Pastebot: A Copy and Paste Playground

The best way to describe the handsome apps from Tapbots is as half tool and half toy. Mark and Paul have taken three straightforward utilities and converted them into three delightful apps for your iPhone. This third and most recent app, Pastebot, is perhaps the most useful and most delightful so far.

Pastebot is more powerful and versatile than its siblings, and it comes with all sorts of tricks and surprises floating around. To get the most out of it requires a minimal understanding of how the app works. When you first launch Pastebot you are guided through a cute and succinct tour. Later, when you find yourself in various screens within the app, little help tips will pop up to point out functionality.

Using and mastering Pastebot borders on entertainment.

Daily Usage

Other than the clipboard history in LaunchBar, I have never used a true clipboard manager. My ‘clipboard manager’ is Yojimbo. That’s where I throw random bits of info, web clippings, text, images, PDFs, and more — some to be stored indefinitely, some to be deleted when I don’t need them anymore, and some which will no doubt be forgotten.

Using a clipboard manager on your iPhone for boilerplate management is an obvious solution. At times it can be easier and quicker to copy and paste a canned response to a text or email than to thumb one out. And this is what most clipboard managers in the app store boast about: their ability to store text snippets for quick access. But very few brag about their ability to capture bits of info from your iPhone…

An app that auto-populates itself with the contents of your clipboard is surely the simplest way to throw bits of info into an app on the iPhone. Which is why a clipboard manager is, in my opinion, a foundational functionality for an attractive, capable Anything Bucket app for the iPhone. And Pastebot is the closest I’ve seen for this type of app.

On my Mac, the key to a good anything bucket is its ubiquity — that at any time, in any application, you can throw something into it. On the iPhone however, you can’t run 3rd-party apps in the background. Which is why the most important feature of Pastebot is launch time. In my usage with a mostly-full clippings folder littered with text, images, and other paraphernalia, Pastebot loads (and pairs with my Mac) in less than a few seconds.

Once running, whatever you last copied on your iPhone appears at the top of the Clipboard list. And if you’ve got the Pastebot Sync utility installed, anything you copy on your Mac pops right into the Pastebot app while its open.

From there it’s a copy and paste playground. You can sort, edit, add, delete, use, transfer, and more.

Miscellaneous Observations From Copying and Pasting Various File Types Between my Mac and my iPhone Using the Pastebot Sync Utility

  • Text: Even thousands of words copy over quickly, and text is the only data type that you can copy from one mac and past to another using Pastebot as the middle-man.

  • Images: Copying a photo from within iPhoto will send the actual picture. Though the title of the image from iPhoto does not transfer.

    Copying a whole slew of images from iPhoto gives Pastebot a datatype that it doesn’t recognize:

    Pastebot - Unknown Mac Data

    However, it still maintains the data. For example, I copied 9 images from iPhoto, they showed up in Pastebot as unknown Mac data, but from there I was still able to paste them onto my Desktop.

    Also, copying an image from Preview will get the full image onto your iPhone and allow you to use it on your iPhone. But copying the image file from the Finder only sends the file-type icon.

  • Audio and Video: Copying an audio or video file from iTunes sends the metadata to Pastebot. But it’s metadata based on where in iTunes the file was copied from. For example, trying to copy Star Trek to Pastebot from my Recently Added playlist sends this info:

    Star Trek 2:06:47 J.J. Abrams 11/18/09 7:48 PM

    (The same info that is shown in the playlist’s columns: Name, Time, Artist, and Date Added.)

    But trying to copy Star Trek from the Movies playlist sends this:

    Star Trek 2:06:47 Sci-Fi & Fantasy 2009
    The greatest adventure of all time begins with Star Trek, the incredible story of a young crew’s maiden voyage onboard the most advanced starship ever created: the U.S.S. Enterprise. On a journey filled with action, comedy and cosmic peril, the new recrui
    Star Trek – iTunes Extras Sci-Fi & Fantasy

    On the other hand, if you copy an audio or video file from within the Finder it sends that file’s relevant icon to Pastebot. And if you then paste that icon back to the Finder, it will paste the audio or video file; pasting it when in a plain text document will paste the filename; pasting it in a rich text document or an email will attach the file; and trying to paste into iTunes does nothing.

  • Folders & Zip Files: You can copy an entire folder or zip file. It shows up in Pastebot as a folder or zip icon, but pasting it back to the Finder the whole folder, with all its contents, shows up unscathed.

