March 8, 2020

WordCounter Keeps Me on Track

wordcounter iconwordcounter icon

Product: WordCounter for macOS
Price: $19.99 (Educational discounts are available)

wordcounter trackingwordcounter tracking

WordCounter is an application for people who write in different programs. For instance, I write in Drafts, iA Writer, nvUltra, Sublime Text 3 and Ulysses. I want to keep a record of how much writing I am doing and WordCounter lets me do that. It counts the words that I have written in the programs I write in. A running count of the number of words that have been typed throughout the day. Plus statistics. Plus graphs. For the math geek in me, this is nirvana.

Another viewAnother view

The idea is to improve your productivity by keeping a tab of where you do your most writing and locate the environment which helps you be productive.

Yet another viewYet another view

It is a menu bar utility. You can export the data and be as involved with the output as you want to be. For me, a rough look at my productivity is all I am interested in and WordCounter fills that niche perfectly.

Christian Tietze is the developer behind WordCounter. He is transparent about the product development process and what you are getting for the license fee you pay for. He provides a roadmap for the product and lets you know where the product is in relation to the roadmap. You can find the roadmap for WordCounter here. This transparency is something that is unique in the marketplace, and increases my trust in the developer and investing in his software. This is the roadmap for The Archive, another product from the same developer.

How Could WordCounter Be Improved?

I write in two machines. The iMac and the Air. I would like to consolidate the data from these two machines into one. I can do it, but it is a matter of processing the output on my own, or file and project progress monitoring. I haven’t figured this out yet, so can’t talk about it. If WordCounter was tied to iCloud and consolidated the data automatically, when linked to the same iCloud account, it would certainly be more useful to me.


WordCounter is useful to me. It is perfect at what it does. Keeps a tab on the words that you generate. It is an interesting addition to my work environment.

WordCounter is highly recommended.

Christian Tietze also develops TableFlip - Simple Table Editor for Mac, and The Archive (macOS) • Zettelkasten Method. He provided me with a review license when I asked for it.

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.

Alfred Workflow for WordCounter

Alfred workflow for WordCounter: Alfred Integration for Word Counter App - Display Latest Typing Word Counts on Mac

macOS writing
March 3, 2020

Tot Doesn’t Work for Me

Tot IconTot Icon

Product: Tot • Your tiny text companion
Price: Free on macOS; $19.99 on iOS

Tot is a scratchpad with seven pages. It is marketed as “Your tiny text companion.”

In Tot you can collect and enter the pieces of text which are important, but ephemeral in nature. Task lists, phone numbers, reminders and pieces of code are all little things which you can hold in Tot. Not going to be useful for long but meaningful in the near future is what Tot is best suited for.

Tot WindowTot Window

It supports the basic Markdown syntax. I mean basic. Bold. Italic. Links. Nothing else. Numbered lists don’t autocomplete. Lists don’t autocomplete. No footnotes, no endnotes, no tables, none of the advanced Markdown additions. It is meant to be quick, minimal and pretty and it lives up to that claim.

Tot ShareTot Share

It has a word count attached to the sheet that you are writing. You have the ability to use the macOS share menu to send the text to the destination that you want.

It syncs the seven sheets with iCloud. So, you can access the data between your macOS and iOS devices. Yes. The app has an iOS version. I am going to come to that later in the article.

It is pretty. The seven sheets have different colors and when you are in one of the colors, the icon changes to that color. The developer wrote about it, Dy-nam-ic! • The Breakroom. Tot supports light and dark mode in Catalina and it is beautiful.

Tot Font changeTot Font change

You can change the font of both the rich text view and the plain text view in Tot. However the commands are situated in a non-standard location. Highlight the text, control click, and you get a drop-down menu. The change font, and font sizes options are in that drop-down menu.

Tot does a great job with handling links. Just drag a link into it, and Tot formats it as a markdown inline link with the page title and URL formatted right. Lots of mainstream Markdown based editors struggle with this. Tot does this great.

It is pretty. Or did I already say that.

For macOS Users

If sync to iOS devices is not important to you, Tot is free. Go grab it. If sync to iOS is important to you, then you might want to read on.

For iOS users

I am hesitant to talk about the price of a product. The reaction to the price is dependent on your conception of value. Our individual conceptions of value are different and thus I shy away from this discussion.

If you like Iconfactory Apps, and want to support them, pay the $19.99 for the iOS version and feel happy about it. I will point out the following:

  1. Drafts is a more capable application which will cost you $19.99/year. That subscription price will let you use Drafts on iOS and macOS and have access to the same documents.
  2. ‎iA Writer is available on iOS for $8.99. You can edit your text documents in any text editor you want on the macOS and have them accessible to you on the iOS devices. iA Writer is a more capable MultiMarkdown based editor available on both iOS and macOS($29.99). You don’t have to use the macOS version of iA Writer if you don’t want to pay the price. Use any text editor on macOS. There are a plethora of free options available, including, BBEdit 13 & CotEditor.
  3. Kodex is a free code editor on iOS which can access files on Dropbox. It is free but you can tip the developer $4.99 for good karma.
  4. 1Writer is also able to deal with your Dropbox files and provides you a great environment to write notes in Markdown.

