What is this speedtest exactly? And what is brew, you may also be wondering? You may also be wondering why, if you have brew, Dave's command doesn't work…that's because it's actually brew install speedtest_cli…but I'm getting ahead of myself.
speedtest is a command line interface (i.e. Unix app run from Terminal) to the connection speed tests at Speedtest.net—you get the results without the fancy animated graphics. And Brew is "the missing package manager for macOS." In other words, it's an app to help you install (and uninstall) other apps.
Here's how speedtest looks in its default mode—note that I've sped things up greatly for the GIF…
Much nicer to me, though, is the simplified version:
No animated dots, just three lines with the results. As you might expect if you read here regularly, I also wrote a Keyboard Maestro macro (of course I did!) that makes it really easy to run the simple version of the test, and does some editing of the output to simplify the display:
If you'd like to install speedtest (and maybe add the macro)—even if you don't want to install Brew to do so—keep reading…
As my collection of macros has grown, and some of those macros have gotten more complex, I've been using a few of KM's features to help keep my macros organized, and make it easier to debug them while I'm working on them. Some of these are obvious, some maybe not so obvious, so I thought I'd share what I'm doing.
Yes, I posted a non-https image in the 'site is secure' post. Sigh.
So I took Jonathan's comment to heart, and created a Keyboard Maestro macro that ensures I post only relative URLs from now on.
Generally, I don't think such a thing would be worth sharing, as it's just a basic text replacement macro, right?. Mostly right, but in this case, I learned about a Keyboard Maestro feature that may be useful to others. So share I will…
I was working on something with Peter about Moom and its disk usage (it doesn't use much), and I was curious as to just how long Moom had been running on my Mac. I last rebooted my Mac a week ago, but I often quit and relaunch our own apps to run test versions.
Finder has this info, but that requires finding the running app in Finder. I wanted a quicker solution. In Activity Monitor (and ps in Terminal), you can see how much CPU time an activity has taken…
…but that doesn't really help at all with knowing when the app (or process) launched. As long as you're in Activity Monitor, you can get the information by doing the following:
Click once on the app or process of interest.
Press Command-I or click the small 'i' icon in the toolbar.
In the new window that opens, click Sample, then wait.
When the sample is complete, you'll see its output, and included there is the selected item's launch date and time:
My home workspace is a 27" Retina 5K iMac (2560x1440) paired with a vertical 4K display (scaled to view 1440x2560). While I love this setup in general, there's one time it's annoying: When I need to move the cursor between displays, and it's located far away from its destination.
There are many ways to solve this problem, including our own Keymo, which I still use when I want to teleport a drag across displays. But what I really wanted was a fast way to move the cursor to the other display when I switched to a window on the other display—because generally, if I've activated the window, I'm probably going to use the mouse in that window at some point.
Using Keyboard Maestro, it's possible to create a macro to make this happen automatically:
This macro will activate every time you switch applications, and then move the mouse to the center of that newly-frontmost window and highlight its location with a quick circle. Having tested this, however, I can say it's a non-ideal solution: Most of the time when I switch an app, I do not want the cursor to move. I found it more annoying—much more annoying—than useful.
As useless as the above macro is, with one minor change it quickly became one of my most-used macros…
Today in The Mac Observer Melissa Holt wrote about using the TextEdit/ Edit/ Transformations command to change the case of a sentence or paragraph. However, there is no option to perform, "Sentence Case", i.e., capitalize the first letter of the first word, and keep all other words in lower case.
Is there a way in Terminal, or maybe Keyboard Maestro to add this option to Transformations? It seems to me that the given choices have rather limited uses.
In addition to not offering sentence case, the Transformations menu has a few other drawbacks:
Not all apps have a Transformations menu.
Only three very basic transformations (upper, lower, capitalize) are supported.
The transformations are buried in a sub-menu, requiring lots of mouse navigation to reach.
While I don't believe it's possible to modify the Transformations menu, it's pretty easy to use Keyboard Maestro to build a "Sentence Case" transformation…or more usefully, as seen at right, a palette with many more transformations. Unlike the Transformations menu, the Keyboard Maestro solution will work in any app where you can copy and paste text.
While this turned out to not be ideal for the special character palette (no way to pick more than one at a time), the Conflict Palette is ideal for many other tasks.