    You can email a file that Pastebot itself doesn’t recognize but it gets sent as an icon file. Sending a ZIP file you copied into Pastebot will only send the 512×512 icon titled as filename.zip. Similarly, sending a folder sends the icon of a folder named after the folder you had copied.

    Pastebot - emailing a folder

  • PDFs: Copying a page of a PDF document from within Preview will send that actual page. You can then paste it into the finder and you’ll get the page as if it were dragged out from Preview.

Transferring Data from one Mac to another using Pastebot and the Pastebot Sync utility

Using Pastebot Sync you can pair Pastebot on your iPhone with as many Macs as you like. But as far as I can tell, the only data you can transfer between multiple Macs using Pastebot as the mediator, is text clippings. If any file or image originates on Mac #1 when it gets copied into Pastebot, it won’t paste to Mac #2.

Although anything that was added to Pastebot from within your iPhone can be pasted to any synced Mac.

– – –

They say a man buys something for a good reason, and the real reason. You buy an app from Tapbots because it does something useful, but in truth, you just wanted to play with it.

Pastebot: A Copy and Paste Playground

Reader’s Setup: John Rust

John Rust is a freelance videographer, web designer, writer, and college student. He also tends to constantly dabble in graphic design, photography, music composition, live audio productions, and programming.

John’s Setup:

1. What does your desk look like?

John Rust Desk 3

john-rust-1.jpg

John Rust Desk 2

2. What is your current Mac setup?

I’m using a mid-2007 2.2GHz MacBook Pro with an anti-glare screen. I have a 20″ Apple Cinema Display (the old aluminum kind) plugged into the MacBook Pro whenever I’m at my desk. I’ve got both a wired and a wireless Apple keyboard (the aluminum type), which I switch between depending on what I’m doing and my mood at the time. I consider my Magic Mouse to be the most amazing Apple product released in the last year.

Next to my computer are three WD My Book drives providing me with 2TB of total storage for photos and videos. I’ve also got a set of small speakers also on my desk; I don’t particularly care about the quality of them because I usually have my music playing pretty quietly in the background.

There is also an old eMac lying around somewhere which I use occasionally as a local web server. The problem with my setup, in a nutshell, is that I juggle hats so often that I’m constantly adjusting my setup to better fit what I’m doing.

3. Why are you using this setup?

I bought the MacBook Pro so I could have a computer that did everything I needed it to do — from video editing to document editing — and still be portable enough to take almost everywhere. It’s certainly not as powerful as a Mac Pro, and its limitations are more than obvious at times.

Even though it’s the smallest model, the Cinema Display is pretty much all I need now in terms of screen space. Sure, editing in Final Cut Pro is more fun with a bigger screen, but it’s not necessary (and it won’t fit on my desk very well). I can’t live without FireWire 400, and the hub on the back of the monitor is wonderful when I need it.

4. What software do you use on a daily basis, and for what do you use it?

I use a lot of software, and I’m usually testing and playing with new releases to see if I like them. Overall, my most-used apps are iTunes, Mail, Skype, iChat, Tweetie, Fever, and Safari, like pretty much everyone else who reads this site.

Besides that, my most-used apps would be:

  • The Hit List. I keep switching between The Hit List and Things, but The Hit List is usually my favorite. Hopefully there’ll be an iPhone version of it at some point in the near future.

  • Photoshop CS4. I upgraded from the original Photoshop CS, and the upgrade was definitely worth it. I can’t say anything glorious about an Adobe product, but it is what I use for photo editing, design work, mockups, and essentially anything having to do with image manipulation.

  • Final Cut Studio 3. I’m in a love/hate relationship with the applications in this suite. They’re incredibly powerful and functional, and do everything I could ever need to do in terms of video editing. Yet the work I do in them tends to slow my computer to a crawl, and I really wish the interface would get a facelift.

  • Espresso and CSSEdit. Basically everything web-related goes through these applications. I absolutely love the live preview feature of CSSEdit, and I enjoy tweaking stuff on my site (and other sites) with it.

  • Aperture. I completely fell in love with this application the first time I saw it in use, and I never could go back and use iPhoto. All my images (besides my LittleSnapper library) are cataloged in aperture, and in my opinion it has set a standard for how user interfaces should be designed.

  • MarsEdit. Because writing and editing blog posts in the WordPress admin area just isn’t fun.

  • TextWrangler. You can’t beat the price of this application. It’s everything I need in a text editor and more; I prefer it to Pages a good bit of the time. In fact, I am writing everything in this interview in it.

