If you plan to upgrade to Monterey please make sure that you have the latest version of Nisus Writer. So far as we know Nisus Writer Pro 3.2.2 and Nisus Writer Express 4.2.2 are compatible with Monterey; earlier versions may not be functional.
Please let us know if you see any issues with Monterey or otherwise. We’re always happy to help!
Apple Mail has been a relatively reliable app on macOS for a very long time. Well, that wasn’t always true, but it’s a work horse one way or another. For the most part it does what I need (except searching emails, but for that there’s InfoClick).
One aspect of Mail that Apple seems eager to tweak every couple years is the sidebar showing your accounts and inboxes. I think the Mail sidebar on macOS Big Sur is actually relatively straightforward considering some of the confusing messes Apple Mail has showcased over the years. But let me complain about this for a hot minute:
The “On My Mac” area has always been reserved for emails that are only stored locally, i.e. those not stored in the cloud. How the heck am I supposed to tell all these Trash folders apart? I have several accounts with local storage and there’s no labeling to disambiguate them. I’m forced to blindly click between the folders to stumble on the right one.
This is a tiny annoyance, but I still hope it gets improved. Maybe in macOS Monterey, which is likely to be finalized soon. We should know more about Monterey’s release date after the Apple event next week.
You probably already know that the iPhone 13, iOS 15, and Safari 15 have arrived. If you’re considering a nice new iPhone I thought this guide comparing the iPhone 13 to older models is a great help. You can jump to the section for your current model and see a quick summary of the top benefits.
We here at Nisus prefer stability and consistency to the hot new thing. Personally I’m not itching to upgrade. I have a perfectly good iPhone 11 and I like it when my web browser tabs look like tabs. Maybe Apple will walk back the much hated tab design in Safari 15. But this is Apple, so I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Nisus Writer has issues with two recently released pieces of software:
1. The latest beta/preview version of macOS Monterey. Nisus Writer will often crash due to changes in the macOS system.
2. The recently released Bookends version 14. Nisus Writer can’t communicate directly with this version of Bookends due to internal changes in how the app identifies itself.
We are working on a software update to Nisus Writer that addresses all of these issues. We hope to finalize and release those updates soon. However, if you need to bypass these problems immediately please contact us about obtaining early access to a private beta version of Nisus Writer.
We’ve recently had more reports that Nisus Writer Pro users can’t import or export file formats that require conversion (e.g. DOCX). The error message states that “you do not have permission” to run the Nisus File Converter app. The alert looks like this:
To quickly bypass the issue you can click the “Retry” button in Nisus Writer Pro. That will use a backup converter built into macOS. However, be aware that this backup conversion is less thorough and will omit special content like styles, comments, footnotes, etc.
In certain kinds of writing (e.g. mathematics or linguistics) it can be useful to insert characters with a line on top. This line is known by several names like an overbar, overline, or macron. Here are some examples of such characters:
ā ō n̅
You can easily enter such characters in Nisus Writer and other Mac apps.
How to type standard overline characters:
If you’re using a recent version of macOS like Catalina or Big Sur you can type several standard overline characters simply by holding down a letter key on your keyboard. As explained in Apple’s support document on typing accents, you hold down the letter key (e.g. the “A” key) for a few seconds. A popover will appear with several character variations:
You can now either click the desired character, or press the corresponding number key, to insert it.
How to add an overline to any character:
The standard keyboard only allows easy access to certain popular overline characters. But you can use a combining overline character to place a line over virtually any other character. Here’s how you can insert a combining overline:
1. Type the base character, e.g. the letter “N”.
2. Show Apple’s Unicode/emoji character palette. There are a variety of ways to do this. One way is to use the menu Insert > Special Character > Show Character Catalog.
3. The search field at the top of the character palette has focus. Type the phrase “combining overline”. (You could also just type “overline” but the results will show multiple lines and it’s hard to tell which one is combining)
4. Insert the overline by clicking it with your mouse, or pressing the Return key.
If you use overlines frequently you may want to add it to Nisus Writer’s special characters list. You can customize the list via the menu Insert > Special Character > Customize Special Characters. Once the character is added it will be available on the special characters menu and palette. That means you can optionally assign it a customized keyboard shortcut in our Menu Key preferences
Here are two quick Mac tips that will give you strength, whiten your teeth, and eliminate doggy breath.
Adjust Your Mac’s Volume in Fine Increments.
