1Password allows you to add two-factor authentication codes or one-time passwords to its database. Very convenient cause it’s safer then using sms, can be shared across a family or team and allows you to delete the Google Authenticator app.
Since one of its latest releases the app automatically copies the code to the clipboard when you fill in a username and password. That way it’s ready to use on the next screen where most apps ask you to enter the code. You just select the text field and paste the code. No more juggling between apps.
1Password alerts you of the clipboard action via a notification. A notification that, if you don’t tap or dismiss it, will remain on your lock screen or Notification Center long after you need it.
Quick tip: since 1Password only uses notifications for the one-time passwords, go into settings and disable all options except for the pop up banner.
You’ll still be notified but the alerts won’t linger.
Apple has added a new dark mode, Dark Aqua, to macOS Mojave. Since there’s currently no easy way to toggle between the two modes, I’ve created a button you can add to your MacBook Pro’s Touchbar that allows you to quickly move from and to the dark side.
Create a Contextual Workflow in Automator and add the code below.
Set the input to none, and pick a good icon.
Save the workflow and give it a clear name like Dark Mode.
Go to System Preferences > Extensions and choose Touch Bar.
Enable your newly created workflow
Go to System Preferences > Keyboard and choose Customize Controlstrip
Drag the Workflow button to your Touchbar
tell application "System Events"
tell appearance preferences
set dark mode to not dark mode
Alexa now allows for routines that start audio playback. So for example you can say “Alexa, start the radio” and it’ll start playing your favorite radio station from TuneIn on your Alexa. (You can’t use play radio for some reason)
Sadly, by default, the interface doesn’t allow you to execute these commands on a Sonos One or redirect the audio to a Sonos speaker.
But there’s a workaround:
If you want to play a certain radio channel on the Sonos in the kitchen: start by creating a new routine in the Alexa app:
Set an Alexa trigger, eg “start the radio”
Add a Music action
Type out the name of the channel or track you want to play and set the source. For radio, it’s TuneIn
Append the sentence “in the kitchen”, to redirect the chosen music to the Sonos speaker in the kitchen.
The screenshots above will probably explain it better.
This shows the main difference between Apple Siri/HomeKit and Alexa. Alexa allows for these kind of hacks. But it makes for a frustrating experience because the advanced features don’t always work as expected.
Siri is locked and doesn’t allow these kind of workarounds. But the basic audio features Apple promises do work right out of the box.
It’s iOS stable and closed vs Android tweakable but unstable all over again.
Recently I started listening to the 9to5Daily Podcast while starting my day. It’s a fun short overview of Apple related news. Yesterday, Relay.fm launched Subnet, a show hosted by Stephen Hackett with a similar premise.
Two great shows to start your day which I’ve added to a Morning News playlist.
Streaming music across the house has become more easy these last few years. Sonos has supported all the major music services for years now, Alexa has Spotify support and the HomePod will be an Apple Music beast from the get go. But when you want to stream media from your devices, choices are limited. Sonos doesn’t natively support AirPlay or bluetooth, Alexa has bluetooth pairing, but it’s clumsy. The Apple HomePod supports AirPlay, and will soon support AirPlay 2 to stream music across multiple rooms. Sonos has also announced they will support the new AirPlay 2 later in 2018.
But what if you want to AirPlay Overcast or Audible to your Sonos speakers right now? One solution is this convoluted setup involving an AirPort Express, Sonos Connect or Play:5 and a lot of cables.
It’s a small software tool that live in the menubar of your Mac. It scans your network for Sonos devices and relays them as AirPlay sources to any device on your network. It’s fast, stable and for 10$ a lot cheaper than the “official” hardware solution.
I’ve been streaming podcasts all day from my iPhone to the Sonos devices across my house without any hiccups. Audio pauses when people call, you can rewind and fast forward from, let’s say, the Apple Watch and control the volume with Alexa or the Volume buttons on your devices.
