2021, Allison Sheridan
NosillaCast Apple Podcast

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[0:00] Music.

[0:13] And this is show number 957. Well, scheduling of the NoSilicast, has become a full-time job for me, but I think with the help of the NoSilicastWays, I'm gonna be able to take all of my mini holidays without disruption of our 18-year streak of uninterrupted shows.
This week, I actually created all of the content by myself. I was very proud of myself, and that was an interesting challenge because I've got a video due to dawn for ScreenCastsOnline in a couple of weeks as well.
Now, I'm not complaining. I love doing the videos and I love writing for the show, but when they land on top of each other with holidays, it gets a little bit more challenging.

Want to Answer My Form?

[0:49] Now, the video I'm doing for ScreenCastsOnline is about Google Forms, which I just finished writing and talking to you about.
Now, that's gonna make it a lot easier for me to do the video because I've just studied the tool and I have a good outline ready to adapt for the video script, and I'm actually partway through doing it.

[1:05] Now, there's one thing you might wanna help out with for this video.
I've created what I'm calling a fun form with some dopey questions designed to illustrate the way results are shown based on the format the responses were restricted to.
So by that I mean like you remember how check boxes let you answer all that apply, but multiple choice, a dropdown only give you one choice?
Well, I'm gonna show what the results look like as a result of the questions being formatted in that way.
So the way you can help, if you choose, is to fill the form out between now and September 18th.

[1:39] I'll be finishing the video using the results survey shortly after that. It's seven very short and very silly questions. I put a link in the show notes to the Google form and I really thank you for helping out. Mastodon gave me a lot of responses already but I figure the more the merrier. I mentioned last week that during the Apple Wunderlust or is it Wanderlust announcement, Steve and I will be on a plane to Houston to meet our new grandson Teddy. We may shell out the exorbitant fee to get internet on the plane But in any case, whether we are there or not, the chat room will be open to all who come to discuss in text form what you're hearing about the new hotness from Apple. Simply go to slash chat to join the discord and have fun with or without us. I also want to give you an update about the live show. Even though we're going to Houston this coming week, we will be back for the show on Sunday, September 17th. It's probably going to be a short show though because I'm going to be playing maybe two segments if the math works out the way I think it is. I've done it. One is pre-recorded and then I'll be back in time to record security bits with Bart, so that's probably going to be most of the show.

[2:43] Now, the following week, September 24th, Steve and I are going to be going to my nephew's wedding in the Finger Lakes in New York, so there will definitely be no live show on the 24th I'm not sure what day I'm going to produce the show, but there's a good chance it won't come out until Tuesday the 26th because I got these two trips back to back. I know that's two days late, but I've been banking credit by getting shows out early, so I hope you'll forgive me for that. I've got some great content lined up to take care of these trips, but I've got more planned and coming up a little bit later so I could still use some more from the Nocilla Castaways for one of those future shows. All right, that should take care of business. Let's get into this week's show already.

Tiny Tip — Do Not Disturb is Right at Your Fingertips

[3:23] Music.

[3:32] Back in 2021, Apple introduced a new feature called Focus Modes.
I'm sure you've heard about them.
Basically, it's Do Not Disturb on steroids.
Now, I know it's really capable and it lets you do all kinds of fancy tailoring of who can disturb you under which modes so you can focus better on the task at hand, but I don't ever use any of these tools. I know people love them and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with them, I just have never found a way that they worked for me. And I don't mind a feature being introduced that I don't use, but I'm annoyed when a new feature makes things harder or increases the number of steps to do things. In the old days, we could click on the little crescent moon icon in the menu bar to toggle Do Not Disturb on and off. But, now with fancy focus modes, it's a lot more steps to simply tell macOS to leave me be.
I have to select the control center icon, follow the dropdown to the focus section, which then opens another panel of options. And only once I'm in focus, can I finally select do not disturb.

[4:28] I did some digging and in system settings control center, you can change focus from show when active to show always in menu bar, or I should say to always show in menu bar.
That's a little bit better, but at least cause at least I can get to the menu where I want to pick do not disturb, but it's still an extra couple of steps.
But this week, I discovered something amazing, something delightful, something hiding in plain sight. On current Apple keyboards, like the one built into my MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, which are both Apple Silicon, and the Magic Keyboard, did you know there's a key dedicated to Do Not Disturb? It's right there, on the F6 key. It even has a little crescent moon on it.

