Embracing the unread Instapaper badge

I’ve enabled the unread count badge for Instapaper on my iPhone because I do my best to zero out my “queues”.

My current count is 201 unread items. Slowly, but surely, I whittle away. End of March, perhaps. :)

SuperDuper, I choose YOU!

I never used my Time Machine backups since I started using it for my Mac in 2012 (two MacBook Air laptops ago). Today, I finally chose to wipe it fresh and stick with SuperDuper alone to free up that space on my external hard drive. (In other words, ditching the previous versions of files.) I’ll stick with a daily regimen of using Smart Update from this point forward.

Context: OS X clean install completed

How to set your iPhone’s brightness to -1

Justin Searls published a nifty post with animated GIF images that explain how to enable a low light filter on an iPhone running iOS 8. This is super helpful when reading in a dark room, and I’m stoked I don’t have to jailbreak. The end result: triple–click your home button to toggle the low light filter. Squee!

Rad Lightroom tip: Delete old catalog backups

Scott Kelby posted a great tip on Lightroom Killer Tips a couple of days ago:

Go to your backups folder and delete the ones that are more than a couple of weeks old and free up all that extra space.

Yikes. I’ve had backups since 2012, so I didn’t hesitate to delete all but the last two, and freed up 3.3 GB of hard drive space in the process. I dig it!

Favorite workflows for Alfred 2

The following are a current, alphabetical list of workflows I’ve installed for Alfred 2. Enjoy the rabbit hole! :)

Caffeinate Control by Shawn Patrick Rice: Replaces the Caffeine Mac app.

Caffeinate is a native OS X command line utility that solves the problem of your Mac constantly falling asleep on you. […] Caffeinate was introduced in Mountain Lion (10.8)[…]

Chrome Bookmarks by Marat Dreizin: I remember seeing this workflow, and I’m glad I finally installed it.

Faves by David Ferguson:

Mark a folder/app/file as a favorite and then provide you with quick access to those items by a keyword.

Results from the workflow are actionable (marked as file items), they can be opened it by pressing Enter, browsed in Alfred by pressing Cmd+Enter, or removed from the favorites list by pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Menu Bar Search by Ted Wise: Despite the workflow page on Packal saying it isn’t compatible with Yosemite (10.10), it works fine for me.

Netflix Search by Dorian Karter: “Search, autocomplete and launch Netflix.” Update 2015-06-19: v1.5 doesn’t work with the Netflix website revamp, so I’ve stopped using this workflow.

Non-Secure Empty Trash by Arthur Hammer: With the Empty Trash securely option checked in Finder Preferences, the default Alfred command to empty your trash (“Empty”) means the files will be deleted securely. If you don’t have anything sensitive that requires a secure file deletion, this workflow will save that time.

OS X Toolbox Workflow by Sayz Lim: The “tb” keyword gives you eight options in Yosemite:

  • Relaunch Finder
  • Toggle Desktop
  • Toggle Hidden Files
  • Memory Purge
  • Reset Launch Services
  • Toggle WiFi
  • Reset Launchpad
  • Relaunch Dock

Random Choice by Clinton Strong: Leave indecisiveness to chance. Options include:

  • Get a yes or no response to, “Should I…?”
  • Flip a coin.
  • Choose a random number using a minimum or maximum value.
  • Choose ‘…’ from a comma separated list of values.
  • Roll the dice

Rate iTunes Track by David Klem: “Assign a star rating to the currently playing track in iTunes.” I use Smart Playlists. Most of those have a rule which require songs to have ratings, and a couple of them only play songs that need a rating. For the latter, this workflow speeds up that process. (Related post from March 2006: How I use the Grouping field in iTunes.)

Rdio by David Ferguson: “Control your local Rdio application, search for tracks, artists or albums to play, and also provide you with information about the currently playing track.”

YouTube by Simon Støvring: Search YouTube videos with Alfred 2 and the “yt” keyword. Includes eleven commands, which you (fortunately) don’t need to remember. :)

Honorable mentions

Add to Things by Kim Franken: Add new tasks to your lists in Things. I don’t use this because I prefer the Quick Entry window to add context immediately.

Sometimes, when you’re replying to an email or browsing the web, you might think of something you want to jot down. Things makes it easy to do that before you forget, and without losing focus on what you’re doing. You can even automatically link to a website, email, or file, and capture snippets of text that you need to refer to later.

