Screenshot & screencasts on Mac OSX

Back when I worked exclusively on a Windows machine, I loved using Screenpresso for the ease with which it allowed me to do screenshots and screencasts (if you’re still stuck on Windows, go buy it, it’s worth it).

But now that I’m on a Mac, what to do?

So to start with just press SHIFT-CMD-4 and you can take a screen shot. It’s a native Mac thing.

If you have Dropbox installed go to Preferences | Import and tick the Share screenshots using Dropbox option.

If you want to do screencasts, then fire up QuickTime Player (CMD-SPACE | Quicktime ↩) then press CTRL-CMD-N to start video recording.

That’s how easy it is on a Mac.

How to change drive space on VMware Fusion VM

On occasion you’ll want to change the size of a Virtual Machines hard disk drive. I’m using VMware Fusion, and to do this, you enter the Settings of that VM and under the Hard Disk option you’ll be able to change the drive size.

VMware Fusion Settings Hard Disk

Note that you can’t make changes if the VM has snapshots of it.

How to get Google Chrome to open your pages from your last session

I use Google Chrome as my primary browser on the MacBook.

Although I only restart the machine every few weeks I like it to re-open the same tabs that were open last.

To do this, in Google Chrome type chrome://settings/ into the address bar and press enter.

This loads the Settings page. Then check the Continue where I left off setting. Close the tab. You’re done. :)

Google Chrome On Startup Continue Where I Left Off

Sharing a host folder with a guest Virtual Machine

I’m using VMware Fusion on my MacBook. At times I have either files on the local host (the MacBook) that I want to edit or installers that I want to run on the guest (the virtual machine).

With your virtual machine running, click on the Settings icon, select Sharing | Shared Folders ON | tick Downloads.

Your local “Downloads” folder will now be available to your virtual machine.

VMware Fusion Settings | Sharing

SharedFolders On

Backup because only the paranoid survive

I first heard the quote “only the paranoid survive” about 1999 or 2000. But it’s only recently I’ve heard the full quote. Which is:

Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.

For more Quotes from Andy Grove visit this quote page.

This thinking applies to so many things, but one I often apply it to is backups. Yes the humble yet oft forgotten backup.

Just because everything is working, and going along swimmingly, we become complacent, we forget or put off doing a backup of our files, our photographs etc. This is when we most need to do our backup, so that when a problem arises, we have that backup to go to.

Thus (and this is the question that prompted me writing this) is “what do I use to backup?”.

I use both Dropbox and Backblaze. You may think they both serve the same purpose. They don’t.

I use Dropbox to make files available to myself across all the platforms I use, and I use it to share files and folders with others. In a sense it backs up my data, but that’s not what it’s there for.

To backup my data, workfiles, photos, music and emails I use Backblaze. Backblaze quietly sits in the background and backs up everything. Those files don’t have to be in my Dropbox folder to be backed up. It’s the easiest, cheapest and most effective offsite backup solution you can implement.

If you aren’t paranoid about losing your files, you don’t need to do anything. If you are, and I am, you need to start backing up. You’ve got no excuses. Complain to me and it’ll fall on deaf ears.

Do you use the Apple FireVault to encrypt your drive?

Do you use the Apple Mac FireVault?

I’m not. At least, not yet. Given the warning it gives prior to turning it on I’ve not yet turned it on. Should I? or should I not?

This is the warning that appears:

WARNING: You will need your login password or a recovery key to access your data. A recovery key is automatically generated as part of this setup. If you forget both your password and recovery key, the data will be lost.

Your thoughts/input/experience appreciated.

How I use Evernote on the Mac

I’m a big fan (BIG) of Evernote. I started out using the free service but couple of years ago upgraded to the paid service. How and why do I use it?

Evernote for me is basically my online and offline, on every device I own, digital filing cabinet.

Anything I want to come back to or refer to in the future goes into Evernote. Because it will OCR photo’s and PDF’s I can search and retrieve anything in a snap.

For example, my mail systems (both Gmail and MS Exchange) have rules set to auto forward all the bills I get into Evernote. When my wife calls and says “Have we paid the phone bill?” or “When did we last pay the phone bill?” I simply open Evernote on whatever device is closest to hand, and do a search. I get a list of all the PDF’s, emails, JPG’s etc that are in there. (When we pay a bill we take a screenshot and send it to Evernote, it get’s OCR’ed and index an is thus findable so so easily). The search in Evernote is great.

This makes me far more productive because it means I know I only need to look in one place to find whatever I want.

Side note: Wouldn’t it be great if I could do the same in a ‘native’ way with things like Act! or SugarCRM (both CRM packages)? (I do but it’s a workaround). Bonus, you can tightly integrate Evernote with Nozbe (Task Management package).

Previously So you bought an Apple Computer…

Disclaimer: Yes the links to Evernote and Nozbe lets them know you got there via me.

So you bought an Apple computer…

I know two people who have just bought themselves new Apple Mac computers, one a behemoth desktop, the other a 15″ MacBook Pro. Both have been immersed in “Windows World” and are essentially new to the Mac OS (one did have a Mac years ago).

So, where to start?

Here are my initial tips:

  • Be prepared for some frustration. It doesn’t work the way you’re used to. Yes, it’s change. It’s worth it, you’ll be more productive, I am.
  • The keyboard and the trackpad are your friend. More than you know. Learn the ‘gestures’. single tap on the trackpad is a left click, two finger tap on the trackpad is a right click.
  • Get in the habit of pressing the ‘Option’ key. You’ll suddenly find extra options.
  • Use COMMAND-SPACE to start Spotlight. Use Spotlight.
  • Use Google Chrome as your browser.
  • Working with words? do your drafts in ByWord. Power tip: learn Markdown.
  • Working with programming code? use TextWrangler.

That’s a start. I’m sure they’ll have more questions yet.

iCloud folder location

On Mac OSX (Mavericks) you can find your ‘iCloud’ documents in the relevant application folder like this:

/Users/USERNAME/Library/Mobile Documents/CODE_AND_APP_NAME/Documents/

Each application keeps its own documents in a sandboxed folder.

You can make an alias for a file and then move that to an appropriate folder, for example, I’m using Byword on the Mac, iPad and iPhone, thus I want my ‘List.md’ file kept in iCloud. Putting an alias to it on the desktop makes it easy to edit on the Mac. Using GeekTool I can have it automagically display the contents of ‘List.md’ on the desktop, essentially a ‘live’ file no matter where I edit it, even from iDevices.