[0:11] Sunday, March 12th, 2023, and this is show number 931. Well, I'd just like to say happy anniversary, after 40 years to the love of my life, Steve Sheridan.
We missed the live show this weekend, but we're ready for a great show.
Screencastsonline Tutorial: Create Projects With Apple Photos
[0:28] I had so much fun creating my last ScreenCastsOnline tutorial video.
It's all about how to create projects with Apple Photos.
Now I thought I knew a lot about these options because I've been making a physical calendar with Apple Photos Mimeo Photos plugin for years, but as I explored a bit more, I learned how to create photo books with a very different third party plugin called Motif, and that's what I teach in this video.
I can't wait to create a book using what I learned by creating this video tutorial for ScreenCastsOnline members.
Now I'll give you my usual disclaimer, do not start the seven day free trial to watch my tutorial and also watch the back catalog because you will love it and you will want to become a member of ScreenCastsOnline.
Check it out at ScreenCastsOnline.com and of course there's a link in the show notes to my tutorial, at least the teaser video for it, all about creating projects with Apple Photos.
Keyboard Maestro Tips From Bob Cassidy
[1:21] Back in October, I told you about how I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to automate a way to remove the alpha channel from transparent PNGs.
The problem I was trying to solve was that the icons I was using from the noun project for featured images on my blog posts were nearly invisible for people who favor dark mode in their social media apps.
David Shenneman alerted me to the problem and I set about trying to find an easy way to make my PNGs non-transparent by removing the alpha channel.
I could have simply opened the PNGs in preview and unchecked the checkbox next to the word alpha and save the file, but that was far too tedious for me to do when I could spend hours and hours trying to automate the task.
In the article back in October, I explained that I tried a lot of different apps and methods to try to automate the removal of the alpha channel.
[2:09] I got really close using keyboard maestro, but I ran into difficulties trying to figure out how to click the checkbox and remove the alpha channel in preview.
After trying several other solutions, I ended up back in Keyboard Maestro, but I used a shell script that uses the open source library ImageMagic to remove the alpha channel. It was clever and it works flawlessly, but I'm still annoyed that I couldn't figure out how to check that checkbox from Keyboard Maestro. Shortly after I posted about this automation task, a lovely no-silly castaway named Bob Cassidy sent me a beautiful write-up including screenshots on how to solve of that problem all within Keyboard Maestro. I thanked him, but I didn't have time right then to test out what he sent. I created a reminder due the following day using a deep link to his original email so I wouldn't forget to try it out. I let a day go by, and another, and another, and pretty soon I've been ignoring that reminder to myself for four months. The, good news is, I finally broke down and I hit the deep link to bring up Bob's email from My reminder didn't even tell me what the email was about, just that it had something to do with keyboard maestro, and it was from Bob Cassidy.
I read his instructions again, and I finally gave it a try, and it's a very elegant solution to my transparent PNG automation problem.
I'd like to share his entire email with you, because it's so well written and clear.
Remember, the basic problem to be solved was how to check the checkbox next to remove the alpha channel, but using only keyboard maestro.
Here's what Bob wrote.
[3:39] Allison, I'm an avid listener of your podcast and I appreciate your enthusiasm for all things Apple.
After listening to episode 911, I thought I could help out.
So I've attached a Keyboard Maestro macro that I believe does just what you want.
Also, here's a couple of things I've learned about using Keyboard Maestro that helped me with this.
He said, I've given up on click at found image after many unsuccessful attempts at using it, but I've always managed to find a more reliable solution.
Since most of my macros run on a server where the screen size and resolution never change and there are macros to set window size, I can usually rely on things I need to click to always be in the same spot, so I can use the move or click mouse action to click at a specific point in a window.
That would be my last choice, however, as it relies on things always being in the exact same spot.
In the macro that I shared with you, I used the press button action to uncheck alpha and to click on the Save button.
You can even check to see if alpha is checked and click it only if it's checked.
[4:40] In the screenshot I included for the conditional action, checking to see if the button is on shows currently false. But if I make the preview export PNG window active while still being able to see keyboard bistro, it will show currently true. And I can see it change by clicking it on and off. That's a great way to do troubleshooting. Another bit more complicated way to do this is to turn on use keyboard navigation to move focus between controls. That's located in system preferences, keyboard, shortcuts, app shortcuts. This lets you tab to most elements on the screen including the checkbox and typing space unchecks it. In the case of the export PNG dialog box, it's nine tabs to get to that dialog box. To create this automation in keyboard maestro, add the repeat action, set it to execute the action nine times, throw in a short pause, and then use a type keystroke action and have it simulate the space bar.