[5:08] Now, if you're smugly thinking to yourself, I knew that, then my question to you is, Why didn't you tell me? Okay, I've been looking for something like this.
Ever since I spotted this with my eagle eye, I've been tapping away at toggling Do Not Disturb on and off again and giggling like a little girl with absolute joy. That got me to wondering, how long has the F6 key had a dedicated Do Not Disturb function? I did some research and it looks like it was introduced when Apple came out with the first Apple Silicon MacBook Air in 2020, so it hasn't been that long. Now the previous keyboard shortcuts had an F4 key dedicated to launchpad and if you had a backlit keyboard F5 and F6 were dedicated to up down keyboard brightness keys. I think if you didn't have keyboard brightness they were just blank.

[5:56] When they added my beloved do not disturb to the F6 key they changed F4 to spotlight and F5 to dictation. Spotlight is hardwired into my fingers as command space so I never noticed it was on a function key. I don't often use dictation on the Mac and I've dabbled with it in the past and when I did I assigned a double tap of the function key to enable dictation. Now the reason I only dabbled with dictation on the Mac was because it was pretty bad. Oddly I found that dictating it on my watch was the most reliable, the iPhone was the second most reliable, and the Mac came in dead last. I've just been testing out dictation again on the Mac because of that fancy function key And I gotta say, it's doing pretty well.
I might start to use it more often.
Now, I have one more thing on the Do Not Disturb key. You may have a third-party keyboard, or if your Mac is from before the Apple Silicon transition, it may not have a dedicated Do Not Disturb function key.
There's a little trick for you too. Simply hold down the Option key and click on the time or date in the menu bar, and it will magically toggle Do Not Disturb on and off.
I gotta give full credit to the folks at Setapp for that fun tip in a blog post they posted.
I'm still really happy about this tiny tip, and I hope it makes you silly happy too.

Audio Workouts Rudely at the Top of Workouts

[7:14] In 2021, Apple added a feature called Time to Walk in the Apple Watch. The idea is that while you walk or run, you listen to someone famous telling stories. I've listened to a few, including Dolly Parton and Hannah Waddingham. They were both lovely experiences. I really enjoyed it. Hannah walked in the hills of Hollywood where you could hear leaves crunching as she talked about how she ended up on Ted Lasso and the challenges raising her daughter as an.

[7:39] Actor. Dolly was fabulous as well because she's Dolly Parton. Listening to a few of her songs toward the end was also delightful. As much as I enjoyed these two time to walk experiences, most of the ones offered are from singers and as you probably know, I don't really listen to music.
I think it's lovely for other people to have access to time to walk, but it's just not for me.

[8:00] Well, the Apple Watch Workout app floats to the top whatever workout you do most often.
I do walk, strength workouts, and other workouts, so those are near the top of the list for me, so I don't need to scroll to get to them. I know Sandy loves Tai Chi, but I don't even know what that is, so it's near the bottom of my list, so I don't have to scroll past it.
But here's the problem. Apple thinks time to walk is the primary activity anyone invoking a workout on their Apple Watch ever wants to do, so it's always at the top, which I think is really rude. 100% of the time I do a workout, I have to scroll past it, and it really annoys me. It bothers me so much that I have even considered calling Apple to ask them if there was some way I could make this go away.
I'm not sure when this changed, but it's now no longer called Time to Walk on the first screen of the workout app on the Apple Watch.
It's now called Fitness Plus Audio Workouts, and if you tap through, you'll see Time to Walk and Time to Run.
That doesn't make it any less annoying to me, because it's still a thing sitting at the top, but now we can actually remove the entire thing from our view on workouts if we desire.
And I desire. The other day, my finger slipped as I was starting to scroll past Audio Workouts, and And instead of moving down, I accidentally swiped from right to left.
To my delight, I was treated to a red button with an X on it, allowing me to remove Fitness Plus audio workouts.

