MailMate: combination of conversation and thread arc views

MailMate has an unsupported feature for creating custom layouts. I quickly created a combination of the two best (IMO) layouts: the conversation layout and the thread arc layout.

Here's a screenshot:

Note:

Here's the code:

MailMate: keyboard shortcut to archive all messages in a thread

One arguably strange behavior in MailMate is that when you archive a message, other messages in the thread can stay in your inbox.

Fortunately, it's possible to re-map the archive keyboard shortcut to archive all messages in a thread. Using the instructions for adding custom keybindings, add the following:

"y" = ( "selectWithFilter:", "#thread-id = ${#thread-id}", "archive:");

Note that I use "y" instead of "e" because I use FastMail instead of Gmail.

Ulysses III RTF manuscript style (.ulss)

Ulysses III has an awesome feature for styling RTF exports of Markdown documents. I created a .ulss stylesheet file for a double-spaced manuscript. It's still a work in progress – it's not specific to any journal's requirements currently, but it certainly could be.

Click here to view the gist containing the .ulss file (too long to embed).

Here's a sample file in Ulysses:

And here's the direct export in Word:

I haven't finished playing around with embedding figures or inserting citations. Citations are obviously huge for academic writing, and the new Papers 3 is awesome but doesn't seem to fully support Ulysses. Part of the problem seems to be that the Papers 3 popup citation inserter can't generate the references list inside Ulysses. The other part of the problem is that by default, Ulysses does crazy parsing stuff to the Papers citation placeholder tags (e.g. {Smith:2013xx}).

I've got some work-arounds but they are too fragile to be worth writing about at this point. Even if the workflow is a little jury-rigged, it will still probably be better than WYSIWYG formatting with Pages or Word – it's amazing to have completely uniform formatting without futzing around with manually applying styles.

I'm asking for some help...we'll see what happens:

Safe Chrome extension to merge windows

I don't like installing Chrome extensions from 3rd parties because these extensions can literally see everything you do in your browser, can grab usernames and passwords, etc. without your knowledge. (I once wrote Chrome extensions. It's scary what you can do.)

There are a ton of "merge windows" extensions that let you combine tabs from multiple windows into one window. If you're not paranoid, any of these will probably get the job done.

If you are paranoid, there is a "merge windows" example extension in the developer docs. The code is really simple (easy to read through to see if anything nefarious is going on) and it is installed as an unpacked extension so there are no automatic updates that could introduce unknown code.

Here's a backup of the code in case Google takes this out of the docs someday.

Mail.app and multiple outgoing addresses/SMTP servers with one sent folder (Mountain Lion)

I figured out a way to use Mail.app with a very specific use case:

  • You want to send mail from multiple addresses, e.g. you forward email from a secondary account to your primary account, but still want to send mail from both these addresses.
  • You want to use the correct SMTP server for outgoing mail, but you want your primary account's Sent folder to have a copy of all your outgoing messages.

Mail.app on Mountain Lion (OS X) gets most of the way there by default. You can set up two different accounts, and it will intelligently select the proper outgoing address for replies.

When it does this, it will use the SMTP server you specify for each account. The problem is that when you send mail from the secondary account, it won't end up in the Sent folder for your primary account. Instead, it will be in the Sent folder for the secondary account. This is bad if you're trying to keep everything in one place.

The solution I found is actually surprisingly simple. The trick is to bcc yourself on all outgoing messages:

Then, set up two rules:

  1. Incoming messages from your primary address → Trash

  2. Incoming messages from your secondary address → Sent folder on primary account

Here's an example of the 2nd rule ("Fastmail" is my primary account; the email address for my secondary account is blurred out):

When I send mail with my primary account, the messages is automatically put in my Sent folder, so I just discard the bcc'd message. That's the first rule.

When I send mail with my secondary account, because I'm forwarding mail from my secondary account to my primary account, the bcc'd message is forwarded to the inbox of my primary account. The second rule above moves it to my Sent folder.

Print PDF to open Finder folder (Mac OS PDF Service)

I often convert documents to PDF using Mac OS's built-in print-to-PDF functionality. I usually want to save the PDF to the same folder as the original, and I often have this folder open in Finder.

It turns out that you can create "PDF Services" that appear in the print-to-PDF menu with Automator. Using a little bit of AppleScript, I created a PDF Service that will print-to-PDF and save in the folder open in the top-most Finder window.

To get this, download and unzip this zip file. Run the .workflow file that's inside the zip and choose "Install", or you can manually install it by adding the .workflow file to your ~/Library/PDF Services folder.