Minimalist Notification Sound

I don’t know how I stuck with the super annoying default notification sound for a successfully expanded Text Expander snippet for all these years, but I finally got around to finding a suitable and non-intrusive replacement.

Here’s the sound in .mp3 format, for previewing it; and the .aif sound file to download and drop into your ~/Library/Sounds/ folder (both are Dropbox links).

Notifications sounds on macOS have to be in .aif format, and it’s a bit convoluted to do it with iTunes.

I edited the original sound file, which I obtained here.


How to Select the “OK” Button via Keyboard for Text Dialog Boxes (macOS)

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 4.48.58 PM

So if you’ve been using my macOS tip to append a text file using Automator and shell scripts, you’ve no doubt run into two frustrations: the window is not brought to front focus, allowing immediate typing, and the OK button isn’t accessible via the keyboard (typing Return only inserts a line break, attempting to Tab to the button just inserts a tab character in the text field).

The OK button is a simple keyboard shortcut: the Function key (fn) + the Return key.

I’ve updated the above post to include the simple AppleScript step in Automator that will bring the window to front-most focus.

Advanced Text Manipulation via Custom KeyBindings in macOS

After working in the awesome Atom text editor for some time now, and getting spoiled with the awesome keyboard-focused text manipulation tools available, I wanted to find something for working in nvALT to solve a couple of tedious and incessant activities:

  1. Moving chunks of text up and down in the document
  2. Moving a chunk of text to the end of a document

The first need is mostly for organizing information, primarily task/to-do lists.

The second is to bump completed tasks to the end of the text document.

Initially, I expected to find some sort of macOS Service I could assign a keyboard shortcut to. But then I stumbled across Brett Terpstra’s post on custom KeyBindings in macOS. Continue reading “Advanced Text Manipulation via Custom KeyBindings in macOS”

Spreadsheet tip: “is not” or “is not equal to”

If you are looking to set up a condition in a spreadsheet function in a situation where you want to include everything but one thing, you need to use the following:


Turns out the “less-than/greater-than” combo sign means “not equal to”, and it applies to text strings in addition to number strings.

I wasn’t sure what terms to search for initially, and relevant results for “is not”, and “is not equal to” were not giving me the answer I needed. Including terms such as “spreadsheet”, “Apple Numbers”, “function” and “formula” didn’t help either.

Continue reading “Spreadsheet tip: “is not” or “is not equal to””

Prepend Text File with Automator & Shell Scripts

As a followup to my earlier post about how to create a macOS Service (or a Text Expander snippet) to quickly append a text file using Hazel, Automator and Shell Scripts, here’s a way to instead prepend text to a text file using the same tools.

prepend text automator screenshot

Why would you want to do this?

My core interest in setting this up is for plain-text journaling. In a way, I am cobbling together the functionality I find extraordinarily useful in the iOS app Drafts for use on macOS.

I like to capture ideas, thoughts, errands, links, apps, articles, tasks and todos quickly, and I use a plain-text document system I’ve put together over the years. These automation setups remove friction in doing so, which make it more likely I will maintain the behavior.

With this setup and the companion append text automation setup, I can hit a keyboard combo, have a small window pop up where I type what I want to capture, hit OK and the automation goes and appends it to the right .txt file, in the right location, behind the scenes.

I will be writing about my plain-text journaling system in a future post. For now, read on to learn how to set this journaling automation up for yourself.

Continue reading “Prepend Text File with Automator & Shell Scripts”

Alphabetical Keyboard Characters in OS X


If you, like me, use the weird symbols on your keyboard to help you sort files in the Finder, then you’ll be happy to find that I went through the trouble of not only naming a folder full of folders with top-row keyboard characters so you can see exactly how they sort, and then naming those folders so you know what key commands will produce them, but I also made it downloadable so you can just use it yourself. I put this folder on my Desktop for quick reference.

See here for a web table for every last keyboard character in alphabetical order.


Yearly Recaps: A Monthly, Contextual, Plain-Text Journaling System

While I regularly maintain a daily journal, and do so in plain text (while also keeping a concurrent journal in the Momento app on my iPhone for the search and tagging features), often I find that I never actually read any of the old entries. Which is fine, as I mostly just like the habit of recording the information. Recently, I developed a system that is proving to be immensely useful. Continue reading “Yearly Recaps: A Monthly, Contextual, Plain-Text Journaling System”