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Welcome to Thought Asylum a place for me to share my thoughts, ideas and experiences with the rest of the world.  I try to post reasonably regularly and if you like the content consider subscribing to the site feeds.  If you're trying to find something specific try the search, otherwise just have a browse.


Wednesday
Jul062016

Working with Dropbox Files from Drafts on iOS

Like many who blog I keep a list of topic ideas which I plan to blog about at some point. When I get some time to write I pick a topic that I like the look of and get some word thrashed out. I was surprised when I saw something in last week's MacStories members' newsletter that directly related to something rather niche I had on my list.

As I expect you've already guessed, this post is about that particular topic. It's about getting text to and from the iOS app Drafts from Dropbox.

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Thursday
Jun302016

Quick File Duplication in Windows

I love finding little shortcuts to help me get things done. Sometimes it's through automation of processes I do occasionally and sometimes its through speeding up something smaller that I need to do frequently. In this post I want to share something that definitely falls into the latter category. Duplicating files in Windows Explorer.

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Monday
May302016

File Level Configuration for Nakisa Applications

The majority of configuration in Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN) applications is achieved via the changing of settings in the AdminConsole, Nakisa's standard administration interface. For a typical configuration this is all that you would require. Unfortunately all too often, typical is not what a client wants and so we have to look beyond the current capabilities of AdminConsole. There are other occasions too where perhaps it is a laborious or inefficient task to do a particular piece of configuration in AdminConsole compared to another method. In those situations I turn to configuring the underlying configuration files directly.

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Sunday
May222016

Multi-Resource Presentations

I was reading through issue 33 of the MacStories newsletter (to which I'm a paid subscriber) and I spotted an interesting request from one of the readers to do with efficiently creating presentations to have multiple outputs for a small variety of uses. The reader was hoping to find a way to maintain multiple versions automatically when updating source material. The MacStories team called out to other readers for suggestions on addressing this. In this post I'm going to outline my approach to the issue.

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Saturday
Apr232016

Exporting Snippets from TextExpander (v6)

TextExpander has long used Dropbox to synchronise snippets, but with the advent of the latest version (v6 on Mac), the snippets are now synchronised by a proprietary synchronisation service. Thoughts about the move to a software as a service (SaaS) model aside this then poses the question how can you access your snippets for the purposes of independent backup or sharing with users on earlier TextExpander versions?

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Tuesday
Apr052016

Workflow: Modify Clipboard Character Case

I haven't posted about Workflow for a little while, but it remains one of my favourite applications on iOS and I'm still actively creating and revising workflows. In fact I'm currently clocking in at 176 workflows on my devices. Today I thought I'd clear up the dry spell on Workflow related posts and put something together around one of my text manipulation workflows. This particular one manipulates the character case of text on the device clipboard.

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Monday
Apr042016

Keyboard Maestro: Adding TextExpander Snippet Expiry Dates

In my last post I described a method for tagging temporary TextExpander snippets with a date stamp and using some scripting to automatically remove expired snippets. In that post I mentioned that I use Keyboard Maestro to schedule the expired snippets clean-up script and that I also used it to help me in setting up those temporary snippets. In this post I'm going to provide some details on exactly how I'm using Keyboard Maestro to help with this.

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Monday
Apr042016

Auto Managing TextExpander Temporary Snippets

Any Mac user interested in things such as automation and productivity will no doubt have come across TextExpander, Smile Software's utility that allows you to instantly replace a string of text with a different string of text. This can be used to auto correct typographic errors, insert boiler plate chunks of text or even trigger scripts or fill-in forms that can return more dynamic sets of text. Like so many others who start using it I now find it indispensable.

The expansion snippets that people create fall into two time-based categories. Those that you want to use long term/forever and those that you need for just a little while to get the job done. Today I'd like to share a little Mac automation to help with the latter.

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Tuesday
Mar292016

Keyboard Maestro: Date Picker Macro

Keyboard Maestro is one of my favourite Mac utilities. It’s like having a Swiss Army knife that includes not only a simple blade but also a scalpel, chainsaw, electron microscope and a suit of armour. If I can’t easily do something in another utility chances are there’s a way to use Keyboard Maestro to get the job done.

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Tuesday
Mar222016

Tackling a Club MacStories DMG Workflow Request

Club MacStories is a membership value add option provided by the rather popular MacStories.net web site. I'm a Club MacStories member and as such receive the weekly newsletter which contains lots of additional Apple related material and articles. In last week's newsletter (issue 24) one of the user questions was around automatically attaching and detaching DMGs and whilst a partial solution was provided, the response also invited readers to round it out to complete the last part. I figured I'd give it a go and share what I came up with.

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