Raycast; Sloth; Marta
Twin editions today, as promised. This second one is more focused on some new toys I'm playing with on macOS, so you can safely skip it if you're not a macOS user.
Raycast [GH] popped up on my radar a couple of weeks ago, and I'm always up for some workflow disruption whilst I play with shiny new toys.
Technically, Raycast is a launcher, but it has tons of extra features like many of its counterparts:
Script Commands: Write scripts in your favorite programming language to connect to web APIs, control apps, tools, and more.
Shortcuts: Search and run your macOS Shortcuts directly from Raycast. Keeping everything in one place for fast access.
File Search: Search for files and folders the simple way, view metadata, and perform common actions.
Floating Notes: Floating Notes are a quick way to jot down a thought while working on something else. Always handy when you need it.
System Commands: Control your Mac with over 20 system commands built in. From turning up or down volume, to emptying your trash, sleep or restarting your system, and much more.
Quicklinks: Open links in the browser, folders in the terminal or projects in any text editor. And search the web much more efficient. Use queries to perform searches at any engine you like.
Calculator: Solve simple math expressions, convert units, check timezones, calculate differences between days, months, and years, and do much more in natural language. Copy the answer to your clipboard to carry on with what you were doing before.
Window Management: Clean up your window mess with handy commands for organizing your desktop on the fly and resizing app windows.
(Smart) Clipboard History: Search for text, images, files, links and colors that you copied earlier and paste it again. Pin your frequently used items to access them quicker. Avoid copying seekrits, like passwords, from password managers, too.
Snippets: Write faster by inserting frequently typed text such as canned emails, code pieces and more. Use keywords to auto-expand snippets in-place.
My Schedule: Never miss another meeting. Join Zoom, Google Meet, Around meetings, and more, without digging around for a link and jump straight in to your calls. Check your upcoming schedule, block focus time, or get an overview of your daily plan.
Raycast has a "teams" feature where you can share quicklinks, snippets, script commands, etc. amongst team members.
There's a bit more info on features in the manual, and how to use the Raycast API to build your own extensions.
Raycast is free for personal use and is also free (with some limits) for small teams. They're looking to make coin by the $10/user/month teams feature.
So far, it's a solid experience, except for their store not being accessible while writing this, so I could capture a shot of a couple of things. The calculator is truly spiffy, and the window built-in window management commands work well. I use Fantastical and the "My Schedule" works seamlessly with it.
If you'd like a small change in your daily ops, this could be a fun one.
I'm a big fan of the lsof command line tool. It's been around forever and is an essential tool in the toolbox when one needs to see what files are open by which process and what TCP connections are in use per-process.
Despite being a denizen of the command line, I'm always on the lookout for GUI tools that wrap essential CLI tools, as they often provide more ways to explore the data.
Sloth [GH] is a macOS app that wraps
lsof. With it, you can:
View all open files, directories, IP sockets, devices, Unix domain sockets and pipes
Filter by name, access mode, volume, type, location, or using regular expressions
Sort by name, process ID, user ID, process type, bundle identifier, etc.
View IP socket status, protocol and version
View sockets and pipes established between processes
Inspection window with detailed macOS and Unix file/socket/process info
Powerful contextual menu for file operations
In-app authentication to run with root privileges
It receives regular attention from the developer and works great on all chips. You can also
brew install --cask sloth if you use Homebrew.
This is a quick one as I've just started playing with it.
It is no secret that I _despise* the macOS Finder app. It is one of the worst apps ever made. It receives almost no love from Apple, and needs a serious overhaul.
Marta is a Finder "replacement" (more like "alternative"). It is a fully native macOS app and is stupid fast and highly configurable.
One of the coolest, immediate feature is the baked-in terminal pane that follows along as you traverse directory trees. It supports treating ZIP/tgz/etc. files as filesystems, and even has theme customization and a plugin API.
I'll report back on it in a few weeks (if I'm still using it). One stickler for me is that the UI is too compact. I like a bit more open space between UI elements and borders. That may be enough of a drawback to have to ditch it.
I'm working on a good Friday drop to give you some things to dig into over the weekend. ☮