5. Do you own any other Mac gear?

I own a white 16GB iPhone 3G (the Evil Empire won’t let me upgrade to a 3GS), and the Apple Bluetooth Headset which I use in the car. I have an AirPort Express that tends to bounce around the house depending on where it’s most needed at the time.

6. Do you have any future upgrades planned?

I’m in need of a new computer at some point in the future, but I don’t know what to get. A MacBook Air is almost necessary for college (I’ve strained my shoulders enough carrying around a MacBook Pro and lots of textbooks), but incredibly limiting for everything else. A 27″ iMac would be great for everything except for school. I’ll probably just settle with a high-end MacBook Pro and hope I don’t have to deal with files from a RED camera anytime soon.

More Sweet Setups

John’s setup is just one in a series of sweet Mac Setups.

Reader’s Setup: John Rust

And asks him the very same question that has been in the front of my mind for months: “Why do you write [Prettify] in plural form?”

Garrett’s Answer:

Hah. It’s amazing how many times I’ve been asked that. Honestly, I don’t know why I did that. I just wrote the first few in plural and it stuck. I guess I imagined in the beginning I would eventually have other people adding content to the site as well, but after a short time I realized (after looking at submissions) that I don’t trust anyone else’s taste enough to give out control over posting. I thought about switching to singular, but it was already the style of the site.

Chris Bowler Interviews Garrett Murray

A free utility app that adds functionality to the Magic Mouse, allowing you to set actions for clicks and taps based on how many fingertips are on the mouse’s surface. MagicPrefs also allows you to adjust the tracking speed and tap sensitivity. No support for “pinching” yet, but it looks like it’s in the to-do list. Basically, this is the solution to my problem with the Magic Mouse.

MagicPrefs

Khoi’s dilemma with finding an online backup solution for his 400GB of data. There’s some good discussion in the comments with many recommendations for DropBox, Backblaze, or Jungle Disk.

My approach for backing up is to keep it simple, and keep it safe. At my home I’ve got a TimeCapsule/TimeMachine backup, and run a nightly SuperDuper clone to an external. At my work office I’ve got another external that I clone weekly.

Having an off-site or online backup is important because, as Khoi says: “Fire or theft would leave me as helpless as any less-conscientious computer user, rendering all my self-congratulatory local backups worthless.”

Backing Up Over Broadband

What to Get for That Nerdy, Design-Savvy, Coffee-Loving, Snowboarding, Person in Your Life

Nerds are hard to shop for. We know precisely what we want, but we’re curiously passive about letting you know. Instead, we want you to know what we want without us having to say anything. Furthermore, the trick to being a great gift giver is to get someone the thing that they didn’t even know they wanted until they open it. Therefore, you’ll find below a list of gadgets, trinkets, and power tools.1

Except for that iPhone dock you see below, and the classic thermos, I own and use everything on this list. Each of these are great gifts, and I’d be proud to give any one of them to my other nerdy, design-savvy, coffee-loving, snowboarding friends or family members.

Nerdy

Nerdy Stuff

  1. Wooden Log iPhone Docking Station: $68

  2. Twelve South BookArc: $50

  3. Star Trek (2009 DVD): $21

  4. Media Temple Web Hosting: $100

Design-Savvy

Design-Savvy

  1. Pilot 0.40mm Gel Pen: $16 / dozen

  2. Levenger Circa Notebooks

  3. 1-Year Subscription to HOW Magazine: $30

  4. Field Notes Colors Subscription: $129

  5. Gotham Typeface: $199

Coffee-Loving

Coffee-Loving

  1. Chemex Coffee Maker and Filters: $50

  2. A few pounds of Peets: $15

  3. Stanley Classic Thermos: $34

  4. Breville Conical Burr Grinder: $100

Snowboarding

Snowboarding

  1. Ride Concept Snowboard: $750

  2. Burton Lifeline Snowboard Mitt in Mocha: $80

  3. Spy: Zoe Black Gloss Sunglasses: $140

Miscellaneous Stocking Stuffers

Miscellaneous Stocking Stuffers

  1. The Little Red Writing Book: $10

  2. J Crew Magic Wallet: $22

  3. Dewalt Heavy-Duty Compound Miter Saw: $210

  4. J Crew Argyle Socks: $15

  5. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations: $32

  6. Ticket to Ride: $38

  7. WoodWick Candle: $15


  1. This list may also come in handy if you end up getting one of those Snuggie blankets with sleeves and after you’ve returned it don’t know where to spend the money.
What to Get for That Nerdy, Design-Savvy, Coffee-Loving, Snowboarding, Person in Your Life

Reader’s Setup: Adrian Hanft

Adrian is the creator of Font Burner, a site that hosts 1,000+ sIFR fonts. He also maintains Found Photography, a site where he documents his camera experiments (like building cameras out of Legos) and photography. He is also on Twitter. By day he is creative director for Red Rocket Media Group in Colorado.

