Swift Operator Overloading and JSON parsing [Link]
Swift Operator Overloading and JSON parsing [Link]

A nice lecture by Keith Smiley. Some crazy stuff in there but there's some obvious excitement around Swift.
blog  Link  Swift  Programming 
8 days ago
Typinator 6 and Regular Expressions
Typinator 6 and Regular Expressions

Typinator 6.1 is out with a compelling new feature: Expansion based on a regular expression. It ships with an example expansion to correct accidental DOuble capitalization.

There's also some cool tricks like automatic line sorting with a single snippet.

I like to see competition in this area. It keeps everyone scrappy. This is nice competition and major update worth looking at.
blog  Mac 
8 days ago
Marked 2 on Sale
Marked 2 on Sale

In case you're just emerging from an Amish community for the first time, Marked is a Mac app for live preview of markup documents. Marked 2 was released as a direct purchase download almost a year ago but it's now available on the Mac App Store with a sale price of $10.

Marked isn't just a preview tool for Markdown. It's a writing tool. It provides helpful notifications for word repetition or tedious sentence structures. But it also helps with validating URLs in anything it can preview.

Choose "Validate External Links" while viewing any preview:

Marked displays a visual indication of the link integrity for all URLs in the document. Click a bad link and Marked will immediately navigate to the location in the preview window and select the text.

Marked 2: not just for Markdown preview.

Take a look at Brett's videos for Marked 2.

Visit the gorgeous Marked 2 web site
blog  Mac 
9 days ago
Vim for Sublime Text
Vim for Sublime Text

In consideration of this week's Technical Difficulties Vim episode:

If you use Sublime Text, you can turn on "vintage" mode to enable vi/vim like keybindings. Sublime is overflowing with keybinding options so it's not too surprising.

The Vintageous plugin takes it many steps further.

For a demo, jump to 5:05 in the YouTube video
blog  Sublime 
12 days ago
Studio Ghibli Soundtracks
Studio Ghibli Soundtracks

I love Miyazaki and Ghibli. The films are emotional and personal. A big part of that is due to the perfect interplay of music and story. Now the original soundtracks are available on the iTunes store.1

Here's my personal rating of the soundtracks (not the movies):

Spirited Away (so many feelings. so many.)

Kiki's Delivery Service (makes me want to drive a convertible through the hills of Tuscany)

My Neighbor Totoro (this sounds like what playing with my kid feels like)

Arrietty (lots of pop and strings and maybe the most modern sounding of the bunch)

The Cat Returns (a wonderful lightness and magical feel to the entire soundtrack)

Ponyo (fun and evocative and there's something in my eye)

Castle in the Sky (the genres are all over the place and that's good)

Porco Rosso (bombastic and fun with a bit of Charlie Brown)

Princess Mononoke (dramatic and dark but fewer decapitations than the film)

Howl's Moving Castle (like a typical movie score. Nice but not all-tingly nice.)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (a bit too synth pop video game like for my taste)

This stuff has been pretty hard to find in the past and these soundtracks are great. My kid loves them all so it was a fun surprise for me to start playing the tunes and her to yell out the movie name. Kids are smart.

That Spirited Away soundtrack just about brings a tear to my.

While Beats Audio is missing all of the original soundtracks, there's one album with a bunch of familiar tunes.

Just imagine how great it would be if Disney sold these through iTunes. That's crazy thinking.

By way of Tools and Toys and my iTunes landing page.

Affiliate links pay for my motivation. ↩
blog  Music 
12 days ago
Rokoding Handbrake Settings for the Roku [Link]
Rokoding Handbrake Settings for the Roku [Link]

Damn useful site with a variety of Handbrake settings for getting the best video and performance out of Plex and the Roku. It's nicely designed and logically organized. I also like that they describe the settings but also show a screenshot of Handbrake.
blog  Link 
12 days ago
Perfect Pilfering [Link]
Perfect Pilfering [Link]

The stock market is not for mortals. This analysis my Nanex (if true) explains how trade orders are intercepted within 1ms. Pretty interesting stuff in the age of cheap and powerful computers.