Pretty sweet, especially if you have an always-on-Mac in the house.
I’ve got a Plex Server running on top of my iTunes installation to more easily stream media to my iPad and iPhone. It’s more stable than using the Shared tab in the Movies app, and it’s available while out of the house too. One thing that always bothered me was the fact that Plex showed a lot of garbage in the Movies list. Especially clips from iTunes Extra’s were an issue. They did not have a nice image, have an ugly title, aren’t playable due to DRM and frankly there were just too many clips to keep things organised.
Yesterday I discovered that Plex, similar to Git, has a .PlexIgnore option. You can add a file to the root folder of your movie folder and via a specific syntax add rules that make Plex ignore certain files. Since iTunes Extra files are contained in a bundle that has an .ite extension, this could be applied easily.
Hide iTunes Extra’s
Go to root of your Movie folder in Finder. (If you index more than one folder: rinse and repeat)
Open Terminal and type cd and drag the Movie folder into the Terminal window.
Press Enter/Return and type nano .PlexIgnore
Press Enter/Return again. This opens up a text editor within Terminal.
Now you specify which files Plex should ignore.
Add the following text: */*.ite*/* This will make Plex ignore all files or folders that have an extension .ite or are within a folder with that name.
Next, close and save the file by typing Control X and pressing Y followed by ENTER
Your Plex installation will now reindex your entire library and all iTunes Extra’s related content will disappear from view, with the original files untouched!
Some more options
You can do a lot more with .plexignore. Hide all episodes from a TV series you once saved but don’t want visible anymore. Or hide all files containing Trailer, or Cam.
Sadly, it only looks at filenames at the moment. I’d love a way to hide all Purchased and DRM protected media. But that’s currently not possible.
A new year. A fresh start.
Every year I start the year with a cleanup of my digital clutter.
Throughout the previous year I logged in to dozens of services with my Google, Twitter or Facebook account. It’s faster than creating accounts from scratch, and when I just want to check something out, convenience wins. This results in dozens of services being interconnected after a while. And lots of accounts and services that I probably don’t really use anymore.
So, every January 1st I go to the security page of the big three platforms and clean out the connected apps. Every app or service I don’t use anymore gets revoked, and preferably deleted.
If I want to keep using the app I check if I can turn my account in a dedicated separate account on that platform. This way a breach of say Facebook, doesn’t result in people getting access to my Airbnb account.
It only takes a few minutes, but the end result is a safer digital environment.
This year I went a bit further. I disabled all authorizations for sharing across platforms too. So no more autosharing Instagram to Twitter, or Shazam to Facebook. Each platform has its strengths, so cross platform sharing only results in a worse experience when looking at content made on another platform.
Notable exception: this blog. I use Facebook, Twitter and RSS as a way to share a link to this site.
The end result:
I used to have 34 services connected. Now, I have three apps connected to Facebook:
We use Sonos at home to stream radio and music across our apartment. It’s a great system with a pretty decent app, but sadly it lacks AirPlay support to easily get media that’s played on an iPhone or iPad to the speakers. I’m also an avid Podcast listener. I used to use Overcast, briefly switched to PocketCasts for its new Sonos integration, but I’ve currently moved back to Apple’s native Podcast app due to its new design, Siri integration and since I’m kinda hoping it’ll get support for the Watch someday.
Since I use the regular Podcast app, there wasn’t any clear way to AirPlay, sync or access those episodes on Sonos.
At least, not that I knew off.
But, while getting lost in Sonos’ new interface this morning, I discovered something: if you go to the Sonos app > Browse > On my iPhone, it now shows a Podcasts section at the bottom, and you can pick any downloaded episode on your device to play.
Sadly, it doesn’t sync playback status or time stamps (yet). And I have no idea happened to the album art. But I suspect they take it from the same source as Tesla does.
Here’s hoping AirPlay 2 will bring some better way of streaming media to Sonos.