[5:37] I think the ideal way to trigger this macro would be by right clicking on the file and choosing from the contextual menu.
In the back of my mind, I thought the keyboard maestro had that function, but after investigation I don't see a way to do it.
If anyone knows how to do that, I would appreciate knowing how.
By the way, I always keep a cancel macro action at the end of all macros so I can easily copy and paste it into other places in the macro for troubleshooting.
Lastly, notice my liberal use of pauses, which I've found greatly reduces errors.
Hope this helps, Bob Cassidy, Educational Technology Geek.
[6:13] Well, I love this in so many ways, because I learned several things from Bob's explanation, and I'd like to go through what I learned.
[6:21] Number one, there's a keyboard maestro action to press a button that you can call by name.
I suppose the name could be something different than the visual label on the button, but it's a good starting point.
One of the reasons I like knowing VoiceOver is that I can turn it on in an app and if, the app is well designed, VoiceOver will say out loud the name the developer gave it, and that's the name you need to know.
In this case, of course, the alpha channel button just said alpha and the name of the button was alpha. Number two, even if something doesn't look like a button, it might be a button.
The word alpha doesn't look clickable in the preview interface, but it actually is.
I guess if you're hoping to access some text as a button, try clicking on the words to see if anything happens.
I guess we've learned that checkboxes are buttons too.
Number three, I learned that turning on keyboard navigation to move focus between controls lets you force your way through an app's interface in order to get to what you need.
I also learned that turning on keyboard navigation to move focus between controls is really, really annoying.
I'm used to using the keyboard to quickly navigate between interface elements and having it stop on every single field and button really slowed me down.
It's good to know the option could help though.
I wonder if you could run a keyboard maestro macro that turned that on and then did the function and did the tabs to get to it and then you could have it turn off within keyboard maestro. That would be fun.
[7:47] Number four, I learned that when you take four months to test something someone sends you, the operating system might change so much that things aren't where they said they'd be.
Bob described where to find the keyboard navigation to move focus between controls as an option in system preferences, but it actually moved up a level in system settings if you're using Mac OS Ventura.
So now it's in system settings, keyboard, and then there's a toggle at that level for keyboard navigation.
Number five, I learned that you can run macros from the keyboard maestro menu bar icon.
I think they call this the status menu.
I did not know you could do that.
Number six, I learned that it's valuable to add cancel this macro action at the bottom of every macro that you can slide up and down in the workflow to have it stop there for troubleshooting.
So, overall, I want to say thank you so much for all of this new knowledge, Bob.
For those interested, Bob included a copy of his Keyboard Maestro macro for you to download if you like.
One of the things I like about Keyboard Maestro is that imported macros are always disabled by default.
This means you can look at Bob's macro, understand what it does before letting it loose on your machine.
Thank you again, Bob. It was really fun learning from you.
All The Gear We Use For The Remote Live Show
[8:58] One of the great joys of doing the NoCillaCast for Steve and me is the live show on Sunday nights.
Before I started producing the show in front of a live audience, it was just me, my script, and a microphone. It was okay, but it didn't feel like I was talking to other people. I was talking to a microphone. The live show has evolved over the years, and a big enhancement was when Steve became the producer. This took a lot of load off of me and off of my Mac so that I could concentrate on actually performing the show. In the last few years we figured out how to host the live show even when we're out of town and I thought it might be fun to pull back the curtain a bit and talk about the tech we use to pull that off. It would probably help if I described the tools at the home office first so you appreciate the shenanigans involved in doing it remotely.
[9:44] At home I used my 14-inch MacBook Pro hooked up to the Pro Display XDR which is a 32-inch, you ever take, display.
The laptop is up on a 12 South stand, so it's available as a secondary display, and I use a Magic Keyboard and trackpad to control the Mac.
I'm on wired ethernet through my CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt dock with WiFi turned off.
It turns out video is much more stable over wired ethernet no matter how good your WiFi is.
I monitor my audio and listen to Steve using a pair of open back over the ear headphones from Audio-Technica, the ATH-R70X.
They're super comfortable to wear for hours and hours, and they have pretty good sound.
I use a Hile PR40 XLR microphone. We spent a grip on the Hile mic years ago, but it's been a workhorse for well over a decade, so I think the investment has been worth it.
