• The 11 Cases of Jane Tennison

    It is 25 years now that London-based police detective Jane Tennison first appeared on the TV screen in April 1991. The British TV series Prime Suspect was a huge hit then and the following years until its final episode in 2006. I remember watching...

  • The Strange Case of the OS X System Preferences Window Width

    The OS X System Preferences app is something like a wrapper app. In itself, it doesn’t do more than to present all installed system preference panes and these panes then allow you to configure your OS X installation. In addition to system-provided...

  • Adobe Flash Player OS X Update Script

    Perhaps the Adobe Flash Player will not be around anymore in a few years. Until then, some of us are still using it, people like me. I don’t fancy the update mechanisms it offers, though, neither automatic updates nor the annoying pop-up thing.

  • EURO 2016: Laws of the Game

    Until today, I didn’t know about the International Football Association Board, which is the non-governmental organisation that is responsible for maintaining the official global football rules (the “Laws of the Game”). I also didn’t know that this...

  • HTTPS-Only

    This blog is now being served via https-only. If you’re still not using https: It’s really easy to switch and you don’t need to buy a certificate anymore. Using Let’s Encrypt, this is what I typed on my server (aside from a few additional “yes” an...

  • The Panini Formulas

    The Panini sticker book for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament features 680 stickers this time. We can calculate how many sticker we need to buy to fill the album by using the amazing (due to its relationship to music and architecture...

  • Wikipedia is About Lists

    US-American artist Micheal Mandiberg has processed all German Wikipedia entries into books and finished his project with 3.406 books. I didn’t expect that almost 9% of the German Wikipedia consists of lists, equivalent to 273 books:

  • Automation and Artificial Intelligence

    Steven Cherry has written an essay about automation and artificial intelligence for the New Scientist. I took two insights from it:

  • Today's Neural Networks Are The Machine Code

    In a great new piece in Wired, Jason Tanz announces the end of coding. That might be a bit tendentious but it shows that machine learning that comes with neural networks has the effect of computers programming themselves, with us humans reduced to...

  • WhatsApp Must Speak German Because

    Legal journalism is no easy thing, especially if it is about foreign law or court judgments. All too easy, all those details making the difference, or just the legal context, don’t make it to a published article.

  • Design Makeover

    Time for a fresh new design for this site. I wanted to get rid of the shadows, the borders, the fuzzy different shades of grey colors and instead follow a clear, legible and more minimalistic design approach.

  • Check if Mission Control is Active

    Unfortunately, Apple has never provided a public API to programmatically check if Mission Control is active. There are not too many use cases for such a check, but I have encountered one.

  • More Boardless Edison

    A while ago I shared how I managed, with help from Fuzzing on Edison, to power my Intel Edison without breakout board. While soldering the two power connector wires to the Edison worked, it was not a good job, as the tiny solder joints tended to b...

  • Boardless Edison

    Intel Edison is a marvellous device, but the need to power it through a breakout board, either the mini breakout board or the bigger Arduino breakout board, annoys me. Following the advice in Fuzzing on Edison, I successfully got rid of all those ...

  • Unboxing Intel Edison with Monty

    I am more in the embedded devices field nowadays and after some tinkering with Raspberry Pi, I finally ordered some Intel Edison parts. The Edison is a very small computer with the main board having a size of only 35.5 x 25 x 3.9 mm. Its computing...

  • Non-Published Publishing Tools

    Nowadays, every indie publisher seem to develop his or her own custom publishing tools, be it a custom website and newsletter tool or some fancy iOS app generator. While most of these tools will never see the glaring light of the general public, s...

  • Back to WordPress

    Today, I’ve migrated my blog back to a WordPress installation, after having used Jekyll for a while. I really like the command-line approach of Jekyll, but mobile blogging has proved more difficult than expected, and static blog generation needed ...

  • Recent Menu now Open Source

    My app Recent Menu is now open source, and not available from the Mac App Store anymore. Feel free to download the source code from GitHub or the app from my website. Source code as well as the binary are available under a MIT license.

  • OS X Notifications With Custom Images

    Most interesting, the NSUserNotification class has gained a new ability in OS X 10.9 to display custom images.

  • NSData Base64 Support

    This took me by suprise today, when surfing the OS X Mavericks documentation: The NSData object now has built-in support for Base64 encoding and decoding.

  • Detecting Launch At Login Revisited

    In the past, I presented two approaches for a sandboxed OS X application to check whether it was launched at login via a helper app or not. Both of them don’t work anymore on OS X 10.8 and newer, but I will present them nevertheless for better und...

