Thanks Apple!


• September 13, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Thanks Apple for effectively turning just about every program into a virtual store and/or billboard. At the same time you somehow indirectly managed to reduce the quality of most Mac software. Just about every application that I have tried reminds me of those cheap Chinese toys you get at the dollar store. The AppStore doesn’t need App approvers to protect me from evil, it needs an exterminator to protect me from buggy indie software.

Easiest way to convert a PDF to EPUB for free on a Macintosh?


• August 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

1. Open the PDF in Preview.app, Edit>Select All, right click selection and Copy.
2. Open Pages.app, Edit>Paste.
3. Do any minor edits.
4. Export as EPUB (You will have other output options as well).
5. For further tweaks get Sigil.

Don’t spend weeks writing code to do this only to find that a complicated PDF is such a pain in the ass to work with that you need to buy a book to help you figure it all out while knowing deep down it will never be perfect anyway! Certainly don’t spend any money to do this shit when simple tools can do it for you.

If you just want a great reader, get Skim

Also see-

GhostScript

Python PDFMiner

iText

MacNote


• January 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Are you looking for a simple and quick way to enter notes into the Apple’s Notes.app application from the statusbar? Don’t want the extra features of big note tools or really just like Apple’s built in Notes app? Me too! So I wrote a little utility to allow quick note entry to the Notes.app! Simply select your account, local or otherwise, and you’re all set.

DOWNLOAD MacNote SHA1: 574b36d5ff37cc971159c8445769e4df79804290
Requirements Mac OS X 10.8, might work on 10.7 (Lion)

ScreenShot

MacNote in action

The Internet should be a library not a mall.


• September 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

All media is equal, or should be considering it’s becoming computer files like everything else. The Internet is basically a library and needs to be treated as such in my opinion. It’s one of the best places to share what we create.

Hey, why not tax the American people a little and pay the copyright holders, the actual creators, a fair wage from that tax, and cut out the stinking middle man that drives up costs and forces us to live in an archaic world of greed?! We should be able to download any movie, song, or book from this digital library. I’ve held this opinion since the damned nineties and I’m pretty amazed at how greed is suffering good work and limiting what the people can access.

“you expect me to pay more taxes? Boo fucking hoo, I want to pay a CEO millions to figure out how to charge me more, like with my health care!”

Come on, you’d rather not pay a little more tax for the benefit of affordable entertainment? I consume a lot of it and it’s rather pricey, but if you’re dumb like that I suppose you’ll stop reading by now and call me a socialist liberal pig. Enjoy your $.99 Family Guy rerun…

“who’s paying the librarians and computer people to run it?”

We already do or I wouldn’t be discussing the library. But, if you use the library you may have noticed how limited the people’s digital library is compared to the corporate version. At the rate we are going, Amazon and iTunes will be the library, and this is bad for the future.

“but the authors won’t make enough money!”

Bullshit! They will get about as much as publishers pay them now, if not more. There is more money to be made selling swag, toys, commercial use of works, physical copies for those idiots who think they need this shit on a bookshelf collecting dust as well. The copyright holders could supplement their tax royalty income with these things, and this keeps the junk industry driven by media alive. China jumps for joy! I’d imagine there would still be investors looking for a little return from these sales if it’s no longer worth the investment in creating the actual media so I doubt big movies will lose the investment capital needed to cover production.

“but what about those damned foreigners taking our stuff without paying ’cause we can’t tax them?”

So. Charge non-American companies and citizens a monthly fee for access. If the British libraries want access to American content charge them accordingly and let them use whatever they want. We pay for the BBC’s crap.

“but people will just steal shit!”

Let’s redefine steal, because it’s impossible to steal a file since the owner likely retains the original, but for argument sake. People already ‘steal’ in the current system and it is costing you. If the files are free, already paid for with tax revenue, would this not curb the need to steal? Even with the few taking content for free do you really believe it will cost everyone as much as the attorneys, law enforcement agencies and middle man corporations are costing now? Do you really believe going against the people by making crazy laws and stupid expensive technologies like DRM keeps people from stealing or reduces your cost? This crap drives up costs, keeps media from the poorer people, and puts money in the hands of companies that provide no real value in an Internet society.

