• Preamble / Preface

    I just reset my laptop a little over a month ago. I did restore most of my essential data from an onsite backup drive + offsite cloud storage. But I didn't have the foresight to save any of my "utilities of convenience" (my .zshrc config survived intact, but aside from that, nada)


    So I figured, instead of just blindly stumbling through the interwebs to re-discover all those little tools that made life easier, why not brainstorm with everyone on here? Not just for my sake, anyone can benefit from what others share here, so feel free to pop open the proverbial hood and give us a peek at what makes your machine purr.


    Call to action

    Feel free to share:

    • MacOS Applescripts, Automator workflows, shell scripts, etc
      • Cross-platform tricks like URL-schemes and Shortcuts etc should work universally across iOS and macOS, so feel free to share those as well so that mobile users can benefit as well
    • I used to use AutoHotKey scripts when I had a Windows machine to rebind my keyboard or automate various things, if anyone wants to share those. Shell scripts either specific to that platform (and especially those which can work from the command line irregardless of which OS you run it from) are also greatly appreciated!
    • Android automation via Tasker is very similar in principle to Shortcuts on iOS. I'm pretty sure it predates Shortcuts too (even back before Apple bought it from the Workflow team)
    • I've not delved into any Linux distros yet because it seems like a bit of a rabbit hole 😅 but I definitely do see the appeal behind FOSS philosophy, so maybe one day I'll jump ship. In the meantime, if there are any Linux users here, feel free to share your .dotfile configs too!
    • Heck, why stop and operating systems? What browser are y'all using to view this post right now? Want some recommendations for chromium extensions or javascript bookmarklets or other fun convenient little utility tools to help you manage your tabs?

    You get the idea. Share whatever "simple systems" you use to help make your daily use of tech that much easier.


    Way too often the "apps" get too much attention and press via blogs and YouTube reviews, when "applets" contribute just as much to your experience -- we just tend to forget about them because they work SO WELL that they essentially blend into the background and we take them for granted... right up until we have to navigate tech without them lol.

    I can't count the number of times I migrated to a new machine (or reset it in this last instance) and all my purchases from the App Store automatically installed again without any issue, but it inexplicably still felt cumbersome and difficult to use as various points of friction I forgot was the default behavior kept reminding me "oh yeah, I solved this particular pain-point a while back with duct-tape and zip-ties, didn't I?"

    duct tape

    P.S. Be classy kiddos

    Lets try to keep this "action-oriented" rather than focusing on the tools themselves too much.

    For instance, I think that Keyboard Maestro and BetterTouchTool are absolute lifesavers on my Mac, but I'd rather not just promote them out of the gate because they're SO versatile in their functionality that it could actually be a bit daunting for a novice to figure where to even start.

    not helpful

    So instead, I'd encourage everyone to outline a solid use-case for that tool (preferably in response to someone else's comment suggesting they need help solving problem x... but I'm not gonna police you all on that, you can post about these tool recommendations preemptively too I guess).

    In the case of my preferred tools mentioned above, I might respond to someone and say "you know, you can accomplish this same thing by just pressing the shift/caps/whatever key twice or swiping from this corner on your trackpad, right? This same 7-step process you're describing, triggered by just one finger ☝️🤯"

    • Clearly showing how these tools relate to resolving some conundrum helps to showcase why they're so useful.
    • Simply acting like an advertisement and saying "Product XYZ is the greatest thing to happen since sliced bread! Because... reasons?!?!!!!" isn't really beneficial to anyone, you just come across as more of a tool than the tool you're trying to promote.

    may god have mercy on your soul

  • sudo pacman install ram upgrade && cpu upgrade then alt+f4

  • @Lake-Bodom : sudo pacman install ram upgrade && cpu upgrade then alt+f4


  • CTRL C to copy
    CTRL V to pastejaja

  • @DaNii CTRL C to copy CTRL V to pastejaja

    Yep! Thanks for sharing @DaNii

    The benefits of utilizing key-combos

    This may seem like a super simple tip, but it's actualy a great place to start since

    1. there are often corresponding keyboard shortcuts for

      • various actions you take,
      • buttons you click,
      • menu-items offered by apps
      • etc

      and these can often go overlooked. But learning to memorize and regularly use the keyboard shortcuts of the ~5-10 of your most used frequently used commants (e.g. cut/copy/paste actions) can drastically speed up how you operate daily.

