Manage Windows In OS X Like a Boss With Spectacle

I hate using the mouse or trackpad on my MacBook to manage open windows. When using multiple monitors, I move windows between the monitors and resize them all the time. That’s why my mind was blown when I found out about Spectacle.

Spectacle is light, simple, and open source. It does one thing – control window size and position using keyboard shortcuts. It does it well. I installed it a couple of days ago, and I just can’t remember how I was able to work without it.

This post is part of my Mac Power User Training series. Follow it to see how I try to go from Mac novice to a pro.

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Getting Perfect Baby Formula Temperature, Instantly

By Monday, September 8, 2014 0 Permalink 2

Fixing up a bottle of formula (or two) for your baby isn’t complicated. Boil some water, add in formula, shake, cool it down. Why not save yourself some time and effort, by getting the perfect water temperature? In an instant? Always?

I’m sure I’m not the first to use this trick, but thought it might be useful to share. It definitely helped me to shorten the time from a hungry baby to a bottled baby 🙂

The gist of the tip is to pre-fill bottles with 70-80% room temperature water. Then, adding the final 20-30% of boiling hot water + formula + shake results an instantly ready-to-feed bottle!

The amount of pre-filled water depends on your room temperature, and your target temperature. As an example, a standard bottle for my twins is 180ml water with 3 spoons formula. During the Israeli summer, when room temperature is gazillion degrees, I keep bottles at around 145ml.

There are many other ways, of course. You could use 100% boiling water and cool it down in ice water. You could use 100% room temperature water and heat it up in a bottle warmer. I like my method, because it’s quick, and can be easily applied anywhere. When we go outside, we take pre-filled bottles and a thermos, and we’re set.

Got tips & tricks of your own? Let me know through the comments!

Quick Evernote Template-based Note Creation with Launchy

Recently, I redesigned my GTD system based on Evernote as the main tool.

I believe strongly that the chosen tools should not “get in the way” of interacting with the system, so when I noticed that several of my Evernote workflows include too much repetitiveness and friction – I looked for ways to reduce that friction and enable me to concentrate on the content and not the meta.

Since I am already a fan of Launchy keyboard launcher, I sought for the ideal integration between Launchy and Evernote – something that would allow me to quickly create template-based notes in Evernote, whatever the active application is, in as frictionless way as possible, while still being flexible and powerful.

I found a couple of ideas, like Brandon’s My Simple Curiosity post on Evernote note templates, and Stephen’s Thought Asylum post on the same subject. These posts were inspiring and helpful, and I wound up developing my own solution, relying on stuff I learned from them.

The result is a collection of scripts and utilities I wrote, that does exactly what I want.

This Evernote-Launchy integration allows quick creation of parametrized template-based notes from Launchy on Windows!

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Launching the Command Prompt from Anywhere with AutoHotKey

When working on my Windows laptop, I often find myself needing to launch a new command prompt. The need usually arises in the active folder in Windows Explorer, or in Total Commander (my favorite file manager on Windows).

This happens pretty often, so I decided to create a keyboard shortcut to automate the process. To do this, I used AutoHotKey – the awesome Windows automation tool.

Properties and features of the AHK script I came up with:

  • Invoked with a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+T (so it’s consistent with launching the terminal in Linux).
  • If in Windows Explorer – start the command prompt in the current directory.
  • If in Total Commander – start the command prompt in the current directory of the active pane.
  • Otherwise, use a default directory (e.g., the home directory).

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My Favorite Chrome Custom Searches

Custom search engines are an awesome feature in modern web browsers at large. This is especially true in Google Chrome (which is incidentally my favorite desktop browser for daily use).

In a nutshell, custom search engines power-charge the address bar (or omnibar), and allow the user to assign keywords for special operations. Custom operations include searching in a specific site (e.g. Wikipedia, or this blog 🙂 ), run some JavaScript, or invoke commands in various web-apps using crafted URL’s (e.g. creating a new calendar event).

See Google’s support for more details.

In this post I describe my favorite custom search engines, as I configured them in Chrome on my computers, including site-specific searches, time-constrained searches, etc.

It should be noted that other browsers have a similar feature with similar syntax, so the same definitions might apply as well. Note that I did not test them on browsers other than Chrome.

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