“what about copyright?”

It will still exist. If an author dies his family collects the royalty for whatever period the law states. If there is no one to collect or the work is beyond the copyright period, the work becomes public domain. Sorry capitalistic cock sucker, *cough* Disney *cough*, no more free money for you. Come up with your own ideas and concepts…

“what if I wrote a song and anyone can play it? I’d lose money!”

Really? Ever heard of tribute bands? The fact is, having the ability to read the notes does not transfer the copyright, nor does it imply permission to perform the song to an audience. That mess wouldn’t likely change. The reality is that a concert tour generates tons of cash and the band would already be guaranteed their tax royalty on top of it.

Reality check: Did you know that if you play your purchased music CD at a block party with a certain amount of people that you could possibly be sued? Are you aware that if you project a football game on a large screen for your friends that you may very well be breaking the law? Anyway…

“what about the amount of stuff? Led Zeppelin has a lot of music and some others not so much. How does that work?”

That is a tough one. I suppose a system where popularity and productivity up the payment percentage would work. The more you give the more you get, and popularity helps tee-shirt sales as well. Do we really want to pay artists that suck and only produce one song that is temporarily popular? This will keep artists productive and it’s better than the corporate alternative of “you’d better make something or I’m taking your ass to court for breach of contract”.

Some side benefit perhaps.

You know all that crap out there, like the garbage lil’ Wayne makes money from for example? It’s really not very innovative, creative or valuable, plus he can’t even sing or play an instrument. Those content creators that simply suck will simply fade away along with the huge profit machine and their brain washing commercialism, because people will only download shit that’s good! With more choice you are able to make better decisions. In academia this is called ‘peer review’. It works. Maybe not as well as commercial brainwashing though…

If this does not happen say good bye to public domain, the library, and freedom. You must realize companies like Amazon will take their place and force everything to the cloud where it can be controlled. Your children will eventually have to buy everything you bought, and there children, etc. – if they can afford the fees to borrow it from the publisher and pusher.

TextMate 2 released under GPLv3


• August 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I built a copy on Mountain Lion if you don’t want to build it yourself.

Download   SHA1 :  6afbef8e318c97e4964b8c3d67049ed0d160cfe0

Source can be found also be found on Github, more info below:

http://blog.macromates.com/2012/textmate-2-at-github/

 

Adding “Create Text File” to Mac OS X using Automator and no code.


• August 11, 2012 • 2 Comments

If you moved from Windows to Macintosh you may miss the create text file right click menu. Well, I work a lot form the Desktop when messing with files and programming, because it’s easier than having Finder windows all over the place so when I create a empty text file I usually create it on the desktop. I do this by hitting:

Command + Space and typing Terminal in the search box

In the terminal I cd into Desktop (cd Desktop) and the type:

touch untitled.txt

I then open this in my text editor by right clicking it and selecting my editor.

You can also type: nano untitled.txt and save it (Control + o) after cd’ing into the path of your choice.

If you want to automate this in the GUI use the Automator app that’s included with OS X. We will end up with a service that will let us create and open a new text file on the desktop from anywhere. It will look a like this, and there is no programming required at all.

First off, enable Accessibility in Prefs, “Enable access for assistive devices”. Open Automator, Command + Space then type Automator in the search box. Select “Service” and name it “New Text File” or whatever. At the top select “folders” for “Service receives selected” in “any application”. Any application means it will be available no matter when has control of the menubar (statusbar).

To your left you will see the library items and we need at least two. The first is the “Get value of variable” in Utilities. Drag “Get value of variable” to the main window.

To your left you will see the library items and we need at least two. The first is the “Get value of variable” in Utilities. Drag “Get value of variable” to the main window.

Now select “Text in Libraries and drag “New Text File” under the variable panel. Tick “Replace existing files” and drop down and select “New Variable” choosing Desktop when it asks. You could bypass the var and select the Desktop directly – your choice.

Save and test it in the Finder menu… It should create a text file on your desktop.