I love this bit though:

One more note to the SEC in particular - if you believe that the industry can fix these problems on their own, then we believe you are no longer fit to regulate, because that is not, and never was, how Wall Street works.

By way of Nanex on Twitter
blog  Link 
13 days ago
Technical Difficulties with Vim
Technical Difficulties with Vim

On this week's Technical Difficulties we are joined by our dear friend and collaborator Potatowire to talk about his switch to Vim.1

I really know I should switch to Vim and Potatowire nearly convinced me. It's one of those life changes that needs to actually fit with what's going on in your life but that you're glad you did it. Vim has been on my someday list of things to learn for ages. I think Potatowire paints a compelling picture and the show notes illustrate just how much power it brings to text editing. I'm envious of his setup. Work anywhere (even mobile on a subway) and always have your text editor in tune with your idiosyncrasies.

On a related note, this isn't the last time you'll hear from Potatowire. We have some special things coming in the future. They'll be enough Potatowire to go around.

In case you were unaware, Potatowire is our regular show note collaborator. You can see his comments sprinkled throughout the lengthy show notes of all of the Technical Difficulties episodes. He's also a super nice and super smart person. ↩
blog  TechDiff 
13 days ago
Forecast.io in Launchbar [Link]
Forecast.io in Launchbar [Link]

This is a pretty neat weather forecast action for Launchbar. It uses Forecast.io and has a a few dependencies to get right, but I like how much information it provides. I don't think I'd really use it because I've already checked the weather by the time I get to my Mac. Still, nice work.

Also check out his Mailmate action.

By way of @prenagha
blog  Link  Mac 
13 days ago
Saved Queries in Pinboard
Saved Queries in Pinboard

This is the dumbest and most useful trick I have for Pinboard (in a long line of dumb Pinboard tips). Perform a search in the Pinboard web app.1

Now bookmark the resulting page in Pinboard. It's pin-ception! I tag the bookmark with _query so I can see all of my saved queries on one Pinboard page.

A Pinboard search can be limited to either just your own bookmarks or everyone's. I give them a meaningful title to differentiate.

This also means I have access to saved queries anywhere I have access to Pinboard.

If you're a premium member, you can even do full text searching of the source material behind the URLs too. ↩
blog  Pinboard 
14 days ago
The Right Dictionary [Link]
The Right Dictionary [Link]

This is a great tip on using a better dictionary. I think I'm in agreement too, the old Webster's dictionary has more satisfying definitions. It also acts as a translation guide for communicating with the ancients.

By way of Smarterbits
blog  Link  Language 
14 days ago
Staging in Launchbar Nightly
Staging in Launchbar Nightly

If you own Launchbar (or are considering it) the latest nightly build is looking great. This pre-release build provides a new context for selections: staging. It's a bit like a holding area for anything that is actionable in Launchbar and is similar to the Quicksilver comma trick. Add multiple items while searching and browsing and then commit one action to all of them at once. It's one of the most promising new features to emerge in Launchbar in version 6.1

Yes, I run two application launchers now, like an insane person. ↩
blog  Mac 
16 days ago
Making Summer Noon [Link]
Making Summer Noon [Link]

Allison House:

Beginners often hear fake it 'til you make it, but scrappiness and transparency count for a heck of a lot. My mantra was whatever it takes. With an iterative approach and non-stop communication, newness wasn't a stumbling block—it was just another creative problem to solve along the way.

I've always hated the faking-it approach. It's hard to live that way and still enjoy the work.
blog  Link  Productivity 
19 days ago
With Big Data Comes Big Responsibility [Link]
With Big Data Comes Big Responsibility [Link]

From Om Malik:

Did you know at the time of signing up for Strava, that lovable cycling and running activity tracker is sharing real time user data and selling that to municipalities for 80 cents a year. In what universe does it make sense for the company to do that without asking, and have a company spokesperson blatantly admit to a Forbes reporter that, the default is opt-in — a malaise popularized by Facebook. Because not doing so means, actually explaining to people what they intend to do with that all that personal information.

and later...