You can see more details on the support page from Cultured Code, “Creating To-Dos From Other Apps“.

Bluetooth Toggle by Jakob Wells for Yosemite only. For older versions of OS X, you can try another workflow here.

PingPong by Vítor Galvão: Hold the ⌘ (Command) key, look for the word “Pong”, and press the corresponding number to hit the ball. There are three difficulty levels.

OS X clean install completed

I completed my first clean install of OS X Yosemite last Friday. I’ve previously restored Time Machine backups when migrating to a new laptop since OS X Mountain Lion, so this was daunting.

A large amount of my hand–written notes consisted of several lists:

  • My applications folder.
  • Timestamps along with the completed tasks. (Why? I wanted to see the duration for each task.)
  • Extensions for Google Chrome.

It appears that much of app–specific data — which 1) needed to be migrated and 2) didn’t have a sync or import/export feature — is stored in:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/
  • ~/Library/Preferences/

My shenanigans

Adobe Lightroom — I thought copying the Application Support folder for Adobe would suffice, but I got a “Missing Camera Profiles” error. Fortunately, reinstalling Lightroom on top of itself fixed the issue.

Mail.app — I have an IMAP account with my stagnant self–hosted site, yet I still copied the folder. I used TextWrangler to copy the portion of code that appeared to be relevant to my existing IMAP settings from ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData/Accounts.plist (on my SuperDuper backup). Cowboy coding? I don’t know! Next time, I’ll set it up from scratch and let it sync. :)

Lessons and tips

Take more screenshots than you think is necessary. With Cloudup, you can upload a batch of related screenshots into the same stream. Don’t forget your Selective Sync folders for Dropbox.

Check app documentation for a built–in backup and restore feature. I didn’t realize The Clock had a backup and restore feature — despite the visible option in the app preferences. Others:

  • coconutBattery: See File → Import from archive and Export to archive.
  • Divvy
  • FileZilla
  • PopClip
  • Timing: Take a screenshot of your tracking results from the past year or so. Upon running the app, Timing recreated Activity categories I previously deleted.

Aside from my Alfred 2 usage stats were wiped, its sync feature works well. I saved a screenshot of my usage for posterity:

I love SuperDuper for backing up to an external hard drive. I used Time Machine backups first, and probably suggest using separate drives.

HP Printer Drivers v3.0 works with my HP LaserJet 1020 connected to an Apple AirPort Express. I chose the HP LaserJet 1022, 1.6.0 driver.

Erasing your hard drive before the install OS X Utilities: I thought it was processing, despite not showing a progress bar, but later found out that I had to click on one of the drives/partitions in the sidebar.

If you use a Trackpad, you may want to check “Enable dragging” by going to System Preferences → Accessibility → Mouse & Trackpad → Trackpad Options.

Alfred 2: If you prefer using ⌘–Spacebar, you’ll need to go to System Preferences → Spotlight → Search Results , and uncheck “Spotlight search keyboard shortcut”.

Audit your current applications and data regularly. A few reasons:

  • You no longer need some apps.
  • An app (or system tool which can be found in System Preferences, like Perian) were installed while using an older version of OS X, but haven’t been updated for the latest version.

Add any license or registration keys to your password manager, including the date when you received the email, and the email address where it was sent. This will save time from searching for the relevant emails.

Other thoughts/questions

  • How long I should wait before I run Smart Update (Erase then copy) to backup all files from my current setup? I’m thinking I should try and use as much of everything as I can for a week or two.
  • Can I manually delete extremely old Time Machine backups from Finder? For what it’s worth, I haven’t needed to use Time Machine to restore a file/folder.

Time for a clean install

Since updating OS X from Mavericks to Yosemite, I’ve noticed that my laptop will randomly:

  • Not go to sleep when plugged into my Thunderbolt Display; the laptop display and Apple logo will remain illuminated.
  • Restart after a few minutes if a bunch of apps are open and my computer is locked.


I spent about two hours trying several of the suggestions in the support guide, “When your Mac doesn’t sleep or wake“. After the point of trying to reset the SMC and NVRAM, I feel I’ve put off a clean install long enough.

I’ve backed up my SSH keys for work, ran Time Machine and SuperDuper, and gathered the following articles for reference saved in Simplenote (from newest to oldest):

I promise to track my progress carefully, because I’d love to share it with you after I get to the other side.

If you have any relevant suggestions or links regarding this process, please leave a comment. I can use all the help I can get. :)