The Appademic https://appademic.tech Technology and workflows for academics, students and other nerds Tue, 03 Dec 2019 21:47:28 +1300 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 https://appademic.tech/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/cropped-android-chrome-512x512-2-150x150.png The Appademic https://appademic.tech 32 32 Show and Tell Links – 4 December, 2019 https://appademic.tech/show-and-tell-links-3-december-2019/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=show-and-tell-links-3-december-2019 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 21:46:36 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=3113 Permalink: Show and Tell Links – 4 December, 2019

Links for Egg Heads Firefox’s Fight for the Future of the Web | Guardian I was a Firefox user for many years. I can’t really account for how I stopped using it, but I’m sure it had something to do with how slow and messy it had become. That, and the convenience Kool Aid I ... Read more

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Permalink: Show and Tell Links – 4 December, 2019

Links for Egg Heads

Firefox’s Fight for the Future of the Web | Guardian

I was a Firefox user for many years. I can’t really account for how I stopped using it, but I’m sure it had something to do with how slow and messy it had become. That, and the convenience Kool Aid I drank that kept me using Safari. The Firefox comeback that started with the Quantum build in 2017, is for real. If you care about an open, decentralised, private and healthy web, you should be using Firefox. It should help that it is a better browser than either Chrome or Safari. 1

Zotero Connector for Safari 13 (Beta)

For the refuseniks who stick with Safari, that other wonderful open source tool for research, Zotero, has released a Beta version with a new connector. It is a very basic version, however, without the advanced settings and proxy tools that come with the full version — see above.

Roam Research – A note taking tool for networked thought.

I’m usually not much for Web Apps, but this is an interesting tool. I have an instance running with Nativefier to make it a Faux native, which is better than a browser tab.

Zettel Network Visualizer | Github

Speaking of notes, there is a lot of interest in zettelkasten these days, thanks largely to the work of The Archive developers. The forum is very active, and occasionally you get things like this.

Something Completely Different…

A Foundation Course in Reading German | By Howard Martin, revised and expanded as an open online textbook by Alan Ng

This one is not a tech thing, but a niche suggestion. Anyone studying continental philosophy will immediately recognise the value in a course that teaches you to read German, you can’t read Hegel via a phrase book.

  1. Despite what you might have heard Firefox is generally faster than Chrome, and it consumes on average 30% less RAM.

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DEVONthink Sale for Black Friday Weekend https://appademic.tech/devonthink-sale-black-friday/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=devonthink-sale-black-friday Thu, 28 Nov 2019 22:22:36 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=3106 Permalink: DEVONthink Sale for Black Friday Weekend

If you have been sitting on the fence about purchasing DEVONthink, this weekend would be a good time. I wrote up some brief thoughts on the recently released DEVONthink 3.0yesterday, with a simple workflow for managing my reading. These are the details for the sale: Starting November 29th, 2019, from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, ... Read more

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Permalink: DEVONthink Sale for Black Friday Weekend

If you have been sitting on the fence about purchasing DEVONthink, this weekend would be a good time. I wrote up some brief thoughts on the recently released DEVONthink 3.0yesterday, with a simple workflow for managing my reading.

These are the details for the sale:

Starting November 29th, 2019, from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, DEVON technologies sells all its software products as well as upgrades for 25% less.

If you looked into DEVONthink in the past, but were turned off by the dated look, DEVONthink 3 is a massive improvement.  The new version is the most useful software I own, I’m not sure how I would manage my thesis without it.  The sale will run all weekend, so you have a chance to download a trial before you punch the ticket.

Devon Technologies also offers discounts for students and educators, see the details here.

