I’ve been lucky, imo, to have been using an old 27 inch iMac as my computer in school since I started 8 years ago. Despite its age it has been a wonderful machine for me. Returning to my classroom last week I found it will no longer start up at all. No response to the power button. This was my Mac when I worked at the Education Computer Centre before being redeployed to the classroom.

Apart from my familiarity with Macs (going back to system 7) a Mac fits really well with a class all using iPads. The ease of sharing via Airdrop is probably the biggest advantage. It’s simplicity and the way it doesn’t depend on the cloud make it useable even if our internet connection is slow or down. I can quickly collect the pupils work via AirDrop and manipulate (print, combine, resize, assess, organise etc) it on my Mac.

I also prefer using the Apple productivity apps on an iPad but like creating & editing them even more on a Mac.

Large screen computers are rare in primary schools but I have been spoiled. We mostly use quite small laptops. I find these quite difficult to work on. If I use a trackpad for more than a few minutes I get pain in my shoulder and a couple of fingers go numb.

As we now only buy Windows machines in my L.A., I have access to a Windows laptop. However, my old fingers are Apple-trained. I am currently using a rather old MacBook Pro. I have the keyboard from the iMac plugged in, along with the mouse. I think I might just buy a cheap screen and add that as well. I can bring it home and make my Mac mini a dual-screen setup when the laptop follows the iMac.

Having used the MacBook for 4 days I realise how many think I’d added to the iMac (and have at home) that make my life easier. I am going to have to spend some time adjusting the MacBook to my habits. The ones l’ve particularly missed so far are:

  • FastScripts and the AppleScripts I run from it. These are pretty simple: resizing images, collections URLS from tabs to a list and the like.
  • HyperKey, that lets me run said scripts from the keyboard.
  • Various shell scripts, mostly for montage and combining images.
  • Alfred, as a launcher and clipboard manager.
  • I’d miss Rectangle if my screen was bigger.

All small things that I use without thinking and make my life simpler.

This week has certainly made me appreciate the technology I’ve been taking for granted. I also need to remind myself that in my time of teaching, I’ve gone from a couple of computers in a whole school without a network, to 1-2-1 iPads in my class today. Can’t complain!

I’ve just transitioned to a mac mini. My 2016 MacBook pro was bulging horribly. Battery knackered. The keyboard was duff from the start. I don’t need a pro machine nor a portable one now so a mini seemed a good choice. Basic model but with 1TB disk & 16 mb ram.

Bookmarked Raspberry (steve-best.github.io)
I'm pleased to report that our iMac is now better than ever, thanks to Raspberry Pi Desktop for PC and Mac (also known as Debian with Raspberry Pi Desktop). What exactly is this operating system with an incredibly long name? It is a Linux distro based on Debian with the Raspberry Pi's desktop environment. (This is not actually the operating system that is typically installed on the Raspberry Pi devices (Raspberry Pi OS), but Debian with Raspberry Pi Desktop and Raspberry Pi OS are incredibly similar.)

Looking at mum’s old intel iMac in the back room…


I started my early 2011 MacBook to open a a cd yesterday. The trackpad bulged ominously. New battery arrived today along with the correct screwdrivers. It feels quite snappy. I think I’ll start using if for 32 bit stuff which should let me update the newer one.

Liked Chrome is Bad (chromeisbad.com)
Short story: Google Chrome installs something called Keystone on your computer, which bizarrely hides what it's doing from Activity Monitor and makes your whole computer slow even when Chrome isn't running. Deleting Chrome and Keystone makes your computer way, way faster, all the time.

Via Aaron.

Surprised I’ve not see this in my feeds yet. I’ve certainly noticed that Chrome can sometimes seem to hog resources and energy on macs. I mostly use Safari and Firefox.

As I’ve mentioned before we use Apple Notes a lot in our class. If the class are writing, unless there is a need for formatting or layout, I often ask the pupils just to stick to notes.

Notes are easily AirDropped to me when I need to collect work and both pupils and myself can organise them in a fairly simple manner.

Occasionally I want to print the pupils work. Notes, reasonably enough, only lets you to print one note at a time. I wondered if there was AppleScript that would help. I found Export Apple Notes via AppleScript which exported a folder of notes to a new TextEdit document. I altered it to:

  • Allow you to choose a folder from Notes.
  • Export to an html file on disk.
  • Provided page breaks so that the notes would each print on their own page.

Not particularly pretty, I guess I could work on the styles a little.

You need to be in my lucky position of having a mac in your classroom. Mine uses the same account as my iPad which helps me organise thing a lot.

Here is the code, I suspect it could be improved. Even if you don’t use AppleScript is easy enough to run. Open the AppleScript editor, create a new script, paste the code below in and hit run. You will be asked to choose a folder and then name an html file. The file will be created and opened with your default browser.
You then can print.

set htmltop to "<!doctype html>
<html lang=\"en\">
<meta charset=\"utf-8\">
<title>Notes Export</title>
@media print {
hr {
page-break-after: always;
set htmlbottom to "</body>
tell application "Notes"
set x to (name of every folder whose name is not "Notes")
set foldertoexport to (choose from list x) as string
if folder foldertoexport exists then
set output to ""
repeat with aNote in notes in folder foldertoexport
set noteText to "<!– ### Start Note ### –>
set noteText to noteText & ("<h1>" & name of aNote as string) & "</h1>
set noteText to noteText & ("<p>Creation Date: " & creation date of aNote as string) & "</p>"
set noteText to noteText & ("<p>Modification Date: " & modification date of aNote as string) & "</p>"
set noteText to (noteText & body of aNote as string) & "<hr>
set output to output & noteText
end repeat
set thehtml to htmltop & output & htmlbottom
set theNewFile to choose file name default name foldertoexport & "-notes.html"
set myFile to open for access theNewFile with write permission
write thehtml to myFile as «class utf8»
close access myFile
display dialog "not likly to happen"
end if
end tell
tell application "Finder" to open theNewFile