[9:23] You do have to confirm the removal, and that screen lets you know that you can always add it back if you so desire.
If you scroll to the bottom of the list of workouts you have showing, you'll see an Add Workout button.
Once you select that option, you'll see a list of workouts you can add, including audio which are, of course, listed at the top of the workouts.
Now, removing audio workouts because Apple chose to annoy me by keeping them always at the top because they know what's best is delightful.
You can use the same swiping right to left to remove any workout you don't ever plan on doing.
And conversely, you can go to the add button at the bottom and add in other workouts you might wanna do.
I'm deliriously happy that I can, in less swiping and tapping, get right to the workout I wanna do now that I've been able to remove audio workouts.
I mean, it's not as good as the Do Not Disturb button, don't get me wrong, but it's still pretty awesome.
Now, I gotta get back to cleaning up my list because I'm pretty certain there's no multi-sport triathlon in my near future, but maybe I will add in badminton.

Object-Aware Image Fixing with TouchRetouch

[10:24] I seem to be starting every one of these articles with a back and such and such a date, but I'm gonna keep going and do it again.
Back in 2018, I told you about a tool called TouchRetouch for iOS from a company called AdvoSoft.
The problem to be solved is that you've taken a great photo, but there's things in the photo that you'd really like to remove.
In the last five years, it has come a very long way. Late last year, I created a ScreenCastsOnline tutorial about touch retouch, but I realized I never gave the Nocilicast audience a full explanation of what touch retouch can do.
Now, we already have the retouch tool in Apple Photos for Mac, and that does a pretty good job of removing blemishes from faces, but it's really limited in its capability, and it's not available on your iPhone or iPad.
You can get more advanced tools, such as Affinity Photo or Pixelmator Pro, which both have terrific tools for moving unwanted things from images, but their application's designed to do a myriad of things to images, and so they have a steep learning curve.
Touch retouch is designed to do one thing and do it well.

[11:28] Before we dig into learning about TouchRetouch, let's talk about pricing.
While the app is available for macOS for a flat price of $14.99, I do not recommend you buy it.
If you don't yet have an Apple Silicon Mac and you don't have an iPhone or an Android phone or an iPad, you might consider buying it. All of the love from the developers has been poured into their mobile app and it's so far ahead of the Mac desktop app that I don't think it's even worth me telling you about it. If you have a mobile device, even on a small screen, the mobile app is fantastic. I'll be explaining why it works so well on the small screen. If you have an Apple Silicon Mac, the iOS version of TouchRetouch will work on your Mac, and again, it's so much more capable than the dedicated Mac app. You definitely want the mobile app.

[12:17] Now here's the catch. The mobile app is a subscription service. I know. I'm tired of subscriptions to, but this is where we are now. We have to decide between subscriptions for just about everything these days. Luckily, the price isn't high, and if you find you're using it often, it'll probably be worth the price. The folks at AdvoSoft are great and very responsive, but they make it tricky to figure out this pricing. They have a blog post for it explaining the pricing, but it's on medium, which I think is a weird place to put it.
So I wrote to them directly and I asked them for the pricing, and they got back to me immediately. In the show notes, I'll give you a full description of what they sent, but I can say it a little more simply. You can try out TouchRetouch for free, but when you're running the free version, you can only export one image per day.
That might be enough for you. If you want to buy it, it's $15 per year subscription.
If you already bought it when it was standalone, you can keep using it without losing any tools you had before, but you won't get the new features. If you want to upgrade your subscription, or to a subscription I should say, they'll cut you a deal at half price for the first year.

[13:23] Now one more thing, TouchRetouch is in family sharing, so if you have family members who might like to use it as well, that makes the subscription a bit easier to accept. And remember, it'll work on your Apple Silicon Mac without the $15 one-time app. All right, we've eaten our vegetables, let's talk about how to use TouchRetouch and how amazing this tool is.
When you first launch TouchRetouch, it shows one simple button in the middle inviting you to Open Gallery. This button will reveal the standard photo picker from Apple Photos, after you give it permission, of course. Unlike some apps, you don't necessarily have to scroll through your thousands of photos. You can view albums, and you can search. I name, a lot of my photos and it uses those titles for search, along with the standard people and places options built into photos.