I connect this XLR mic to my Mac using the Elgato Wave XLR to USB interface.
Speaking of Elgato, I have an Elgato Stream Deck XL to give me quick access to a lot of functions for the live show.
To be honest, I do enough work away from my desk that I still tend to use keystrokes for a lot of functions so I don't necessarily miss the stream deck when I'm on the road.
[10:58] For video, I used the Logitech 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam that was designed for the Pro Display XDR.
It's just like the Brio 4K camera, but instead of a clip to the display, it has a magnet that pairs up with the center of the top of the XDR.
That's actually a little bit of a disadvantage because you can't take it on the road and put it on a tripod or clip it to a different kind of monitor. Steve has a Mac Studio with a 27-inch 5K studio display and a 27 inch 5K LG display.
He uses a Hile PR20 microphone. We only spent half a grip on his and he also uses an Elgato Wave XLR as his USB interface.
He's on wired ethernet as well, but the Mac Studio and Studio display have so many darn ports, he doesn't even need a dock to do that.
He has three options for broadcasting video. His studio display has a built-in camera, but as I'm sure you've heard, it's not very good.
His LG 5K Ultra Fine display actually has a much better camera, even though it's a very old monitor now.
But it turns out he uses the tried and true Logitech C920 because it's the best of the three cameras.
Now lighting is very important when you're broadcasting video.
At home, I have a standing LED light panel called the Elgato Keylight Air.
This $129 light panel stands pretty high up above my displays and shines a nice even light on the right side of my face.
I also added the Logitech Lightra Glow to add some additional lighting a little bit more to the left.
[12:26] The Logitech Lightra Glow is a very light USB light panel that sits on top of my display.
Steve uses one as well to help him have a consistent light source.
[12:36] We've gone through a lot of different software tools in order to broadcast video of me, video of Steve, and video of my recording software or the chat room to the live audience over the years. Right now we've settled on a web app called StreamYard to do the job. It doesn't have all the features Steve would like, but it has one redeeming quality. It is not fiddly. I voted for that one.
[12:57] Steve fires up StreamYard, he gets a link from the session, and sends it to me. And then I join his session. He has to let me into the live video and then I set one application to be shared.
I could choose to share my entire screen, but that would be kind of chaotic, so I just share the video of my digital audio workstation software, Hindenburg. If Steve wants to show the live chat room, he shares it from his own Mac. Steve in turn uses a link from StreamYard to pipe the video stream to YouTube, and then the video stream from YouTube along with the chat client are both routed to podfeed.com slash live. Currently we run the live chat through Discord and the two of us join a voice channel so the audience can hear us through Discord if they don't want to listen in the video. The video is delayed by about 20 to 30 seconds from our audio so if people want to jump right in on things we've just said they tend to listen on Discord. Now let's switch gears, and talk about how we do all of this on the road. I'll start with microphones.
Technically I could unplug my big-girl mic and put it in the giant protective case it came in and take it with me.
Unfortunately, it's actually really hard to unplug and wrangle loose from the vibration isolation mount in its boom arm.
Steve also doesn't wrestle his big boy mic out of his boom arm either.
[14:11] Instead, I bought a couple of Shure SM58s from B&H Photo that are very sturdy and designed to be thrown into a travel case without worries.
They're not as good sounding as our hiles of course, but they get the job done.
[14:23] Now I needed a stand for the microphones and I went with the recommendation for a collapsible tripods type stand recommended by Guy Searle. It's the Hamilton New Era Tabletop Mic Stand.
Now I'm not in love with this stand. The problem is that the mechanism that allows it to collapse for easy packing also creates tripod legs that are very wide when the microphone is low enough for my short torso. It's perfect for Guy because he's 6'5 inches tall or possibly even taller.
For me though, these legs spread out are very difficult to work around when you're using a laptop in a setting away from home. Now I put a photo in the show notes of the entire live show setup and maybe it would help you try to figure out how you would possibly type on the laptop's keyboard with the microphone legs completely in the way in front of the the laptop. It's really really hard. Now I was looking for a link to the New Era mic stand on Amazon. When I did that, I found several alternatives that are much shorter when folded up, but more importantly they have much shorter legs when they're spread out.
They have little rubber feet to keep them from sliding around.
I bought a pair of them from a company called Mic Top for the grand sum for two of $25 on Amazon.
I got them and I set them up and they look like they're going to be a lot easier to work with when we're on the road the next time.
