App of the Week: Yoink

Yoink is the macOS Shelf Utility I Want on iOS Too

 

 

BY JOHN VOORHEES of MacStories

At WWDC, I was disappointed that the iOS 11 announcements didn’t include a shelf where content can be temporarily parked. When Federico and Sam Beckett made an iOS 11 concept video earlier this year they included a shelf, which felt like a natural way to make touch-based drag and drop simpler. I found the omission in the iOS 11 beta somewhat surprising. On the Mac, people use the Desktop as a temporary place to stash items all the time, and without a Desktop on iOS, a shelf that slides in from the edge of the screen seemed like a natural solution. In fact, it’s a solution that has an even more direct analog than the Desktop on macOS that makes a solid case for implementing something similar on iOS: Yoink, from Eternal Storms Software.

Yoink, is one of my favorite macOS utilities that sits just out of sight until I start to drag something. There are many days when I have a bunch of apps open across at least a few different Spaces. If I need to send a file1 to someone in Slack or attach it to an email message, those apps may be buried under several layers of windows, in a different Space, or may not be open at all. Instead of starting a drag and using Alt+Tab to find the app to drop a file into if it’s even open, I can drop it onto Yoink as a temporary resting spot until I find the destination for which I’m looking. This is especially useful when I’m using an email client and haven’t begun composing a new message yet.

As soon as I start dragging a file, Yoink fades into view. I have it docked to the middle of the right edge of my screen, but it can be anchored to the left edge too. You can also customize when Yoink appears. Instead of showing up as soon as a drag starts, you can set Yoink to wait until your drag approaches the side of the screen where it’s docked. You can even have a little Yoink window show up near your cursor as soon as the drag starts to minimize how far you need to move the file. As soon as you drop the file on the Yoink drop point, it re-attaches itself to the side of your screen.

Once a file is sitting on Yoink’s shelf, you can pin it there. I’ve begun doing this with a few files I need throughout the day when I’m working with MacStories and AppStories sponsors. After I pin the file, I can drag it out of Yoink and into an email message as many times as I want, which is faster than digging back through layers of folders in the Finder. If I don’t want to see it sitting there in Yoink on the edge of my screen all day, I press F5, which hides the Yoink window until I toggle it again.

There is a preview button next to each item on Yoink’s shelf that can be used to take a quick look at its contents. You can also share and open items using a variety of apps on your Mac by right clicking on any file stored in Yoink. If you decide you no longer need the files sitting in Yoink, click the ‘x’ button next to individual items or the broom icon to remove all of them at once. Right-clicking on Yoink or clicking its gear icon also gives you the option to bring back the last removed files if you clear out any by accident.

Multiple items dragged onto Yoink become a separate stack of files. Instead of a preview button, a split icon appears next to a stack, which unpacks the stack into separate items when clicked. Yoink also supports a customizable Force Touch gesture that can be set to select all the files in Yoink, reveal a file in Finder, pin and unpin the file in Yoink, or trigger the preview/stack-split button.

One final trick I like to use with Yoink is an Alfred workflow. It’s a simple workflow that deposits files found via Alfred onto Yoink’s shelf without having to take my hands off the keyboard. After triggering Alfred’s text field, I type a space, which triggers a file search. When I’ve located the file I want, I tap the right arrow key to reveal the available file actions. I pick Yoink, and the file magically appears on its shelf. The workflow is perfect for finding multiple files quickly.

 

Like a lot of utilities, Yoink isn’t something you need, but if you try it, you may find it’s something you want. Everything Yoink can do can also be done another way with the Finder, but it makes working with files on your Mac easier and faster. It’s a shortcut that saves seconds over and over, which adds up to real time over the course of weeks and months.

Yoink is also why I’m disappointed there’s no shelf in iOS 11. Dragging files around iOS 11 is a two-handed operation not unlike grabbing a file on macOS and maintaining the drag until you find the destination you want. As a result, it’s not surprising that iOS drag and drop works the way it does, but iOS 11 is an opportunity for a fresh look at how files are moved across the OS and to improve the way it’s accomplished. It doesn’t look like that will happen this year, but I’d love to see Apple take a cue from Yoink and implement an iOS shelf someday. Until that happens, I’m optimistic that we’ll see third-party developers tackle the problem.

