Welcome to the lab.

SearchLink 2.2.3 with Apple Music searches

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Most of my free projects are the result of solving my own problems, and often get left behind once I’m not actively using them anymore. Among the ones I’ve used every day for years now is SearchLink. I still consider it the most useful thing I’ve ever written.

The first part of this post is just to announce a new version, 2.2.3. If you’re an experienced SearchLink user, go ahead and download it below. If not, I’d recommend heading to the project page and getting a feel for it first.

SearchLink v2.2.3

Generate Markdown links from web searches without leaving your editor.

Updated Wed Sep 28 2016.

More info…

New in this version:

Bing Is Dead

Bing is shutting down what I believe to be the last free search API available in December. Given a complete lack of alternatives, the primary search is now done with a DuckDuckGo scrape. In DuckDuckGo, you can append a “” to a search query and it will automatically open the first link. So I’m leveraging that and just grabbing the redirection result.

As Amazon changed their format for affiliate links, I had to update both the script and the configuration parameters. If you’re using SearchLink to generate Amazon affiliate links, you’ll need to update your config in ~/.searchlink. The amazon_partner key should now be a string with your shop tag instead of the previous array.

amazon_partner: "bretttercom-20"

Apple Music

SearchLink can now search Apple Music and generate proper affiliate links. The results are essentially the same as using the !iart, !ialb, etc. iTunes searches, but formatted to search more specifically and output a link conforming to slightly different parameters.

The new searches are:

  • !amart – Apple Music Artist
  • !amalb – Apple Music Album
  • !amsong – Apple Music Song

Cool new thing: You can also add an “e” to the end of Apple Music album or song searches to get an iframe embed of the album:

[diamond dogs](!amalbe)

gets replaced with:

<iframe src="//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/album/697174645?country=US&at=10l4tL&ct=searchlink" height="500px" width="100%" frameborder="0"></iframe>

which gives you:

Social Handles

Now, if you select just an @username and run SearchLink on it, it will automatically turn it into a link to a Twitter profile. So @ttscoff becomes [@ttscoff](https://twitter.com/ttscoff).

I also added quick conversions for Facebook profiles, using !@fb. So you can type !@fb ttscoff to create [ttscoff](https://www.facebook.com/ttscoff) (or [ttscoff](!@fb)).

A Quick Tutorial

Aaron Dowd (@thepodcastdude) has created a video intro to SearchLink. I’m hoping to write a post soon that walks through why I love this project and how I use it. Time…

YouTube Video

Check out the SearchLink project page for the latest documentation and downloads.

nvALT 2.2 take 2.2 (one more time, with feeling)

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Ok, so the first nvALT 2.2 release was an unmitigated wreck. The second one was something just less than a major disaster. A minor major disaster? Here’s one more for you, this one tested by a good number of people already, and hopefully good to go. Thanks to everyone who’s donated already, it gave us additional incentive to get this release fixed up in the face of new OS issues and variables.

As a summary, the first issue was that we built the release on the macOS 10.12 (Sierra) SDK, which was a bit risky as far as backward compatibility, especially considering the age of the Notational Velocity code nvALT is built on. Then there was the fact that 10.12 removed OpenSSL, so some core libraries used in nvALT weren’t available for dynamic linking anymore. After a couple of failed attempts, I think I’ve built a static library that will run on any system equalt to or newer than 10.9.

Then there’s App Translocation. This new security measure in macOS causes some serious issues for apps that update via mechanisms like Sparkle. I’m still waiting to learn more, but in the meantime we’re distributing nvALT via codesigned disk images (DMG) that require the user to drag the app to the Applications folder manually, which is essentially the only thing that Translocation considers a safe install.

This version also fixes an issue with freezing while typing a tag name, creating new notes by pasting, crashes while editing, and TaskPaper formatting. Download below.

nvALT v2.2 (121)

A fork of Notational Velocity with MultiMarkdown preview and advanced Markdown editing capabilities. Other good stuff.

Updated Tue Sep 27 2016.

More info…

Web Excursions for September 26, 2016

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This weeks web excursions are brought to you in partnership with Udemy, and here’s a special offer: Until October 1st, get any course for $15 using promo code UDEMYDREAM.

Hyper Key hack in Sierra using Karabiner-Elements and Keyboard Maestro
For those who’ve upgraded to Sierra and are lamenting the loss of their Hyper Key (because Karibiner breaks in 10.12), here’s a hack using Karabiner-Elements and Keyboard Maestro.
Honestly, the escape key functionality of my original hyper key (tap for escape, hold for modifiers) has become so ingrained in my muscle memory that I’m happier doing a simple hack to make it just an escape key, and then using a basic key combo to trigger a Keyboard Maestro group with my old launching shortcuts.
Expanded Comics
I don’t read a lot of comics, but not because I don’t appreciate the art form. This new app demonstrates a potential future that combines 3D animation, models and sculptures, original music, and other things you’ll never see on a page. Comic fans might scoff and wax nostalgic, but this is motivating for me to dive into graphic storytelling again.
inessential: Memory Graph Debugger Tips
The latest Xcode has a new memory graph debugger, and Brent Simmons shares his tips after his first day of working with it.
The MIT License, Line by Line
From /dev/lawyer, an in-depth look at what the MIT license actually means. It’s something anyone using it should probably understand, but very few of us do.
Pantsuit: The Hillary Clinton UI pattern library
Worth blogging based on the name alone, this is the internal design system for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Usar Marked 2 para previsualizar AsciiDoc
A Spanish-language how-to for using Marked with AsciiDoc.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the extensive collection of courses on a wide variety of development and design topics at Udemy, just $15 for a limited time!