      Sure, they may seem like incredibly small and minor points of convenience, but if it's a repeated action that you do often enough, trust me the time you save quickly starts to pile up (compared to how much time it takes you to navigate menus and sub-menus to accomplish the same thing)

    2. Another reason I think this is a solid starter tip is because it literally requires 0 new software installations.

    And besides, certain shortcuts like CTRL/CMD/SUPER+X for for "cutting" content to the clipboard (as well as the CTRL/CMD/SUPER+C and CTRL/CMD/SUPER+V variants mentioned above for "copying" and "pasting" respectively) are kindof universal across various OS platforms like Windows (uses CTRL) or macOS (which uses CMD) or Linux (uses the SUPER key).

    So it's incredibly useful to learn some of these keyboard-combinations, especially since some of them are pretty much app/platform-agnostic.

    SHIFT + combo ≈ "reverse uno"!

    My addition to this discussion (besides the X variant I just mentioned above) would be to point out that... adding the SHIFT modifier key to many different shortcuts often has the "reverse" or "opposite" effect of what you just did 🤯

    Go ahead, try it out. Copy some rich-text formatted content and then past it with CTR/CMD/SUPER+V into a word-processor. Now, add SHIFT when to that same "paste" keyboard shortcut. Notice how all the fancy formatting like bold and italics etc gets stripped away and a plain-text version just got pasted instead?

    Now try this one. You're viewing this page on your browser, right? Hitting CTRL+T opens a new tab... but did you know that adding SHIFT (i.e. hitting CTRL+SHIFT+T) reopens your previously closed tab?

    Similarly, CTRL+TAB navigates your browser tabs from left-to-right. Adding SHIFT allows you to navigate from right-to-left.

    And that's just tab-switching. What about switching apps? ALT+TAB on Windows and CMD+TAB on Mac brings up a translucent HUD of all currently open applications (fun fact which may not be readily obvious right away, but they're displayed in most-recently-used order, i.e. you can quickly switch between your last 2 apps quickly by invoking this command consecutively... but I digress) and while that main trigger-key is held down, if you just tap TAB a couple of more times the selection hops to the right (same as the browser-tab traversal trick). Now, hold down SHIFT and ALT+TAB or CMD+TAB and voila, it reverses the direction of which app you've selected in the "MRU-sorted switcher"

    You'd be surprised at how many different places adding this SHIFT key to a keyboard-combo you already knew does an "alternate" or "opposite" version of the action you're already familiar with. So go ahead, experiment and discover new SHIFT variations to your currently known shortcuts and add them to your arsenal 👌🏼

    Discovering/learning unknown combinations

    These final tips are sortof geared towards Mac users only (sorry! But if anyone knows of a Windows and Linux equivalent, by all means, feel free to share it!)

    • In any given app, you can hit CMD+SHIFT+/ to invoke the last "Help" app-menu.
      • The great thing about this is the cursor is already focused on the search-box. The benefits of this is twofold.
        1. If you forgot the keyboard combo to an action you can just type the name of it (like "cut").
          When you arrow down in that fileted list now presented within the help menu, the selected item gets shown in it's corresponding menu (i.e. I hit the down arrow to select "cut" and simultaneously the "Edit" menu is shown with "Cut" highlighted there too).
          Now you're able to see the shortcut next to the command name (I'm literally doing it right now and I see Cut ⌘X when it gets highlighted. So now I now I need to hit Command plus X in order to cut content)
        2. If the command you searched for doesn't have a dedicated keyboard shortcut, you haven't wasted any time as you can just hit Return and that action will be taken.
      • So this method is a win-win, you either remind yourself of old shortcuts you've forgotten or naturally learn to pick up new ones if you happen to use the command frequently enough. And on the off chance it doesn't have a key-combo associated with it you can still invoke it without delay.
    • Ah, but what if you're doing this "search" trick frequently, and you notice a pattern in how often you invoke a certain command now... but it doesn't have a pre-programmed key-combo you can learn or use - you're forced to keep typing it out or manually click on that menu item with your mouse each time?
      • Create a brand new keyboard combo for it!
        1. Launch the System Preferences app
        2. Open the Keyboard section
        3. Select App Shortcuts from the left-hand column (it's the very last entry at the bottom of the list)
        4. On the right-hand side, hit the + button.
        5. Select the application, make sure you've typed in the name of the menu-item you want to invoke correctly, and press the keys you want to use to invoke that command.
    • Ah, but the above 2 tips are all well and good when I know exactly what command it is that I'm looking for / want to learn / want to create a shortcut for a particular and already well-known command... but what about the opposite approach? Not drilling down to something specific via search, but passively scanning all available shortcuts that are currently available? A sortof "cheat sheet" approach to discovering and/or learning new key-combos, if you will?
      • Download CheatSheet and then hold down the Command key for a few seconds, a literal cheat sheet will be displayed showing any/every available shortcut.
      • I personally prefer to use a much more powerful and customizable variant called KeyCue but CheatSheet.app is free so I'd recommend starting with that first.
        • Just invoked KeyCue and took a screenshot to show you what shortcuts are available to me.
          • The reason certain commands are in yellow is because I was holding down CMD+SHIFT in order to take this screenshot and so KeyCue was visually highlighting them to distinguish the next potential keypress from the rest. If I hit CMD+CTRL or just CMD etc, a different set of commands would be highlighted.
          • The if you mouse over the "legend" at the very bottom it actually turns into a text field which functions pretty much identically to the "Help" search box (albiet, the filtering is done via visually using highlights while dimming other commands)
          • It's theme-able, unlike CheatSheet. etc etc, many other bells and whistles besides. You can read all about it on their site.