  • Links 3

    Though there are some really nice OS X command line tools, there is not really much information available on how to write, build and distribute them. This is like in old times when you had to experiment and try out something in order to get it to ...

  • SMLoginItemSetEnabled Demystified

    Have you ever wondered how the SMLoginItemSetEnabled function works? How to remove an application from launching at login from outside that application? Well, read on.

  • Bring Brow to Alfred

    If you are using Brow to synchronize your Chrome and Firefox bookmarks with Spotlight, it is quite easy to also bring them to Alfred, the popular productivity application.

  • [Snippet] Get App From Bundle Identifier

    Have a bundle identifier like com.apple.Safari and want to know which applications are associated with it and where on your system you have installed instances of the application?

  • [Snippet] Rebuild Finder's Context Menu

    I have a lot of snippets that I found somewhere on the web, ages ago, or created myself. They solve small problems and range from making OS X working better to Cocoa development issues. Until now I didn’t have any central location for storing them...

  • Links 2

    Private RSS Feeds: Support for security in aggregators — RSS test feeds with HTTP Auth and/or SSL authentication. This is almost ten years old, but still very valuable for testing your code. Programming in Objective-C, 5th Edition — The new e...

  • Brow Revisited

    Last spring I blogged about Brow, a new app I prepared to sync my Firefox and Chrome bookmarks with Spotlight. Though this was not impossible, it was tricky from a design point of view, as I wanted to bring Brow to the Mac App Store and Brow had t...

  • PieCrust RSS Feeds

    Since a couple of weeks, I use the PieCrust static website generator to bake this blog locally on my computer before syncing it with my website. Although there is a learning curve, working with PieCrust proved to be generally easy, with the one ex...

  • Links 1

    Quite often I stumble upon interesting, innovative content on the web, like we probably all do. Months and years later I still remember that I once found something on a specific topic but of course I didn’t bookmark anything and have trouble findi...

  • Arrow Buttons

    We all know that the user interfaces of OS X apps are becoming more and more differentiated. Apple as well as third party developers slowly move away from the once authoritative OS X Human Interface Guidelines and create not only new user interfac...

  • Monotony 1.2 released

    After quite some time, I have today released Monotony 1.2. As you might remember, there were some problems with Monotony 1.1, so Monotony wasn’t available during the last few months. I have sorted out everything, hopefully, and Monotony will now w...

  • Recent Menu 1.2.2 released

    I’ve today released Recent Menu 1.2.2, bringing some simplification to the app’s user interface.

  • Leaving Austria

    After working and living in Austria for seven years, I will now leave and move back to Germany. Though Austria and Germany share a border and people speak more or less the same language, it means a distance of 800 km and a slightly different lifes...

  • Why My Software is Now Free

    When I started writing Mac apps back in 2010, I wanted to do this all the time, full-time. Of course I would need money to live, so selling software seemed the easiest thing. I owned a Mac since 2008, had back in the eighties made my first money e...

  • When something is broken ..

    You may have noticed that my app Monotony is not available on the Mac App Store at the moment. The reason for this is that I‘ve pulled Monotony from the Mac App Store on August 28 after I received quite some feedback from users reporting strange e...

  • Monotony How-To: Migrate your feed list from trial to paid version

    If you have used the Monotony trial version (available for download) and afterwards bought the paid version from the Mac App Store, your list of feeds you’ve subscribed to won’t be automatically migrated from the trial version to the paid version,...

  • Monotony 1.1 released

    Today I’ve released Monotony 1.1. This update brings support for Mountain Lion’s Notification Center to Monotony, so if you run Monotony on OS X 10.8 it will automatically use Notification Center to display notifications instead of Growl.

  • Collecting Code

    Here and there I’ve posted several source code examples on this blog. While until now this code was available only within the respective blog posts, I’ve now collected all published examples and for convenient access made them available on a desig...

  • Having fun with Mountain Lion's Notification Center

    Mountain Lion’s new Notification Center is a cool thing, sure, and it didn’t take long before first third-party enhancements where available for it. As long as Growl hasn’t been updated to support Notification Center’s notifications, tools like Hi...

  • Recent Menu 1.2.1 released

    I have released Recent Menu 1.2.1 today. It looks like a small update, and indeed it doesn’t bring new features. However, it is a real milestone as it adds support for OS X’s sandbox to Recent Menu. This is good not only because it increases the s...