[15:41] Now like our microphones, we could bring our Elgato Wave XLR mic interfaces, but it turns Turns out we have spare interfaces so they're easier to bring.
We kind of keep them in our go-bags if you will.
We keep our previous Shure MVI USB interfaces packed away with our mics.
The Shure MVI is still for sale for $100 from Shure and they worked very well for us for many years as our primary interfaces so they make for good road gear.
The only downside is the Shure MVI requires a micro USB cable, but that's always in our bag so we don't forget such a specialized cable.
On the road, I don't carry my giant over-the-ear Audio-Technica headphones, and instead I carry a pair of Bose Triport TP1A around-ear headphones. I bought these in 2005, so they were one of the very first purchases I made for podcasting.
After about 10 or 12 years of constant use, the earcups started falling apart.
I was really bummed because I loved those headphones. Steve went on a hunt for replacement earcups and he actually found some and made the headphones as good as new.
They're great for travel because they're much smaller to pack.
[16:49] When we did the live show from Lindsay's house in early February, I discovered that the earcups were falling apart again.
Now here's the really amazing part.
I remembered that when Steve bought the replacement earcups ages ago, they actually shipped us two pairs of replacement earcups.
But here's where it's really crazy. I remembered where I put the second pair.
I replaced the cups, and again, their soft and supple and new life was breathed into these 18 year old headphones.
And when you're on the road, lighting is often a problem, even worse than at home.
We've tried using house lamps that are too yellow and hard to put in the right place, and overhead lighting that makes you look ghoulish.
One of the reasons we bought the Logitech Lightra Glow light panels I told you about is that they're super light and easy to pack in our go bags, and they can easily rest on on top of a laptop display because they're so light.
This little device has vastly improved our lighting when we're on the road.
Better lighting means smoother, less smeary video.
[17:50] I use my 14-inch MacBook Pro for everything at home and on the road, and Steve has a 14-inch as well for when he's traveling. However, it's nearly impossible to do the live show on that tiny little laptop screen.
Both of us need many windows open at once.
Lindsay has a nice standing monitor in the room where Steve works, and I bring along my USB-C display.
It was a real joy to do the live show the last time we went to Lindsay's using my new KYY 4K USB-C display that I told you about just recently.
Now in order to make sure I remembered everything I set up for the live show, I did a reenactment on my dining room table in order to take the photo that I told you about that's in the show notes.
In my reenactment, I tried to rearrange Hindenburg for the recording of the show, Discord for reading the live audience chatter, a Finder window to drag in audio files to Hindenburg, Mars Edit with multiple windows for the blog posts I'd be reading, Microsoft Edge with StreamYard showing the video of Steve and me.
That's all I had to have on screen. Even having that external display with my 14-inch MacBook Pro was not enough screen real estate.
I have to see many of those windows at the same time, and they were overlapping in a way that made them hard to see what I was doing.
It was during my test setup that I got the idea to see if I could use Parallels Toolbox's screen resolution tool to push the limits of what the KYY display could do.
[19:12] When I described the display in my review, I told you the native resolution was 1920x1080 using 4 pixels per point.
With Parallels Toolbox, I wasn't able to push it to its native resolution of 3840x2160, but I did get it to go to 3360x1890 Retina.
While the text was pretty teeny at that resolution, I could actually still read it with my post cataract surgery lenses.
[19:38] That's a testament not just to my eye surgeon, but also to the quality of the display panel.
I was able to get a lot more on screen.
I might not run it quite this high next time we're away from the house for a live show, but I'll definitely be driving it higher than 1920x1080.
Now there were a lot of retina options available in Parallels Toolbox to drive the KYY display, so I'm sure I'll find a good balance of screen real estate and readability.
[20:03] I mentioned that Steve has a Logitech C920, and I still have my old one from before I got the new display, and we used to drag these along when we'd go on the road.
But you know what? When we got the M1 MacBook Pros, we tested their internal cameras against the Logitech C920, and the internal cameras looked pretty good and maybe even a little better than the Logitech C920.
That was a nice surprise, and it meant we didn't have to lug along that extra gear and deal with plugging in a camera.
[20:31] The last time we did the live show from Lindsay's house, I decided to try the new continuity camera capability built into macOS Ventura and iOS 16.
This allowed me to use my iPhone 14 Pro as my video camera and it was a marked improvement over the internal camera.
Now Pat Dangler made me a little adapter with her 3D printer that allowed me to mount the phone to the top of my laptop display with MagSafe.
