Mandaris Moore

I had trouble coming up with something to make today. I usually set up a time to do something right after work, but found myself staring at my phone for 15 minutes thinking about how I couldn't think of anything1.

I spent so time dabbling with CrazyTalk Animator, but didn't want to spend the time customizing a character today. I noticed that there were some properties that I couldn't change using the version that I have on my laptop2.

So, I think what I will do other than make this post is to commit myself to crafting a video on how to do certain exercises using swift. It would mark off a couple of things that I've been wanting to produce and allow me to have a road map going forward. Not just sitting down and thinking "what am I going to make today".

  1. Maybe I shouldn't have been playing Crossy Road. 

  2. I don't want to fork out more money just to change the skin color of my characters. 

Today, I thought I'd document something simple like how I created an alias to render the blog and then port it to my website. I'm writing it out in hopes that something will pop up and say "There is an easier way of doing it!"

The first thing I do for most posts is I open up Byword to write the words that you are seeing before you. If it's something a little more complicated, I might start off in MindNode1 and export to Markdown.

I use a TextExpander snippet to set the header and then just start writing and save the file in dropbox.

The popup window for the TextExpander header for my website.
The popup window for the TextExpander header for my website.

The part that I feel needs improvement is finishing the draft. I have a virtual environment set up for pelican that has all the templates and plugins that I've been tweaking to make the site look and behave in the way that I want. This means that any extra syntax or themes don't show up unless I process the markdown2.

To solve this, I've set up a hazel rule3 to copy over all the files.

Hazel rule to clone over all the posts and images for the blog
Hazel rule to clone over all the posts and images for the blog

After that, I can run a local server to see what the post looks like after being processed.

An iTerm window with the commands that I use to run the development server
An iTerm window with the commands that I use to run the development server

Which leads us to the thing that I created. An alias in my environment to rsync the finished website and push it to github to host.

alias pub="pelican; rsync -r /Users/mandaris/Projects/quotidian/output/* ~/Projects/"

Well, that was a longer explanation that I was thinking it would be.

  1. I do have iThoughts as well, but MindNode is better looking. 

  2. Although, I do use to look at the post as I'm writing it. I haven't commited myself to making the my theme and processors work in the appplication. 

  3. To be honest, this hasn't been working like I want it to. I have to manually run the rule. I'll make it a OmniFocus project to get the rules to work properly. I tried using rsync, but got some weird errors when I attempted to put the configuration into github. 

I think this is it. This is what the Apple App Store should look and feel like going forward. It's easy to install with all the possible apps just living in a folder until you double click to install.

The Setapp menue looks like a regular folder of application. They are really just small applications that show a preview of what the app is.
The Setapp menue looks like a regular folder of application. They are really just small applications that show a preview of what the app is.

Honestly, I don't know how to put it into words because it was so, so simple and it had all the little applications that I wanted but couldn't bring myself to buy because of the price1.

A preview of the TaskPaper app in Setapp
A preview of the TaskPaper app in Setapp

The super sad part about this is that I've taken on a new job where I have to use Windows all day. When I get home, it's family time. Coupled with that is this would be another subscription that I have to keep track of.

For the developers, I hope this works out that they get the money they deserve from all of those people who are sitting on the side lines.

  1. How am I going to tell my wife that I spent $45 on a text editor when I've got to worry about rent almost every month. 

I'm lucky enough to have an imac. Unfortantely, I've been having some trouble keeping space free on the machine. So, I took some time to check it how much disk space that I had left when I saw this!

Disk Utility in macOS Sierra showing only disk usage, purgable data and free space.
Disk Utility in macOS Sierra showing only disk usage, purgable data and free space.

Yes, it does show me that I have some free space, but it doesn't give me anything related to how much of that data I could get rid of or revaluate. One my laptop, I'm still running El Capitan and it gives me a really nice overview1.

Disk Utility in macOS El Capitan showing disk usage of apps, photos, audio, movies and more as well as free space.
Disk Utility in macOS El Capitan showing disk usage of apps, photos, audio, movies and more as well as free space.

I guess this is connected to Apple's new push to have people store their information in the crowd; maybe illustrated how much purgable spaces was in each individual category would have been too complicated.

Still, I miss the old view...

  1. Earlier versions of the OS had better control of what you could do with the disks and partitions. 

Recently, I posted about my thoughts on Text Expander after they announced that they were going to be moving to a subscription. And I got some feedback regarding what I wrote. I've pasted it below because I honestly don't get any feed back regarding any of my writingMost likely because I do not have comments on the site.

  1. I completely agree that they have kind of boxed themselves out of the "casual user" market and are now more focused on "power users" or those that are using this tool on multiple devices (like me)
  2. I think your point is very well written, but would love to see more information about the alternative (AutoHotKey) that you have selected.
  3. Perhaps it would be helpful to mention a couple of things (If any) that could make textexpander that tool for you again.

Great job though. You can definitely tell that you care about the company.

It's just they don't fit in your system anymore (which happens)

I like feedback. At this point, good or bad I'm happy with the fact that someone else is reading and it gives me some motivation to make the writing better. In this case, I'd like to further expand on the last two points in the reverse order.

