It's that time again... Welcome to issue 4 of the Working Smarter for Mac Users newsletter, an issue chock full of information aimed at helping you become a raging thunder lizard of productivity.
First up: A look at the mouse I love (and a few of the reasons I love it), followed by a short public service announcement about typing skills.
Then: A gruesome reminder about redundancy, and why it's such good thing when it comes to storage and backups.
Finally, we'll end on an upbeat note with a link to a James Clear essay that reveals, "one simple trick that doubles your chances for success."
So, without further ado, here's this week's meaty, beefy issue (#4) of the Working Smarter for Mac Users Newsletter 2.0.
The Mouse I Love...
Note: What follows is adapted from my eBook, Working Smarter for Mac Users. It's been more than a year since I wrote it—an eternity in tech time—and I've tested several mice since then... But, the Logitech MX Master is the one I keep coming back to, and is still the mouse I love...
A long time ago, I didn’t care for mice at all and was a dyed-in-the-wool trackball fanatic. I was lured back to the way of the rodent when I reviewed the $109.99 Logitech MX Master, which turned out to be the best mouse I’ve ever used.
The controls are configurable using the included Logitech Options software; here’s what each control is and what I use it for, by the numbers:
1. The SmartShift™ scroll wheel: A speed-adaptive scroll wheel that switches between click-to-click (precision) mode and free-spin (ultra-fast) mode, depending upon how quickly you turn the wheel. There’s nothing else like it—it lets me breeze through long documents quickly and easily.
Bonus: The SmartShift Scroll Wheel is also a mouse button; I use it to trigger MenuMate, a must-have third-party utility ($4.99) that puts the menu bar wherever I click, which is especially awesome if you have multiple displays (like me).
2. The Mode Shift button: Switch between click-to-click and free-spin modes manually.
3. Mouse button 3. A thumb-activated button that’s super handy; mine’s configured as an Option + click, which hides the current application when I click anything else.
4. Mouse button 1. Mine’s a regular or left-click.
5. Mouse button 2. Mine’s a right- or Control-click.
6. Side wheel: Mine navigates between tabs in web browsers and Finder windows. But, like all of the buttons, you can configure it to do almost anything you like, including brightness control, horizontal scrolling, show/hide notifications, and many others.
7 and 8. Forward (Command + ]) and Back (Command + [) buttons: I press them dozens of times a day in my web browser and the Finder.
I admit that a $110 mouse sounds outrageous, but it’s a superbly crafted mouse with many other best-in-class features, not the least of which is the Darkfield laser sensor, which tracks almost perfectly on any surface including highly reflective surfaces—like my glossy wood desk—that would choke most other mice.
I think that’s about enough of rodents for now. Moving right along, I think it's time for a quick public service announcement:
Quick Public Service Announcement
If you aren't a proficient touch typist, you should be. Typing quickly and accurately is one of the easiest ways you can get more work done in less time.
It's easy and free.
Just visit typingtest.com. I suggest you begin by taking the free typing test, so you know your current typing speed. After that, click the Train for Free button and double your typing speed for free.
*This has been a public service of Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus and Working Smarter for Mac Users. Take it with however many grains of salt you like. But, if you're not typing at least 60 words per minute, you're spending more time at the keyboard than you need to. I'm just sayin'...
Why Redundancy is a Very Good Thing in Storage
Last week I had something bad happen to one of my newest hard drives—an 8TB USB 3 drive named "8TB of Backups." I walked in the office one morning to find it offline and unwilling to mount.
I tried Disk Utility's Disk First Aid first, but it failed:
The volume 8TB of Backups could not be repaired.
File system check exit code is 8.
Restoring the original state found as mounted.
Problem -69842 occurred while restoring the original mount state.
File system verify or repair failed.
I ran Drive Genius, but it, too, was unable to repair the disk:
For some folks, waking up to find a dead 8TB hard disk would wreck their whole day. But I expect hard drives to fail, which is why everything on 8TB of Backups was also backed up to at least one other destination.
Knowing my backups were safe on other disks, I had no compunction about erasing and reformatting 8TB of Backups, and then telling Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the appropriate folders again.
It took over 24 hours to copy and verify all the files, but a day later all was back to normal and none of my data was ever at risk.
My Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves column last week focused on my fascination with iPhone camera apps...
As I sat down to write this column about three useful iOS camera apps I’ve been testing—FiLMiC Pro, Halide, and SelfieX—I noticed I had an inordinate number of iOS apps in my “Photo & Video” category, most of which were cameras. I was shocked to discover I’ve collected well over 100 different iOS camera apps in the nearly ten years iOS apps have been available
Granted, most of them weren’t particularly memorable. But, many of them offer at least one desirable feature that captivated me at the time. Most of them didn’t remain on my phone for long, but there are three I like so much and use so often I keep all three on my first home screen. And, while the built-in Camera app is pretty awesome, I find myself using one of these three apps more often than not.
I go on to describe three of my favorites, including SelfieX:
James Clear's writings usually speak to me, but this particular essay spoke louder than most:
Achieve Your Goals: Research Reveals a Simple Trick That Doubles Your Chances for Success (By James Clear)
Here's how researchers discovered the “one thing” that makes it more likely for you to stick to your goals…
In a study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, researchers measured how frequently people exercised over a 2–week period.
The researchers started by randomly assigning 248 adults to one of three groups.
- Group 1 was the control group. They were asked to keep track of how frequently they exercised over the next two weeks. Before they left, each person was asked to read the opening three paragraphs of an unrelated novel.
- Group 2 was the motivation group. They were also asked to keep track of how frequently they exercised over the next two weeks. Then, each person was asked to read a pamphlet on the benefits of exercise for reducing the risk of heart disease. Participants in Group 2 were also told, “Most young adults who have stuck to a regular exercise program have found it to be very effective in reducing their chances of developing coronary heart disease.”
The goal of these actions was to motivate Group 2 to exercise regularly.
- Group 3 was the intention group. After being told to track their exercise, they also read the motivational pamphlet and got the same speech as Group 2. This was done to ensure that Group 2 and Group 3 were equally motivated.
Unlike Group 2, however, they were also asked to formulate a plan for when and where they would exercise over the following week. Specifically, each person in Group 3 was asked to explicitly state their intention to exercise by completing the following statement…
Win a full scholarship to Working Smarter for Mac Users!
Finally, last but certainly not least, the contest giving away 5 full scholarships to my Working Smarter for Mac Users online course—each valued at $499—runs through March 31st.
I encourage you to enter and share the contest with your friends. As an added incentive, you'll get three additional entries for each friend you refer.
It ends March 31, and the winners will be announced on April 2.
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but as some of you noticed last week, the contest link was broken. So, here it is again, but this time, I tested it 3x before I cicked "Send."
There's no cost and no obligation, so please tell your friends!
One Last Thing: Enroll in Working Smarter for Mac Users by March 31 and Save 75%!
The Grand Opening promotion for my new 10-hour Working Smarter for Mac Users course is still running (50% off = $249), but I wanted to remind you that as an Insider, you are entitled to an even better deal than the unwashed masses.
Just enroll before Saturday, March 31 using coupon code reader75 at checkout, and save 75%. Instead of paying $499, or even $249, your Insider price is a mere $124.75!
That's all for this issue, but stay tuned—I'll have lots more for you next week!
All the best,
P. S. If you have feedback or comments about my newsletter, course, eBook, or anything else, please don't hesitate to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm here for you!
P. P. S. If you enjoyed this issue, you'd be helping me out if you'd tell a friend or two. Thanks.