os x

Facebook Messenger App for OS X

I enjoy being able to seamlessly move between all of my devices and have Facebook Messenger everywhere - with it I can chat cross-platform with ease. But when I'm on a Mac, I was always annoyed at having to find a browser or remember to keep it open - until I discovered Astro for Facebook Messenger. It's a free OS X app available in the Mac App Store. 

It displays all messages from all conversations, no matter where you send the message from including the web browser and mobile. You can change the skin on the app, and even drag and drop photos. But I think my favorite feature is the nice menu notification bar - I can see at the top of my OS X menu that I have unread messages, and the app pops to the front just by clicking on the icon!

Prevent Image Capture from Opening Automatically

When you plug in your iPhone, iPad, or digital camera it can be annoying for Image Capture.app to open automatically in OS X. Luckily, preventing it is easy!

In Image Capture click the triangle/square icon in the bottom left corner. Then click the drop down which probably has Image Capture listed as the default application. Select the top option, "No application". You can also use this tip to prevent any default application from opening (iPhone, Aperture, etc) - do a spotlight search for Image Capture to open it up then follow the same instructions.

Image Capture Options

Image Capture Options

Image Capture Default Open Application

Image Capture Default Open Application

Create Shortcuts for Common Phrases

Get tired of typing some of the same things over and over on your iPhone? Never fear, keyboard shortcuts are here! I use keyboard shortcuts for things like my personal information, common phrases, long URLs, etc. 

Let's use my name as an example - instead of typing "Landon J. Harris" each time I need to insert my name, I just type "mynn" and iPhone (iPad/iPod Touch) expands this text into my name. It's easy to setup, and you can create many shortcuts.  This works starting with iOS 5, and now with iCloud will sync across devices; there's no need to enter your shortcuts on each device. Also, with the launch of OS X Maverick, these shortcuts will sync to your Mac too.

Text Expansion with iOS

Text Expansion with iOS

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap General
  • Tap Keyboard
  • Tap Shortcuts (at the bottom)
  • Tap the "+" in the top right corner
  • In the Phrase field enter the full phrase you want, in my example this is "Landon J. Harris"
  • In the shortcut field enter the snippet of text you want to expand into the phrase, "myaa"
  • Tap Save

Here are some of my favorite uses and the shortcuts I use. Leave comments with some of the phrases you use.

Personal Information

  • Name (mynn)
  • Phone Number (mytt)
  • Email Address (myee)
  • Home Address (myaa)


Work Information

  • Company Name (wknn)
  • Phone Number (wktt)
  • Email Address (wkee)
  • Address (wkaa)
  • Conference Bridge (wkbridge)

Common Phrases

  • on my way (omw) [Apple provided]
  • be right there (brt)

WWDC 2013 - iOS 7, OS X Mavericks, & Much More!

Here are some of my thoughts and features that excite me the most features from the WWDC keynote. Definitely not a comprehensive list of features. For that check out the links at the bottom of the post.

OS X Mavericks

  • Enhanced Multi-Monitor Support: It's just amazing. This is what I wish Apple would have done when they launched Full Screen apps, but none-the-less, it's coming!
  • Reply via Notification: This just makes sense - reply right from a notification.
  • Tags: This feature got a lot of flack in the TWiT IRC channel during the announcement, but I think this is the first step towards a structureless file system. Much like the power Gmail users out there, such as myself, have learned - why put things in file folders? Just tag and search!
  • iCloud Keychain: This feature is awesome and just might bring me back to Safari from Chrome. I'll even consider ditching my LastPass subscription. The only thing left that would seal the deal would be a stand-alone Keychain app for iOS that would allow me to lookup various passwords and things from my device.
  • Calendar:  Travel time... i've wanted this for ages. It's contextually aware! Tell me when I need to leave, and pad the invite for travel time. 

iOS 7

  • Synced Notification States: I've been hoping for this feature since iPad was launched. It only got a quick mention, but I'm so excited to know that when I clear notifications on one device, they'll be cleared on all devices.
  • Push Triggers: Announced as part multitasking, your app will now be able to up-to-date when you open it from a notification. How many times have you opened Facebook or another app and had to wait for the app to load any new data? Solved!
  • Control Center: Quick access to the calculator, a flashlight, bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and much more.
  • iTunes Radio: I already pay for iTunes Match, so ad-free iTunes Radio will be by brand new Pandora replacement. And I can save $40/year on my Pandora | One subscription.
  • AirDrop: Looks pretty cool - will be fun to share things over wifi. I'm glad it's not a Cellular or Client-Server connection. Good move Apple!

Questions I Ponder

  • Did ringtones get the dramatic facelift that the visual aspects iOS got? If so, will my old tried-and-true tones be there?
  • Will AirDrop on iOS work with AirDrop on OS X?
  • What does Facetime audio do? You could already start a FaceTime call and press the Home key to make it an audio-only call via your data connection. 

Other Thoughts

  • I love the humor that was incorporated, especially at the expense of Scott Forstall, even though his name was never mentioned. The crowd was obviously pleased at the change in design theory. "There were no virtual cows harmed in the making of this app," quipped Craig Federighi as the audience cheered when the new OS X Calendar app was unveiled.

Reorder the Apple Menu Bar Icons in OS X

Just a quick tip I learned today trying to change my audio inputs.

Note you can only rearrange the Apple supplied Menu Bar icons such as AirPlay, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Audio, and Power; third-party Menu Bar icons are not moveable.  

Hold down Cmd and click on the icon to move, drag to it's new location and drop. Simple as that!  You can see in the screenshot below that I was moving the Wi-Fi icon.


OS X Menu Bar

OS X Menu Bar