I use the one at right to search a number of web sites—activate the palette with ⌃⌥L then press a, for instance, type a query, press Return, and my browser loads with search results from my old macosxhints.com site.
I use a couple additional palettes—one for retrieving iTunes' artwork and searching the store, and the other for inserting commonly-used bits of code while writing help files in Coda for the Many Tricks' apps.
Here's how the web search palette looks in use; I love being able to search a specific site from anywhere without first switching to my browser. And because I have Keyboard Maestro syncing its macros, I can do this from any Mac I own.
The advantage of using the Conflict Palette for these web searches is that I need only remember one shortcut, not 11 different ones, and the palette is a nice visual reminder of which service I wanted to search.
I couldn't create more than one character without calling up the palette again.
I had to decide in advance if I wanted HTML entities or the actual characters.
Two palettes (HTML or character) meant two keyboard shortcuts to remember.
Adding characters to the palette was a real pain, because they had to be done twice.
I was out of digits for shortcuts, so I was going to have to change the palette structure.
It was slow: From calling up the palette to identifying which icon I wanted to use to selecting that icon, and then doing it all again for a second character was just really slow.
I set out to fix all of these issues, thinking I could use Keyboard Maestro's Custom HTML Prompt action, as I did for my iTunes song info window. And, in the end, that's what I used for the new-and-improved character palette:
This doesn't have to be used just for Mac special characters, of course. You could make yourself a customized pop-up for emoji, math symbols, whatever…
Read on for the how-to and download, if you'd like to put this to use…
I spend a lot of time in Messages in macOS, and one of its newer features is something called link previews, as seen at the right side of this text block.
While these previews can occasionally be useful, most of the time, they're just annoying: I'm talking with people I know, and we trust the links we send each other, so the preview is superfluous. Plus it makes it nearly impossible to rickroll anyone. But what's really annoying is that they make it impossible to send messages like this:
Oh, have you seen [paste copied URL]http://www.istocknow.com?
Try that, and the URL becomes a preview, and the question mark vanishes. It really interrupts conversational flow. You can prevent this by either writing text on both sides of the pasted URL, or surrounding the URL with angle brackets:
Oh, have you seen <[paste copied URL]http://www.istocknow.com>?
So there's the quick tip: To prevent link previews, surround your pasted links with either text on both sides, or more simply, angle brackets.
A cleaner solution: Use a dot at the front and end of the URL. Messages will make the dots vanish (if the URL is on its own line, otherwise it leaves the leading dot), and yet not preview the message. Thanks to reader Christopher for this tip—using it, URLs pasted on their own line are just clean URLs, no previews, no brackets. I updated my macro, changing the brackets to dots in the relevant steps. I haven't edited the version you see here, though.
But because I often forget to do that, I wanted it to be automatic. Thanks to Keyboard Maestro, I was able to make that happen: When I paste a link in Messages—using the system's standard ⌘V shortcut—it's enclosed in angle brackets. If I paste anything other than a URL, it's pasted as is. If I do want a preview, I can use the actual Paste menu item instead to get a link with preview.
This solution is perfect for my needs, as I always use ⌘V to paste, and I so rarely want to send a link preview that it's OK that it requires a trip to the menu. (If it ever does annoy me, I'll just remap Paste in Messages to ⌃⌘V or somesuch.
At my day job with Many Tricks, we recently updated our time tracking app Time Sink to version two, and an updated web page was part of the project. For the header area, I wanted to create a time-lapse movie showing the Time Sink Activity Report window changing over an extended period of time (90 minutes), but compressed into a short amount of real-world time (about 14 seconds).
Before the how-to, here's how the final project came out:
To create the time-lapse movie, I'd need a series of screenshots recorded at a fixed interval. I wanted to shoot only the content area of the report window, as I didn't need the "chrome" for the movie (it would just distract from the content). So using the built-in screenshot tool wouldn't work—I didn't want to have to crop 500+ images (even by script).
While I'm sure there are many utilities that can do this (and I'll see them shortly in the comments), a brief web search found nothing that was designed to capture areas of the screen at a set interval. Luckily for me, though, Keyboard Maestro has a screenshot action that can record an area of the screen, along with repeat and wait actions I could use to capture a series of stills.