Yoink is available on the Mac App Store. If you want to try the app first, you can download a trial version from Eternal Storms’ website.

 

Do you have any suggestions for features to add to iOS? Tell us about them in the comments below!

How to: Password Protect a Folder in a Mac

 

 

By Henry T. Casey of Laptop Mag.com

Not all of your files are meant to be seen by everyone. Your friends and family may not appreciate this truth, but that’s just the way it is sometimes. Luckily, MacBook owners can protect their sensitive files from prying eyes by password protecting specific folders.

Many paid programs offer similar functionality, but we prefer this free method built into Apple that allows folders to be turned into protected disk images. We tested this on a MacBook Pro running macOS Sierra version 10.12.6 but research shows it works the same way going as far back as Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard.

1. Click Command + Shift + A to open the Applications folder.

2. Open the Utilities folder within Applications.

3. Open Disk Utility.

4. Click File.

5. Select New Image.

6. Select Image from Folder.

 

7. Select the folder you wish to protect and click Open.

 

8. Click on the Image Format option menu and select read/write.

 

9. Click on the Encryption menu and click 128-bit AES encryption.

 

10. Enter the password for this folder twice, and click Choose.

11. Name the locked disk image and click Save.

 

12. Click Done.

You’ve turned your folder into a locked disk image! You can delete the original folder now, if you’d like. Just don’t delete that .DMG file!

And just like a folder, you can add items to your password-protected disk image before ejecting it.

 

 

Do you have any tips for protecting your data? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up 8/11

 

 

I’m gonna file this under “Doh!”
How to get fired in the tech industry


And the backlash continues…

Tech leaders must stop treating humanity like computer code


I’m ashamed to admit to owning most of the items on this list.

9 tech crazes that made us lose our minds in the ’90s


Everything old is new again.

3 Things Women in Tech Must Do to Get Ahead


Why didn’t they just buy Netflix?

Disney bought baseball’s tech team to take on Netflix


Shouldn’t this guy be in jail already?
Martin Shkreli’s ‘stealthy’ tech start-up has a website and says it’s starting to test products


What the WHAT?!

Wild new microchip tech could grow brain cells on your skin

App of the Week: LiquidText 3.0.11 changes how you annotate documents on the iPad

It’s hard to go back to an more ordinary PDF annotator after using LiquidText, but it is not the ultimate PDF tool for the iPad.

By Mike Wuerthele and William Gallagher of Apple Insider

We’d be doing you and LiquidText a disservice if we just called it a PDF editor but at its heart, that is what it is. It’s so much more than that, though, that the PDF element seems almost incidental. LiquidText 3.0.11 for iOS is about gathering ideas and making something useful out of them.

 

You can do regular PDF work in it. Just as you might with Adobe Acrobat or PDFpen, you can create PDFs and edit them to at least some degree. You can annotate them, too, and that’s where LiquidText starts to show its muscle.

It handles PDFs of course but also Word and PowerPoint files. Open one of these in LiquidText on your iPad and it first turns it into a PDF. So if you just wanted to convert that Word document into one, you’ve just done it.

By far the app’s most striking feature, though, is how you can pinch to collapse parts of your document. It makes a PDF act like an outline except rather than levels that you elect to see or hide, you pinch your fingers together and it squishes up everything in between.

 

Say you’re writing a screenplay and you feel a character isn’t working out. Find their first scene, excerpt that by just dragging the text to the work space, and keep referring to it as you read through their other scenes.

That workspace can as big as you want it to, and it shrinks as much as you care to pinch it. Collate lots of elements on it or just the one: whatever you need to get your ideas moving around in your head.

This pinching, this squeezing of lines is a little startling at first: it looks like there’s a problem with your iPad’s screen. Yet once you’ve found and used it, you keep coming back to it.

