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Tiny Tip – Show Hidden Files

HiddenThis week’s Tiny Tip is from Bart Busschots. The problem he is solving is how to easily show hidden files in the Finder. There are various tools to do this, including using the defaults write command in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

After which you have to relaunch the Finder. It’s not hard to do but you always have to look it up, and after you’re done looking for the hidden file in question you have to flip the switch to NO, and relaunch Finder again.

The Tiny Tip Bart discovered has been available since Sierra, but I sure never heard about it. It’s a beautiful thing.

With the Finder in focus, simply hold down command-shift-. And instantly all windows will show all hidden files! Hit the same keystroke again and they disappear.

I LOVE this tip. The keystroke is even easy to remember because . is often at the front of all hidden files, so command-shift-. Is entirely memorable.

DropShadow App Made With Automator and ImageMagick

DropShadow shell scriptHave you ever had a favorite piece of software be abandoned by the developer? I’m not even talking about Apple or Google here, but maybe some nifty little utility that does exactly what you want. For years I have been adding a pretty little drop shadow to all images I post on the blog with a utility called Drop Shadow from Del Sol Software. As Tim Verpoorten used to say, “it does one thing and does it well.”

Del Sol’s Drop Shadow app let you change the angle and size and blur of the shadow and even add a little border to the image as well. The border was handy when I had a screenshot with a white background, otherwise it would wash out on the top and left against my white blog post.

A few weeks ago I thought to write to the developer to ask for an enhancement. I wanted a way to save the parameters of my drop shadows. It’s not hard to drag the little sliders, but I have to do it every time I edit an image. To my surprise, Del Sol Software is nowhere to be found. I searched on the web, on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and even LinkedIn, but it has vanished. Oddly you can still buy Drop Shadow from the Mac App Store so someone must be cashing the checks, but there’s no way to get updates ever again.

When software is abandoned, you can take one of two paths. You can keep using it and just hope each time a new OS comes out it will still work. Then when it stops working you can hold off on the update, or try to find hacks to keep it working (I’m looking at you, George.)

I choose a different path. As soon as I know something is abandoned, I find an alternative. I don’t want to be held hostage by an app. It was time to find an alternative for my beloved Drop Shadow.

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Taming the Drobos

Drobo5nI’ve been working on a super challenging technical project for months now. I’ve wanted to tell you about it but I have run into so many barriers that I was unable to overcome, there wasn’t a good story to tell. I still have not conquered my original task but I’ve had some partial success so I want to do a mini celebration about that.

The Problem to be Solved

Some of this story you may heard before but I want to bring everyone up to speed. A while ago we bought a new Drobo 5N to replace our aging (and never that good in the first place) Drobo FS. The 5N is a dream, with its SSD for caching, it’s super fast and makes a terrific place to store giant and small files alike. I set up a Hazel script to automatically pull over my audio file so my internal MacBook Pro drive doesn’t get filled up any more. Steve stores his giant Final Cut Pro X libraries over on the 5N when he’s done with them. It’s awesome.

Drobos use RAID-like proprietary tools to protect our files from a drive failure, so we do have some fault tolerance but this isn’t technically a backup since our data is only in one place.
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