Expand Short URL's with StretchLink

April 30, 2015

Expand Short URL's with StretchLink → via @_patrickwelker

You know what? There’s this guy on the internet who constantly fills my feed reader with useful tools, scripts and services he builds (in the middle of the night). Instead of being really, really mad at him because one lifetime isn’t enough to check out all what he’s doing, I’m truly grateful and in a weird sense also proud like a dad/brother/groupie/zebra that he supports the Mac community – especially in a time when all the cool kids are developing for that smart buzzing rectangles in our pocket.

So, today I retired my homemade Keyboard Maestro macro, bought this guys app and be done with it.

I won’t describe what this little gem does, nor do I feel the need to tell you who developed it. You should know if you read this blog… and you should head over and send him a dollar. Even better… wait until the hype is over and pay the full price (which would be $1.99) – that’s how grown-up zebras in the wild do it. I’m domesticated… so I rushed to the StretchLink site and bought it.

Project Naptha – Copy and Translate Text from any Image


One of things I need to do from time to time is copying text from screenshot. On the Mac there is Condense and on the iPhone I use Textgrabber (because the company behind it, ABBYY, really know what they are doing). So I’m all set. But… if YOU want to perform this little circus trick on your own and don’t want to spend a dime then take a look at the (Google Chrome) browser extension “Project Naptha” by Kevin Kwok.

The website works as a live demo and is a joy to browse trough; you can copy and paste each and every text in the images. There are tons of examples, additional details, an animated GIF and lots of background information. Even the chapter about security and privacy is clearly visible in large letters right on the site. It’s honest, open and direct – I like it:

So there is a trade-off that has to happen between privacy and user experience. And I think the default settings strike a delicate balance between having all the functionality made available and respecting user privacy. I’ve heard complaints on both sides (roughly equal in quantity, actually, which is kind of intriguing)— lots of people want high quality transcription to the default, and others want no server communication whatsoever as the default.

Naptha can also read out text to you and you’re can depend on it even if you use that Windows machine at work.

More Wallpapers and Customization

April 25, 2015

Having linked to some nice space wallpapers in one of my last posts, I feel I could throw some more related links at you that have been sitting in my local link list file.

Let’s start with some sites that you can browse…

… and then add some single wallpapers for the iPhone 6…




Movie buff’s can also search for “wallpaper” on CriterionCast and Designers are generally a good source for cool wallpapers (cf Louie Mantia or David Lanham) – you can also stalk them on Dribbble.

If it isn’t enough for you to have these wallpapers shining at you from your Mac Desktop what about changing the login window wallpaper on your Mac? Jacob Salmela shows you how to do it – see the comments if you want to do this on Yosemite.

Ben Brooks provides one of the links I miss since MacThemes Forum & Co. have vanished from the internet. You can learn how to replace the system font. It’s a good found by Ben. Although, my eyes are hurting a bit ((fiery red wallpaper)).

My favorite LaunchBar Action

April 23, 2015

The great thing about simple tasks is that you don’t need to think about them; you just press a few buttons and the task is taken care of. That’s why I will always be a keyboard guy/Mac guy and not a power user on all things touch/iOS. Setting a timer is such a task.1

This LaunchBar action is my preferred way to get said job done. I trigger it all the time for everything that is more of a short-lived nature, whether it’s setting a tea timer or to remind me checking some website in 20 minutes after I’ve dealed with the task at hand. 90% of my other reminders go in Due.

A note on Alfred vs. LaunchBar

Yes, Alfred is also nice and super cool. Still, LaunchBar is my go to launcher since I prefer the way it handles file navigation/opening/everything. I use Alfred, too. Mostly for some clever workflows which I don’t plan to port to LaunchBar or Keyboard Maestro.

All in all, I find them to be very close. If you are willing to recreate some workflows/actions you don’t have to be as nuts as me running both. I imagine I’d kick one of them if I had a portable Mac just to save some resources.

  1. Yes, it’s only a few taps on iOS, but when I’m on the Mac it’s still that much faster. I use the hell out of Due.app on iOS. I ♡ it.