System Tools

A deeper look at PathFinder

While it's still on sale, and now that I've done some heavy lifting with it, I wanted to have a deeper look at PathFinder. The TL;DR version is, it's absolutely worth going to Bundlehunt and picking it up for $8. To make things even more powerful, add Default Folder X.

For more explanation, PathFinder is a great file manager with a host of features and customizations. For starters there are dual panes if you want them. And multiple tabs within each pane. On top of that there is a customizable context menu for working with each file, within each tab, within each pane.

Those panes can then display different kinds of information in a different order. One can be an Image view, while the other is a List view. One can be sorted by name, the other by size.

There is also the ability to add multiple buttons to the menu bar. I've added New Folder, New File, Rename, Copy, Move and Move to Trash. This makes light work of moving files around and cleaning out directories. There is even a Cut option, which is nice to have.

When using the sidebar, you can have the Drop Stack feature, which is actually similar to the Dropzone app. Place a bunch of files into a temporary location, then move them all when your collection is complete. A great way to collect things from multiple locations.

Along with Drop Stack are other modules such as Terminal, Image Viewer, Attributes, Hex Dump and Permissions. These can be added and removed so you can get a job done, then recover screen space after you're finished.

When cleaning out my folders the other day, the Search files feature was fantastic. Such a quick way to location similar files that could then be moved or deleted. It saved so much time and worked so very quickly.

Other great features include Folder Sync, Image Viewer, built in Text Editor, Secure Erase, a customizable Get Info screen and the ability to add folders to the main Home nav menu.

Overall PathFinder has just the right amount of power and customization to make it extremely useful without being bloated with features you'll never touch. It has great file management features with everything in reach when you need it, and out of the way when you don't.

At the regular price of $36 it would be a good investment if you want more features than what Finder has to offer. At the current $8 Bundlehunt price, it's a must have.

PathFinder website

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Massive System Cleanup with Path Finder and Some Help From Default Folder X

Path Finder is a tool I just got from BundleHunt and put to the test yesterday. Normally Spring Cleaning happens earlier in the year, but Labor Day Weekend is just as acceptable. I dug in and gave my hard drive a serious deep cleaning.

Since the start of quarantine I’ve been collecting training videos, downloading documents, trying out software, grabbing YouTube videos, and it’s all started to add up. My system drive, which is 3TB, was starting to get full. It was time to organize and delete.

I saw Path Finder on BundleHunt and was immediately taken with it’s features. The dual pane viewer is a huge help. But, then you can add tabs within each pane. I was easily able to connect my external drives, then have them arranged within tabs within the different panes. Copying files was an absolute breeze.

Path Finder also has tons of customization. For starters I added the Copy and Move buttons to the Toolbar. This made it easy to move things around. I then added the Trash and Delete buttons so I could just get rid of things without having to right click. I then configured the sidebar with shortcuts to folders I kept going to so I could jump around easily. The file filter option was a perfect way to sift through hundreds of files and folders. How many things are related to Java or JMeter?

It took the better part of a day, but in the end, I deleted or moved over 2TB worth of files off my main drive. It took a few minutes to get up to speed with Path Finder features, but once I had the toolbars and shortcuts in place, the process went shockingly well.

Path Finder is a brilliant tool that has dozens of convenient features, lots of customization, and the ability to have multiple views. The ability to save those views, is fantastic. I’ve never really complained about Finder, but Path Finder has so many features, I didn’t know what I was missing.

I coupled Path Finder with Default Folder X, which offers lots of customization to Open/Save dialog boxes across the OS. I set up Favorite folders. I jumped through directory structures with ease. I was able to span a hierarchy without having to click each and every folder. It was pretty awesome.

Since they are on BundleHunt right now, I would highly recommend getting both of them. I will be configuring Default Folder X, with all sorts of shortcuts on my work machine. I will be able to jump to my Katalon Project, to SnagIt, to my Music, and to my training videos. They will literally be a click away which will be fantastic for attaching items to Jira.

I wasn’t aware of either of these tools until just a couple of days ago. But in that short time they have been a huge help and offer some great feature enhancements to macOS.

Path Finder is a fantastic file manager, and Default Folder X offers some great enhancements to Open dialogs. Finding and organizing files is going to be so much more efficient.