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DEVONthink 3.0: New Tricks for Reading and Research https://appademic.tech/devonthink-3-reading-and-research-2/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=devonthink-3-reading-and-research-2 Thu, 28 Nov 2019 10:13:35 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=3092 Permalink: DEVONthink 3.0: New Tricks for Reading and Research

Devonthink 3.0

DEVONthink is one of the only software suites I remain unequivocal about. I’m a keen user of DEVONthink to Go for iOS, and I was happy to recommend previous version of DEVONthink Pro for macOS, even as it aged considerably. However, the recently released DEVONthink 3.0 has modernised and enhanced already excellent software. It is integral ... Read more

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Permalink: DEVONthink 3.0: New Tricks for Reading and Research

Devonthink 3.0

DEVONthink is one of the only software suites I remain unequivocal about. I’m a keen user of DEVONthink to Go for iOS, and I was happy to recommend previous version of DEVONthink Pro for macOS, even as it aged considerably. However, the recently released DEVONthink 3.0 has modernised and enhanced already excellent software. It is integral to the way I manage my research.

DEVONthink 3.0 Can Feel like Cheating

DEVONthink 3 is a remarkable piece of software. The Devon Technologies crew don’t do small, you’ll be peeling this onion for a while. If you come from the previous version of DEVONthink, the user interface is immediately familiar, yet modernised in all the right ways.  If you were one of those people who liked the idea of DEVONthink, but couldn't stomach the way it looked, the new interface has taken care of that. I spend most of my day in and out of DEVONthink at the moment as I finish writing my thesis. Not only do I rely on it, I actually enjoy using it —and this at a time when the likes of Apple continue to suck the joy from computing.  The advanced search functionality alone has always made DEVONthink worth it, and even that has improved, but it can do a whole lot more.

Smart Rules

DEVONthink has always had serious automation tools. However, it has traditionally relied on deep AppleScript hooks and actions donated to the native macOS Automator app. Then there is the AI engine that can help automate the classification of documents, along with its core heuristic data analysis. Beyond that, the global inbox means a little forward thinking can always bring third-party tools like Hazel into play before the DEVONthink sorter takes over.

Most of this functionality is now built into the app itself. With DEVONthink 3.0, we now have granular, dynamic user automation built into the software itself. The automator actions are gone, but in their place are user definable automation tools for building the kind of smart rules, and smart groups that Mac users will be used to. From the liner notes,

Last but not least, we have massively extended DEVONthink's automation options for version 3. Smart rules perform actions based on events and search queries, where events can be anything from a scheduled time to the arrival of a newly imported document. You can also attach one-time or repeating reminders to any document. They support several alarm options including running scripts. Insert dynamic data in templates, imprints, or smart rules without requiring any programming skills.

If you’ve ever built an advanced search in Finder, or made a smart playlist in iTunes (er..Music app), the logic will be familiar. If you’re a hazel user, you’re laughing.

Using Smart rules with DEVONthink to Go for iOS

The iOS version of DEVONthink has a few hidden elements in the navigation menu that hint at what be available in future releases. By all accounts, there are plans to port the syncing of smart groups at least.1 In the meantime, we are left with workarounds. To be fair, as much as I like this stuff to just work out of the box, finding workarounds gives one an excuse to get familiar with the new functionality in DEVONthink 3.0. It doesn’t take long if, like I do me, you are simple people with simple needs.

I do most of my academic reading and annotation on the iPad, so settings up a smart group to pull readings across automatically would be ideal. However, as DEVONthink can create replicants of documents2, we can approximate this behaviour with a smart rule:

DEVONthink 3.0 Smart Rules

Then, in DEVONthink to Go we set the group to download always. Now anything I label for iOS is automatically synced to that group, and ready to read on my iOS devices. Better still, as DEVONthink supports edit in place, I can use any PDF app that can access the native iOS files and my annotations are automagically synced back to my Mac.

I have another smart group setup that groups all annotated documents once they are synced. I generally use the excellent Highlights app to export my annotations in Markdown when I review them, but I’m working on automating that part too.

  1. Can’t say I’m entirely comfortable with the way this is communicated in the forums any times.
  2. For the uninitiated, replicants are clever links to master documents that make it appear there is a copy without actually creating one. It’s a kind of spooky action for documents.