John Foreman, a data scientist at MailChimp, in an eloquent essay, pointed out that “humans are bad at discerning the value of their data” and that the “personal data just appears out of nowhere, exhaust out of life’s tailpipe” and thus we are willing to trade it for something that seems less valuable. Foreman’s argument points out the futility — we are trading our freedoms in the data age for some minor gains.

It's a thought provoking piece that nails down the real problem. It's easy to dismiss the potential risks of giving away our information when we don't really understand how powerful computers are or will be in the near future.
blog  Link  Security 
19 days ago
Mac at Home, PC at Work [Link]
Mac at Home, PC at Work [Link]

Katie and David were generous enough to invite me on Mac Power Users to talk about being saddled with a PC at work but using iOS and a Mac the rest of the time. Multi=platform work is a pain but there are great services that reduce the burden. I think it's a common problem and I don't have all of the answers, but I've lived that life for a decade and I've developed workarounds that I think are generally applicable.

Nice job on the show notes too!

I'll throw one final thing into the list that anyone working with cloud-based files should be watching very closely. My friends Erik Hess and Bob VanderClay are working on a new service called Linen.io. It will be publicly available at the end of summer and it's going to be amazing. Manage and access files from multiple services all from a web browser. Built-in text editing and syntax highlighting everywhere. Pretty neat stuff.
blog  Link  Mac  Windows 
22 days ago
Improved Evernote for Sublime Text [Link]
Improved Evernote for Sublime Text [Link]

I've written about this Sublime Text plugin before but it keeps getting better. Beyond the basics, like sending notes from ST3 to Evernote, this plugin will also list, download and convert to Markdown for editing. Two way syncing and editing of Evernote meta data likes tags is also supported through YAML headers. It also provides support for attachments. Since I last posted about it, now you can add attachments, autocomplete metadata, and search a note. Crazy.

You'll need an Evernote developer token to use it.

Reminded by way of @sublimetexttips
blog  Link  Sublime 
23 days ago
Oklahoma Now Has More Small Earthquakes than California
Who could have imagined ::: Oklahoma Now Has More Small Earthquakes than California
science  from twitter
25 days ago
Technical Difficulties with Network Closets [Link]
Technical Difficulties with Network Closets [Link]

On episode 76 of Technical Difficulties Erik and I talk about creating a network closet. Mine is only partly about the network. It's also a sacred place for all of my super nerdy tools. In the show notes, I give a more in-depth run down of the kinds of things I keep in my network closet. It's a pretty good list of my hardware kit. Man, I really love my toolbox.

The show (and this website) have been on a necessary hiatus while we worked on other big projects. My sponsors would be disappointed in me.

There's a special treat coming on the next episode of TD. Trust me, it's a nerd-tacular.
blog  TechDiff 
25 days ago
Pinboard Actions for Launchbar
Pinboard Actions for Launchbar

I switched from Launchbar 5 to Alfred 2 almost 18 months ago. I like the convenience of creating custom actions in Alfred but I missed Launchbar's file actions. Now I'm a man caught between two worlds. Launchbar 6 brings a nice redesign and a huge number of built-in actions. It also brings an opportunity for custom extensions.

The first custom extension I really found useful is Jay Gillibrand's Pinboard actions. This extension adds global search, lookup by tag, list 25 most recent, and list all unread bookmarks (see screenshot above). The search can be a little slow on a large collection of bookmarks but once loaded, refining the search is fast. It appears the time consuming part is caching the meta data. Search looks across bookmark titles, descriptions and tags.

Hit Enter on a bookmark to open it in Safari. Hit Tab to get the familiar list of alternative actions for URLs.

