So any and all users who’ve upgraded to the High Sierra preview has had issues with the nvALT. I know this because of the number of emails and tweets and various other means of complaining that are absolutely not the GitHub Issues page I try so hard to point people to for such communication. Also, because I’m running High Sierra, too.
So Sublime 3 is finally official. I’ve been using it in beta for long enough that this isn’t a huge deal, but despite Atom having a larger developer community, I’ve stuck with Sublime primarily because it’s stable, it has every package I need, and it’s not an Electron app.
This will only be of interest to VW and Audi owners who happen to enjoy saving a ton of money by getting their hands dirty. But seriously, with cheap replacement parts and detailed tutorial videos, I’ve already saved over $1000 over taking my aging TT to a mechanic. (And that’s not even including the money that Harold Kachelmyer helped me save on a clutch replacement…)
Last month John Gruber mentioned a widespread complaint about Safari’s lack of favicons in tabs. I agree. So did Daniel Alm (developer of Timing), so he put together a helper app to do it.
Released today, Faviconographer is a “hack,” of course, but one that does a great job of serving the single purpose of adding those icons to your tabs. It’s not as clean as Chrome’s built in solution, but if the lack of favicons is one of few things keeping you from using Safari, it’s a good solution.
The app runs in the background and uses the macOS Accessibility API. It sends no data about your browsing (it doesn’t even save it to disk). It just waits for tabs to load, grabs the favicon, and applies it to the tab in the tab bar. There are a few limitations, but it works.
Faviconographer is free. You can read a bit more about the backstory and motivation, as well as grab the download at faviconographer.com.
I just wanted to mention that today is the last day of the Learn Ulysses intro sale. Starting tomorrow the price will go up to $29, but you can still get the intro price of $23 for a few more hours.
On the launch day for the video course the Systematic episode with Shawn Blanc wasn’t published yet, but it is now. There’s a good discussion of Ulysses, this video course, and a good talk about Ulysses’ change to a subscription model.
You may or may not recall my Sidecar jacket for Simplify, the macOS controller for Spotify and iTunes (and others). Sidecar is my “Minimalist Yet Huge” version, and I still use it every day.
I just released a new version. It’s now called Sideshow, mostly because I ran into trouble making the existing version update in Simplify. So this is technically Sidecar 3.0. It adds one major change: adaptive sizing. Previously I’d needed to have a version for a 13” display and another for a 15” retina display, but I figured out how to have adapt itself based on the current screen size (I think, let me know if you find otherwise). The width of the player, font sizes, etc. will all adjust to provide a fairly uniform experience across display sizes and types.
It also measures and updates the length of the text for the artist and title displays, adapting the placements to show as much of possible of both.
When hovering over the jacket, controls appear for previous track, play/pause, and next track. You can still Command-click anywhere along the progress meter to set the play position. Clicking anywhere on the jacket will still toggle play/pause, and shift-click skips to the next track (because double click stopped working).
If you like Ulysses, the powerful writing app for Mac and iOS, or even if you’re trying to figure out why you should like it, there’s good news today. Shawn Blanc and The Sweet Setup have released a new video series called Learn Ulysses.
It’s a series of 7 video tutorials to walk through all of Ulysses’ features (both Mac and iOS), as well as tips and tricks, hidden gems, and interviews with users who are making the most of the writing app.
I would be remiss not to acknowledge the recent uproar over Ulysses’ switch to a subscription-only model. I got a chance to talk to Shawn about his thoughts on the change, and that interview will be up on Systematic on Thursday. For the record, Shawn isn’t affiliated with the Soulmen (makers of Ulysses), and this video series was in editing phase by the time the switch was officially made. Just in case you were wondering.
The course is $29 US, but the intro price is $23. If you’re looking to ramp up your Ulysses skills, go check it out.
Thanks to Zengobi for sponsoring BrettTerpstra.com this week!
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Curio is an intuitive, freeform notebook environment with all the integrated tools you need to take notes, brainstorm ideas, collect research, and organize your tasks and documents. A single, incredibly powerful application where you can be more productive and focus on getting things done.
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In Curio, create a project to represent a real-world project that you’re working on.
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Let’s address the headline first. This post is about the tags on files that Apple started supporting in Mavericks. Up until iOS 11, they didn’t work on iOS devices, so they eventually became “Finder tags.” I think “Apple Tags” is going to have to be the nomenclature moving forward (now that they’re starting to work on iOS as well), but I don’t think it’s a widely accepted phrase yet. So I’ll use “Finder tags” for a little while longer.
I have a handful of scripts for manipulating tags from the command line, including the most complete (and useful to me) one, vitag. There’s an excellent CLI from James Berry called “tag” that I use frequently, but I sometimes implement more “down and dirty” techniques in scripts.1 If you’re just looking for a ready-to-go tool, grab tag and skip the rest of this.
Last weekend I wrote a script to handle cleaning up my system’s tags, merging synonymous tags, fixing spacing and punctuation, making casing and pluralization consistent, and various other nitpicks that have gotten messy in my taxonomy over time. It used the same basic Ruby classes that I used in vitag, which you can reference on GitHub for a more full-fledged version of these tips. I’m not ready to publish this last script yet, but I thought I’d point out a few simple tricks for those working on their own solutions.
Reading tags on a file
Tags are stored in extended attributes on the files, in a metadata attribute with the key kMDItemUserTags.
Trying to view them using the xattr tool almost always results in a hex dump, and converting it results in a binary plist, and converting that gives you messy results.
I’ve found it better to just get the raw output from mdls:
I can parse that response, split lines, remove commas, etc., and turn it into an array of tags I can work with.
Writing tags to a file
Tags are written to files using xattr. They need to be passed to xattr in Plist format (XML) with an array of string elements containing the tags.
When you write tags to the file using xattr, it will obliterate any existing tags, so note that if you want to add tags instead of replacing them, you need to read the tags into an array as shown above, modify and update the array, then write the whole thing back to the file.
Here’s a Ruby snippet showing the building of the XML string and shelling out to write it to the file:
The colors associated with tags like “Blue” and “Orange” (default label names) are stored in a different attribute (com.apple.FinderInfo). This dates back a ways, and there’s really no point in directly writing to this attribute anymore. It’s easiest just to change the tags. Remove “Blue” and add “Orange.”
Ok, so there’s not been any shortage of email clients in recent years, nor am I interested in replacing MailMate or Spark. I do try everything out, though, and this one looks great. Currently just in advance signup mode, but if you’re curious, get your name on the list.
I really like the way Spotify analyzes my playlist data. Just the facts, but with some interesting notes. I am apparently high energy, with 79% of my played tracks categorizing as “energetic,” and zero “chill” tracks in my playlists. And I’m only drinking one cup of coffee in the morning these days…