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DEVONtechnologies | DEVONthink 3.0 Public Beta https://appademic.tech/devonthink-3-public-beta/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=devonthink-3-public-beta Tue, 07 May 2019 08:02:17 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=3016 Permalink: DEVONtechnologies | DEVONthink 3.0 Public Beta

If you have followed this site with any regularity, you will be aware it has been idle for a while. There are reasons, of course. It hasn’t been completely abandoned, but it became unsustainable to run it as it was. So it will be a little quiet while I look at changing things. The idea ... Read more

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Permalink: DEVONtechnologies | DEVONthink 3.0 Public Beta

Devontechnologies Signet.pngIf you have followed this site with any regularity, you will be aware it has been idle for a while. There are reasons, of course. It hasn’t been completely abandoned, but it became unsustainable to run it as it was. So it will be a little quiet while I look at changing things. The idea is to open it up. Whatever happens, there will be no hedging.

In the meantime, in case you missed it. DEVONthink has had its first major upgrade in a gazillion years. The public beta has been available for a little over a week. If you were ever on the fence due to the interface, those fears should be allayed. The new version has all the old power underneath, with all the modern polish of a slick native app. It still has some rough edges, and it remains as niche as ever. Still, if you have a lot of data to manage, and need advanced search functionality, there is nothing like DEVONthink for Mac users.

You can download the public beta for free and check it out for yourself from the Devon Technologies site

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Zotero iOS Shortcuts: Better BibTeX Citation Keys https://appademic.tech/zotero-ios-shortcuts-better-bibtex-citation-keys/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=zotero-ios-shortcuts-better-bibtex-citation-keys Fri, 25 Jan 2019 07:44:58 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=2965 Permalink: Zotero iOS Shortcuts: Better BibTeX Citation Keys

Zotero Ios Better Bibtex

This is the long awaited iOS Shortcut for Zotero to extract Better BibTeX citation keys for Pandoc. I know a fair few people have been waiting on this, apologies it has taken so long to post. If you need more detail, read on, otherwise the shortcut can be downloaded below. Zotero and Better BibTeX There are ... Read more

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Permalink: Zotero iOS Shortcuts: Better BibTeX Citation Keys

Zotero Ios Better Bibtex

This is the long awaited iOS Shortcut for Zotero to extract Better BibTeX citation keys for Pandoc. I know a fair few people have been waiting on this, apologies it has taken so long to post. If you need more detail, read on, otherwise the shortcut can be downloaded below.

Zotero and Better BibTeX

There are a couple simple but important reasons I use Zotero, and the standard BibTeX support is not one of them. The web API allows me to build these shortcuts, but more importantly Zotero is an antidote to the closed and proprietary reference management systems of big academic publishers. 1

Despite the importance of both those things, if it wasn’t for the Better BibTex plugin I would almost certainly be using Bookends. The Zotero desktop app is a glorified browser, and an ugly one at that, whereas Bookends is a powerful native app. But I digress, the point is Better BibTex improves Zotero significantly, and I find it to be the best way of dealing with Pandoc citations. If you don’t use it already, you can look into it here.  Or if you want a visual guide, for anything to do with plain scholarship using Zotero I recommend the excellent tutorials by Nicholas Cifuentes-Goodbody

If you already use Better BibTeX and you're looking for an iOS solution, you may find this useful.

Notes:

  • Better BibTeX  writes custom citations keys to an ‘extra’ field. For most people that won’t matter, but if have other plugins running there is always a chance the crude regular expression I have written to extract the keys will run into problems. 2
  • Make sure your keys are ‘pinned’ on the desktop, if they have an asterisk next to them they will not get written to the web database, meaning the shortcut will break. This is the most common reason the shortcut doesn’t work
  • Unlike the previous shortcuts, this version searches the entire library by default. It seems most users prefer that. If you want it to search a particular collection, it is easy enough to change the URL for the API call. The Zotero documentation includes examples of how the URL should look. You can also look at other versions of these Zotero shortcuts that use a collection instead of the library.
  • If you want to use the shortcut with multiple text editors, delete the final ‘open in app’ action and use multitasking to paste the keys.
  • The shortcut should run fine from the share sheet, but the best way to use these shortcuts is via the widget.

As always, any problems drop me a line.

Download Zotero Better BibTeX Shortcut

Ios Zotero Shortcut
Zotero Better BibTeX

 

 

 

 

 

Important: If you are an iOS only user, and do not maintain your Zotero database on a desktop, this shortcut will not work for you. You need to use one of the earlier versions.


