Changing MacOS Screen Capture Format

If you like taking screenshots on your macOS for different purposes, e.g. storing confirmation pages, and you’d rather JPG format (as opposed to the default PNG format) I have a good news for you: You can easily change the format of the default macOS screen capture tool.

First let’s remember: The shortcut Cmd+Shift+4 gives you the ability to select area you’d like to take a screenshot and Cmd+Shift+3 gives you the ability to take the screenshot of the whole screen.

So, how is it possible to change the default format? You’ll need to hit to the terminal emulator for this. If you haven’t done before it is reachable from the Applications > Utilities folder.

defaults write type jpg

Then you’ll need to restart SystemUIServer service by killing it:

killall SystemUIServer

You can change jpg to png, pdf, gif and tiff in the first command if you find one of the others more useful.

Take the Full Control of Flooded Screen in iTerm2

If you are using a terminal emulator in macOS, time to time you need to go back in the history of the things shown on the screen. A specific example is when flashing screens don’t leave any trace in the scroll history, e.g. top command. Luckily there is a way to access this history in iTerm2, which is a powerful alternative to the default terminal emulator in macOS. If you don’t use iTerm2 I strongly suggest using it and learning its details. Let’s see how it works:

Going back in time in iTerm2 is magically possible*

The functionality to capture the history of the screen display is called Instant Replay in iTerm2. It give you the ability of going back in time as much as memory is allowed. Instant Replay is enabled by pressing Cmd+Opt+B. Once you are in the instant replay mode, you can use take the time to wherever on the timeline by mouse or left/right arrow keys.

By default, 4MB is the upper limit set for the instant replay history, but you can set it according to your needs. You can adjust the memory limit under Preferences > General > "Instant Replay uses X MB per session".

As I wrote above, “top” is an example of the need of capturing history. Another example is seeing the things that are cleaned if you are using “clear” (shortcut is Cmd+K) command often like I do. You can see how it works in the video below.

* Image Source

Adding Space to macOS' Dock for Grouping

Sometimes you want to group the application icons on macOS’ dock. It gives better view of the applications that are useful together.

A sample Dock with two spaces

It is very easy to have groupings between application icons on your dock with the help of separating space. The command to create a space in the dock is as the following one. You can create as many of the as you want in consequence.

defaults write persistent-apps -array-add '{tile-data={}; tile-type="spacer-tile";}'

After creating as many docks as you need, you’ll have restart Dock service. To restart it, you need to kill it with the killall comment:

killall Dock

You can move the empty item on the dock, and you can add as many of them as you want.

If you don’t like it, just right click the empty item (via control+click) then select “remove item”. You can watch the following video to see how it works.

Engineering Lessons Learned in San Francisco Bay Area

This is going to be the first part of a four-part series related to the lessons learned in San Francisco Bay Area, a.k.a. the Bay Area. This post is reserved to the things learned as a engineer. The upcoming ones are related to the lessons learned related to engineering management, immigration and entrepreneurship.

Let’s start with a disclosure: This article is related to software engineering, may not be applicable to other engineering branches. Also this is mostly applicable to the Bay Area, again may not be applicable to the other parts of the USA.

Quick Bio

I moved to the Bay Area to join Udemy as founding engineer at the beginning of 2011. As of 2014, I have been serving as an engineering manager, being responsible for the top of the funnel and recurring revenue for the user side of the business. Udemy is a venture-backed marketplace for online education.


Engineers are opportunists. The average turnover for engineers even in hot startups, e.g. Pinterest, Uber, and companies, e.g. Facebook, is 1.5 to 2 years. Engineers, as other employees, are in search of the next big thing for big exists. Since the demand for engineering is higher than the other workforces, even a small thing can be a reason for job change, for example:

  1. Being bored
  2. $10K yearly rate increase
  3. Since Facebook will look cool at resume
  4. Trying to be a part of next possibly big thing

Although there is nothing wrong with being opportunist, I’d suggest trying to form long lasting relations with the companies/people you are working for/with. Remember the people you worked with, and show your appreciation. Do not forget that the opportunities are not one folded, you cannot guess where the next big thing is going to be originated from. Maybe the next big thing will be started by the person you are sitting next to.

Contribute Bigger than the Job Description

Do not let your contribution be limited by your job description. This leads to really awkward situations because your manager cannot write everything on the job description. And if you are not showing up often, your manager will have hard time to call your name when the things are hot. Then your name will be associated with the ordinary tasks.

Think out of the box: Try to see the major problems, suggest solutions, and sometimes solve the problem without getting permission. Don’t forget that perfectly timed constructive rebellion is better than running after permissions to do things.

Competition is Bigger than You Think

It is hard to see the competition inside the organization or in your peers’ eyes but it exists. People are working hard, so should you.

Although the competition is bigger than you think, the way you can contribute is not straight, you need to find the creative ways to contribute as written in the section above.

Being Productive at the Office & Don’t Miss the Magical Moments

You can be more productive at home or at a coffee shop. Unless it is a remote job, it is better trying to find ways to be productive at the office. Especially at startups magic happens instantaneously and during these instantaneous moments, CEO or other executive/manager looks for reliable people to turn this magical moment/idea into some real thing.

During these times, don’t passively wait for your name is called: Your knowledge and your input are critical. And if you are not in the office, no matter how well the company is using Slack and teleconferencing you’ll miss these moments. So try to be as productive at the office as at home. That way, you’ll be in the office and will not miss the important things.

Soft Skills are as Important as Hard Skills

If the keyboard is the only thing that you are comfortable interacting with wait AI managers to start giving tasks to white collars. Since this type of AI managers is not something expected in near future it is important to focus on soft skills, including but not limited to:

  1. Communication Skills: e.g. What is wrong with the thing you are doing, what your feelings about the task in hand are

  2. Decision Making: Do you ask questions to your superior on every single task or do you make decision and go ahead?

  3. Self Motivation: What is your inner motivation to keep doing this thing? Does it pay good or does the mission resonate with your values (or do the tasks challenge you well)?

  4. Leadership Skills: Can you observe the hard times? When it is a hard time, do you take responsibility to take actions to help the company?

  5. Team-working Skills: Are others happy working with you? Can you include and motivate others to get the thing done faster and better?


These are the things I observed as an engineer and engineering manager in startup environment evolving from early-stage to mid-stage. Of course there are exceptions all the time but these learnings must apply to most software engineering jobs in the Bay Area.

What is Alternative Close and When to Use Alternative Close?

What is Alternative Close?

Alternative close is a well-known and widely used sales technique. It is based on the assumption that customer already decided to buy the product and you limit the options. This is a good hack and works well with straight questions leading to positive outcome instead of clear cut yes/no question. Examples:

  • Instead of asking “do you want to buy it?” ask “is 20 pieces enough”?
  • Instead of asking “do you want a booking?” ask “when do you want to book?”

Why is Alternative Close Powerful?

Alternative close is powerful because you act like your customer is not confused. If you treat your customer like she is confused this feeling will reflect to her and you’ll probably get a straight “no”.

When to Use Alternative Close?

You use alternative close when you need a positive return and all options you give are positive. And in order to replace the standard two-option question (yes/no) it is said to be effective when the number of options is two, e.g.

  • “Would you prefer a big size or a small size?”
  • With friends: “Would you like to watch the game tonight or go to bowling?”