The magnets worked, the adapter worked, and the video looked fantastic.
Only one problem. The display isn't strong enough to hold up the phone at a good angle for the video along with my Logitech Leitra Glow. It was just too much for it. It kept flopping over. So I ended up shoving the MacBook Pro farther away from me than I wanted just so that the laptop's lid was propped up against the wall. This let me see it at a better angle and allowed the camera view to be at the correct angle. Now I'm thinking that the next time we travel I should towed along my keyboard and trackpad. If I had that with me then I could put the MacBook Pro is the secondary display and the KYY4K display is my primary display.
I could then hang the phone and the Logitech light on the external USB-C display. Looks like I'm gonna have to ask Pat to make me another adapter to accommodate the slightly thicker external display.
I mentioned that at home we're both on wired ethernet which makes for a much more stable video stream.
This gets a bit tricky at Lindsay's house, but we do have a solution.
[21:58] Lindsay has an Eero wireless mesh router system. We're miles away from the gateway router in her house, so we can't be directly plugged into ethernet.
But here's the funny thing.
If you hardwire to one of the satellite mesh routers, somehow it tricks the video signal into being more stable even though the satellite talks to the gateway over wifi.
I'm sure Dave Hamilton could explain why and he'd use words like backhaul, but I'm just glad that it works.
Now the closest Eero to the two rooms where we record is around the corner and down the hall in the dining room.
[22:29] There's a device that has to stay plugged into one of the Ethernet jacks on it in order to run the controller for their solar panels to be available over the web.
The Eero gateways have two Ethernet ports, so you would think that Steve and I could each plug a long ethernet cable into that earo and drag it down the hall to the rooms that we're in.
But we can't do that because they have a device plugged into one of the ports that has to stay plugged in.
I think it's the device that allows their solar panels to be visible in apps and on the internet.
So anyway, we have a solution to that though, because we've just got that one ethernet jack to work with.
We bring along a four port gigabit ethernet switch that Pat Dangler gave me years ago when she got a big girl eight port switch.
We plug the switch into the Eero with a very long cable, and then we have two medium length ethernet cables that go to the two different rooms we sit in.
This means miles of cables dragging all over the place, which is super great when you get a toddler involved.
[23:29] I had an idea that would help out with this mess. I bought a new Eero Pro 6E for my house, and I gave Lindsay one of my original Eero Pros to add to her network.
We're gonna put it in the guest room where Steve records, and then he can run a very short ethernet cable to it from there.
Then we'll only need one medium length cable to go from the guest room to Forbes' room where I record. This will mean only one cable going between the two rooms, and we won't have to drag along the ethernet switch that Pat so generously gave to me.
Now, it seems extravagant to buy a new Eero just for the live show, but it does solve another problem. Lindsey's house is a very long L shape, and while they have an Eero in their bedroom at one end of the L, the signal isn't great to the Eero in the dining room which is the midpoint to the other end of the L. By giving her another Eero in the guest room, I'm hoping they'll get better coverage in their bedroom. Now you're also probably wondering why I need an Eero Pro 6e if I have regular Eero Pros in the rest of my house. It's future-proofing, baby! I figure someday I'll upgrade the mesh system at my house and I might as well buy the best I can today to go with that future system.
[24:37] Now, I'd be remiss if I left this story without noting that it does take quite a few dongles to make this setup work.
As I mentioned, the Shure MVI is from an era when micro-USB was the bee's knees, so I have a micro-USB to USB-A cable with a USB-A to USB-C dongle to connect it to my Mac.
Now luckily, Apple hasn't forced an ethernet connector onto my Macs yet, so I have an ethernet to USB-C dongle to give my Mac that wired connectivity goodness.
By this time I've run out of USB-C ports with the external display, the mic interface, ethernet, and the Logitech Lite.
Technically, I could run the Logitech Lite off a battery or a power plug nearby, and I could use HDMI for the display, but instead I use the Satechi 4-port USB-C hub to make sure I have maximum flexibility.
I know people don't like dongle town, but I'd rather be able to build anything I want with my dongles than have specialized ports that go unused.
The bottom line is it takes a lot of gear and ingenuity to get the live show to work when we're on the road.
It's a testament to how much Steve and I enjoy doing the live show and have such fun with the audience that we are willing to do this much work to make it go.
It truly is a highlight of our week to visit with our digital family every Sunday night at 5pm Pacific time at podfeed.com slash live.
If you're interested in any of the products I've described, this particular blog post is positively littered with links to all of the equipment.
