Alfred 2.7.2, snippets, and Quick Entry for Things

When using Alfred’s clipboard and snippet viewer with the Quick Entry window for Things, the item would paste into the previously active window, not the Quick Entry window.

I use Alfred snippets1 or several items of text in clipboard history when entering new to-dos into Things, and have been annoyed for awhile because I couldn’t do the same with the Quick Entry window.

Today, I’m stoked to see that Andrew and Vero fixed it. Thank you! ⭐

I think one—or both—of the first two items from the Alfred Change Log for 2.7.2 addressed this issue:

  • Significantly improve Alfred’s focusing behaviour, not taking active from the currently focused app. This improves a number of things including clipboard history paste behaviour with a multi screen setup.
  • Bring the Alfred window forward in the window hierarchy

  1. Specifically, timestamps. It’s a worthwhile habit to note when you added a to-do, or track how long it took you to complete a to-do. See also: Using Dynamic Placeholders in Clipboard Snippets

Transporter Sync: Installed!

I ordered a couple of Transporter Sync units after hearing it mentioned on Mac Power Users. It was icing that they offered a 2-for-1 Transporter Sync Mother’s Day special. I felt that Connected Data site sold the strengths of their products well, and I was ready to take some control of my data.

I’ll share my initial thoughts and experience.

I only had a 120 GB USB hard drive, so I ordered a 1 TB Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 Portable hard drive.

Setup was really easy. Plug in the Ethernet cable, hard drive, then power. And wait.

  • 120 GB hard drive: the Transporter sync took 22 minutes before the light turned solid blue. 100 GB available.
  • 1 TB hard drive: 17 minutes.

So much room for more activities!

A couple of missteps happened during the account setup process. Their site didn’t recognize my Transporter Sync as active, so I had to claim it manually ny entering a couple of fields from the bottom of the device. (For my convenience, I took a photo of information on the bottom of the device.) Secondly, the password length is limited to 32 characters.

I added a couple of Shared Folders with Amy, who doesnt have a Transporter for herself. Yet. Like Dropbox, she’ll need to create an account, then add the apps to her devices befofe she can use the Shared Folders.

On my laptop, I’ll use Selective Sync to uncheck these Shared Folders. I want the data in her folders sync’d to the Transporter Sync hard drive, but the files won’t be copied onto my laptop.

I started moving folders from Dropbox to my Transporter. Aside from on-the-fly organizing, it was simple moving my files. I also added some movie files that weren’t on Dropbox, and was pleased that those would finally be sync’d.

Testing a couple of apps was painless. In nvALT, I switched the folder to my Transporter, then tested a few edits to see if they sync’d. In Alfred, I also had to change the sync folder location from its settings.

Fast forwarding to the present, I have 19.1 GB sync’d to my Transporter, not much left on Dropbox, and looking for more to “migrate”!

I’m stoked because:

  • Transporter for iOS has automatic upload enabled with my camera roll to start when I’m at home and on WiFi. I usually import photos with Lightroom, and delete them from my iPhone with Image Capture. Now any photos that were in limbo won’t be anymore.
  • I have access to my hard drive.
  • I don’t have to worry about my hard drive.
  • Data is encrypted during transfer.
  • Nobody else sees that data unless I allow it.

I’m not sure if I’ll use the Transporter Library, as my laptop hard drive is spacious, but I’m glad I have the option. (Confession: Access speed would be slower.)

I’ll post a follow up sometime to describe some quirks that are super minor, and wanted to publish this right away because I’m pretty stoked. 🙂

SuperDuper, I choose YOU!

I never used my Time Machine backups since I started using it for my Mac in 2012 (two MacBook Air laptops ago). Today, I finally chose to wipe it fresh and stick with SuperDuper alone to free up that space on my external hard drive. (In other words, ditching the previous versions of files.) I’ll stick with a daily regimen of using Smart Update from this point forward.

Context: OS X clean install completed

Favorite workflows for Alfred 2

The following are a current, alphabetical list of workflows I’ve installed for Alfred 2. Enjoy the rabbit hole! 🙂

Caffeinate Control by Shawn Patrick Rice: Replaces the Caffeine Mac app.

Caffeinate is a native OS X command line utility that solves the problem of your Mac constantly falling asleep on you. […] Caffeinate was introduced in Mountain Lion (10.8)[…]

Chrome Bookmarks by Marat Dreizin: I remember seeing this workflow, and I’m glad I finally installed it.

Faves by David Ferguson:

Mark a folder/app/file as a favorite and then provide you with quick access to those items by a keyword.

Results from the workflow are actionable (marked as file items), they can be opened it by pressing Enter, browsed in Alfred by pressing Cmd+Enter, or removed from the favorites list by pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Menu Bar Search by Ted Wise: Despite the workflow page on Packal saying it isn’t compatible with Yosemite (10.10), it works fine for me.

Netflix Search by Dorian Karter: “Search, autocomplete and launch Netflix.” Update 2015-06-19: v1.5 doesn’t work with the Netflix website revamp, so I’ve stopped using this workflow.

Non-Secure Empty Trash by Arthur Hammer: With the Empty Trash securely option checked in Finder Preferences, the default Alfred command to empty your trash (“Empty”) means the files will be deleted securely. If you don’t have anything sensitive that requires a secure file deletion, this workflow will save that time.