  1. e.g Mendeley has an API, but it’s made by Elsevier ↩︎
  2. If anyone with actual RegEx chops wants to improve the expression, please let me know and I will update the shortcut ↩︎

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Plain Text Notes with The Archive and Zettelkasten https://appademic.tech/zettelkasten-thoughtful-plain-text-note-taking/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=zettelkasten-thoughtful-plain-text-note-taking Sun, 06 Jan 2019 22:53:46 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=2945 Permalink: Plain Text Notes with The Archive and Zettelkasten

Plain Text Note Taking

One of the most read posts on this site is a brief note praising Brett Terpstra’s wonderfully robust plain text notes app, nvALT. I’d wager the popularity owes much to a lack of alternatives. Note takers have never had so many apps to choose from, but nvALT still has significant advantages over most plain text ... Read more

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Permalink: Plain Text Notes with The Archive and Zettelkasten

Plain Text Note Taking

One of the most read posts on this site is a brief note praising Brett Terpstra’s wonderfully robust plain text notes app, nvALT. I’d wager the popularity owes much to a lack of alternatives. Note takers have never had so many apps to choose from, but nvALT still has significant advantages over most plain text note taking apps to come after it. There are very few native apps for macOS that leave notes unmolested in the file system. Fewer still that support features to make them noteworthy for academic work.

Take the popular notes app Bear. It is delightfully designed, aesthetically pleasing, and feature rich. Easily one of the best notes apps, perhaps even one of the better markdown editors for writing. At the same time, it is kind of cutesy and opinionated. Moreover, it is built upon a significant design decision that counts against it. By using a database to store notes, Bear is an ostensibly plain text notes app that ultimately obscures its data.

Bear is not alone in that of course, the same is true of other popular Markdown and writing apps, like Ulysses. Even the excellent note taking utility Drafts — which will soon be available on macOS — ties notes up in a database of sorts. 1 Where iOS is involved, CloudKit sync makes sense for these apps, especially given Apple’s mobile file system remains so half-arsed and piecemeal. 2 Nonetheless, the result is data that remains for all practical purposes beholden to those apps, in need of processing if you want to access it elsewhere. In a strange sort of way, it means more data tied up inside the Apple leviathan.

Put my discomfort at playing hide and seek with my data against the future proof and flexible plain text notes of nvALT. It should be clear why I claimed nvALT was still the best plain text notes solution. Now it seems, despite the affection I still hold for nvALT, there is finally a better option available for markdown notes. I believe The Archive has taken over the mantle of best plain text notes app on macOS.

The Archive

I reached out to Christian Tietze earlier this year to review his other app, the markdown table generator, Table Flip. I was messing around with Deckset at the time, so I liked the idea of generating tables for presentations. As it happens I very rarely use Markdown tables for anything these days, so I can’t do Table Flip the justice it deserves. Having said that, if you should need Markdown tables regularly, it is exactly the tool you need.

I had heard of The Archive before that exchange, but I wasn’t looking for yet another way to take notes. I have grown weary of consumer geeks mistaking the tool for the work, and even more weary of the bizarro apple fan world in which notes apps are somehow second only to task managers for the tech mode du jour. I had seen a few posts about The Archive, but I overlooked it after a casual glance. I figured aesthetically it wasn’t for me. I was wrong.

Since then, between a realisation that my notes are an embarrassing shambles, and my curiosity with a growing enthusiasm among academic nerds for zettelkasten, I took another look. After downloading a trial and using it in earnest for about a week, I purchased it outright.

It’s still early days, but The Archive is exactly what it needs to be. An antidote to lollipop iconography, cartoonish design, and the electron powered assault on native apps. It is lean, purposeful, clean, and fast. A wonderfully native app built on plain text purism. I was wrong about the aesthetics. A simple and elegant templating system makes the Archive customisable in the right way. It was trivial to craft a theme of my own, crimping colours and fonts from apps like iA Writer and Drafts — and toning down the coloured aspects of the interface that put me off to start with. There are still some rough edges to be ironed out, but the app is still very new.