[14:09] As I describe the different tools in TouchRetouch, I'll describe images that show off the particular category of tools. I'm going to start with the photo I took down at the beach.
The Santa Monica Mountains are in the background with a nice white surf coming in, and there's a delightful lifeguard station painted in rainbow colors.
The only problem is that there are four ugly trash cans along the sand, ruining the photo. I'd like to remove them. Below the image in TouchRetouch are five tool categories, Objects, Lines, Meshes, Clone Stamp, and Blur. You'll find it handy to pinch to zoom in and out as you work on your image. For our icky trash can, we'll use the Objects tools.
Once I select Objects, I see four specific object tools. There's Brush, Lasso, Eraser, and Settings. TouchRetouch has what they call object-aware retouching, meaning that their algorithm recognizes objects you're trying to remove as being different from the things that that are near them.
If you select the brush tool within objects, you'll notice that there's settings for the tool.
The obvious setting is to change the size of the selection brush with a slider, but you can also enable their people aware algorithm.
Now I haven't done a test of people and other objects to test how it works with and without the setting enabled, but if you don't get the effect you wanted, I give this setting a try.

[15:25] After selecting the brush tool, if you've just got a small blemish on your image, you can simply tap the screen to remove these things, But for bigger objects like big old ugly trash cans, you'll need to kind of color over the object with your finger.
And when you drag your finger over an unwanted object, your finger obscures the thing you're trying to select.
This is the thing I was trying and wanted to explain about why it's so good on mobile.
With touch retouch, as soon as you start to finger paint like this, you'll see a square in the corner reflecting exactly what you can't see under your finger.
It shows bright green where you've painted and a crosshair showing the center of your finger touch.
On an iPhone, you don't need to mess with this little viewer, but on a big iPad, you might find it useful that you can drag it around so it's closer to where you're coloring so you can see what you're doing.

[16:12] As you select one or more areas in this way, in the bottom right, you'll see a button that says Go.
Use that button to remove the objects.
For trash cans on sand, TouchRetouch does a great job of removal.
You know that the success of apps like this is highly dependent on the subject.
I do find that TouchRetouch does a really good job in general, but I can't say that it doesn't fail under the hardest examples, but it's one of the best I've ever used.
On screen, before you select anything, you'll see a button that says man, which means we've been in manual removal mode.
If tapping go after every selection is more work than you want, tap man, it'll change to auto.
Now, every time you let go from making a selection, it will instantly disappear.

[16:55] Now, in trickier objects than dark trash cans on beige sand, your selection might be bigger than necessary and have some adverse effects that you, you know, finger painted too big.
Rather than undoing and trying again, Touch Retouch lets you edit your selection with Restore and Reapply. Right after you erase an object with your big fat finger, the Restore icon will automatically be selected. If you select and hold on Restore, you can see the object you just erased reappear. This gives you a visual cue of what you want to restore. Wherever you drag around with the restore tool will be restored just like it says on the tin. When you're using the restore tool, you'll see a new tool arrive in the toolbox called reapply. You can toggle back and forth between these two tools, refining your selection until it meets your satisfaction.

[17:44] Now when you're working with the brush, erase, restore and reapply tools, settings in the toolbox will allow you to change not just the size of these weapons, You can change the weapon of choice, and you can also change the hardness, opacity, and whether the tool is edge aware.
Lower the opacity if you'd like to show some of the removed object.
Decrease the hardness if you'd like to have a fuzzy edge to the brush to fade in and out the effect.
And edge awareness will attempt to find the edge of the object being removed.
I mentioned the eraser tool before I explained what it does. It's pretty simple.
If you're in the manual mode and you've painted over something, you can immediately erase some of that painting rather than applying the removal tool and doing the restore reapply dance.
We also have a lasso tool that works pretty much like the brush tool and it might be an easier tool when you have a large, easily defined object to remove.
I can grab an entire trash can in one scribble.
Like the brush, I can restore and reapply or use the eraser tool.
At any time while you're working, you can compare before and after of your object removal using a tiny icon in the upper right.
I don't know about you, it always humors me to see the before and after view, especially if I've removed people.
I mentioned an undo button. If you tap and hold on the undo button at the top, you can revert your image to the original if you've messed it up too much and you want to start over.

