AppleScript to Insert Markdown Link for Current Safari Tab via TextExpander

Here’s a simple AppleScript which can be used with a TextExpander snippet, or as a Service via the macOS Automator app, that when invoked will insert the title and URL of the frontmost Safari tab, formatted as a Markdown link. Continue reading “AppleScript to Insert Markdown Link for Current Safari Tab via TextExpander”

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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”

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

mac-os-x-finder-keyboard-character-file-name-sorting

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.

Enjoy.

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”

One-Page Printable Yearly Calendar

I like to see the Big Picture. Most calendars suck for that. I also have idiosyncratic wants. Here’s the list of criteria:

  • The weeks starts on Monday. I started experimenting with this a few months ago and love it. Weekends are chunk and belong together visually.
  • The days are continuous. We live an endless stream of days. The calendar should reflect this experience.
  • It fits on one printable page. I want something I can print out on regular paper, and not have to deal with cutting or assembling.

I found this near-perfect solution to my desires, but being near-perfect, I wanted to make it perfect. So I did.

Continue reading “One-Page Printable Yearly Calendar”

The Inertial Mind

One insight I’ve had lately regarding meditation sits (and other habits in general) is how often I’m not so motivated to sit, but once I do I find myself quickly getting into the mood, and then I do not want to stop. This then repeats for the next activity I am resistant to begin, and the cycle repeats. I then began to notice this in pretty much all aspects of my life: exercise, art, writing. The activity didn’t seem to matter, it was the shift to a new one that was the crux of the resistance.

It made me realize that the mind is an inertia machine — it prefers to keep doing whatever it is it is currently doing. Helpful or detrimental, it doesn’t seem to care or recognize the difference. The mind just prefers to keep doing what it is doing right now. The insight here is to just commit to getting started, and putting 5 minutes/reps/sentences/notes/brushstrokes/etc into action.

Perfectionist/procrastination advice of “just get started” comes to mind here, as does the idea of tiny habits and mini habits.

You don’t need much time to shift the mind over to the next thing it will get attached to, but the shift is where the struggle happens. It’s as if we have this impetuous child within, as if we do not evolve our personas but rather accumulate upon an ancient core that cannot be matured, evolved, ignored or reasoned with. We just need to understand how it functions, and find ways to work with it. The real key here is that it will never “go away”. We will never “get past” these struggles. Once we learn to accept and work constructively with these ground rules in mind, the easier it is to get past them.

It’s easy to think to yourself “I am lazy” and explain these behaviors away. But I don’t think there is any “I am” in these behaviors. I think these are artifacts of the structure of mind/brain/body. Once we realize these are impersonal, external to the self, and permanent, functional “hard wired” aspects of Mind, we can stop identifying with them and start looking for solutions to work around them. Work with them. Use them, instead of fighting them.

These struggles to sit in meditation, to exercise, to create — they are not signs of personal flaws, weaknesses or limitations. They are signs that the system is working normally. A bicycle only maintains balance when in motion; this is not a flaw, but an unavoidable and intrinsic aspect of the design. There is only one solution: start pedaling.