On Dropping Thunderbolt

The story about a rumored MacBook Air with a single port has generated a lot of discussion the past few weeks. My favorite discussion was over at Ars and is still ongoing. I’ll skip the discussion of the Air itself. While it seems like an odd design to me, I wouldn’t put it past Apple to do it. What’s more interesting to me is the discussion about whether Apple will abandon Thunderbolt on its devices. To see if this works we have to look at what USB-C offers. Anandtech has a great writeup I’m largely following here. It’s worth reading to get into the nitty gritty.
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MBP Heat Issues

Sterling Hirsh of iFixit has a widely shared post on putting holes in a MacBookPro. As Egg Freckles pointed out, most logic board issues are GPU issues and most GPU issues are due to heat. All the MBPs I’ve had have had to have logic boards replaced due to GPU issues. My current MPB is rebooting spontaneously several times a day but is no longer under warranty. The cost to replace the logic board (~$500+) just isn’t worth it given the age of the computer (5 years). I do think this is a constant problem with these devices though.

I’ve found much more happiness of late with an iMac combined with an iPad for travel. However that’s possible just because of my current workflows which are more conducive to using the iPad. I think iOS still is woefully ill suited for serious production. Some of that is Apple’s fault but a lot is the fault of developers who don’t optimize or frequently even test their apps with keyboards. It’s shocking how often one has to touch the screen to jump between fields, for instance.

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Android Auto vs. Apple Carplay

Interesting video comparing Google Android Auto vs. Apple Car Play. (HT: Gruber) Apple’s clearly going more for the “drive as undistracted as possible” mindset that makes most car controls so frustrating. The Android UI honestly seems a little more useful since it’s not so tied to Siri. I understand why they do that but I’d like the option to actually see messages, for instance. Kind of surprised Apple doesn’t at least let you see the album art for your music. 

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Date Scripts

Dr. Drang’s been posting a lot of scripts he uses the past while, including some date scripts. Since I’ve not figured a way to bring over all the posts from the old blog in an easy fashion, it might be worth revisiting my old date scripts. I use these a lot with Keyboard Maestro.

Nearly all my text expansions, whether with the default System expansions1 or ones in Keyboard Maestro start with a semi-colon. That way they don’t get confused with words I’d be typing normally.  

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  1. Under System Preferences → Keyboard → Text if you don’t know about them. The system ones are somewhat limited but work well and sync between iOS and OS X from what I can tell. I primarily use the system ones for pure text modification. I have a lot setup so I can type things like ;-> and get →.

Changing Formatting with Swift

Someone on Ars asked about Applescripting to highlight text in Mail. Now there actually are some easy ways to do this if you go into GUI scripting in Mail. However there are also some limits. I looked at the problem thinking I might just modify some old Python scripts. However I quickly realized nearly everything I was doing was Cocoa so I decided to do it in Swift instead.

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Easier Copy/Paste for Scripting

If you, like me, primarily script with Python dealing with the clipboard is a pain. You can either handle it manually with PyObjC or use the deprecated Appscript. Currently my scripts are about half and half. I just noticed there’s now a library, Rich Xerox, which will take care of this for you. Unfortunately it doesn’t do conversion between rtf and html for you. But you can just call textutil from the command line to do that. 

Solid iWorks Review

Really thorough iWork review up at Ars. It shows again why Ars remains one of the best tech sites on the web.

I’d add a few things. First to avoid font problems make sure you add the fonts you use on OS X to your iOS device using AnyFont. I use quite a few custom fonts in Keynote presentations and this lets me continue to use them. Likewise I have some Pages templates with custom fonts. While I don’t print often from iOS, it’s nice to have the option.

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Swift with Cocoa Applescript

Using Swift with ApplescriptObjC and Cocoa-AppleScript.

Seems like a nice tutorial although I’ve not tried it yet. (Quite busy) I’d tried to get this same thing working during the summer and never did. Maybe I’ll give it an other whirl. It’s pretty close to what I tried. Effectively you’re mixing the old way to mix Applescript and ObjC together and throwing a little Swift in the mix.

I think Swift would be a fantastic replacement for Applescript if there was a simple non-convoluted way to run scripts. Something on par with Python + Appscript. (What I used to use for all my scripting)

I should note that I’ve tried using Apple’s Javascript replacement for Applescript. However I do a lot of GUI scripting in most of my scripts and for some reason Javascript didn’t like some of those GUI objects. 

Multi-Item Edit

The more I use iTunes 12 the more I find equal parts annoyance and happiness. There are a lot of little UI fixes I wished they’d done years ago. Yet, continuing the process started by iTunes 11, heavy tagging by power users has become more difficult. In particular using the Get Info window to tag numerous files with the same tag no longer works. Fortunately Multi-Item Edit from Doug’s AppleScripts comes to the rescue. This gives you a window akin to the old school Get Info window to make batch changes in iTunes.

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iTunes 12

Tidbits has a good post on iTunes 12’s interface.

I don’t think it’s as bad as some. But let’s be honest. 11 was a huge step back from 10 — not the least of which was losing multiple windows. I like how they’ve cleaned it up compared with 11. That said I don’t understand why they changed some things and left long standing annoyances. If you’re going to change the Get Info window as much as they (and it looks fantastic) at least get rid of its modal behavior. There are several annoying bugs such as several of my TV shows not having artwork show up properly. I’m sure they’ll fix that quickly though. My biggest complaint is that several tagging apps like Identify stopped working with it.

Trying to figure it all out a post at a time