Zettelkasten

The minimalism alone is enough to recommend The Archive, but the purpose of its design is what makes it really interesting. If I’m honest, it’s probably another reason I looked right past it initially. The Archive is built around the needs of a modern, digital approximation of the Zettelkasten. A structured note taking system descended from sociologist and functionalist, Niklas Luhmann.3 Luhmann’s work is not my jam — far from it — but, I hadn’t properly considered the virtues of implementing a suitably bespoke version. Or indeed, that the modern Zettelkasten is bespoke by default. 4

If that seems cryptic, a precise definition of zettelkasten is likely to be counterproductive. Short of saying it is a loosely defied method of constructing an archive of notes. An archive built upon layers of nodes and connections. If you want to know more, however, Christian and Sascha have a growing archive of their own at the Zettelkasten blog. In case you don’t already know how philosophical note taking can be, you have been warned.

There you will find examples of Zettelkasten built with apps as diverse as Sublime Text and Trello. You could potentially build a Zettelkasten with Bear if you felt so inclined, with some concessions to its idiosyncrasies it could work. I wouldn’t, but there you go. It has been done with Evernote, of course, but trust me when I say that’s a much worse idea. 5 Myself, I have no interest in locking up my data in either proprietary formats, rich text, or obscured databases. 6 Besides, if you are interested in crafting a Zettelkasten from your notes, why not build it with an app that was designed for the purpose. An app that, as it says on the box, is nimble and calm.

On Using the Zettelkasten

The Zettelkasten blog is a kind of sprawling object lesson. Part demonstration with a whole lot of reflection on research based note taking. There is a post overview if you’re looking for a front page, although by design there is no how-to guide as such. At the same time, the most succinct and recurring advice is this: start taking notes and your archive will take shape. If the move from thinking of your notes as singular annotations, to both particular and part of growing whole is subtle, it is also more than enough method.

The forum has examples of Keyboard Maestro automations, snippets and other innovations to help you along. The beauty of both the system, and The Archive as an app is there is nothing to lock you into a particular way of doing things. I found looking at examples of notes to be useful for getting started. You will find a baseline at Zettelkasten.de, and Dan Sheffler has posted one as a GitHub gist.

My own setup is very simple at this point. My notes consist of front matter, body, and a reference section. I currently use Zotero to manage my references, with a combination David Smith’s applet  and Dean Jackson’s mind boggling ZotHero workflow for Alfred to insert the citations. Users of TextExpander can download my snippets below for both front matter and back matter to use as a guide, but I recommend building your own, or at least adapting these to your own needs. There is also a shamelessly basic Alfred workflow for opening the Archive with a search query. There is little point in creating one for note creation as the app already comes with a very useful hot key function for quick entry.

Reclaiming the Object of Note Taking

Evernote did a lot to confuse the object of note taking with their everything-bucket aesthetic. The push back against that has been encouraging for both the purpose of privacy, and in the rediscovery of a more deliberate practice of thoughtful note taking. nvALT, the long-time anathema to the hoarding elephant, received its last official update a little over a year ago. There have been whispers of a commercial replacement for some time, but the developers have other projects to keep them busy. I have no doubt it will be an outstanding candidate should it eventuate. In the meantime for all you plain text nerds, the Archive is worth a proper look. Even if you share my distaste for all manner of functionalism and its scions.

Downloads

Text Expander Snippets

Simple Alfred Workflow

  1. Although, given the history and purpose of Drafts as a sort of weigh station for text it makes more sense.
  2. Frankly, iCloud Drive on macOS is also a mess in need of hacks to make it usable
  3. I don’t have much time for the kind of sociology Luhmann practiced, and there has been some suggestion the method is implicated in the ideas.
  4. And again,  not to confuse the subject and the object 
  5. I cannot put it better the Christian, who writes in the forum: ‘proprietary file formats do serve the devil’
  6. It is for that reason I recommend Notebooks for anyone who wants a feature rich, multipurpose notes app (not for Zettelkasten)  