[19:05] In the far upper right, you can see an arrow to export your photo.
You can save the image as a copy back into your photos library, or you can modify the original.
You can open the image in another application or copy it to the clipboard.
Under the thumbnail of your image, if you've been working on a live photo, it warns you that this modified image will be saved as a still image.
You also have a drop-down to change the format and resolution of the export.
If you have preferred settings for all your exports, you can save the current settings as the default. Let's say you're working on your image and you don't want to lose your changes, but you forget how to do something in TouchRetouch or you want to change a global setting.
You can use the backward chevron to change settings and learn about the tools with the tips and little tutorials they have in there, and when you select done, you can continue back to work on your image. Object removal is kind of table stakes for an application like this, and TouchRetouch meets that requirement very well. Where I think it shines is how easily it removes lines in images. I take a lot of photographs on walks in my neighborhood, and the power lines always ruin my photos. But with TouchRetouch, I can quickly open a photo on my phone, remove the power lines, and post my image to my friends, all from my iPhone while on my walk.
I took a photo last Halloween of this awesome ghost in somebody's front yard against a bright blue sky with the sun shining through behind it.
But the tethers to hold it up and the power lines behind it just completely ruined the image.

[20:31] I can select the Lines category to fix these problems. At the bottom of the screen, you'll now have revealed within the Lines category, Line, Segment, Restore, and Settings.
I'll explain the difference between line and segment in a moment.
I can zoom in on any of these lines, again, pinching with my fingers, especially there is a bright white tether line that ruins the illusion completely of this ghost.
I can drag my big fat finger just along that part of the line, but when I let go, the entire line disappears. Seriously, it's more magical than the ghost herself.
This line I erased in my example goes across the sky, some stonework on the front of the house, and across green shrubbery and it did a remarkably good job of removing it.

[21:17] Now if for some reason I wasn't completely happy with the eraser of the line, hitting the back button reveals some really interesting options.
There's a slider to change the line thickness of the selection, and it shows you the control points it used to interpret the wiggly line you actually drew, because you didn't really draw a straight line with that fat finger, so it has control points.
You can move the control points around to more accurately clean up the line removal.
You can even add more points by tapping, if you think that'll help, and if you tap on an existing control point you don't like, it will disappear. Hit go again to see if the line removal looks any cleaner. Now you may have figured out by now that since the line removal tool removes an entire line, even when you only draw over part of it, the segment tool starts and stops removal right where you drew. Now I'm astonished at how well this works on a tiny iPhone screen.
The AdvoSoft developers have made it feel natural and easy to use a finger to clean up images.

[22:15] I told you that the line removal tool is magical, but TouchRetouch has a tool that's even crazier.
It's called Mesh. TouchRetouch can remove things like chain link fences. If you open an image with any kind of mesh in front of it, a simple tap on the mesh category will cause TouchRetouch to instantly scan the image searching for any mesh it can find in the image. If it finds a mesh, it will highlight what it found in green. The tools will also change to add a slider for for selection accuracy in case the mesh tool misinterpreted the mesh selection.
When you press go, you'll see the image being processed and it takes quite a few seconds because man, it's doing a lot of math to do this.
Let's say it looks pretty good.
You can zoom in again and see how good it looks up close.
In my image, as I panned around, I was able to tap the restore button to see where the fence was before to check and see if there's any problems in the image.

[23:11] I tried the mesh tool on a particularly challenging image. There were some Halloween ghouls behind a fence, but worse yet, there was a chain link fence behind them as well.
In a very few small spots, TouchRetouch made a few mistakes where the fences overlapped in the image, but it's not anything anyone would ever notice unless they were pixel peeping the image.
I know that the developers have been putting a lot of work into TouchRetouch, which is what you get for having a subscription.
And I know that because I used this same image teach the app for a ScreenCastsOnline tutorial last year. In the tutorial, when the fence was selected by the mesh tool, I remembered that a skeleton in the background had part of his head removed. I even made a joke in the video that I wanted to leave him some dignity, so I use the restore tool to put the rest of his head back.
But when I tested the mesh tool again with the same image for this article, the skeleton's head did not get damaged by the removal of the fence.
It was crazy good last year and it's even smarter now. I bet they use AI, don't they?

