iOS Stocks and Currency Exchange

Did you know you can use the built-in Stocks app to view the current and historic exchange rate for currencies? Yup, try it, enter GBPCAD=X as a quote. Replace what you’re exchanging before the =X.

why does it keep going up!!

Quotes sync with iCloud and they show up in the today swipe down view if configured in Settings. Convenient.

Trick Markdown Preview

You can trick your markdown preview into correctly rendering the front matter from octopress (depending on the flavor of markdown your app uses). This works with 1Writer, not so much in Byword.

Just leave a space before the last ---. Like so.

---
layout: post
title: "Title"
published: true
date: 2014-01-01
comments: true

---

And voila!

1Writer

I’ve been a fan of Daedalus for about a month, even with its shortcomings (its got Dropbox bugs, visual glitches and writes a BOM that octopress doesn’t like). Last night I was looking for something else, other than Byword; which is nice, but still just doesn’t do it for me. I found 1Writer. I really like it. Simple, it has all the features of Byword and more. The more I use it the more I like it. Related to this post, 1Writer will automatically upload and link dropbox files for you, whaaaat! It’s universal, it’s very nice on the iPad. Crazy amount of fonts, if you’re into fonts. If you’re looking for a markdown preview/authoring, dropbox saving, nice looking, universal, inexpensive, app .. Download 1Writer.

Dropbox User Content

This is how you make dropbox share links auto download for inclusion in HTML.

Example:

not impressed

Remote Adventures

bash

I’ve been using my iPad to ssh into my home server a lot lately. I have it tethered to an Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard. I also picked up an incase Origami Workstation, which I love. Here’s something I learned: In bash when you type a long command (which takes time if you DON’T have a keyboard) and notice you made a typo in the first word, you can type C-a to go to the beginning of the line and C-e to go to the end. If you run screen, you’d have to do a C-a C-a (tmux you’re fine since your escape is C-b by default). Take a look at the readline section of the bash man page.

tmux

I discovered tmux. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. Seems a lot of the common commands are the same as screen, so that’s good.

RealVNC

OS X screen sharing is good if you have a fast connection. But if you’re tethered to a 3G connection and your home broadband only has 400kb/s upstream, it is VERY slow. RealVNC has a server for OS X, I’m surprised it took me this long to notice. The free license allows 5 machines. I love the RealVNC app on iOS, now I just VPN to home and use the iOS app. The connection auto-figures-out the speed and adjusts the quality accordingly.

Stupid JBOD

I own a 4 * SATA to USB disk enclosure, this one. It was great until I plugged it into 220V without switching the power supply, oops. Now it’s a door stop. One of the disks was hosting our iTunes library, so obviously I required access to that one disk. This particular model supports RAID configs. To do this, it adds an abstraction layer between the USB controller and the SATA, to turn multiple disks to one (it is a JBOD after all). I ran into problems when I used my portable SATA to USB cable to mount it on my Mac Mini server. Didn’t mount. Seems this abstraction layer formats the disks (even if they’re not setup as RAID) using a hybrid partition table. fdisk shows it as EE (protected partition or something). This post saved the day. I was sweating a little bit until I found the answer.

Well That Was Fast

calepin is nice, but it seems it’s not really supported anymore.

So I ventured to run pelican myself on sdf. Alas the VHOST and DNS memberships don’t offer much in the flexibility department. Reading on the webs looks like most people (markdown bloggers) gravitate towards jekyll and even octopress. So here I am. I had to convert my posts from scriptog.am / calepin / pelican format to something with a YAML front matter.

This worked:

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#!/bin/bash
# Mac OS X .. ymmv
for i in $1/*.md; do
    sed -i '' -e 's/Tags:/tags:/' \
    -e 's/Title:/title:/' \
    -e 's/Date:/date:/' \
    -e '/title:/i\'$'\n''---' \
    -e '/title:/i\'$'\n''layout: post' \
    -e '/tags:/a\'$'\n''---' "$i"
done

Going Down the Markdown Hole

Remember when I said I was going to start using markdown, well that idea ended up changing everything about how I blog. I was looking to simplify, boy did I ever. I can write and publish an article with vim now. Here’s how I did it.

Platform

Blogger is great. .. Blogger is great if you use a web browser on a non-mobile device. Sure they have an iOS app, but it sucks. The web interface to create posts and manage the blog is useless on iOS. I tried writing posts in plain text before copy/pasting into blogger, but then I have to markup the links, and that’s annoying. What I’m trying to say is blogger sucks.

I want to be able to use vim to write a blog post. I want to be able to start writing somewhere and finish somewhere else. I want to be able to make the posts rich without using stupid wysiwyg toolbars. Enter Dropbox and markdown. Markdown allows me to markup everything easily, in plain text. Doesn’t matter what editor you’re using, it will always generate the same HTML. I save the posts to a folder in dropbox so they’re available everywhere.

Great, I can write posts, how do I publish them and where do they get published? I had 2 choices: http://scriptogr.am and http://calepin.co. They both essentially do the same thing, take markdown formatted text files in Dropbox and generate a static blog from them. Scriptogr.am has more features, but Calepin is simple and elegant. Calepin’s backend is also open source, in case I have to move. I like that I can’t change the theme, one less thing to worry about. Good, now we’re in Calepin, how did I move my stuff from blogger?

Convert

I had to convert the blog (again). I took the Atom feed provided by blogger and threw it in this script. I changed the date format a bit to include the time. It wasn’t perfect, I had to modify a couple posts for formatting. This generated about 500 files. Copy to Dropbox .. done.

Writing tools

Now I can use pretty much anything to write a post. As long as it ends up in Dropbox, it’ll get posted. Byword has good markdown support, a bit clunky though. Daedalus is a great way of dealing with text files. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s the first app that I’m actively submitting bugs for since I really like it. I can use vim to create posts if I feel like it. Dropbox obviously is where all the posts end up. Safe, backed up to the cloud.

Prompt, Vim and Tmux Issues and How to Fix Them

Prompt does this funny thing with background colors. I had to read the terminfo man page .. why Panic, why did you mke me do that! Any who, if you set the background color of screen’s or tmux’s status bar to the same background as your terminal’s default, the aberations go away.

Also, not sure, but I think the latest update to Prompt fixed issues I was having in vim

3D Printed Apple Wireless Keyboard Clips

W00t

Got these made for 2 reasons. I didn’t want to pay much for a couple pieces of plastic, and I picked a geek as a Secret Santa recipient at work. I had these guys print the model from here. I haven’t tested them out much, looks promising.