I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Posts in technology:

Quickly Launch Oft-Used Web Sites With Alfred 2

This is just a quick tip for those users of Alfred 2 who might not have thought of it yet: I put together a couple of dead-simple workflows which allow me to open the Web sites I use most with a keyboard shortcut. For example, I can open this site–from anywhere in OS X–with ⌘-J. I open my webcomic’s site with ^-⌘-R.

Here’s how to accomplish this:

  1. Create a new workflow in Alfred’s preferences, and name it whatever you like.
  2. Hit the + sign and add a hotkey trigger.
  3. Then just add an open URL action and include the URL you want to reach.

It’s a simple enough thing, but it saves me tons of aggravation on a daily basis.

iOS 7 Brings Out The Asshats

Here, for example, is Joshua Topolsky’s early take on iOS 7:

What I saw today at Apple’s annual WWDC event in the new iOS 7 was a radical departure from the previous design of the company’s operating system — what CEO Tim Cook called “a stunning new user interface.” But whether this new design is actually good design, well, that’s a different story entirely.

Here’s what he had to say last September about iOS 6 in his iPhone 5 review:

Don’t get me wrong, iOS is a beautiful and well-structured mobile operating system — but it’s begun to show its age. It feels less useful to me today than it did a couple of years ago, especially in the face of increasingly sophisticated competition.

The above opinions seem to fall into that Reverse Reality Distortion Field in which everything Apple does sucks, period. iOS 6 was “stale,” and then the second its design language changes, it’s “childish” and “confusing.” I’m not going to claim that Topolsky can’t be legitimately disappointed here, but something smells fishy when nothing Apple does will please the guy who said of the Galaxy Nexus that “There’s no lag, no stutter. Animations are fluid, and everything feels cohesive and solid.” No sane person who’s ever touched an Android device could possibly actually believe that to be true. Give me a break.

Browse Anonymously With TOR on iOS

Onion Browser, a 99¢ TOR-based browser for iOS, provides what is likely the most secure browsing environment you’re likely to find on your iPhone or iPad. The good news is that despite a few potential security holes, it’s pretty much just as secure as connecting via the TOR network on your desktop machine. I’m guessing that there are a lot of Apple customers looking for something like this, given the news this week.

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Google Bans Google Glass From Its Own Shareholder Meeting

Matt Clinch writing for CNBC:

Tight security restrictions at Thursday’s Google shareholder meeting led even the company’s much-hyped Google Glass technology to be banned, infuriating a consumer watchdog group who accused the tech giant of hypocrisy.

By all means, snap photos of another man’s junk while you’re taking a wizz. His privacy doesn’t matter. But don’t you dare invade Google’s privacy.

nvremind Reminders via Drafts and Alfred 2

Brett Terpstra’s nvremind is an incredibly useful Ruby script which scans a given folder of plain text files looking for @remind(YYYY-mm-dd HH:MM) tags. When the script runs (it’s designed to be run on a regular basis–every half-hour, by default–via launchd), it sends the user a notification via a variety of methods, and edits the found tag to @reminded(YYYY-mm-dd HH:MM). It’s a really versatile and handy way to turn your existing plain-text notes into a giant, always-nagging monstrosity, and I love it.

The script is designed to scan an entire folder, and I have been using those @remind(YYYY-mm-dd HH:MM) tags throughout all of my notes. However, I’ve also found it useful to dump all of my new reminders into a single “To-Do” file, which I process later on as necessary. This practice gives one the option of setting up quick, automated ways of entering new reminders on both iOS and OS X; for these purposes I’m using Drafts and Alfred 2.[1]

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nvALT Reminders

Brett Terpstra strikes again:

Inspired by Evernote, I whipped up a little script to find “@reminder” tags with date parameters in nvALT notes (or any folder of text files). It can generate notifications or send HTML emails at the specified time. It’s just for fun right now, but I thought I’d put it out there to see if anyone had any ideas for it.

I haven’t tried this out yet, but I most certainly will be doing so in very short order. This pushes every nerdy button (except this one) I’ve got.

Here’s the script on GitHub, by the way.

UPDATE, June 2, 2013 1:10 PM:

Brett has already released an updated script which makes a few refinements, including the ability to send tagged items straight into Reminders.app.

The Button Every Computer Needs

Fuck-It Button

Now I just need to make it actually do something.

Flipboard and Google Reader

I’m curious to see how Flipboard is going to handle keeping feeds from a Google Reader account working after Reader is shut down in a month.

Here’s how to ensure you’ll always be able to access your Google Reader feeds, even after July 1, when Google plans to shut down the service.

The post above claims that everything will continue working in Flipboard as before, but how exactly will that work? Will all of the feeds be given their own sections? Will they remain in the Reader section? Is this really going to work seamlessly? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Quick DayOne Entries on OS X

In a previous post, I outlined my method for rapidly firing off a DayOne entry using Drafts for iOS. I’d like to follow up with a couple of methods I’ve devised for doing what amounts to the same thing when I’m sitting at my Mac. Sure, it’s not that big a deal to open up DayOne, wait for the app to load, enter a passcode, hit the ‘new entry’ button…but all of that takes a little longer than I’d like it to when I just want to jot something down quickly and then get right back into what I was doing. So I’ve come up with two solutions to this problem: one is a very simple workflow for Alfred 2, and the other is an OS X System Service.

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Super-Fast Journaling With Drafts And DayOne

I have an incredibly geeky need to log information about my life–for my own uses, mind you–and a big part of how I address that need is in journaling with DayOne, an app with variants on both OS X and iOS. It syncs flawlessly across devices and (Apple’s) platforms, and has a well-designed interface which makes it a joy to use. The act of writing stuff in DayOne is great for me, which is why I have to find some problem with it.

Sometimes I just want to dash off a thought really quickly–without launching DayOne, waiting for it to open, entering my passcode, tapping to begin a new entry, and so on and so on. I decided I’d find a quicker way to add entries to my journal[1]. Luckily, the developer of DayOne has implemented a pretty handy (if basic) command-line interface, which means that it’s easy to script and automate the app. What I ended up with is this: I type my markdown-formatted entry in Drafts, fire a Dropbox action, and…that’s it. It doesn’t open another app. It just adds the entry to my journal in the background. It takes a little bit of work to set it up, but it’ll save you a lot of time over the long haul. It’s awesome.

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