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Academic Software on Sale at Eastgate WinterFest 2018 https://appademic.tech/academic-software-eastgate-winterfest-sale-2108/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=academic-software-eastgate-winterfest-sale-2108 Thu, 27 Dec 2018 01:38:34 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=2934 Permalink: Academic Software on Sale at Eastgate WinterFest 2018

My apologies to anyone hoping for a meaningful update, the site has been quiet for a few weeks while. Time is hard to come by, nonetheless new material is not far away. In the meantime, I draw your attention to the annual WinterFest sale from Eastgate. Some of the best apps  you will find anywhere ... Read more

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Permalink: Academic Software on Sale at Eastgate WinterFest 2018

My apologies to anyone hoping for a meaningful update, the site has been quiet for a few weeks while. Time is hard to come by, nonetheless new material is not far away. In the meantime, I draw your attention to the annual WinterFest sale from Eastgate. Some of the best apps  you will find anywhere for study and academic work are on the list, among them the most important software I own. These are the highlights:

Bookends

One of only two reference managers I can recommend at present, Bookends is annoyingly good. I say that because I am currently invested in Zotero, while I continue to use the API for building iOS shortcuts. If it were not for that exercise, I would switch permanently to Bookends. It is everything I always hoped Papers 3 would be and never was. If you want a native referencing solution this is it.

Scrivener

I write in Markdown wherever I can, but there is nothing that comes remotely close to providing what Scrivener does for long form writing. I mean real long form writing. 1 If you're crafting a dissertation, a thesis, monograph, or a novel get Scrivener.  Ulysses provides a well polished middle ground for writers, but Scrivener is much better suited for serious projects in my view. If you’re still writing in MS Word, do yourself a favour.

DEVONthink Pro

Another singular and irreplaceable tool. There are programs about that approximate some of its functionality, such as Keep-it, Eagle Filer, or Evernote in a pinch, but there is nothing that combines the powerful heuristic engine, security features and search capabilities. All of my data ends up in DEVONthink eventually.

Scapple

Scapple was designed as a companion tool for Scrivener, but works just as well as a standalone utility. It is the simplest, most freeform mind mapping utility available on macOS.

TextExpander

I have all but forgotten how to type without TextExpander. By no means the only option for the job, though likely the best of them.

WinterFest 2018

For the entire list, and more information check out the Eastgate WinterFest page. As far as I can see, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of when the promotion ends. However, the promo code is the same for all the apps: WINTERFEST2018

    1. Sorry Apple Bloggers, long blog posts are not long form writing

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MacOS Automation: Accessing Academic Resources https://appademic.tech/macos-automation-accessing-academic-resources/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=macos-automation-accessing-academic-resources Wed, 07 Nov 2018 03:48:38 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=2918 Permalink: MacOS Automation: Accessing Academic Resources

Keyboard Maestro Textexpander.png

I shared an iOS Shortcut recently for opening academic journal articles via EZProxy. It’s a simple trick to short circuit the tedious cut and paste method . All it does is copy the EZproxy address 1 to the start of a url to give you access to resources via your own university library. Here are ... Read more

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Permalink: MacOS Automation: Accessing Academic Resources

Keyboard Maestro Textexpander.png

I shared an iOS Shortcut recently for opening academic journal articles via EZProxy. It’s a simple trick to short circuit the tedious cut and paste method . All it does is copy the EZproxy address 1 to the start of a url to give you access to resources via your own university library. Here are a couple of simple methods for doing the same thing using macOs automation tools.

Open Closed Access Journals with EZProxy and Keyboard Maestro

I am slowly coming to terms with some of the intricacies of macOS automation. Even so, I find Keyboard Maestro can be a little overwhelming at times. For one thing, it has a seriously misleading name, going well beyond the keyboard to hook into anything you could possibly want to do with macOs automation. The good news is you don’t have to be a coding grand master for it to be useful. This little macro is proof of that. Keyboard maestro can even simulate keystrokes, so using this method can even save you from hitting return.

macOS Automation Keyboard Maestro
Keyboard Maestro can simulate system shortcuts and keystrokes so one hotkey can do all the work

Automate EZProxy with TextExpander

Built in Macros come standard with any decent text expansion app. I’m still using TextExpander, simply because there are no alternatives on iOS. As good as it is, the fact that I have Alfred on hand means TextExpander could probably be made redundant on macOS.