ADRIAN’S SETUP:

1. WHAT DOES YOUR Desk LOOK LIKE?

One is my setup at work, the other is at home.

adrian_hanft_work_setup.jpg

Adrian Hanft Home Setup

2. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT MAC SETUP?

At home I use a 17″ MacBook Pro which is almost always connected to my Sennheiser headphones. For digital photography I love my Panasonic Lumix LX3 with an Eye-Fi card that sends photos to my computer wirelessly. I just bought a 500gb external Western Digital drive that is powered by Firewire 800. As you can see, my home setup also includes a ping-pong table and a cat. At work I am on a Mac Pro (2x Dual Core 2.66Ghz). Possibly the most important technology in my toolbox is a sketchbook.

3. WHY ARE YOU USING THIS SETUP?

I try to never be too far from objects that keep my mind at play. You can see the toys above my desk at work, the wall of artwork at home, the headphones, and the ping pong table. I try to balance the utmost simplicity in my work space without losing the inspiration that I find from posters, artwork, toys, and games.

4. WHAT SOFTWARE DO YOU USE ON A DAILY BASIS, AND FOR WHAT DO YOU USE IT?

  • I use TextMate, Transmit, and CSSEdit for web development
  • There aren’t many days when I don’t open Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign
  • Adium for instant messaging
  • Google Search Box recently replaced QuickSilver for shortcuts
  • Fever for RSS feeds
  • MarsEdit for blogging on all my WordPress powered sites
  • Transmission is typically going in the background

5. DO YOU OWN ANY OTHER MAC GEAR?

I have an iPhone and an aging PowerMac G4. I still use an old 3rd Generation iPod for audio books on my commute. The internet reaches me through my Airport Express Base Station.

6. DO YOU HAVE ANY FUTURE UPGRADES PLANNED?

I am holding my breath for the rumored Mac netbook. If that doesn’t come into existence I might just try installing OSX on a netbook to create a hackintosh. I have to resist the urge to upgrade constantly. I would love a new unibody MacBook Pro and an iPhone upgrade, but realistically those purchases are at least a year away. I have had my eye on a 30″ Apple Cinema display for a while.

More Sweet Setups

Adrian’s setup is just one in a series of sweet Mac Setups.

Reader’s Setup: Adrian Hanft

Magic Mouse Miscellany

Last month I got a Magic Mouse. I would have bought a wired one if I could have because in all my experience with various wireless Apple mice the sensor-to-pointer communication has been poor and always made for rigid mousing.

Thankfully, the Magic Mouse works just as good as any wireless mouse I’ve used. So I’m keeping it, and now I’ve got a Magic Mouse at home. At work I’ve still got a Mighty Mouse, though.

It took about a week to get used to holding the Magic Mouse. It is a lot thinner than the Mighty Mouse, and therefore has to be held differently. Also, it’s constructed so much finer than its predecessor that my Mighty Mouse at work now feels like a cheap, overfed rodent.

But despite being fat, what I still love about my Mighty Mouse is that third button. Clicking on the scroll ball can activate different events. For me it’s Exposé, and it’s incredibly convenient when working a lot with the mouse.

Despite missing this third button, what I love about the Magic Mouse it’s ability to scroll with momentum. Just like on the iPhone, you can flick when scrolling a page, and it won’t come to a dead stop the very instant you stop scrolling but will instead slowly come to a halt.

Scrolling with momentum has quickly become addictive, and it now drives me bonkers to use my laptop trackpad because it doesn’t scroll like the Magic Mouse scrolls.1


  1. Smart Scroll is a $20 system-wide utility that attempts to mimic Apple’s momentum scrolling feature of the Magic Mouse and iPhone.

    However, with Smart Scroll you don’t flick, you “coast”. Which means the window will keep scrolling after you’re done moving your fingers on the trackpad even if you’re fingers are still on the trackpad. Not only does this break the law of physics, it also means you are always “smart scrolling” even when you don’t want to be.

Magic Mouse Miscellany