Support The Show
[26:07] If you enjoy the content you get through all of the podfeed podcasts, please consider showing the value you feel you get from those shows by becoming a patron.
Whether you listen only to the nocilla cast, or if you listen to Chit Chat Across the Pond and learn from programming by stealth as well, becoming a patron goes a long way to helping me keep all of these shows going.
If you become a patron, you get charged an amount per nocilla cast episode only and it's an amount that you choose. Head on over to podfee.com slash patreon to learn more.
A New Take On Web Browsers With Arc From The Browser Company – By Tom From Ontario
[26:38] Hello, Allison and fellow Castaways. It's Tom from Ontario. I have to admit that this review will break the prime directive of not starting with a problem to be solved. However, I found after installing the product that it did actually solve a problem. I had not expected it to. More on that later. The product is a new web browser called Arc, that's A-R-C, which has been produced by a company called, not surprisingly, the Browser Company. I have been a faithful Firefox user for many years and use Safari for some websites just because it's there. My favorite feature in Firefox is the extension tree style tabs. This puts all my tabs down the left side of the screen rather than taking up valuable horizontal space.
[27:31] I can't remember where I first heard about Arc, but I signed up to be part of the rollout, and after a few weeks I received an email stating that my turn had come and I could download the beta.
I only installed it to see something new and shiny, fully expecting to turn back to my traditional browsers after a short test drive on my MacBook Pro.
However, within two days I had abandoned Firefox and Safari and installed Arc on my iMac as as well.
Arc is based on Chromium and this is the first time I have used a Chrome browser.
[28:09] This week's update to the beta brought it to version 0.91, so I expect it is getting close to being ready to launch.
[28:17] Arc is a total reinvention of the browser. It is very fast. Most of the time in Arc you are working with a single screen with no Chrome to it at all. No menu bar, no task bar, no bookmark bar, no search bar. The view pane takes up the entire window. There is also a sidebar on the left which one can hide or keep open depending on one's preferences. The width of the sidebar is adjustable.
[28:46] Typing command T opens a pop-up search bar which not only allows access to searches and URLs, but also to menu commands for Arc. When you go to a web page, Arc will set a tab for it in the sidebar.
When you are done with that page, you can close the tab or type command T to go to a new URL or do a new search. If you would like to maintain one of your open tabs as a permanent tab, think of it as a bookmark, then drag the tab into the upper section of the sidebar.
At that point it becomes pinned. I'm sure we all leave tabs open in case we might want to go back to them in the immediate future, but then we never go back to close them. In Arc, any tabs which are not pinned will be closed at archived automatically after a period of not being used. This period is user-defined from one of four options ranging from 12 hours to 30 days. This nice feature keeps our tabs both useful and uncluttered.
[29:52] As you start to build up pin tabs, the sidebar can get crowded, for which there are two solutions.
One is folders, in which you can group your pin tabs within the sidebar, and the other is additional sidebars, which they call spaces. Each of these spaces can hold folders and pin tabs. In my setup, I have a space for my newsfeed, a space for regular reference sites, such as Weather and Financial, and a space for photography sites.
It is very easy to set up spaces and to move tabs between folders and spaces.
It is also easy to swipe through the spaces to get to the folder and tab you want.
You can set the background color for each space with an infinite number of colors, so it is easy to quickly scroll through and spot the one you want.
[30:43] When you click on a URL in an email or other application, Arc will open up a new page in a window it calls LittleArc.
You can just close the window after viewing the content or add that page as a tab to an existing space or folder.
[31:01] Arc supports syncing your spaces, folders and tabs via iCloud.
It has support for incognito windows, dark mode split screens, and there seems to be an endless supply of extensions from the Chrome Store.
Arc strives to be your single link to the internet. Its library lists all the stuff saved through Arc such as media and downloads.
One feature I have not used but looks very cool is their easel.
It is a whiteboard to which you can paste in screenshots or text, annotate things, and share with other Arc users.
There are myriad options which can be selected in the settings panels, but I tend to just delve into those enough so that the browser meets my needs.
I will likely come across new options and features as I use this product, but in the interest of time I won't list other options and features I have not tried yet.
The developers are quite concerned about privacy, and UBlock Origin extension comes preloaded into the beta.
One cool feature is a button, or the shortcut Shift-Command-C, which strips the tracking information from a URL before putting it as a link into the clipboard for pasting to another app.
