, 2017

Monday, August 7, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Creating New Snippets

Dr. Drang:

I returned to TextExpander for two reasons. First, I have an iPad and want to do more writing on it. I didn’t realize how much I relied on expansions—even those that don’t run scripts—until I didn’t have them. TextExpander is the only solution that works on both the Mac and iOS.

TypeIt4Me does work on iOS, but its keyboard extension is much less convenient than the TextExpander SDK, which many apps have integrated.

I noticed in the past year that I haven’t been making the sort of throwaway snippets I used to make regularly in TextExpander to help me write reports that require the repeated use of technical phrases or product names. This meant more typing and more editing, because misspelled product names and inconsistent terminology kept creeping into my writing. This isn’t a knock on Keyboard Maestro—it’s a more general tool that just doesn’t have streamlined methods for creating new text substitution macros.

I have been using LaunchBar, and here’s how you can easily create new snippets with it:

iPhone and Android Cameras

Vic Gundotra:

It’s because when Samsung innovates with the underlying hardware (like a better camera) they have to convince Google to allow that innovation to be surfaced to other applications via the appropriate API. That can take YEARS.


Apple doesn’t have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.

Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don’t mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.

Via Kirk McElhearn (and John Gruber):

But this brings up a broader question: is the iPhone camera good enough for most people? Yes, certainly. Will it replace the DSLR? Certainly not. The use cases are very different. I think Gundotra has peers who used DSLRs for family photos, which is something they’re not very good at (well, they are, but they’re overkill). What is more correct is that the iPhone camera has killed the point and shoot camera, the compact, fixed lens camera.


But for those interested in photography, the DSLR with larger sensors, more megapixels, better high-ISO shooting, and interchangeable lenses, will remain popular. They just won’t be any more popular than SLRs were back in the days of film. Those of us who remember those days remember that most people had Instamatics or Polaroid cameras; it was very rare to see someone take family or vacation photos with an SLR.

Most of Gundotra’s remarks are in comment #51 to his Facebook post, but Facebook doesn’t seem to respect it own permalink or even expand the comments when following the link.

Gundotra is impressed with Portrait Mode, and I’ve seen good results from it, but I’ve also seen it really mess up images in ways that are not detectible from the thumbnail. So I definitely recommend using the Keep Normal Photo option. Otherwise you can end up with only the messed up Portrait version of a photo. (It’s too bad that HDR doesn’t work like Portrait in this respect. It’s no longer possible to automatically take both regular and HDR versions.)

Bringing Back Visual Basic IDE to Office for Mac

Erik Schwiebert (tweet):

Many of you have noticed the limited Visual Basic development environment that shipped with Office 2016 for Mac, and have asked for the full environment to make its way back to the Mac. Later this fall we will indeed be releasing an update that includes the full editor, including multiple code windows, breakpoints, watches, the Object Browser, and more!

Previously: Hasta La Vista, Visual Basic.

What’s Wrong with the Touch Bar

Josh Centers:

On a Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro, you have three main (there are others, but they’re even slower) ways to do this:

  • Press Command-B on the keyboard, which lets you keep your hands on the keyboard and eyes on the screen.

  • Click the Bold button in Word’s toolbar, which takes your hands off the keyboard but keeps your eyes on the screen.

  • Tap the Bold button on the Touch Bar, which takes your eyes off the screen and your hands off the keyboard.

In most cases, the Touch Bar is the slowest way to perform an action! It’s a cool-looking racing stripe that slows you down in many cases, and even worse, eliminates useful physical keys that you probably reach for reflexively, like Esc.


If background apps could present Touch Bar icons, automation utilities like Keyboard Maestro could allow users to trigger custom macros from the Touch Bar without requiring a potentially obscure key combination. Was it Command-Shift-Option-M or Control-Shift-Option-M?

The next time I buy a notebook, I’ll likely get a less capable one since that’s the only way to get a full keyboard instead of a Touch Bar.

The most loved part of the Touch Bar seems to be Touch ID, but there’s no reason the two need to be bundled together.