    Screen Shot 2022-02-16 at 19.31.09.png

    So there you go, 3 new ways to discover and learn new commands and associated keyboard shortcuts on the Mac:

    You can use CMD+SHIFT+/ to invoke the Help menu and drill down to what you want to use within the app-wide menu items.

    If any of those results don't have a key combo already you can just hit enter, or if you find yourself doing that frequently enough then just create a new user-configurable key-combo in System Preferences > Keyboard > App Shortcuts > +

    Finally, utilizing 3rd-party tools like CheatSheet.app or KeyCue.app, you can get a visual overview of all possible shortcut offerings to scan through rather than having to remember what keyword or phrase to type in search each time

  • @erikagautney wow thanks, i will have it in mind!

  • @Lake-Bodom you likely wrote this as a joke, but I actually do use package managers. And not just for CLI tools, libraries and dependencies quickly accessed from the console of a code editor while doing software development work -- I legit use it for for installing and maintain "regular" GUI apps too

    This might seem overly geeky lol, but I think the average layperson could benefit from knowing this is an option. I mean, even if they only used the terminal ONCE (and then never again) when they get a fresh new computer and just type in install Chrome and Spotify and X and Y and Z too mmkthnxbyeeee hit enter to run it and voila that's like umpteen different clicks they've just saved themselves. As opposed to:

    • opening Edge or Safari or whatever your default browser out of the box that you hate using,
    • navigating to mozilla to download firefox or whatever 3rd-party browser you prefer,
    • running the installation wizard,
    • launching that one
    • navigating to spotify's website,
    • hitting download,
    • clicking through that installer,

    etc, etc, ad nauseum, ad infinatum, you get the idea, rinse and repeat over and over again for however many of your mainstay apps you usually install right away... it's SUCH a repetiously redundant c h o r e

    What if instead of all nonsense, you can just

    1. list out all your favorite apps in a plaintext file
    2. then go to the terminal and in one simple line say "install everything in here".
    3. Boom, there is no step 3, let your machine do the rest of the tedious legwork for you

    I made a quick demo-video recording a batch-update operation just now so y'all can see it in action

    I'm using Homebrew here which works on macOS and Linux, Windows users have a variant called Chocolatey.

    And just a friendly FYI to all: I don't normally keep the terminal window or file manager open like this just to double or triple sanity-check if everything actually worked as it really isn't necessary -- that was just for your sake so you could see the step-by-step process of what's going on behind the scenes.

    In daily usage, I just set it, forget it, and let it update everything in the background as I go on about my business. So bear that in mind: no matter how complicated or intimidating this may look, it really just boils down to that first one-liner command I ran at the beginning to update everything.

    Oh, also @Lake-Bodom I don't use sudo for every command lmao that's just overkill. And on the very rare occasions whenever I do need to, I almost exclusively invoke it by tastefully typing out f ck instead because I find it far more amusing :P

    I can't actually type out that word since it goes against the TOS of TWS 😅 but you can read more about the [REDACTED] command here