  • Monotony 1.0.1 is out

    I’ve just released Monotony 1.0.1 on the Mac App Store. If you already downloaded it (remember: it’s free), you should see the update shortly, otherwise just get the app. This new version brings some bug fixes for issues related to detection and d...

  • Upcoming Update of Recent Menu Will Add Sandbox Support

    The next update to Recent Menu is about to be submitted to Apple in the next days. It is a maintenance update that upgrades Recent Menu to version 1.2.1 and will bring sandbox support to the app. This is a prerequisite for further development of R...

  • Me and my MacBook Air

  • The Launch At Login Sandbox Project

    Sometimes it is useful for an app to launch at login. While a user can always accomplish this in the system preferences, having the possibility to turn on auto-launching inside the app is better. While in the glorious past this could be implemente...

  • Search Kit Index Files and Index Names

    Search Kit is one of the lesser known OS X frameworks. It can be used to index large amounts of text and provides some powerful features to search indexed texts. Search Kit is, inter alia, used by Spotlight to index the contents of our hard disks....

  • Leaving the Mac App Store

    I’m concerned about the recent changes in Apple’s Mac App Store policies. Beginning with sandboxing, not ending with app-store-exclusive technologies. I will therefore monitor and collect developments and developers’ reactions as I find it, on a s...

  • Snippet: How to check if app runs auto-launched

    To check if a Mac OS X app has been launched at login, I use this code:

  • A Preview Of Monotony

    Quite recently I swaggered about apps without interfaces, and I’ve tried now to follow that idea and to implement a specific example of such an app. In addition, I fulfilled my old dream of writing a minimalistic rss feed reader app. Today I give ...

  • Apps without Interfaces

    Software without user interfaces is cool. This is about minimalism and “one thing well” and “keep it simple” and “less is more” and about less distraction: If we assume that software typically presents at least some information to the user, it fol...

  • Brow: Programming in the Age of the Sandbox

    On June 1, Apple will enforce Sandboxing for all new apps on the Mac App Store. It has been already widely discussed how this will affect developers and especially certain types of apps. Not least Utility apps which need to have a wide file system...

  • A new trick for Recent Menu

    After a longer time I’ve again updated Recent Menu, available on the Mac App Store and as a trial download on this website. Version 1.2 contains a new feature allowing it to exclude specific file names (or parts of it) or file types from being sho...

  • Recent Redux: More Small Changes

    I’ve again updated Recent Redux, this time to version 1.0.2. The new download is available on the Mac App Store and as a trial download on this website. This update contains two bug fixes:

  • Recent Redux: Small Changes

    If you have bought Recent Redux, get the free update: I’ve released Recent Redux 1.0.1 to the Mac App Store, featuring some minor bug fixes. The bugs covered by this fix would show only under very specific conditions but would make it impossible t...

  • Innovation and Success with Software, Part 1

    The recent success of Realmac Software‘s Clear App, which is leading the iTunes paid apps top charts as of today, let me once again wonder on the secrets of successful software. What is behind this simple app to make people so fascinated and enthu...

  • The World after March 1

    Apple’s deadline to require app sandboxing on all applications distributed in the Mac App Store approaches fast, and there’s still no solution to many developers’ problems with APIs not working even though they should with the sandbox.

  • New on the Team: Debugging Cat

    It is a great pleasure for me to welcome and introduce a new member of our development team: As of today, Debugging Cat will supervise all debugging issues and take care of those annoying bugs spreading everywhere in our code. Debugging Cat is a q...

  • NSTextFinder Magic

    NSTextFinder is a new Cocoa class added in OS X 10.7. It is basically a container for a find bar to be used with a NSScrollView and lets the user search (and optionally replace) text inside the NSScrollView associated with it. NSTextFinder is more...

  • Exchanging NSScrollView's contentView

    Trying to use a custom NSClipView in a NSScrollView. Noticed that it is not enough just to have this:

  • PubSub Framework Recipes: Sandboxing

    If you’ve ever wondered how to use Apple’s Publication Subscription Framework in a sandboxed application environment, just read this post written by Sasmito Adibowo from Basil Salad Software.

  • PubSub Framework Recipes: Feed Auto-Discovery

    Apple’s Publication Subscription (“PubSub”) Framework is not among the best-documented frameworks. There is a small programming guide as well as a framework reference, but all in all the documentation is scarce. Among the lesser known features of ...