If you want to open it directly after creating, go to the library and select “Utilities” again  and drag “Launch Application”, then select TextEdit, or whatever.  Should look like this:

If it errors set the Desktop variable by ignoring the default ~/Desktop and drilling down to it by selecting the paths.

Gauge example in Inkscape (SVG)


• August 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment

If you’re tasked with creating gauges for a dashboard and you want an example on how to do the graphics, I’ve created one in Inkscape. Inkscape is a free vector application if you are on a budget and can’t afford Adobe Illustrator. I made this while getting a feel for a new dashboard I’ll be working on at work and thought that I’d release it under Free Art License since I’m not going to use it. Each part is in a layer and can be unlocked and edited how you see fit. I hope it’s helpful to someone.

Download the file

Here’s two versions, both are included by selected or deselecting layers. Here’s what they look like.

OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) Late Night Review


• July 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I got a copy of Mountain Lion and rather than double clicking and upgrading I decided to make a bootable Mountain Lion USB drive. You will need a 8gb USB thumb drive for this, or if you prefer a DVD, you will need a dual layer 8gb DVD. For the fast and easy way to do this grab a copy of the Lion Disk Maker tool. I am not walking you through this, Google will find plenty of examples for you.

I was already running Lion so I booted the Mountain Lion USB by holding down the Option key and selecting the USB Device. Worked just fine on my mid 2009 MBP. I installed with no issues and it upgraded Lion without a hitch. The performance on the other hand was rather irritating. I have a lot of crap on my box, I like to program and test open source stuff so maybe it’s simply that my machine has been altered so I just decided to do a clean install.

I broke out my external backup drive and copied all my important stuff and rebooted into Mountain Lion installer again this time using Disk Tools and wiped my drive. I then installed Mountain Lion fresh. Let me just say, way better! Fast as hell on my 2.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 with 4 GB Ram MBP, but shouldn’t it be? I put my important stuff back, installed iLife ’11 and some apps from the AppStore, Pages for one. After a couple of iLife updates I’m in business.

First Impressions –

The damned thing upgraded Lion to Mountain Lion like nothing. I was impressed considering Lion would not upgrade Snow Leopard and I was forced into a clean install simply because I used BootCamp to run Linux.

So I really like the Notes and the syncing between my other Apple toys – been waiting for this since I got the first 2G iPhone to be honest. I never did understand why Apple decided to put notes into mail. WTF, right? I can just send myself an e-mail from anywhere and be done with it if I wanted that! I still would have liked the notes app to be accessible from the StatusBar like some other note apps I’ve seen over the years, and tearing a note off to the desktop and making a sticky post-it style note would be pretty cool Correction, you can pull the notes off onto the desktop and make it a sticky. Apple must have read my notes complaint last year?

Messages and Facetime, both work flawlessly! I set up Google Talk and with SMS messaging over iCloud, a feature I’ve wanted for some time, I am in SMS/MMS heaven! IRC would be cool, but again, can’t have everything.

The Notification Center is ok, even though it tells me stuff that I really don’t need to know. Really, who sits around waiting for e-mail to arrive that is so important that you need a popup? I do like the calendar event notifications though and over time, as more applications make use of the Notification Center, it will come in handy. Sorry Growl, Apple likes to make software useless over time – if I had .99 cents every time Apple obsoleted some app by adding the functionality into their products I’d have all my money back!

Techie Crap –

Alright, who gives a shit about all that – what about Macports: Gimp 2.8, and MyPaint? Well, I installed Macports and successfully built Geany, MyPaint and added a pretty GTK theme – worked fine. This required that I install XCode 4 and the command line tools. Next thing I did was compile some C++ scripts in the terminal. Again, no issues. Python and Ruby are both there and working as expected. I installed MacRuby and had the build fail though. A proper point to the /Library/Framework in the search path was all that was needed. I did find it interesting that I had to enable my computer as a developer machine during my first compile. Whatever, control freaks!

I also installed NimbleKit and PhoneGap – both work as expected. CodeBlocks also worked well – it always crashed from time to time so I’m not blaming this one on Apple. Then I added Editra and it’s plugins and I’m pretty happy. This is the extent of my development crap; although, I may install Lazarus just to see if that still works. It worked in Lion so I imagine it will work in Mountain Lion.