[24:10] All right, TouchRetouch has a clone stamp tool as well that at first blush works pretty much like every clone tool I've ever used. You tap in a target location and then drag your finger around to use that sample to cover up an unwanted object or blemish. TouchRetouch does have the restore reapply that does help make that task easier, but it's still fairly basic.

[24:29] But there's a trick with the clone stamp tool that gives it superpowers.
When you tap to press that put the target down, if you then tap and hold on the target, you get a pop-up for three different modes for the clone stamp target, classic, slide back, and texture. Classic is the default that works by moving the target in the same direction as you paint your finger. If I pick up my finger and start painting in another area, the target will reposition itself in the same direction I just moved, changing the starting point of the target. This often works the way you want, but have you ever been trying to clone an area and you kind of run out of room and start cloning an undesirable area?
With slide back, the initial painting works just like the classic mode. However, if I pick up my finger, you can see that the target slides back to the initial location. I can paint again and replicate the same area, so the target keeps going back to where it started with slide back.
The third option, texture, is significantly different from the first two.
The texture target is a defined area. Within limits you can change the size and aspect ratio of that target box.
When you paint with your finger in texture mode, you can see that the clone tool replicates the area in the box.
But when you move to the edge of the box, it starts over and replicates the boxed area again.
I'm not exactly sure what problem that solves, so I don't actually ever use it.

[25:49] Now within the Clone Stamp tool, you can select to have mirroring enabled as you clone.
Picture you've got, uh, this best way to explain it. Let's say there was an L on the left side of an image.
Without mirroring, if I cloned it, the L would be repeated if I cloned it over to the right.
With touch retouch, you can mirror horizontally, so you get a backward L on the right.
Or you can choose vertical, and you'd get an upside down L. Or you can even choose diagonal, which makes it upside down and backwards.
That last one's kind of head bendy to use, but if you ever need it, Touch Retouch has your back.
One of the pro tools I don't yet have access to from my plan is Blur.
This tool isn't particularly sophisticated from what I can see.
The problem it solves is when you have someone in a photo who shouldn't have their face shown, maybe like a young child on social media, for example.
If you tap on their face with the Blur tool, it puts a very obvious blur over their face.
There's definitely times where this would be useful, but I was kind of hoping it would do a little bit more. You can try out blur, but if you haven't subscribed, you can't export your image with that adjustment.

[26:55] While opening the TouchRetouch app and finding an image to fix in your photo library isn't difficult, I find it much easier to do it the other way around. From the Photos app, you can run TouchRetouch as an extension. And now, if you've never used Photos extensions, simply select an image in your Photos library, go into Edit, and then tap the three-dot menu in the upper right.
You should see all of the photo editing apps that have extensions available to you.
There's only one tricky part to this. Touch retouch will not be in the list of extensions.
For no reason I can think of, it will simply be called retouch.
You'll be warned that live photos will be turned off because you're editing the original like I described before, but don't panic. Changes you make to the image using the Touch Retouch Photos extension are reversible back in Photos, just like any changes you make in the native editor. I put an animated GIF of the Photos app where I'm tapping the M key while in normal editing, and you can see the effect of removing a guy from the side of an image even though I made those changes using the Retouch for iOS extension on my Mac.

[27:59] Now, you might expect the TouchRetouch Photos extension to be a reduced capability extension, but it's not. It has all of the capabilities of the full app. The extension is super useful because I'm already in my Photos app looking at an image with something distracting I didn't, like. There's no reason to get out of photos, open touch retouch, and then try to find the same image. I always do it from the extension in photos.

[28:25] Believe it or not, this little app can even edit 360 degree photos. And yes, I know 360 degrees is not a good description of these photos, because that would mean you could only look around side to side and not up and down as well. The correct term is 4 pies to radian photos, but I haven't gotten any traction on using the proper terminology.
But the point is that TouchRetouch, even on your phone, can edit these spherical photos.
All of the tools I've explained in TouchRetouch work very well, even in spherical, for pi staradian photos.
The bottom line is that TouchRetouch as a standalone app for iPhone, iPad, and Android is a terrific tool to have at hand when you capture that perfect shot, except there's a power line in the background, or a gloppy piece on the sidewalk, or a trash can on the beach, or a chain link fence, or a dog leash you didn't want to see.
So if your photos are worth sharing, are they worth $15 a year to make them better?
Out the mobile versions of TouchReTouch at

Support the Show

[29:30] Our hero of the week is John Atwood. Do you know what that delightful gentleman did?
He went into Patreon, where he's already been a patron for five years, and he increased his pledge.
How awesome is that? If you'd like to be cool like John, and you can afford it, please go over to slash patreon and pledge your support to the Podfeet podcast.

