The Alfred Emoji Pack

In the past I tried an Alfred workflow for inserting emoji, which was pretty terrible. When I upgraded my computers to Alfred 4 this weekend, I went on a hunt for a real solution and found The Alfred Emoji Pack, which is great because it uses the built-in snippets feature. After you launch Alfred, type your shortcut for Snippets (s in my case), a colon, and some text. It’ll show you suggestions and when you pick one it will be pasted in to whatever app you’re using at the time.

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Where it really becomes powerful is when you turn on Automatically expand snippets by keyword in Alfred.

Set Mac Volume to a Specific Percentage with an Alfred Workflow

The Touch Bar on the MacBook is a pain in the ass. I’ve been getting sick of fighting with it to adjust volume and wanted an alternative to using the icon in the Mac OS menu bar. I already had some AppleScript code I use to reset volume to start my work day, so I ran with it to make a simple Alfred Workflow.

I didn’t realize how awesome this workflow would be. I’m using it all the time, even on my other Mac, which has the keyboard volume control buttons.


Get it on GitHub.


Working from home isn’t always rainbows and cupcakes as you might expect. It can be easy to get distracted, especially with what’s going on in our country right now. One thing that’s worked well for me lately is listening to a single song on repeat. It doesn’t take long for the sound to fade away and I really zone out on my work.

I also have the flexibility to work from anywhere I want, but I rarely ever head out to coffee shops for WiFi, unless my power is out. I’ve read about people working to the sounds of a coffee shop more and more, so when Ingrid told our team Coffitivity was working well for her, I figured I’d give it a shot.

I’m just starting today so don’t have any conclusions yet. I’m wearing my WordPress-customized Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2.0 Over-ear Wireless headphones for the noise cancellation. It does seem a little weird to wear headphones since I live alone, but in just a short time I’ve realized I’m not being distracted by birds or squirrels outside my window or vehicles driving by.

Keeping Track

Maybe you’ve heard of the quantified self.  I like data and use a lot of services to keep track of various aspects of my life, so I hope you’re able to get some ideas from this list. If you have any questions, let me know.


  • Golfshot – scores, stats, and GPS.
  • – custom site I built for 9 hole stats.
  • I also built and maintain a private site for our golf group. It has handicaps, scoring stats, and a money list.


  • BTWB – CrossFit workouts. Can’t be beat for all of the data it provides.
  • Unleaded Gains – blog (name of my garage gym) where I log every workout for easy searching, categorization, and being able to keep notes about each workout.
  • RunKeeper – running stats.
  • Garmin Connect – also has running stats. My main use is for lap timing and heart rate data.
  • MyFitnessPal – when I want to track macros.
  • Withings – WiFi scale for weight and body fat.
  • Sense – sleep tracker.
  • Apple Health – brings some of these things together.


  • TripIt (Pro) – flight, lodging, and car rental details.
  • Automatic (Pro) – driving and trip information.
  • Gas Tracker – vehicle gas consumption and mileage. Automatic Pro provides this now, so I need to figure out if I can transfer the data.
  • Swarm – check-ins.


  • Apple Reminders – to-do lists, alerts, and shopping lists.
  • Bear (Pro) – where I keep ideas, notes, project or workout plans, personal documentation, etc. I also do some to-dos here, especially for lists where I don’t need/want a reminder.
  • Google Calendar – what’s going on? Where do I need to be?
  • Gmail – I actually try not to use email much.
  • Deliveries – tracks shipments.
  • 1Password – I know exactly two passwords, the one to get into my computer and the one to unlock 1Password. Everything else is a long random string of characters I access through 1P apps/extensions. I also use it to manage two-factor authentications.
  • Dropbox – file backup and sync across devices.
  • Feedly – where I read the sites/blogs I don’t want to miss.
  • Reader – posts from sites/blogs I don’t mind missing.


  • Wealthfront – the best managed investment services I’ve seen anywhere. They’ve been adding support for tracking outside accounts.


  • Untappd – beers!
  • Timehop – neat for looking back at today’s personal history.

Home Automation

A different category worthy of a separate post. I’m still setting up my house and will post details when I have it all working.

Simple Notes with Simplenote

simplenoteIf you’re looking for a great note taking app, check out our free Simplenote app. There are all new versions for iOS, Android, Mac, and Kindle.

  • Your notes stay updated across all your devices. No buttons to press. It just works.
  • Find notes quickly with instant searching and simple tags.
  • Share a list, post some instructions, or publish your thoughts.
  • Your notes are backed up when you change them. Just drag the version slider to go back in time.
  • Type what you’re looking for, and your list updates instantly. You’ll never misplace an important thought again.
  • Backups, syncing, sharing — it’s all completely free.

Gettings Things Done

Post frequency has been low at MDV recently because I’ve been getting a lot done, and no I don’t need a book to teach me how to be productive with my time. I use my own system. The biggest helper in this whole process has been Basecamp, an online project and task management service.

I’m using the free account and it does a fine job for what I need it to do. With the free account you are allowed one project and that’s really all a single person needs. It’s pretty easy to manage my life under one overall project. I use messages to keep track of ideas or thoughts. Right now I have 7 to-do lists where I put down tasks that I need to accomplish. I have one to-do list for each of my 5 blogs, one for the next blog, and one I titled personal. The personal to-do list currently is used for everything not associated to one of my web sites. I’ll probably eventually break that down into a few other lists, but it seems to be working right now. I’m also using a writeboard to collaborate with my brother on a new web site idea. You don’t need a Basecamp account to use writeboards though, simply sign up at Writeboard and you can share ideas with multiple people.

Continue reading “Gettings Things Done”

Get Organized

I’m using Basecamp to get everything organized as far as to-do lists, ideas, reminders, and other information. I’m hoping it’ll help me get more productivity out of each day. No more post-it notes all over my desk at home or emailing myself reminder notes.