Launchbar comes with a large collection of built-in actions, including some excellent text manipulations options. The "Send To" function is something I really missed when I moved to Alfred 2. However, overall, I think Alfred is easier to get started when creating custom actions. My recommendation is to try both and see which one covers 90% of your needs. But keep in mind that the last 10% will require more dedication to accomplish in Launchbar than Alfred.

As for Pinboard services, I think this is a good alternative to opening a browser window. I still prefer Shiori on my Mac but I also hear good things about the Alfred Pinboard workflows available. I also think this and this are kind of neat.
blog  Mac  Link 
25 days ago
Between the Lines of the Contraception Decision [Link]
Between the Lines of the Contraception Decision [Link]

I liked the NYT summary of how crazy the Supreme Court is. It's more neutral than I am.
blog  Link 
29 days ago
Presentations Field Guide [Link]
Presentations Field Guide [Link]

You'll probably want the next Field Guide by David Sparks. I like the new design and it's about a topic that most people struggle with. There's so much bad presentation technology out there. David has a lot of experience presenting and I suspect he knows a thing or two about doing it well.

I also really love that Apple recognizes how unique and thoughtful his work is. What an awesome URL.
blog  Mac  iOS  Link 
29 days ago
Three Things [Link]
Three Things [Link]

I was given an opportunity to write about some things I really like over at 27goodthings.com. It's a neat idea. Pick three of the best things from three different categories. I like cartoons, science fiction and being a total nerd. I think that came through.
blog  Link 
4 weeks ago
Curio 9 is Out
Curio 9 is Out

Curio is a terrific application for the Mac. It's a general purpose planning, scheduling, diagramming, note-taking and mind mapping tool. Version 9 is out now and it's a $50 upgrade for owners of the previous version. This is one of those tools I return to again and again.

The new version has been redesigned and already is geared toward Yosemite. I like the new artboard1 for project pages. Throw lots of stuff on one and it acts as an idea space inside an idea space.

But by far, the best new feature is support for iThoughts files. Just drop them onto a Curio idea space and it offers to convert it to a mindmap inside the the project. It even supports the iThoughts task management properties if that's your thing.

Here's a run down of all the great stuff. I love this application so hard.2

Called a pinboard, which is really confusing for me ↩

I want a Curio app for iOS in the worst way. Even more than I want Scrivener for iOS. ↩
blog  Mac 
4 weeks ago
SWAT teams claim to be private mercenaries, immune to open records laws - Boing Boing
If you have nothing to hide... ::: SWAT teams claim to be private mercenaries, immune to open records laws
politics  from twitter
4 weeks ago
Editorial, Pythonista and the App Store
Editorial, Pythonista and the App Store

My first doofus email to a CEO:

Sad times are coming
blog  Apple  iOS 
6 weeks ago
The Dead Line [Link]
The Dead Line [Link]

I seriously love Eddie Smith's writing:

I'm convinced the worst part of drowning is right now—the fear of it… the conscious mind's simulation of the process of drowning. This uninformed, and hence fearful mind, imagines a frantic fight to stay above an infinitesimal line at which the bottom-most layer of our atmosphere sits on the top-most layer of water—that dividing line between the future, rising up infinitely high overhead and the deepest, darkest depths below.

This might be the best thing I've read so far this year. It's not pretentious or preachy. It's thoughtful and introspective. I'm glad Eddie took the time out of his own short timeline to write and post these contemplations.
blog  Link  Humanity  Productivity 
7 weeks ago
Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off
"Your very, very friendly neighborhood Spider-Man" ::: Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off
humor  from twitter
7 weeks ago
Alex Shulgin, 1925-2014. In the Pipeline:
I still own and love Shulgin's books. I knew one of his collaborators and he was an amazing chemist.
gstar 
8 weeks ago
Clark on Swift [Link]
Clark on Swift [Link]

Clark Goble has a quick summary of his thoughts about Swift:

Here are my initial thoughts. First it has most of the features I’d want in a language. It also incorporates a lot of C++ features like generics and overloading that I think can be abused. However overall I’m very excited about the language. More significantly it really allows a degree of interactive development in Xcode that is startling. (Going by the keynote demo and not anything NDAed)

I really think the best part of Swift is the new development tool. It's terrific fun.