Why It Took Me Over Two Hours to Write a 623-Word Blog Post About watchOS Workouts

[29:53] I'm pretty sure I wrote an article a while ago about why sometimes it takes me so long to write the blog posts that serve as a companion content to the NoSilicast podcast. I have another great example to tell you about. As you heard earlier, I wrote a tiny tip about my discovery that you can delete the audio workouts from the Apple Watch Workouts app. It's a very short article.
It's only 623 words. Now, I've been known to write articles in the thousands of words, and yet this one took me a very long time to publish it. It was like over two hours.
Why? Because of the images.

[30:27] Now, if I just put my 623 words down, you would have absolutely understood exactly what I was explaining.
In fact, you heard it just now, and you probably didn't see the pictures.
But I couldn't resist making the blog post look beautiful for you.
Every image in the article is a screenshot of an Apple Watch screen.
It's super easy to take screenshots in the Apple Watch. You simply hold down the side button and the digital crown at the same time.
You'll see a flash of the screen showing it worked, and in a short bit of time the screenshot will show up in your photos library.
If pressing those two buttons don't work for you to take a screenshot, open up the Watch app on your phone, go into General, and very close to the bottom of that set of menus you'll see a toggle that you can turn on to enable screenshots.
Now, I took a lot of screenshots for this article, but I only published a grand total of four screenshots to illustrate the annoyance of audio workouts, how to delete it, and how how to put it back. Easy peasy, right?

[31:24] While I waited for the screenshots to sync over to my Mac so I could grab all of them and export them to the Finder with a plan to pull them into MarsEdit, my blogging application from, to fancy up the blog post.
But as I looked at them when I started pulling them in, I realized how dreadfully boring they looked. Tiny rectangles only slightly taller than they are wide, and they were dull and uninteresting. I mean, they were just little and just boring.

[31:50] Well, I have a fabulous iOS app I've told you about called PopFrame that I use to pizazz up my screenshots of the iPhone.
I told you about it a little while ago.
But it doesn't have frames for the Apple Watch, only the iPhone.
I went out hunting on the Googles to find a solution. It's actually harder than you would think to search for this because it's very difficult to exclude all of the sites trying to tell you how to take the screenshot itself, asking for frames or watch bands or whatever around those screenshots.
It was really, really hard to find.
But finally, I found a blog post by a gentleman named Raphael Zaire talking about how he created a shortcut to do this, and then he eventually turned it into a free app in the App Store called WatchShot.
It runs on the iPhone, iPad, and on Apple Silicon Macs. Some of you out there are more alert than I am.
In the heat of the moment of discovery, I had this vague sense in the back of my mind that WatchShot looked familiar.
It wasn't actually until I started writing up this article about how long it took me, that I went searching for Raphael's blog post again and I stumbled across another blog post.
The title of this second article is called, Add Custom Watch Faces and Band Frames to Your Apple Watch Screenshots with WatchShot Screenshots, and the author of that article is me.
So if i remember that i already knew about what shot the six hundred and twenty three page.

[33:16] I'd like to blame them on getting old, but I've always been this way.
Anyway, if I'd remembered that I already knew about WatchShot, the 623-word 4-image blog post would have gotten started a bit faster, but I still found ways to make this take a long time.
In WatchShot, you get to choose the model of watch and the band.
I chose the Pride band because I'm an ally.
WatchShot doesn't let you batch a bunch of screenshots. You have to open each screenshot individually from Apple Photos, add the frame and band, and then export them back to photos, rinse and repeat.
Now, I had to export the newly framed versions to the finder because the ones I had aren't going to work. Just in case something went wrong, I made a subfolder for the raw screenshots I already took and another one for these with the nice pretty watch bands.