If you’re more of a corporate type and have to deal with pie charts, excerpt one the same way. Circle it, drag it out to the workspace and keep it there. Annotate it with handwritten notes. It’s easier to scribble a line over your document and then handwrite on the workspace but you can also choose to create text boxes that you then drag around.

 

Drag together two elements on your workspace and they connect. Drag three, four or as many as you like and they all connect into one blob-like element.

It’s like you’ve got a messy desk with notes strewn and random lines doodled between them —except it’s a regulated mess and the lines are never random. LiquidText makes you feel like you’ve got a paper document that you can crumple, tear bits out, doodle all over and in every other way fold, spindle, and mangle it while you work to make the best thing you can.

Yes, Adobe Acrobat and PDFpen can do the boring stuff but LiquidText can be engrossing. There’s just this irony that an exquisitely gorgeous app lets you make such horrible messes of your documents in the interest of data access and editing.

But, what you do with that document afterwards? LiquidText files are really intended just for you, and to be a working document rather than something you prepare to send on to other people. You can share your LiquidText work over email and what your recipient gets depends on whether they’ve got LiquidText too.

If they have, then they get your scribbles in all their glory. If they haven’t, they get a PDF with a range of options regarding how much get to see or your working notes.

Means to an end, not the end itself

It’d be good to see LiquidText accept more types of documents and it’d be handy to at least refer to them on your iPhone.

LiquidText is not meant to be a PDF editor per se, you won’t use it to create much. It’s really for reading and doing intensive annotations and edits. Nonetheless, the way it does that makes you wish every PDF reader app with annotation features worked the same way.

We talked about sharing documents. It may not be a major hassle, as the app as it’s free to download. If you’re only ever going to read someone else’s LiquidText documents, it’s all you need.

But, to work on documents of more than a single page, you can buy the $4.99 multi-document in-app purchase. To get that plus all of the editing features, there’s the Pro version which is a $19.99 in-app purchase.

Try out the free version but skip the multi-document edition and go straight to the full version of LiquidText 3.0.11.

It’s an iPad-only app and though it doesn’t require an Apple Pencil, you’ll want one to get the most out of LiquidText.

What’s your favorite App for PDF editing and annotation? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to: take photos even when your phone is out of storage

 

 

 

By Molly Sequin of Mashable

We’ve all been there. You get bombarded with “Storage Almost Full” notifications on your phone, but just keep rolling like the problem will magically fix itself. And then you hit that fateful moment: You try to snap a pic of that gorgeous vacation sunset and your phone says it literally can’t take one more picture.

There’s no time to start deleting everything, so you just don’t take the picture. Wrong. You life hack your way into the camera.

If you don’t actually want to pay for more storage and simply can’t get yourself to delete anything, here’s the move: All you have to do is take photos on some of your apps and save them to your phone.

 

My personal favorite app to use for this trick is Snapchat. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I already like to snap a lot of the things that I’m taking photos of anyway. So really, this method can make you more efficient even if your storage isn’t full. Here’s how you do it.

After you take a snap, there’s a little arrow over a bracket icon in the bottom lefthand corner of the screen. I took a snap at my desk and circled the “save” button in red in case you’re still confused.

 

When you hit that button, whatever you snapped will instantly be saved to your phone’s library. This works for videos, too, not just photos. I’ve been making Snapchat my undercover camera for quite some time now, and it has saved me during so many vacations, concerts, and big sporting events. The trick is definitely worth trying.

Now that you get the gist, start using almost all of your favorite social media apps to take photos when your camera tries to tell you it’s impossible. Facebook has an in-app camera that lets you save shots to your phone. Slack is another quick fix. Just take a photo within the app and send it in a slack (even if it’s just in a message to yourself). When it loads in the message, just hold it until a menu pops up. Click “save image” and go find it in your library.

Get in all of your other social apps and scope out how to take a photo in a pickle. Just be sure to allow all of your social apps access to your camera and microphone so you can actually take the photo or video in the first place.