Clark also points to the new JS scripting bridge:

That’s right if you, like me, hate Applescript the language you can now code in Javascript. This has full access to the ObjC Applescript Bridge.

Just reading through the documentation, it looks like an improvement on the AppleScript-ObjC approach but definitely not as interesting to me as Swift and the new Playgrounds environment.
blog  Link  Mac 
8 weeks ago
Letting Go [Link]
Letting Go [Link]

From Matt Gemmell:

I’m also letting go of second chances. One strike and you’re out. We all make conscious choices, all the time, regarding what to expose ourselves to – and I think we should be doing it for people too. In fact, we already do: we pick our friends, and our partners. We choose who to talk to, or not. I think it’s alright to also approach the problem from the other end, and exclude those who make life a bit less enjoyable. There’s a taboo about excommunication, but that’s overstating what is actually a simple opt-out: unchecking a checkbox. No thanks, I don’t want to listen to you anymore. I have things to do.

Later:

You definitely can’t work effectively when you’re angry, or drained, or upset, or depressed. I don’t subscribe to the ‘acquired immunity’ theory of personal experience, where we must be endlessly tempered by disagreement and adversity; that’s another thing that we take too far. I don’t want to be exposed in the first place – because I’d rather be making something I truly care about. If I have to live in a clean-room environment to do that, then so be it.

I like this line of thinking.

I've met some really great people on the internet and some truly bizarre whack-jobs. It's odd how much more emotional and conscious weight an email or tweet from a whack-job has. Luckily, for me, the ratio of interesting and thoughtful stuff I come in contact with far outweighs the petulant. It still takes effort to avoid it though. The real trick (and in no way have I made this trick work) is to not become so jaded that you pro-actively avoid people with interesting and inspiring things to say.

I'm more cautious than ever about the people I willingly interact with on the internet. I've developed close relationships with some and casual friendships with others. But some people are just poisonous and don't deserve the space they consume.
blog  Link  Humanity 
8 weeks ago
This All Too Open Space [Link]
This All Too Open Space [Link]

Derek Lowe on open office designs:

Here's a useful rule: whenever someone tries to tell you that you don't understand about this new generation, because they're so totally different, which makes them act so totally differently than anyone older - you're being sold something. Marketers absolutely love to pretend that this is how the world works, as do many varieties of consultant, because it gives them a chance to sell their hot, happening expertise that you don't have, you see, because you're behind the times. Kids these days! You just have no idea.

I've heard similar arguments: "Young" people like open spaces because they grew up with social networks and headphones. It's generally made by people that either don't work in an open office space or benefit from forcing other people to work in an open office space. It's funny how the private study areas around college campuses still fill up around the time of finals. Why not just study wherever? Like in the middle of a subway platform. It's totally just like chatting on Facebook, bro.
blog  Science  Link 
9 weeks ago
IFTTT for Slack [Link]
IFTTT for Slack [Link]

IFTTT introduced a new set of Slack actions today. Right now it looks like there are no Slack triggers but there are a lot of ideas for automatic posts to Slack channels based on things like location or calendar events. I'd love to see Slack triggers added to do things like record shared URLs archive uploaded files. But this is a nice start.
blog  Link  Web 
9 weeks ago
A Data Driven Exploration of Chess [Link]
A Data Driven Exploration of Chess [Link]

From Randal Olson:

Chess games have in fact steadily become longer since 1970, increasing from 75 ply (37 moves) per game in 1970 to a whopping 85 ply (42 moves) per game in 2014. Furthermore, if the current trend holds, chess games will only keep getting longer as time goes on.

This is a pretty interesting use of historic data on chess matches.
blog  Link 
9 weeks ago
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