Want to fine tune the volume on your Mac? Press shift+option while pressing the volume or brightness keys. It will adjust in quarter increments instead of full increments.
This also works with the Touch Bar.
Open The Current Application’s Preferences.
If you need to get to an application’s preferences, simply type command+, (comma). I had no idea this existed until a few days ago. I mean, it’s not like I could have known about this, right?
Do you have a favorite tip to share? Let us know in the comments below!
Last year I purchased an early 2020 MacBook Air. It’s the base model with an Intel Core i3 dual core processor. At the time I purchased the M1 Air was just around the corner. However, I couldn’t pass up the new-at-the-time Magic Keyboard. I have to say that keyboard was worth the upgrade alone. The new keyboard is so much better that my fingers thank me every day I use it.
However, it’s been almost a year and the M1 machines are out and the new MacBook Air is the machine you recommend to anyone who is looking for a new laptop. My older 2020 dual core Air seems almost… quaint. So what is it like to use a dual core Air in the face of more modern hardware?
Honestly, it’s fine. Is it fast as lightning? No. However, it more than gets the job done. My usage is writing, surfing, mail, and other not terribly taxing tasks. For that, it’s fantastic. the speakers are surprisingly good for music or podcasts. However, it shows its pre-pandemic roots when you do video calls or connect it to an external monitor. At that point the Air gets hot and the fans spin up in a vain attempt to cool it down. The built-in camera is at best a potato and while on calls everyone hears the fan.
To be fair, on the plus side the Air keeps me warm in the winter. Seriously though, it’s fine for most uses. Plus, the keyboard is still great.
Am I jealous of those of you who own an M1 Air? No. I’ll eventually upgrade, but for now it’s running the Monterey beta and it doesn’t seem to mind.
So in short, don’t be jealous of those who have the M1 Air. There will be plenty of time to get revenge when the new, more powerful MacBook Pro with more ports comes out. The rest of you will be green with envy!
I’m lazy. So, instead of writing about hideous Safari 15 tabs like everyone else, I’m going to share a few Mac tips.
App Switcher The App Switcher shortcut (Command + Tab) is a handy tool. Want to quit an app while in the App Switcher? Type the letter Q while the Command key is still held down to quit the highlighted app.
Copy Current URL To copy the current URL in Safari, hit Command + L to highlight the current URL. Then press Command + C to copy the URL to the clipboard. That tip has saved me quite a bit of time.
Screenshots Lastly, this is a new one for me. The normal screenshot shortcut is Shift + Command + 3, which takes a screenshot of your desktop. Shift + Command + 4 allows you to select an area of the screen. If you press the spacebar you get a screenshot of just that window or whatever area you have highlighted.
Bonus tip: Command + Control + Shift + 4 takes a screenshot and copies it to the clipboard.
If you have a tip to share please add it to the comments below. We are always up for new tips!
It’s an unexpected thing to say, but I feel a certain amount of warm nostalgia for Clippy, one of the first virtual assistants, as found in Microsoft Office circa the 1990’s.
Oh sure I hated him at the time. He was basically worse than useless. I recall that my only interaction was to annoyingly dismiss Clippy’s popup window. But as they say, time is the healer and we must forgive our enemies.
The recent news is that Microsoft may supplant paperclip emojis with Clippy. That’s seems like harmless fun, so long as it doesn’t affect final output (e.g. PDF). Perhaps Nisus Writer should replace the bicep emoji with classic Nisus Man. I see a certain resemblance…
One thing not on my bingo card this year was a faithful recreation of the Dashboard iTunes widget from Mac OS X Tiger. However, developer Mario Guzman, who appears to be of sound mind and body, has produced Music Widget for macOS for modern versions of macOS, starting with Big Sur.
I downloaded and I have to say it is pretty cool. It works just as I remember the OS X widget worked. Yes, I’m old.
Be aware that this works with Apple Music only. Spotify need not apply.
The app is in beta, and is compatible with Big Sur and above.
It’s interesting to think about what counts as “technology” for particular generations of people. We might consider Apple’s latest iPad Pro on the edge of what’s new in personal tech. But in centuries past wax boards (literally wooden frames filled with melted beeswax) may have been the exciting new writing technology:
“Wax boards can be seen as the iPads of yesterday … they all allow writing without ink, and the erasing and re-inscribing of written text as much as is desired.”
That’s from this article from the American Society of Overseas Research which goes into great detail about these wax boards and how they were used in ancient Near East regions like Egypt. It’s fun to think about how neat these boards must have been when they were first available. What’s new and exciting is always relative.