[34:04] I dragged the first banded image into MarsEdit and to my surprise, it was huge! The original images were under 400 pixels on a side, but the new ones were square and 1716 pixels.
That's not a big deal, because as I drag images into MarsEdit, it gives me a spot to scale the images down. I scaled the first one down to 300 pixels wide, and it looked gorgeous.
Since this was such a short blog post, I wasn't going to be able to sprinkle the remaining three watch images throughout the text. I needed to put them in a horizontal row side by side. The wonderful Helma from the Netherlands taught me about grouping images in HTML to do this, so thank her every time you see more than one image in a row.
I had a problem now, though. Three 300 pixel wide images, plus their padding, was not going to fit in my theme, because it's only 800 pixels wide. Even though most people probably view on mobile devices, which would slot the images one above the other, I didn't want it to look really silly with two images on one row and a third dangling below them on on some bigger screens.

[35:07] WatchShot does a beautiful job of creating the square image, but it also adds a lot of white space on either side of the watch to make the square image. I figured all I needed to do was get rid of some of the white space. I cropped one of the banded images, which again were all.

[35:23] 1716 pixels wide. I cropped one of them in Shutter and using the crop tool, I selected a crop area that gave me some white space on either side, but it made it a much narrower width. I slid it left and right to make sure it looked good. I was really pleased when I noticed that the crop I'd hand-drawn was exactly 1024 by 1716. I mean, 1024, that's just a good number, right?

[35:48] But I didn't use Shotter to crop the image. You see, if I did all of the crops by hand like this, there would be minute differences from image to image from me just eyeballing it, right?
That would destroy our OCD friends, and we can't have that.
It was time to break out RetroBatch Pro, the app I told you about in April that lets you automate manipulating images.
Once you get the hang of RetroBatch Pro, even if you don't use it daily, it's super easy to use the drag and drop method of building little workflows to solve a unique problem.
It was so easy, I didn't even bother to save the workflow because I knew I could recreate it in just a few minutes.
I dragged in a read individual files block, then I did a search for crop because I was too lazy to look for it.
The crop block defaults to showing you width and height in percentages, and you can change that percentage for the crop.
Well, I wanted to leave the height alone at 100%, but I changed the width value to 1024, and then using the dropdown, I changed the units from percent to pixels.
I threw in a right node to write the pictures out to a folder that I created called cropped.
I dragged the four images, because why not do them all at once, I dragged them onto the read individual files block, and I hit play.
In the blink of an eye, I had all of my screenshots cropped to the same width appropriate for my blog post, and they wouldn't be different from one or the other.

[37:06] Looking back I could have saved myself some storage and bandwidth by also resizing them to the width I wanted instead of making MarsEdit do the heavy lifting, but I had already spent an awful lot of time messing around with this.
The best part of all of this is that I've actually skipped some steps as I'm describing it to you.
At one point I got it in my head I needed to remove the alpha channel to make the images narrower, which I also did with RetroBatch, but that was a mess because all it did was keep the same square size, but they were see-through, so I spent a lot of time making mistakes too, so all of the stuff I've described, I actually did more than that.
So I hope you appreciate how pretty my little group screenshots are with their fancy pride bands and aluminum watch frames.
And I also hope you appreciate the fact that I spent 1,372 words telling you how I created a 623 word blog post.

[37:57] Well, I'm actually going to cut us off here and wind us up for this week a little bit of a short show compared to the marathons we've been having lately, but did you know you can email me at allison at anytime you like. If you've got a question or a suggestion, just send it on over. I love to help people. I really, really do. And if you've got something fun you want to send in, a recording as it were, that's where you'd send it to allison at You can follow me on mastodon at podfeet at
And of course, there's a link in the show notes because it's a little hard to remember those Mastodon names. Having tons of fun over there, really enjoying it. Now remember, everything good starts with If you want to join in the conversation, you can join our Slack community at slash slack, where you can talk to me and all of the other lovely Nocilla castaways. You can support the show at slash Patreon, or, with a one-time donation at slash PayPal. And if you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to slash live on Sunday nights at 5 p.m. Pacific.

[38:57] Music.

[39:12] Time!