OS X Toolbox Workflow by Sayz Lim: The “tb” keyword gives you eight options in Yosemite:

  • Relaunch Finder
  • Toggle Desktop
  • Toggle Hidden Files
  • Memory Purge
  • Reset Launch Services
  • Toggle WiFi
  • Reset Launchpad
  • Relaunch Dock

Random Choice by Clinton Strong: Leave indecisiveness to chance. Options include:

  • Get a yes or no response to, “Should I…?”
  • Flip a coin.
  • Choose a random number using a minimum or maximum value.
  • Choose ‘…’ from a comma separated list of values.
  • Roll the dice

Rate iTunes Track by David Klem: “Assign a star rating to the currently playing track in iTunes.” I use Smart Playlists. Most of those have a rule which require songs to have ratings, and a couple of them only play songs that need a rating. For the latter, this workflow speeds up that process. (Related post from March 2006: How I use the Grouping field in iTunes.)

Rdio by David Ferguson: “Control your local Rdio application, search for tracks, artists or albums to play, and also provide you with information about the currently playing track.”

YouTube by Simon Støvring: Search YouTube videos with Alfred 2 and the “yt” keyword. Includes eleven commands, which you (fortunately) don’t need to remember. 🙂

Honorable mentions

Add to Things by Kim Franken: Add new tasks to your lists in Things. I don’t use this because I prefer the Quick Entry window to add context immediately.

Sometimes, when you’re replying to an email or browsing the web, you might think of something you want to jot down. Things makes it easy to do that before you forget, and without losing focus on what you’re doing. You can even automatically link to a website, email, or file, and capture snippets of text that you need to refer to later.

You can see more details on the support page from Cultured Code, “Creating To-Dos From Other Apps“.

Bluetooth Toggle by Jakob Wells for Yosemite only. For older versions of OS X, you can try another workflow here.

PingPong by Vítor Galvão: Hold the ⌘ (Command) key, look for the word “Pong”, and press the corresponding number to hit the ball. There are three difficulty levels.

OS X clean install completed

I completed my first clean install of OS X Yosemite last Friday. I’ve previously restored Time Machine backups when migrating to a new laptop since OS X Mountain Lion, so this was daunting.

A large amount of my hand–written notes consisted of several lists:

  • My applications folder.
  • Timestamps along with the completed tasks. (Why? I wanted to see the duration for each task.)
  • Extensions for Google Chrome.

It appears that much of app–specific data — which 1) needed to be migrated and 2) didn’t have a sync or import/export feature — is stored in:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/
  • ~/Library/Preferences/

My shenanigans

Adobe Lightroom — I thought copying the Application Support folder for Adobe would suffice, but I got a “Missing Camera Profiles” error. Fortunately, reinstalling Lightroom on top of itself fixed the issue. — I have an IMAP account with my stagnant self–hosted site, yet I still copied the folder. I used TextWrangler to copy the portion of code that appeared to be relevant to my existing IMAP settings from ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData/Accounts.plist (on my SuperDuper backup). Cowboy coding? I don’t know! Next time, I’ll set it up from scratch and let it sync. 🙂

Lessons and tips

Take more screenshots than you think is necessary. With Cloudup, you can upload a batch of related screenshots into the same stream. Don’t forget your Selective Sync folders for Dropbox.

Check app documentation for a built–in backup and restore feature. I didn’t realize The Clock had a backup and restore feature — despite the visible option in the app preferences. Others:

  • coconutBattery: See File → Import from archive and Export to archive.
  • Divvy
  • FileZilla
  • PopClip
  • Timing: Take a screenshot of your tracking results from the past year or so. Upon running the app, Timing recreated Activity categories I previously deleted.

Aside from my Alfred 2 usage stats were wiped, its sync feature works well. I saved a screenshot of my usage for posterity:

I love SuperDuper for backing up to an external hard drive. I used Time Machine backups first, and probably suggest using separate drives.

HP Printer Drivers v3.0 works with my HP LaserJet 1020 connected to an Apple AirPort Express. I chose the HP LaserJet 1022, 1.6.0 driver.

Erasing your hard drive before the install OS X Utilities: I thought it was processing, despite not showing a progress bar, but later found out that I had to click on one of the drives/partitions in the sidebar.

If you use a Trackpad, you may want to check “Enable dragging” by going to System Preferences → Accessibility → Mouse & Trackpad → Trackpad Options.

Alfred 2: If you prefer using ⌘–Spacebar, you’ll need to go to System Preferences → Spotlight → Search Results , and uncheck “Spotlight search keyboard shortcut”.

Audit your current applications and data regularly. A few reasons:

  • You no longer need some apps.
  • An app (or system tool which can be found in System Preferences, like Perian) were installed while using an older version of OS X, but haven’t been updated for the latest version.

Add any license or registration keys to your password manager, including the date when you received the email, and the email address where it was sent. This will save time from searching for the relevant emails.

Other thoughts/questions

  • How long I should wait before I run Smart Update (Erase then copy) to backup all files from my current setup? I’m thinking I should try and use as much of everything as I can for a week or two.
  • Can I manually delete extremely old Time Machine backups from Finder? For what it’s worth, I haven’t needed to use Time Machine to restore a file/folder.

Time for a clean install

Since updating OS X from Mavericks to Yosemite, I’ve noticed that my laptop will randomly:

  • Not go to sleep when plugged into my Thunderbolt Display; the laptop display and Apple logo will remain illuminated.
  • Restart after a few minutes if a bunch of apps are open and my computer is locked.


I spent about two hours trying several of the suggestions in the support guide, “When your Mac doesn’t sleep or wake“. After the point of trying to reset the SMC and NVRAM, I feel I’ve put off a clean install long enough.

I’ve backed up my SSH keys for work, ran Time Machine and SuperDuper, and gathered the following articles for reference saved in Simplenote (from newest to oldest):

I promise to track my progress carefully, because I’d love to share it with you after I get to the other side.

If you have any relevant suggestions or links regarding this process, please leave a comment. I can use all the help I can get. 🙂