To make this work with TextExpander use the builtin macros to both grab the system clipboard macro and simulate keystrokes. My snippet looks like this:

http://ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/login?url=%clipboard %key:return%

Obviously, you need to copy the URL before you type the abbreviation so you’re a keystroke ahead with the Keyboard Maestro version, if that matters to you.

macOS Automation
TextExpander's builtin macros can add the system clipboardd to a snippet, simulate keystrokes, and more

Other Options

I already mentioned Alfred, which is easily as powerful as Keyboard Maestro. This would be a trivial problem to solve with Alfred, either by creating a workflow, or by using Alfred’s text expansion utility.

Another option is to use a clipboard manager. With Copied, for example, you can setup templates to transform the text you copy, and activate them with hotkeys. Similar functionality can be found in Pastebot. 2

  1. Most university libraries, and some public libraries have an EZProxy address, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one you can access.
  2. Unfortunately, neither app has been updated in a while, so I can’t vouch for their longevity. Copied is still working perfectly for me on macOS Mojave

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Show and Tell — 29 October, 2018 https://appademic.tech/show-and-tell-29-october-2018/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=show-and-tell-29-october-2018 Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:21:48 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=2899 Permalink: Show and Tell — 29 October, 2018

Web discoveries for researchers, students and writers Research Tools ‎Case Medical Research | the App Store I intend to do this justice by covering it in more detail. In the meantime, Case uses machine learning to track medical research. Technically it is aimed at research beyond my own wheelhouse, but I have personal reasons for ... Read more

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Permalink: Show and Tell — 29 October, 2018

Web discoveries for researchers, students and writers

Research Tools

‎Case Medical Research | the App Store

I intend to do this justice by covering it in more detail. In the meantime, Case uses machine learning to track medical research. Technically it is aimed at research beyond my own wheelhouse, but I have personal reasons for keeping up with specialist medical research so I have had cause to play around with the app. It is still developing, but the underlying technology is interesting and the app is very promising. If you are doing research in this area, Case is a worthy addition to your workflow.

Turn the Web Into a Database | Mixnode

An interesting idea, and a potentially excellent research tool for analysing data from the web. You can get free credits to check it out, before you start blowing your funding.

Transcribe Interviews | oTranscribe

Here's something I had forgotten about. A self-contained, and feature rich web app for transcription. It works pretty well for transcription on the fly, but don’t get clearing your browser cache or your work is hosed.

Markdown Tools

Zettlr | Home

Yet another Markdown editor, this time with a specific focus on academic writing. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if this is necessary given the excellent tools already out there.  For academic writing in markdown, I recommend the powerful MultiMarkdown Composer 1. Still, Zettlr might suit others who don’t mind Electron apps quite so much.

HackMD | Collaborative markdown notes

I wasn’t aware of this one until a fellow traveller brought it to my attention. It looks a little different to the now defunct Editorially, but one can only hope this will last longer than that platform did.  I am yet to properly put it through its paces,  but I'm looking forward to doing just that.

Draft | Write Better

While we are on the topic, Draft has been my preferred option for online Markdown collaboration. If you can actually convince another academic to collaborate in earnest using Markdown, Draft is free to use. Although, it is still very basic.  Penflip, is another option, or if you want something with client apps, Quip is probably the best option.

Create a Webpage With Just Markdown | Oscarmorrison/md-Page

If you want to create a simple online bio without coding or dealing with a database, this ought to work.

Web Tech

GitHub Actions | GitHub

Github is opening the beta for their new workflow automation platform. More evidence that Microsoft sees a move toward open collaborative systems as profitable.

Hello P5.js Web Editor! | Processing Foundation

This looks like a lot of fun. P5.js is an online editor for learning to code in a visual way. It helps students learn JavaScript, HTML, and CSS by creating graphics with code.