If you actually want to get some storage back and take photos on your actual camera again, there’s a way. Here’s a guide to what you should delete first when looking for some extra room. But no matter what your storage is looking like, godspeed getting those pics!

Do you have a special hack for managing space on your phone? Share it with us in the comments below!

App of the Week: Photos

 

Apple’s Photos App Has a Hidden Feature for Tweaking Adjustments Even More

 

 

 

By Kirk McElhearn of Kirkville.com

I’ve been writing about Apple’s Photos app a lot lately, because I’ve decided to master this app rather than spending my time learning how to use Photoshop and Lightroom. Sure, those Adobe apps are powerful, but you can do a lot with Photos, and I’d rather spend my time taking pictures than tweaking them with complicated workflows and settings.

When you edit photos in Apple’s Photos app, by clicking the Adjust button, you see a number of sliders. They affect things like Brightness, Exposure, Contrast, and more. You click and drag the central lines of those sliders to increase or decrease each of these settings from -1.00 to +1.00.

 

However, if you press the Option key, then drag a slider, the scale increases, and you can move it from -2.00 to +2.00. Here’s what the Light adjustments look like after I’ve pressed the Option key and dragged the Brilliance slider.

You can also double-click any of the numbers that display on those sliders (this is tricky, since a single-click moves the slider; you may have to double-click a few times to get the number selected), and type a number from -2.00 to +2.00 to apply that setting.

And if you don’t like your adjustment, you can reset each slider by double-clicking anywhere on the slider (but not on the number that displays).

It’s probably rare that you’ll need to make such extreme adjustments, but it’s good to know that you can.

Do you have a favorite photo editing app? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to: use iOS Mail’s auto unsubscribe feature

 

 

By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

If you find yourself on a mailing list that you either never signed up for, or just got sick of, then iOS Mail has you covered. The app has a built-in feature that detects emails from mailing lists, and offers to unsubscribe from them right there, without you having to visit the sender’s site and hunt for the unsubscribe option yourself, like some kind of spam-lackey.

Using Mail’s auto-unsubscribe feature

When Mail detects an email from a mailing list, it adds a banner at the top of the email offering to unsubscribe for you:

“This message is from a mailing list,” it says, with a blue Unsubscribe button underneath. Tap that, ands Mail goes to work:

 

It achieves this amazing feat by sending a reply to the sender. If everything works as planned, and the sender of the newsletter is a good internet citizen, you will be removed from their list.

As you can see from the various screenshots around this post, the trick works on both the iPhone and the iPad. It doesn’t currently work on the Mac, at least not on mine.

Manual and automatic alternatives to unsubscribe

Even if Mail fails to spot a mailing-list mail, you can often take care of it yourself. Just scroll to the very bottom of the email in question, and look for the word “unsubscribe,” usually written in teeny-tiny letters, and in pale gray on white (or an equally invisible color combo). Tap it, and you will usually be taken to a page which tells you that your attempt to unsubscribe was a success.

Sometimes, you’ll need to check a box to actually unsubscribe, which is going to far in my opinion. Either way, be aware that if a genuine spam mail got through, then tapping an unsubscribe link might verify you as a live human to the spammer.

The other option is to use a third-party service to manage your mail for you.

SaneBox

If an email newsletter keeps coming back, or if you’re getting spammy mails from PR folks who refuse to let you unsubscribe, then you could try SaneBox or something similar. Sanebox automatically files your mails into sensible categories, and filters out the real crap. It also has a great feature called Sane Black Hole. It shows up as a regular mailbox in your email client, but when you add an email to that folder, SaneBox takes note and nukes any future email from that address. It’s a kind of email blacklist, and it’s 100% effective in my experience.

I get almost no spam these days, so unwanted newsletters are the biggest annoyance in my inbox. Or rather, in my Sane Later mailbox. Having a way to quickly unsubscribe is golden. Hopefully it’ll come to the Mac in a future version of macOS.

How do you manage your unwanted email? Tell us your best practices in the comments below!