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Keyboard Maestro makes a last minute appearance on the Party Barge

While researching Alfred, CopyLess and PopClip, I saw many references to Keyboard Maestro, but never quite understood what the app was for. It came across as a text expander, or a clipboard editor, or a keyboard mapper.

So, taking a moment out to pause and reflect, it finally became clear to me. All those functions are a part of Keyboard Maestro. How is that possible?

It makes a little more sense when Keyboard Maestro is presented as an extension or the next version of Automator. It uses a similar style of building blocks to chain actions together to accomplish tasks. At one end you can tie an action to a hotkey, and at the other, actions can be triggered by system events such as switching networks, or a USB drive being inserted.

After downloading a copy, trying it out, watching some videos and assembling some blocks of my own, Keyboard Maestro jumps aboard the Party Barge just as we cast off for 2020.

In reality there is some overlap between Alfred and Keyboard Maestro. They are both development environments for creating shortcuts for repetitive tasks. And in many ways they go about it the same way. However, they both offer distinct tools and functionality.

To give a simple example, in Alfred you can create a workflow to stop and start multiple applications using AppleScript.

In Keyboard Maestro, the same job can be set up as a macro using a series of the “Application Control” actions that list the applications to stop and start. It can also be done using the Execute AppleScript module.

In Alfred:

    tell application "Firefox" to activate
    tell application "Mail" to activate
    tell application "Messages" to activate

In Keyboard Maestro:

km-macro

Same end results, slightly different way of getting there.

But where Keyboard Maestro comes into it’s own is with system events. You can create actions for when a file is added to a folder, when you login, when the system goes idle, when the system wakes, when an application starts or stops, when text is copied to the clipboard, etc. There are dozens of events you can monitor and take action on.

Additionally, you can build loops, use IF statements, employ variables, set up decision making, and even prompt for input before continuing.

Or if you prefer, you can skip the module building part and use straight scripting in AppleScript, a shell script, Swift, or JavaScript.

I even watched a couple of videos where Keyboard Maestro was used to fill in forms on a Google page.

Once I took a serious look, I saw just how powerful Keyboard Maestro can be. I’ve already built a few simple macros with many more coming. There is a fair bit to learn, but like Alfred, there is a very active community of users and plenty of examples to study.

With their combined powers, very few computer tasks will escape me.

Keyboard Maestro

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Disk Drill 3.x Lifetime License

As part of my switchover to macOS, I’ve been looking for a disk recovery tool. For Windows, I’ve got EaseUS Disk Recovery and Recover My Files. These have served me well and Recover My Files recovered tens of gigs worth of data from an external drive fiasco.

Now that I’m using macOS, I’ve got TimeMachine as a backup tool and have been looking for full file recovery. Disk Drill comes up time and time again as a tool of choice and it’s now on sale for 70% off, including Lifetime License.

I haven’t had need of Disk Drill’s services yet, so this is a preventative purchase. But this is a solid deal and it’s worth the small investment now, rather than full price later should things go awry.

I will say, I have Disk Drill running to take advantage of the SMART monitoring. I have a couple of drives in this Mac, and want to make sure nothing happens to them. So far, all is running well.

The discounted version is available on BitsDuJour and the license key is immediate. I’ve been watching for a sale, so it looks like Black Friday is at hand.

Disk Drill Pro 3 for Mac

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Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 for $9.99 with Coupon Code

In keeping with the Spring Cleanup theme and making sure your system is in good repair, here is Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 for $9.99.

If you didn’t take advantage of the O&O DiskImage sale, then I don’t think you can argue with a complete backup solution for $10. Now, I’m not that familiar with their backup tool, but after checking out the demo, it seems like a solid choice. You have the standard tools like file backup, and options to backup the entire system drive. Additionally there are connectors for storing your backup in the cloud such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and others. Additionally, the option to make a rescue disc (CD/DVD) is built right in or you can use a USB stick.

Overall it looks like a pretty solid choice and you get 30 full days for evaluation so you have plenty of time to experiment. If you decide to buy the full version, you should receive an offer after installation to buy it for $12.49, which is a great deal on it’s own. Or you can sign up for the Upgrade off their main page. Either way, you can then add HRE3365QNY and drop the price top $9.99.

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