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.

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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:

"<>EXCLUDED_TERM"

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.

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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.

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Secure Input & Photoshop’s Hand Tool Spacebar Shortcut

If you are a fellow Photoshop user, and have experienced an unexplained loss of accessing the Hand tool using the spacebar keyboard shortcut, this  may have been caused if you are running password manager software 1Password and have used the “Hide” menu option.

I would have never found this had it not been for the warning on TextExpander‘s menubar icon, and the resulting blog post they published regarding TextExpander and Secure Input.

Quitting 1Password and relaunching it fixed the issue for me, so I can only assume it was indeed the culprit.

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Guitar Lesson: Learn the Pentatonic Scale

A friend with a new guitar and no experience asked if it was worth taking lessons. I told him it most surely is, but regardless everyone wants to solo and to do that you need to learn, practice and know scales. A guitar teacher is going to tell you to go practice them.

The Pentatonic scale is probably the best one to start with, especially if you want to play rock ‘n’ roll. I learned guitar and scales from two books: Blues Guitar for Dummies and Uncle Tim’s First Year. Both were purchased after quite a bit of research online, and both turned out to be excellent.

I’ve always found guitar charts to be terrible. Not enough information is contained within them. So I made my own with what I think is the right amount of info to start learning the five Pentatonic scale patterns.

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