How To

How to reopen the Action Bar for the Stream Deck Pedal on macOS

If you’re a Stream Deck Pedal user, you are likely familiar with the Action Bar, the floating window that hovers over your desktop and shows you which actions are currently available on your pedal – after all, how else would you know what will occur when you tap a pedal?

While this is convenient when you actively want to use the pedal, you might find yourself hiding the Action Bar when you don’t want to see it – and each time I do that, I completely forget how to turn it back on. So, for my own sake, I’m publishing a how-to so I can find it again.

On Windows, right-clicking on the app tray will show the option to Show Action Bar. On macOS, however, the app doesn’t actually stay open in the Dock (since it doesn’t run as a typical application), meaning that option isn’t available behind the right-click.

Instead, the option to “Show Action Bar” is located in the Menu Bar plugin for the Stream Deck, in the sub-menu underneath the Stream Deck Pedal device (I tend to miss this location since I have my Menu Bar apps hidden with Bartender).

Click it, and your Action Bar will appear again.

Once the Action Bar is visible, this option also switches to “Hide Action Bar,” should you want to hide the actions from the screen temporarily again.

Hope this helps!

Get the Stream Deck Pedal from Elgato and use my code ZZ-CASSINELLI for 5% off at checkout.


How To Shortcuts

How To Check Your App Store Subscriptions with Reminders and Shortcuts

This morning, I saw creator Tyler Stalman talking about his app subscriptions, giving a tip about free trials:

Pro Tip: first thing I do when I sign up for an app free trial is immediately cancel it

The trial period still works & if I don’t end up using the app I’ll probably forget to cancel the subscription before I get charged

If I do like it I’ll be sent a reminder to renew

If you’re unsure about new subscriptions and want to evaluate the true value of your apps, this is a great strategy.

I have a technique (which I shared in the replies) to access this same page using Shortcuts, plus set a reminder to run that shortcut regularly – using my Check My App Subscriptions shortcut.

This shortcut uses a deep link into the App Store’s infrastructure, taking the URL itms-apps:// and opening the link using Open URLs. When run, Shortcuts opens the URL into the App Store page, showing your list of current subscriptions – including those trials you may have cancelled by default using Tyler’s method.

Once you have the shortcut in your collection, you can ask Siri using the name of the shortcut (which you can customize to your own preferred trigger phrase) and open right to this page at any moment. Or, you can keep it in an instance of the Shortcuts widget – I have mine in a small widget to the left of my Home Screen in a widget stack that I can rotate to when needed.

If you really want to stay on top of your subscriptions, however, I recommend using a little-known technique involving Shortcuts, Reminders, and Siri’s capability to “Remind me about this” – which you can use with Shortcuts to create a special button in your new reminder that, when tapped, opens Shortcuts and runs the shortcut.

With my “Check My App Subscriptions” shortcut open, you can ask Siri to “Remind me about this” (and even “Remind me about this once a month”) to create the special reminder.

Then, you can customize the details like putting it in a different Reminders list or making the reminder repeat on a schedule – once on the weekends, or monthly on the 15th or the last Sunday are good starting points.

Get the Check My App Subscriptions shortcut in the App Store folder of my Shortcuts Library, and check out Tyler’s original post.

Apps How To Links

How to change back to the old Twitter app icon on iOS »

From TechCrunch:

As our Twitter apps are updating to now be called “X,” you might long for the old blue bird logo. It harkens back to a similar time, when Twitter certainly had its issues, but at least it was not owned by Elon Musk. Thanks to the shortcuts app on iOS, we can kid ourselves into believing that Twitter is still being run by a different short-sighted billionaire, rather than this even shorter-sighted one. Lucky us!

Here’s how you can change your X icon back to Twitter again:

As I joked on Twi…er, X… “Who’d have thought the world’s primary use case for Shortcuts would be app icon replacement”?

Read the full article (h/t 9to5Mac and iMore).

P.S. I just so happened to publish a guide on this method a few days ago.