Now, the last thing for me to do was to install XQuartz because x11 is no more and if you want to run Gimp, Inkscape or any other open source app that runs in x11 you’ll need it. Installed xQuartz and both Inkscape and Gimp 2.8 run perfectly fine, but a popup will ask for the x11 location. Don’t pick from the list, just manually point to it. It lives in /Applications/Utilities/XQuartz — that’s a one time thing. It does take a little long for these to load, but not that big of a deal if you want some decent free graphics tools.

Now when you install and try and run these non-AppStore goodies that you download on the internets you will need to go directly to the file and Right Click, then Open. If you don’t it simply won’t run. For your safety a popup will show asking if you want to open it and hell yes you do or you wouldn’t have downloaded the damned thing in the first place, right? More of that control creepiness from Apple – like those creepy guys in Lifetime movies who stalk their wives. This pain in the ass is called Gatekeeper and it’s not a big deal, yet. If it annoys you set it to run anything in prefs…

So in closing Mountain Lion is a revamped Lion with some nice new Applications and some future lock down tools in place. Everything I ran on Lion is running on Mountain Lion without any issue including VirtualBox. My only suggestion is that if you decide to upgrade do a clean install, and keep a USB boot drive in case you need to reload your system(s) again at some point. It will save you time not downloading from the AppStore again if your system gets messed up, that’s if you can even get to the AppStore…

Hope this was helpful, interesting, or at least a time killer while at work… I’m tired and should go to bed.

Ah, I’m rested and it’s a few days later and I realize that I didn’t bitch about hardware life at Apple. It does piss me off that ‘not so very old’ hardware looses OS functionality as ploy to get people to upgrade. This is a tactic Apple uses on the iPhone, but the iPhone has a shorter shelf life and doesn’t cost as much as a desktop or laptop. Really Apple?

My top three Desktop Operating Systems for 2012


• July 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Mountain Lion is the cats meow. Now all my Macintosh devices are one!

“We are Apple. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

And, after a couple days in Windows 8 I have a feeling even the Borg would have lost interest in Microsoft all together, I certainly did, yet again… Anyway.

As good as Mountain Lion is I really want to rave about Linux. No, not Ubuntu, CrunchBang and Pinguy!

I love CrunchBang because it’s fast, stable and runs light. It’s a little more work than some bigger distributions, but this is why it’s so lean and clean. I’m running it in VirtualBox on my Mac and it runs really well and takes up very little space.

Pinguy on the other hand is bad ass if you’re looking to switch from Windows or OS X to Linux on a decent bit of hardware. Pinguy in my opinion is what Ubuntu should have become and what LinuxMint tried to be. There are some other really good Linux distros out there, but these are my favorites for 2012.

My number one pick for 2012 is Mountain Lion with Pinguy and CrunchBang neck in neck for second. Honestly, they are all really good and I expect I won’t change my mind too much going into 2013; although, I’ve been wanting to give Slackware and PC-BSD a go since it’s been a few years since I’ve run either of them. Since I didn’t really give a third place, I’d have to say Sabayon fits rather well so it is my third place pick for 2012.

Weed Calc – Playing with Lazarus Cross Dev


• July 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

My son was home sick today and I had to take the day off so I decided to take this time to learn a little Pascal and Lazarus cross development. I actually couldn’t think of anything so after running into a forum post about marijuana and amounts the other day I thought, why not write a program to do this? It’s sloppy at best, may have bugs or errors, but it’s free and it works as far as I can tell. I’m also not a weed person so what the community needs and what I think they might need may differ. If you think this could be useful though, feel free to let me know.

No license, no warranties, no installers – just run. I’ll include the source for each platform, but it’s messy – remember I am learning! I have not re-factored or commented this code, I’ll update this post if I decide to make it better in the future.

Program: You just want to run it and don’t give a shit about the tech crap.

Windows

Linux

Mac

Source: You want to review or compile the program yourself.

Windows

Linux

Mac