[32:29] The one problem which Arc seems to have solved for me is one password use.
I have always considered OnePassword a necessary evil, which fought me every step of the way.
This is especially true in Safari.
I installed the OnePassword extension in Arc, and it works just like it should.
Amazing! I think that is probably the reason I so quickly abandoned the other products, but I also think that I would have switched to Arc at some point, regardless.
For now, the development team is just working on the Mac version.
If they can figure out a business model, they will likely venture into iOS and Windows, but only time will tell.
[33:09] Arc will run on all Mac OS versions after Big Sur. The current version,.91, will run on Big Sur, but future updates will not.
I am still getting used to not having bookmarks, but the space's folders and tabs are actually faster and more intuitive.
I love the minimalistic approach to the user interface.
If you decide to switch, Arc has an option to import your bookmarks from another browser.
[33:38] I would recommend giving it a try. The company's website is thebrowser.company, but to sign up for the waiting list for Arc, go to arc.net. That's A-R-C dot net.
Thanks a lot. Have a good day. This was terrific, Tom. I really am intrigued by the Arc browser. I've been using it ever since I got your review, and I've kind of been using it on and off because there's an extension that that I'm really addicted to on Safari, so I kind of keep going back there.
But I love the simplicity of the Arc browser and some of the things that, it just does things so differently than any other browser.
So I encourage anybody who wants to give it a try by going to the browser company, sorry, the browser.company, to abandon what you think the browser should look like and what it should do, and just kind of go with it and flow with it and learn from the different tips that you'll get from the company.
Because it's very, very different and I love the innovation of the Arc browser. Thanks again, Tom.
I hope you do more reviews. This was fantastic.
Especially starting by saying that you broke the prime directive.
I think that was fantastic.
Version Control With Git For Your Keyboard Maestro Macros
[34:44] I've taught quite a bit lately about learning to automate things on the Mac using the fabulous tool Keyboard Maestro.
Keyboard Maestro is essentially like a little programming language with a graphical user interface, but it's missing an essential part of any document creation tool.
There's no way to save versions of what you create.
If you change something in one of your macros, there's no way to get it back to a known good version.
If you've got a simple little macro you're working on, say with three steps, and you try to add a fourth step and it falls over in a heap, it's pretty easy to roll back the change by just removing that fourth step.
Heck, you could even do an undo for that.
But what if you're working on a more complex macro with say 20 or 30 separate steps and it's almost working, but you tweak it in a couple of different places, maybe over the course of a couple of days or weeks, and it breaks.
How do you figure out how to get back to that known almost good condition.
[35:37] Mike Price worked out a really nifty macro for me that streamlines the addition of chapter marks into my recording software Hindenburg. If you like the chapter marks in the NocillaCast, you should thank Mike for them every time you use them. Anyway, something got fiddly with the macro, and I started poking at it and changing things. For a while it got better, but then whatever I did completely broke the macro. I had no way to get back to that known good state. I had to ask Mike to give me the original one again and now I have to try to figure out how to get it back into the configuration that did work. Since Keyboard Maestro doesn't have its own built-in version control, I went on a hunt for a way to do this. In the Programming by Stealth podcast, Bart taught a 20-part mini-series within the Programming by Stealth series all about version control and specifically the tool Git to do version control. It's pretty nerdy, but you know the more I use it, that the more I've really grown to enjoy the safety net that it creates when I program.
I mean, not that I would ever break my own code, of course.
I might break Mike's, but not mine. Anyway, with Git, when you wanna save a version of a file, you do what's called a commit.
When you commit, you also add a commit message. This commit message is really important because it tells future you something about that version of the file, like what did you change?
That's the most important thing. Or I sometimes write in, this one works.
Anyway, these commit messages are essential to figure out which version you might want to roll back to.
[37:05] All of these committed versions of the same file live on your computer, but you can also push them to another machine on your network for safekeeping.
Or you could push them up to a repository on the web, such as GitHub or Bitbucket.
All of this is built into the Git system. If you mess up your code, or actually any kind of document you choose to put into Git, you can always revert back to a previous version by looking at those commit messages you've carefully crafted.
When I decided I really needed a way to do version control on my Keyboard Maestro macros, my first thought was to do it in Git.
I had no idea how hard this would be. The good news for you is this is not going to be one of my 20 minute dissertations on everything I tried to do and how it failed and how I finally triumphed and figured it out.
[37:54] Nope. In this case, I googled for Keyboard Maestro and the word Git and I discovered someone else had solved it already.