3. How to make the tool more helpful for me

This is actually a something that needs to happen on my endTo be fair, the application tries its best to help me be as productive as possible.. The people at smile give you a number of examples that you can use right away to save you time.

When I was making this post, I added one more. If anything knowing that I might have to give the application up has sparked new interest in using it. Plus all the the writing that I've been doing.

The application does help in one major way everyday (when I do use it). Most mornings, I do use it to create my grateful journal template1. Here is a brief example of the template that I use:

# Things I'm Grateful for #

# Things I'm Excited about #

# One Thing I'd like to focus on #

By default, the application will monitor what you type and suggest even more snippets that you can add to your collection.

I was kind of shocked by some of the things that I write multiple times and it has the possibility of helping me change some habits.

Maybe, I shouldn't have freaked out when I saw this feature pop up and you can always change the way it works in the preference because it could have been helpful. But it seemed creepy and annoying.

Part of me was getting annoyed with all the notifications on what I could use as a snippet.

If you're feeling adventurous you can even go to the website of one of my heroes Brett Terpstra and check out his page of text expander tools.

Despite all this, I still find that I wasn't using it to the fullestThis was my last usage stat. Take it with a *HUGE* grain of salt because I only have it on my laptop and I do frequent re-installs
This was my last usage stat. Take it with a HUGE grain of salt because I only have it on my laptop and I do frequent re-installs
. Ultimately, we all have to balance what we want versus what we need the money to go to.

2. AutoHotKey

On this topic, I don't have much to say because I no longer have a windows machine to use on a day to day basis. The great thing about this tool was that I was using it to now only fire off extensions but to launch applications and replicate user interactions for testing.

I would often use a keyboard short cut to launch the vnc client because the laptop that was given to employees to use might not be that powerful or we wanted to run a test on another machine that had a faster connection.

For user interactions, I created a script that would type in the keyboard shortcut that would make windows rotate the screen or do a series of mouse clicks to reproduce... something...

1. Updated...

While I was writing this, Smile reduced the price to $20 a year for the software. Which changes the deal significantly. Now I have to think about what the software is going to do for me going forward. Is this going to save me time in the future? Will I save more time than the time that I used writing about it here?

I don't know.

  1. It's an exercise that I do in the morning when I feel a little overwhelmed with life. I'm making it a habit and automating the prompt helps. Although, I do use Keyboard Meastro to do something similar. 

TextExpander is a tool that I forget that I have. Actually, TextExpander is a tool that I forget to use. In the last couple of years, I've moved to a workflow that really isn't working for me day to day. I have a laptop, an imac, a couple ipads and all the work computers1 that have been supplied for me to use in the last couple of years.

Recently, the people at Smile software have switch the software to be a subscription model. On one hand, I understand that some companies need to do this to keep their businesses afloat; the monthly revenue is better to budget against versus someone purchasing the software every major release (maybe). On the other hand, this means that as a user I don't "own" the software; I'm leasingIt seems to be the trend nowadays that people pay a fee to use things from homes(rent), cars and music. I do not have a problem with it, but it seems like a lot of money is going to things that we will not be able to get some equity back from. it.

Honestly, I can see why they would do something like that. The company specializes in tools like this and pdfpen and I like the fact that they sponsor a lot of podcasts that I listen to. I wish them well.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be joining them on this experiment. I'm not a power user of the software. Because of the way that I've been living my technical life, I haven't seen myself repeating a lot of text. You can probably see the result of this in the fact that I don't post that often. The header for this posting is stored as a text expander snippet but I find myself having to look it up in order to use it.

I wish them luck and I'm happy to use my current version until it stops working.

  1. On windows, I've switched to using AutoHotKey because I can use text expansion as well as actions such as prepping an email to my wife so I can send her a message telling her that I love her. 

I'm just writing this to make it place the file in the write spot.

Simple Picture of me
Simple Picture of me

I hope that this works properly.

Honestly, a lot of people that I respect are talking about it. I think I'm going to have to step through the tutorial again. But honestly, I'd like to think about what I want to do with it.

I already have a couple text editors but I love messing around with the tools more than doing the job sometimes.

The only reason that I don't use sublime text is because of the price. The "free" demo allows you to use it as long as you want but you see a pop up reminding you that it hasn't been purchased yet. I'm not at a point where I can justify the price and being someone who works in the industry, I want to encourage people to pay for software.

I've talked to some other people and it seems like they are proud of the being able to mentally blockout the popup and dismiss it without missing a beat.

To me, that just seems wrong on so many levels.

I'm pretty excited about the latest changes in MultiMarkdown Composer!

It's going to have some things like:

some perl code


x^2 or x^2^

as well as

y~z or y~z~

It looks like it is showing the changes now.

I do not like the new open dialog for Mac OSX. I think that it is one of the most annoying changes to the UX in a very long time. Every time I want to just create a simple note, it slows me down with the question about where the heck I want to save the file.

Sometimes I just don’t care and want to write something down.