  • Beautiful Docset Model

    The following is the docset data model, found in Xocde’s Lion docset bundle. The SQLite database and a Search Kit index file are also contained in the docset bundle:

  • Things I don't like about feed readers

    Mac RSS feed reader apps are a booming software genre. Every few months a new powerful app is published, with a polished interface and lots of cool functions. I argue that feed reader apps shouldn’t be designed as if they had to cover complicated ...

  • Mac App Store Statistics 3

    And yet another chart, this time with the growth of the overall number of apps for each Mac App Store category. The chart below shows the percentage growth of the number of paid and unpaid apps tagged with a specific category between August 24 and...

  • Mac App Store Statistics 2

    Four weeks ago I prepared a short statistics on the success of the 21 app categories in the Mac App Store. Today, I visited the store again and compared the number of apps of each category in the US paid apps top 180 list with the number of four w...

  • Cocoa Harvest, 2011

    The days get shorter, the nights longer, and people retreat to the fireplace reading books. Publishers have announced quite a number of forthcoming Mac OS X programming titles for autumn and winter. Such announcements don‘t mean that titles are ac...

  • Sandbox of Doom

    It is said that from November 2011 on all apps on the Mac App Store will have to implement Application Sandboxing. Basically, this mean that an app will run inside its private little sandbox and has only limited access to the world outside the san...

  • From the Lab: Scroll Capture

    Recently I needed to take a picture of the entire content of a huge scroll view, i.e. a view inside an application of which only a small part was visible on the screen. I was suprised that most available screenshot software couldn‘t do that but wo...

  • Mac App Store Statistics 1

    I always wondered where to find some nice Mac App Store statistics. It is easy to track my own apps but there is not much data out there on the overall numbers of Mac App Store apps and on how good apps of specific categories run in terms of sales...

  • Recent Menu 1.1 released

    As usually, it took more time than I expected or hoped, but finally Recent Menu 1.1 has been released. For existing customers it is available as a free update on the Mac App Store. For everybody else there is a free trial available for download. I...

  • The Lion Strikes

    I’ve received user reports that after updating to OS X Lion it seems that Recent Menu and Recent Redux aren’t working anymore. But have no fear, there ain’t no bugs in these apps and they will work with OS X Lion as they used to do with OS X Snow ...

  • A Cat on the Table

  • Work-In-Progress-Ware

    Thought of a new business model for the Mac App Store: As there are no in-app purchases (not yet?), why not write an app with a basic functionality and sell it for a moderate price. Then over time add more and more features and raise the price wit...

  • Easy Trial Version for Mac App Store Code

    After my first apps are now available on the Mac App Store, I wanted to prepare trials versions of these apps (something I should have done before launch, I know). Especially, I wanted to have some code ready to drop in any app to create a trial v...

  • From the Lab: Recent Menu 1.1 Preview

    My initial release of Recent Menu has so far received with a friendly welcome. Thanks to everybody who has shared user experience and submitted feature ideas!

  • Mac App Store Adventures

    You might remember my earlier post on how I managed to miss the grand Mac App Store opening. Some weeks later I was ready to go for it and submitted my first two apps to the store. Read on to learn what happened…

  • Strange Kind of Focus Ring

    According to Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for OS X (HIG), a focus ring is “Highlighting around onscreen area that is ready to accept user input.”. It is shown as a blue bezel around that control which has the keyboard focus. As I tried to im...

  • Countdown. Mac App Store. Missed.

    I really wanted to be there when it opens on January 6th, 2011. But, the design of the application icon was awful. It took me weeks to decide on the design and to craft something, when I should have been coding instead of drawing. At least now I h...

  • A Requiem to Mac License Managers

    The upcoming Apple App Store for Mac will have some success, inevitably. One effect of the App Store will be that Mac Software distributed in the App Store won’t need (and won’t be able) to implement custom licensing and/or registration schemes an...

  • iOSification, continued

    The term iOSification is quite accurate in describing a recent trend in Mac user interface design. First used by One Thing Well (September 2010), as far as I’m aware of. It describes a trend of which I’m not sure how big it will get.

  • The Seven Cities of ZIP

    I just wanted to add some zip file handling capacity to my code, well, it ended in some confusion. While there is no genuine support for zip files in Cocoa and Objective-C, there are several ways to achieve that which are described here and there ...

  • How to connect Xcode, SVN and Versions

    Honestly speaking, it took me an awful lot of time to setup and connect Xcode (the Apple OS X development suite) with the Subversion source code control system SVN and Versions (aka Versions.app), one of the newer Subversion Mac clients (another o...

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