Photo by henry perks on Unsplash

  1. Also writing by an academic

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A Roundup of iOS Shortcuts Galleries and Resources https://appademic.tech/ios-shortcuts-galleries-resources/?pk_campaign=feed&pk_kwd=ios-shortcuts-galleries-resources Sun, 21 Oct 2018 23:49:55 +0000 https://appademic.tech/?p=2889 Permalink: A Roundup of iOS Shortcuts Galleries and Resources

Ios Shortcuts Galleries And Resources.png

With the buzz around iOS Shortcuts, I thought it would be useful to do a round up of resources for sharing and discovering iOS Shortcuts, and for learning how to build your own. A number of galleries and exchanges have started to emerge in the past few weeks. Believe it or not, the app formerly ... Read more

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Permalink: A Roundup of iOS Shortcuts Galleries and Resources

Ios Shortcuts Galleries And Resources.png

With the buzz around iOS Shortcuts, I thought it would be useful to do a round up of resources for sharing and discovering iOS Shortcuts, and for learning how to build your own. A number of galleries and exchanges have started to emerge in the past few weeks. Believe it or not, the app formerly known as Workflow was released back in 2014,  so there are also a number of established resources worth knowing about.

New iOS Shortcuts Galleries and Exchanges

RoutineHub

This one looks very promising. The developer was clever enough to add an API, so users can incorporate actions to automate updates to complex Shortcuts. That feature alone should make RoutineHub the frontrunner.

Shortcuts Gallery

This one was looking likely for about a week, until Routine Hub introduced its API. Still growing, just not as fast.  They have started to run competitions for signups too, which puts me off to be honest.  You may still find some interesting creations here

Sharecuts

By all accounts, this was one of the first galleries. It was setup by users on the developer Beta, so they had a head start. Unfortunately, it is still locked down to new users, which means it is not as useful as other repositories at this point. There is some quality control, nonetheless the admins have missed an opportunity here by not trusting the community.

Shortcut Station

May or may not be the newest of the bunch, but the one I learned of most recently. Expect this one to become popular, as it was shared in the recent edition of the MacStories Newsletter.

Helpful Resources for iOS Shortcuts and Automation

r/Shortcuts | Reddit

The Shortcuts sub on reddit is by far the best place to find information about Shortcuts. You might have to wade through some inane posts, and silliness at times, but it is worth enduring.

Automating iOS: A Comprehensive Guide to URL Schemes and Drafts Actions | MacStories

Although this guide is focused on Drafts, learning how URL schemes work will take your Shortcuts game to another level. The post has aged well, the author was a big loss to the site.

Club MacStories

Anyone who has followed the Workflow/Shortcuts story will be aware of the role that Federico Viticci has played in popularising the app. More than that, MacStories has been a kind of vanguard of iOS Automation. In depth examples of advanced workflows and Shortcuts are shipped almost every week with Club MacStories. A membership will also grant you access to an impressive archive of Shortcuts.

Hacking around with JavaScript and Shortcuts in iOS 12

One of the more exciting additions to Shortcuts is the ability to run arbitrary Javascript on a web page. This has opened up all kinds of possibilities, as demonstrated in this post from Chris Hutchinson

Workflow Help | Official Documentation

I don’t often recommend official documentation. The Workflow documentation, however, was always very comprehensive. Curiously, Apple have not yet bothered to update the guide.

Other Repositories and Sites Worth Visiting

Automation Orchard

I have my suspicions that Rose Orchard is not one person, but more like Inigo Montoya’s Dread Pirate Roberts. How else can you explain how she seems to be everywhere at once? This particular Orchard instance collates automation links. It has slowed down a little lately, but there is the Automators Podcast for would be automation disciples.

Workflow Directory

In the beginning there was Workflow which came with its own gallery. Once Apple acquired the app the gallery was one of the first things to be culled. Innovations like this one from Jordan Merrick help fill the gap for a time. I published a brief post about the directory, if you are so inclined. Otherwise, there is also plenty to learn on Jordan’s own site.

One Tap Less | Actions

This site hasn't been updated in some time, but it still hosts a number of interesting workflows/Shortcuts that still work. I’m putting it here as it remains a little piece of Workflow and iOS Automation history.

Shortcuts for Students and Academic Nerds

There is a growing collection of Shortcuts on this very site. Some generic, and many more that are aimed at writing, research and study:

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