The need is for a quick note-taker. There are a ton of programs on the iOS which will let you take quick notes and have them synced to your other devices through iCloud or Dropbox. Those files are available and editable on macOS through any text editor you choose. I struggle to see the value proposition for Tot.


Tot is well designed and pretty. It is free on macOS. If you see the value proposition, you can adopt the iOS version too. For me, there are better and cheaper alternatives available on iOS. Considering my reluctance to adopt the iOS version, Tot is a no-go for me.

Tot is not recommended.

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.

Reviews Which Are Much More Favorable

Tot Review: Collect and Edit Bits of Text - MacStories

Daring Fireball: Tot

The Iconfactory Tot/Tot Pocket review | Macworld

text editor macOS iOS
January 17, 2020


Links of Note 2020-01-17

Front and Center is an app by John Siracusa. If you miss the old macOS behavior in Catalina, buy the app. And read about it at, Hypercritical: Front and Center.

If you love coffee you need to look at the videos by James Hoffman. It is inspiring to see passionate people talk about their passions. Two examples of his work:
The Best Water for Coffee - An Introduction - YouTube
Product Review: The Ember Smart Mug - YouTube

Gruber beats down Catalyst.
Daring Fireball: Catalyst, Two Months In

If you are into this, you are going to enjoy it.
The Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (Hypercard) : Douglas Adams, The Voyager Company : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Lastly, another free font which is both monospace and exciting.
JetBrains Mono: A free and open source typeface for developers | JetBrains: Developer Tools for Professionals and Teams

Thanks to: Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.

January 12, 2020

SuperDuper! and Peace of Mind

SuperDuper IconSuperDuper Icon

Product: SuperDuper!
Price: $27.95

You need to have a backup of your main drive. Time Machine is nice but it is not enough. You need a complete bootable backup of your main drive. There are several products which let you do this. The two which get the most attention are:

  1. Mac Backup Software | Carbon Copy Cloner | Bombich Software available for $39.99, and,
  2. SuperDuper!

I must admit that I haven’t used Carbon Copy Cloner(CCC) in a long time, I used to, but now I use SuperDuper. I have heard good things about CCC. Users report that they are happy with the product and it does a good job of backing up their hard drive to a bootable drive. That is all you need.

SuperDuper does a great job for me. I switched to it sometime in 2015 and it has been working great for me since.

SuperDuper WindowSuperDuper Window

I set it to “smart update” my internal drive to an external drive every other week and it does that. What is “smart update?” Only the files added/changed on the hard drive are backed up to the bootable backup drive. Takes a fraction of the time that a full backup would take. When it finishes, the backup drive is a mirror image of your internal drive. I run the process at night when I am sleeping.

Smart UpdateSmart Update

The first time you backup, it takes a while since SuperDuper is engaged in making a mirror image backup of your internal hard drive to the external hard drive. It is copying all the files, and that depending on the size and usage of your internal drive is going to take a while. The incremental backups are a lot quicker.

Things Which Are Going to Happen

These are two things which are going to happen to you:

  1. You are going to die. Make sure that you tell the people you love that you love them. Make a will. Make arrangements for your funeral. You don’t want your loved ones to have to deal with that stuff when they are grieving for you.
  2. Your hard drive is going to die. Have backups. If your files are important, have multiple backup hard drives. Keep those drives dispersed in a few different locations.

I can’t help you with the first item on this list. However, for the second item, use Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper to make bootable backups of your hard drive.

Super Duper is recommended with gusto.

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.

backups macOS
January 5, 2020

Hummingbird Makes Moving and Resizing Windows Easy


Product: Hummingbird — finestructure
Price: $18.00

Let’s start the year with a simple utility.

Hummingbird is an application which lets you move windows around the screen by holding down some modifier keys and moving the window you want with a finger on your mouse/trackpad. The window you want to move does not have to be the frontmost window, or in other words, windows which are behind the frontmost window can be moved by ensuring the cursor is in some part of the target window.

In addition to moving windows, Hummingbird lets you resize the windows by holding down some other modifier keys and resizing the window with your mouse/trackpad.

You have the ability to choose the modifier keys for both of these actions.

Hummingbird PreferencesHummingbird Preferences

Hummingbird is a simple, useful utility which does its job.

Comment on the Price

I usually avoid commenting on the price of a product, but $18 for this functionality is steep. I bought the product on sale for $9, and that looks like a reasonable price. The program does what it promises and does it well. I am happy with it.

Hummingbird is recommended with some reservations about its price.

Update: I heard from the developer and this is what he said:

I’ve updated the website with a 50% discount offer using the offer code HAPPYNEWYEAR (automatically applied if going through my site).

The price with the offer code is $9. Go get it.

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.