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 boards without using the micro micro connector (Hirose DF 40) on the Edison’s back:

Unboarding Edison

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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 power should be superior to that of a Raspberry Pi, but more to that later. My Edison arrived in a small, beautiful cardboard box:

Intel Edison Unboxing

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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, some are made available commercially, so that anybody willing to pay may use them.

Funnily, quite some of these tools are somehow made available, but not really. The Glide platform, used by Jim Dalrymple’s Loop Magazine since more than one year, is announced to become available only “over the next few weeks”. Curated, the website and newsletter tool used by iOS Dev Weekly, is currently looking for exactly 45 customers, paying $995 each for one year of access. On the contrary, tools like TypeEngine are available to everybody.

While I don’t agree that such publishing tools are unnecessary as such, we have two fundamentally different business models here. On the one side, there are tools that are marketed and sold as just that, being tools, computer software. On the other side, there are tools that are just the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger product, which is a publishing service. So, if you also have a publishing tool ready for distribution, please think twice if you want to be a software company or a publishing house, or, to have it ever better worded, if you want to sell software or consultancy services.

If I were a writer, I would probably buy software, instead of publishing services, but that’s my personal opinion.

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 to be done on my MacBook instead of on the server, which was another reason blogging got more and more difficult and I became more and more silent here. Shared hosting and Jekyll are probably not the perfect fit at the moment.

Preparing the migration of my blog back to WordPress turned out to be slightly more difficult than I had expected. I wanted the blog to remain exactly like it was, including the site design, mobile UI, the URLs and the exact behaviour of everything. I ended in writing my own WordPress theme and plugin for custom image uploads and a Python script to import all my Markdown posts into WordPress.

I will always remain a fan of Jekyll, but I’m happy now that the migration worked and I can happily starting posting again – “blogging is preparing for a comeback”!

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.

I have thought of making Recent Menu open source software for quite some time now, and recent difficulties with getting a bug fix approved by Apple for Mac App Store distribution facilitated my decision to switch to direct distribution as well as to open the source code, as I don’t have any commercial interest in this app.

I’ll try to add some update detection code to Recent Menu soon, e.g. via the Sparkle framework, so that you don’t have to check manually whether a new version of Recent Menu is available or not.

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.

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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 understanding, before turning to a new approach that works well on OS X 10.8 and 10.9.

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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 work. Nevertheless I collected some links that may help in writing command line tools for OS X.

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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.

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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.

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[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, but will now begin publishing them on my blog, not least with the hidden agenda to not have them stored locally anymore.

Today: After each update of an app I bought in the Mac App Store, my Finder’s context menu shows duplicate entries for that app. Clean up this mess with two (well-known) Terminal commands.

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Links 2

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 to run in a sandbox. Apple rejected the app for a bug they, but not I, experienced, and I didn’t touch Brow for some months after that setback.

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