April 10, 2024


Links of Note 2024-04-10

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.

Thanks to Photo by Dids

macOS fonts
April 3, 2024

Love the One You’re With Part 1

I download almost every text editor which is released. Every outlining program also gets my interest. Over the years, I have played with and used for significant amounts of time a whole host of programs. The advantage is that I have a lot of fun doing that1. The disadvantage? There are great solutions which I already have access to, which do not get used at all. Am searching for perfection when perfectly all right is right under my nose.

Today I am going to talk about one such solution.

Stepping Back to TaskPaper

TaskPaper IconTaskPaper Icon

I purchased TaskPaper the week it was released, sometime in the Fall of 2007. I updated to version 2 when it was available and then to version 3. It has been on my hard drive for all that time. I have used it off and on. But never concentrated on it enough to make it the main driver for my lists. Instead, I have used dedicated outlining programs like Opal, or OmniOuliner for making and maintaining lists.

Over the years I have moved to a test file focused workflow. TaskPaper files are plain text files which are accessible in any text editor. Moving to TaskPaper and using it for all my lists made sense2.

In TaskPaper, I made an effort to simplify my life, I decided to consolidate a couple of things. My diary and my lists. I changed my “single file for every day diary workflow” to one file for the whole year.

Diary file for the whole yearDiary file for the whole year

I have a few text files which are lists I access regularly. Links for the blog-posts titled, Links of Note, Books to read, Recipes to make, YouTube videos to watch, Computer tasks for a later date, etc.. There are about 20 of these lists. I consolidated all of them into one TaskPaper file.

Bunches of ListsBunches of Lists

Advantages of TaskPaper

  • macOS compliant. Two spaces turn into a period and the first letter of a new sentence is capitalized.
  • Typewriter scrolling. In the theme, you can set where you want the cursor to be.
  • Fast, stable, well-designed software.
  • The ability to concentrate on one part of the outline and not the whole thing. Less distraction that way.
  • Keyboard commands. TaskPaper has those, for everything. Makes using it fun.
  • Can handle large files without any problems.

Two More Features

Go to anything. ⌘P, and you get a dropdown list which lets you go to any project or sub-project in your outline. Fuzzy search window. Fantastic.

Go to anythingGo to anything

Command Palette. ⇧⌘P, and you get to a listing of all the commands available to you. Start typing. Choose the command. Hit return. Like Sublime Text and VSCode.

[Command Palette](/public/Go to anything

TaskPaper Looks After My Lists

TaskPaper is marketed as a program to manage your tasks. It can do that. I am not interested in that part of the product. I use the Reminders app for that. I use TaskPaper as an outlining program and it is fantastic at that.

Why didn’t I use it earlier? I don’t have a good answer for that. Getting distracted by the new shiny is something I seem to be susceptible to. Have to watch out for that impulse and stick to what is working and working well.

An added benefit of sticking to a program? You get to learn the keyboard commands and the muscle memory improves. TaskPaper is going to be handling my lists.

The Song

This is the original version. Stephen Stills

This is the CSN version. CSN

These are some good covers of the same song:

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.

  1. I pretend that it is something I need to do for the blog. But who are we fooling?↩︎

  2. My main machine is a 2011 iMac which runs High Sierra. I can’t use Bike on this machine. Thus TaskPaper was the only choice.↩︎

macOS TaskPaper
January 5, 2024


Links of Note 2024-01-05

Thanks: To Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/orange-tabby-cat-lying-on-floor-290164/

January 3, 2024

Default Apps 2024



  • macOS: 10.13.6 on iMac and 12.7.2 on MB Air.
    These are the latest systems that can be run on the machines.
  • Mail App: Mailmate
    Mailmate is the ultimate Mail application. My email needs are not extensive, and Mailmate fits the bill.
  • Junk-cleaner: SpamSieve
    SpamSieve keeps me free from spam. It has been on my machine for a long time. It works.
  • Internet Security: Little Snitch
    Lets me know when a program wants to talk to the world outside my computer.
  • Calendar: Apple Calendar
    Apple Calendar is all I need for my calendar.
  • Notes: Obsidian and BBEdit
    I like using Obsidian sometimes, but I am mainly in BBEdit.
  • To-Do: Obsidian
    Obsidian with the Tasks plugin is the solution I have settled on.
  • Cloud File Storage: iCloud and Dropbox
  • Browser: Firefox on the iMac and Safari on the MB Air
  • Text: BBEdit
    This is the editor for all of my text file needs. I wrote about my decision to use this, here.
  • Editing Text: iA Writer
    iA Writer is best tool I have when I am editing something I have written. Love using it.
  • Markdown Preview: Marked 2
    Marked 2 is in charge of my previewing Markdown needs.
  • Word Processing: Nisus Writer Express
    My needs for word processing are limited. I live in text files. Nisus Writer Express does the job when I need a word processor.
  • Book Writing: Scrivener
    Scrivener manages my manuscripts. It is the best program for writing. I don’t use it for everything only because I am not fond of rich text.
  • ScreenWriting: Highland 2
    Highland is a great solution for scripts or even single Markdown documents.
  • Mindmapping: iThoughtsX
    I like iThoughtsX for my mind-mapping needs. I must admit that I like outlines better for thinking than mind-maps. When I need to visualize my thinking, iThoughtsX comes in handy.
  • Outlining: Bike on the Air and TaskPaper on the iMac.
    I am always living in outlines. I use text editors for outlines too. In fact, everything I write seems to start with an outline. When I am looking for a dedicated outlining program Bike on the Air and TaskPaper on the iMac is what I reach for.
  • PDF Files: PDF Expert
    PDF Expert manages my interactions with PDF files.
  • Images: Acorn
    Acorn is enough for my image manipulation needs.
  • Information Manager: EagleFiler
    EagleFiler is where I dump information. Stable, fast, reliable storage of all kinds of documents.
  • E-book Reader: Clearview X, and Kindle
  • Music Player: Pine Player and iTunes or Music
  • Video Player: IINA
  • App Launcher: Alfred
    Alfred is the most important utility on my computer. I use it for a whole host of things.
  • Clipboard Manager: Alfred
  • Text Expansion: Alfred
  • RSS Service: Newsblur
  • RSS App: Reeder
  • Bookmarks: Pinboard
  • Read It Later: Omnivore
  • Password Manager: Enpass
  • Utilities: Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, AppCleaner, Skitch, HoudahSpot, Keka, and a host of others.