Udemy Sitewide  $15

OK, nvALT 2.2 take 2

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So we released the final version of nvALT 2.2 last night, except I threw in a bug that would crash it for everybody except me. Silly static linking issues.

The update is back in the automatic updater (nvALT->Check for Updates), but anyone who already updated will need to download the new version directly (below).

Thanks for your patience. Feel free to donate and keep David and I alive while we finish up work on BitWriter!

Update: Even take 2 was a disaster, so the download has been updated to version 2.2 (121). It’s worked for all testers thus far, more explanation to follow.

nvALT v2.2 (121)

A fork of Notational Velocity with MultiMarkdown preview and advanced Markdown editing capabilities. Other good stuff.

Updated Tue Sep 27 2016.

More info…

nvALT 2.2: bugfixes, Sierra compatibility

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Sorry it’s been a slow week of posting here. Much to do.

Speaking of, nvALT ran into some trouble with Sierra that I hadn’t noticed because I’ve been cheating and running a dev version for so long. That prompted David and I to get this one last release of nvALT out and ensure stability for at least the next year.

In the meantime, we’re getting close to a BitWriter beta. This will be the replacement for nvALT, rewritten from the ground up and using modern code that will be easier to maintain moving forward. Keep your eyes peeled on this blog and Twitter, both ttscoff and nvALTApp will have beta signup and release news.

In the meantime, you can continue to report nvALT issues on GitHub, but I wouldn’t count on any future releases except in the case that I screwed something up on this update that breaks it for everyone.

Note that this release should run on 10.9 (not tested), but that’s the minimum. If you’re running something really old and nvALT is currently working for you, don’t update.

The release should show up in automatic updates (nvALT->Check For Updates), or download it directly below. Stay tuned for more BitWriter news!

nvALT v2.2 (121)

A fork of Notational Velocity with MultiMarkdown preview and advanced Markdown editing capabilities. Other good stuff.

Updated Tue Sep 27 2016.

More info…

Back to School: Udemy $15 courses

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Here’s a quick note to let you know about the current Back to School promotion from Udemy. Learn some iOS and Swift skills for just $15 (normally $200) using the code 15B2SCHOOL (or clicking any of the links below to have it applied automatically).

The coupon works sitewide, but here are some featured courses I’d highly recommend for any developer working with iOS.

iOS 10 & Swift 3: From Beginner to Paid Professional

The Complete iOS 10 Developer - Create Real Apps in Swift 3

The Complete iOS 10 Developer Course - Build 21 Apps

The Back to School promo is running now and ends tomorrow, so if you want to do some learning, take advantage of it!

iPhone 7 and VR?

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I’m not one to spend time on rumors, and rarely invest much energy in speculation, but the technical specs dug up by Softorino while hacking away on the next version of WALTR are intriguing.

The benchmarks they’ve run show that the A9 chip in the iPhone 6 Plus can already handle VR video playback. VR requires 2 streams of at least 4k video quality, and the A9 chip can provide that. An A10 chip in the next iPhone should reasonably be more than capable of it, which makes speculation about an Apple venture into VR a reasonable conclusion.

See the details and results at Softorino’s blog.

Web Excursions for September 05, 2016

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This week’s web excursions brought to you in partnership with Udemy. Learn Anything.

TheAppStore.org - Search and filter the iTunes App Store on the web with your browser
A way faster, better way to search the iTunes and Mac App Stores.
CloudCannon Officially Out of Jekyll Beta
CloudCannon has finished their Jekyll beta, making Jekyll and plugins available to all users on every plan. They’ve also added a bunch of configuration options and cool features like inline editing for Markdown files. If you want an easy way to run a Jekyll blog with an awesome GUI, check it out.
All Shapes And Sizes - Transforming negative into positive, if we can do it, so can you.
A worthy charity of interest to my Scottish friends.


Our vision is to enhance life of Adults with Learning Disabilities/Difficulties (ALD) and/or with mental health issues, by promoting social inclusion to those individuals and to raise awareness & understanding to the public.

By enhancing their lives & sense of wellbeing is to become a valued member of society via inclusion in all things.

Playlist Machinery
A collection of amazing tools for building and managing playlists on Spotify.
Party - Spotify
This is excellent. I’m enjoying Apple Music’s selection, radio, and curated playlists, but this kind of innovation (along with Spotify Running) is making me happily keep my Spotify subscription.

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