How To

How to coordinate across timezones in Discord with timestamps

If you’re trying to coordinate with other folks over Discord, you might run into timezone issues – often people in disparate communities live all across the world, and trying to specify exactly when everyone should arrive in their relative time can actually prove to be quite hard.

Thankfully, the folks at Discord ran into this enough themselves that a solution is actually built into the application: a special <t:{timestamp}> message (plus an optional :{format} you can append).

Once you send this timestamp, each person will see the correct time in their timezone. Great!

Now you just need a timestamp… which you can get… how??

Oddly, Discord has no way of actually creating this message itself – it requires a Unix timestamp, which seems to be intended for developers who might be programming a chatbot, for example, rather than everyday users.

Thankfully, you can create that timestamp—and take advantage of Discord’s formatting options—using Apple’s Shortcuts app. Here’s how (plus, what a Unix timestamp really is in the first place):

How To Shortcuts

How to quickly link all your YouTube chapter markers using Shortcuts

Earlier this week, I was putting together my “offsite” blog post for the YouTube stream I recorded while editing in Final Cut Pro for iPad and wanted to make a linked list of all the chapter markers that I added to the livestream.

Each chapter on YouTube must be formatted as a timecode, but making YouTube links to specific timestamps requires a “total seconds” value at the end of the URL, like &amp;t=3600 – something I wasn’t about to do manually for all 90 chapters.

In order to convert everything to the right format quickly and generate URLs to each chapter, I built two shortcuts:

How To Shortcuts Siri Shortcuts Tips & Tricks

How to copy meeting availability across multiple calendars using Shortcuts

Yesterday over on Six Colors, Jason Snell wrote about his difficulty helping a friend use the Calendar actions in Shortcuts to pull data from two separate calendars:

Lex wanted to use this shortcut to quickly generate a list of times where he’s available for meetings. This is a great use of automation—I wish I’d thought of it. Unfortunately, the shortcut only checks a single calendar, and Lex wanted his availability judged based on entries in two different calendars.

This thread caught my eye: both because I haven’t personally run into that issue, but also because I had actually thought of the automation.

Here’s my Copy my availability shortcut that I built all the way back when Shortcuts was Workflow, which has managed to live on in the Shortcuts Gallery today as the “Share Availability” shortcut.1

In the piece, Jason came up with a solution after Shortcuts couldn’t get all the data in one action:

How To Video

How to transfer camera settings on a Panasonic LUMIX GH5

I recently got a second Panasonic LUMIX GH5 for my video setup and will now be sharing settings across two cameras regularly — thanks to a Reddit post I found the official Panasonic video explaining how to do just that:

How To

Words I never want to appear in my writing; or, staying friendly towards beginners

As a writer who generally focuses on complicated processes for using technology, I can find it tempting to default to lazy language that over-simplifies for me, but tends to makes things confusing for new users. If something is difficult for everyone else and I describe it as “simple”, I’ve just lost many people who might’ve otherwise made it through.

For example, when I wrote the Workflow documentation, I took care to make sure I avoided assuming the directions given were as straightforward as possible and could always be understood by someone without any technical training (like me).

Today, I came across a great tweet from Jess Telford, summarizing a post from CSS Tricks and originated by Chris Coyier, who message I’ve seen before but am officially copying for my own work. This is aimed at code comments, but the author suggests setting the following words as “errors” in your syntax highlighter:

  • Obviously
  • Basically
  • Simply
  • Of Course
  • Clearly
  • Just
  • Everyone knows
  • However
  • So,
  • Easy

Using these words in an explainer context is now banned from all of my writing.

Nothing with iOS automation or the technical details of how something works is easy, simple, or clear – at some point, it was explained to you. Not everyone knows, you don’t “just” do something because there’s a verb for that action, and many complex things are rarely obvious how to use at first.

I want to avoid alienating anyone who reads my writing or wants to learn more about how to use technology – the goal is to empower, not educate from above.

If you see me using this language, don’t hesitate to call me out.