OS: 17.2.1

  • Tasks: Clear
  • Text: iA Writer


Thanks to all the developers of the programs I use. They make my life better and I am grateful.

You might find more at:

Thanks to Photo by Pixabay

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.

December 30, 2023


One Editor For All My Text Files

This should not be a difficult search. Looking for one editor to handle all of my text file needs.

What Are My Text File Needs?

  1. I write in Markdown. I want good support for Markdown. Keyboard commands to make the input of Markdown syntax easier. Good syntax highlighting. Some automations. Automatic insertion of closing bracket if I type the opening bracket. Automatic continuation of lists both numbered and unordered. Fast movement between titles and sub-titles of a Markdown document.
  2. The ability to have a bunch of files open and easy navigation between files. Easy navigation should include keyboard commands.
  3. A good writing environment. Spell-checker. Support for macOS conventions like two periods turn into a period and the opening letter of a new sentence is capitalized would be a bonus. Nice themes.
  4. Typewriter scrolling. Hate looking at the bottom of the screen when I am writing.
  5. Regex support.
  6. Good performance. Low memory usage. Fast. Stable and reliable.
  7. Ability to deal with large files1. By large, I mean files which are in the megabytes. Not gigabytes.

Obviously the Answer Is VSCode

VSCode is the dominant text editor in the market. I tried it.

It is fantastic.

Does everything I want it to do. It’s memory usage is a tad crazy, but a text editor is the main program on my computer and I am willing to look past it chomping on memory.

It doesn’t do well with large files. Everything lags. You hit the ↩︎ key and wait. Nothing happens. It is busy trying to create the outline view. If you wait, it suddenly responds to a few of the ↩︎ keys that you typed. The performance is abysmal. It is responsive when you are dealing with small files. This problem occurs with large files. I use a lot of those. VSCode unfortunately can’t be solution for my usage. Pity.

The Answer Has to Be Emacs

You would think so. But not really. When you are dealing with a large Markdown file, you are going to have to switch to Fundamental Mode and then you might be able to scroll through that without a lot of lag. How do people work in this editor?

Of course I am an Emacs newbie and I might have some setup weirdness which is making Emacs slow and unresponsive dealing with large files. I don’t know how to solve that problem. Thus, it can’t be Emacs.

Surprise. The Answer Is BBEdit.

Yes. I am using BBEdit.

BBEdit does a lot of things well. It is a full-featured text editor. I have had a license for a long time. I keep upgrading it. There is reason behind my madness.

It has lousy syntax highlighting. It doesn’t do task lists or strikethrough. Hell, it doesn’t do italics or bold. It has no typewriter scrolling. It has no keyboard commands for Markdown. Everything is manual.

But it deals with large files. It is fast, stable, and efficient. It’s low memory usage is laughable when you compare it to VSCode or Obsidian.

A few Keyboard Maestro macros, a few Services, a few AppleScripts from BBEdit-Markdown Extensions Coyote Tracks, and I have a text editor which lets me write Markdown and be happy in it. Well, not quite happy, but contended enough to stick to it.

BBEdit for Writers: A Guide and Appreciation2 was helpful in this journey.


BBEdit is not without its faults. But it does some of the basics better than the competition. Primarily, it is stable and efficient. I don’t have to worry about it. It deals with my text files and does it well enough. Does not fill me with joy but it works and that is all I need from a text editor.

Thanks: To Photo by j.mt_photography

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.

  1. You will be surprised at how often programs have trouble with this feature.↩︎

  2. Thanks to Eric Beavers for the correct URL. Sorry about that.↩︎

macOS bbedit