One tidbit that I found interesting is the possible “use of a release agent made from sesame oil, date syrup and ghee” to help prevent the stylus from sticking in the wax– delicious!
We just released a new version of InfoClick, our Apple Mail search app. It provides an unrivaled view into the contents of your emails. There’s no more guessing whether or not to trust wishy-washy Spotlight search results. And InfoClick is incredibly fast. You see results and what other search terms are still available instantly.
This new version is a maintenance release with minor updates, mostly to improve stability. It’s free for all existing InfoClick users.
More Accurate Email Date Search
One small improvement in InfoClick version 1.2.7 is its handling of dates. InfoClick allows you to find all emails in a particular year, month, or day. But unfortunately the date field in emails can be unreliable for a variety of reasons. One example: spammers regularly mark an email’s date as a few days in the future. The idea is that this will sort the junk email topmost in any listings.
InfoClick now handles these erroneous dates more intelligently. If an incoming email’s date is in the future, or otherwise seems suspect, InfoClick may choose to use more trustworthy date information. That might include timestamps recorded by email servers as the email was passed around the network, or the local time of arrival.
Apple previewed new features for people with disabilities in a post on their newsroom page. There are several great features being added but the one feature that stood out to me was AssistiveTouch on Apple Watch. It allows users to control their watch without touching the screen.
According to TechCrunch “You can activate it either by selecting it in the Assistive Touch menu, or by shaking your wrist vigorously. It then detects the position of your hand as you move it around, allowing you to “swipe” by letting the cursor linger at the edge of the screen, or interact with things using a pinch or clench.” How great is that?
Apple says this and the other features will be available as an update, though no timetable was released. The sooner the better, please.
A topic that recently arose on the Nisus user forums is whether or not Nisus Writer comes with any custom keyboard layouts. While we don’t provide any keyboard layouts, Nisus Writer does support all layouts that are available system-wide on macOS. That includes all the default layouts provided by Apple as well as any customized keyboard layouts.
To enable additional keyboard layouts (also called input sources) on your Mac you can visit the macOS system Keyboard preferences. You’ll see a host of keyboards available:
Once you’ve enabled a keyboard layout for your Mac you can use it all your apps. In addition Nisus Writer has special language features that can help you automatically switch the keyboard layout based on the language of your document text.
Intel is having quite a marketing run of late. This latest ad (courtesy of 9to5Mac) is just about the worst of the lot:
If I had to guess I would say someone in marketing at Intel is not paying attention. No Mac as of this writing is using Intel’s 11th generation processors. The “gamer” in the photo is wearing Beats headphones. He appears to be wearing a watch, and it wouldn’t shock me to learn it is an Apple Watch. It’s just sloppy. Intel is a multi-billion dollar company. I’m pretty sure they have good people in their marketing department. How did this get through?
After much thought and a generous sale price I purchased a new M1 Mac mini. It’s the step up version (8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage). I’ve used it for a couple of weeks now and I’m enjoying it.
Without getting too deep in the weeds, here are the pros and cons:
Compatible with every app I use (your mileage may vary).
Hardware works as expected.
Runs cool no matter what I’m doing.
I can no longer use my mini as a space heater.
Can only use two monitors (that’s not really a con for me).
Bluetooth issues at times.
Needless to say I am delighted. The Developer Transition Kits (DTK) were not known to be bastions of reliability as they were barely alpha quality hardware. The M1 mini is a different story. It has been, apart from a few bluetooth issues, very reliable, from set up to everyday usage.
My Intel mini can get very warm at times running tasks you wouldn’t think would tax the machine. For example, at set up Spotlight starts indexing the hard drive. When I did this on the Intel mini it got very warm and the fans kicked in quickly. The M1 mini didn’t even get warm during this process, and finished the task much quicker than the Intel mini. I was astonished to see how easily the computer handled this task.
If I had to pick one thing that excites me the most it is Rosetta 2. All of the software I used on the Intel mini I brought over to the M1 mini using Migration Assistant worked without issues. I would say that the most impressive feature on these new breed of Macs is Rosetta 2.
The downside for me is the bluetooth is flakey at times. The keyboard and mouse lose connection for a bit, and it comes back just as quickly. It’s better now that Apple has addressed it, but it’s something to watch.
Overall, I’d give 5 thumbs up to this new M1 mini.
Have you made the leap to the new Apple Silicon? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.