I'm really glad I found the solution because I never would have known how to do what this somebody did.
The reason this problem is a sticky wicket is that Keyboard Maestro doesn't store each macro you create in its own file in your desktop.
Everything in Keyboard Maestro is in one giant file in the file system.
In Keyboard Maestro, you save macros in groups and you can have them work only in specific applications.
So that makes this one file that you have of Keyboard Maestro macros even more complex.
[38:29] The hero of this story is a lovely gentleman named Dan Thomas.
He solved this problem and interestingly, he used Keyboard Maestro itself to solve it.
He created two macros. They're called Macro Repository Updater and Macro Repository Importer.
He released both of these macros on GitHub and made them open source under his own very generous license.
This means you can download his macros, open them up in your own copy of Keyboard Maestro and use them.
[38:58] The first macro, macro repository updater, saves all of your groups and macros within them to individual source files. This solves the main problem of all of the macros being mashed into one file and it also preserves the groups. It takes a while the first time you run it because it has to disentangle all of those files and sort them into separate folders.
[39:21] After the first time you run the macro repository updater macro into a folder, You can then initialize the folder as what's called a git repository and commit all of the files for the first time.
This action gives you that precious save state as of when you first ran Dan's macro.
The repository updater macro creates a folder structure that starts with a folder called data.
Inside data are now folders that start with your group names and they have a long UUID appended to the end of each folder's name. Inside each of these folders are your macros and they also have a very long UUID appended to the end of their names.
It's a little disconcerting, but you can always tell which macro is which because the beginning of it is the name that you gave it. So far, so good. We've got a Git repo filled with the current state of our macros. Now let's say we go to work on Mike Price's Hindenburg Macro.
We change a few things and it seems to be working. We can now run the macro repository updater, and it runs much more quickly this time because just that one macro gets exported to the Git repo.
We can then run the Git commands to commit that one macro and most importantly, add a message for future us telling us what we changed.
[40:34] Now let's say we break Mike's macro and we wanna go back to a known good version.
This is when the second macro Dan Thomas wrote comes into play.
The second one is called macro repository importer and it does what you suspect.
It lets you restore previous versions of your group or macro source files into keyboard maestro, but just the ones that you've changed.
I haven't tested that part of the process yet, but I really should when I'm calm and I haven't actually just broken something.
Now you can use Dan's macros to keep version control macros on your computer, or you can then also push the macros to GitHub or Bitbucket, or even say another machine on your local network to make sure you have a safe second copy.
I'm pushing my macros up to GitHub And it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know that all of these versions of the files are protected. So let's review the process to follow to keep versions of your macros.
Number one, change, create, delete a macro and keyboard maestro.
Number two, run macro repository updater. Number three, either from the command line or from a GUI Git tool, stage and commit the changes to that macro and push to GitHub or whatever other repo you need if you desire.
[41:47] The hard part is to remember to keep running Dan's macro and committing the changes right when you make them, I'm sure I'll remember on the trickier macros, but I'll make you a dollar bet that I get too lazy to do it on the smaller ones, Dan's macros are really well documented in his github repository So I'm actually not going to give you any more detail on how to do it and how it works, If you use keyboard maestro, and if you know git or you want to learn git I highly recommend you check out his repo and follow his instructions over on github, Of course, there's a link in the show notes.
I'm really happy that Dan figured this out, and I'm really happy that he gave it back to the community, and I'm really, really glad that Bart taught us how to use Git in programming by stealth.
Of everything that he's taught us, I think the mini-series on Git is the part that people write to us the most about, saying they appreciate what they've learned.
All right, now I gotta go back and figure out how to get Mike's Hindenburg macro working again.
[42:43] Well, it looks like that's gonna wind us up for this week. Did you know you can email me at allison at podfeed.com anytime you like?
If you have a question or a suggestion, just send it on over.
You can follow me on mastodon at podfeed at chaos.social.
Of course, there's a link in the show notes.
Remember, everything good starts with podfeed.com. If you want to join in the fun of the conversation, you can go to our Slack community at podfeed.com slash Slack, where you can talk to me and all of the other lovely Nocilla Castaways.
You can support the show at podfeed.com slash Patreon, or if you want to do a one-time donation, You can do it at podfee.com slash paypal.
And if you want to join in the fun of the live show, starting again next week, head on over to podfee.com slash live on Sunday nights at 5pm pacific time and join the friendly and enthusiastic no-cilla castaways.