Leaf Update

LeafJust a quick update1 with how my Nissan Leaf has been going. It’s been about two months now and I’m extremely happy with it. I definitely miss driving off road with my Pathfinder. Lacking 4WD with good ground clearance made taking my daughter camping a bit more logistically challenging. However not needing to worry about gas has been a definite plus. Especially as gas heads up near $4/gallon in price.

Last week I put the Leaf to the big test of long distance driving. The Leaf, unlike most cars, is optimized for city driving not freeway driving. I had to head to Salt Lake City for business, about a 90 mile round trip and was curious if the Leaf could make it. On the drive up I was very cautious, primarily driving regular roads. About half way there I was running late and got onto the freeway. It was also well into the 90’s so I had the air conditioner running. A notable power drain. While most traffic was going 80mph on the freeway I kept the car between 65 and 70 and stayed in the slow lane.2 The car definitely drained charge significantly faster as I inched above the 65mph point. Fortunately my stop was only a few blocks away from a Nissan dealer where I could use their high speed Level 3 charger.

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Limits of iOS8 Keyboards

One of the things many people were excited about with iOS was 3rd party keyboards. While I think this will lead to more innovation the fact is the iOS8 keyboard is pretty fantastic on its own. Far better than any of the the 3rd party keyboards I’ve played with on Android.

I have to confess that one of the few reasons I still jailbreak is for SwipeSelection, a nice little addition that gives you cursor control via swiping. At WWDC I was really excited that this feature could be part of an unjailbroke system. There’s a bit of sad news though. I Love Swift had a good post on writing a keyboard that had a nice summary of the limits of third party keyboards.

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Using Swift as a Scripting Language

I’d mentioned in passing in one of my Swift posts about using it as a scripting language. Someone on Twitter asked me if I’d convert from using Python to Swift for my scripts. It’s an excellent question that I really can’t answer fully at this stage. The language is still very beta. Most of the bugs I’ve submitted appeared to have been fixed but I’m somewhat loath to get too far into Swift until it gets a little more mature. Say at least beta 3 or 4. However here’s my thinking although this is somewhat preliminary. I’ve just not tried to use Swift as a practical scripting language.

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The Aperture Kerfuffle

So Apple released news today that Aperture is no more.1 You’d think they’d have learned after the Final Cut Pro mess and the iWork mess how to make these announcements. John Gordon captures well what they should have done. I think users understand that Lightroom kicked Aperture’s butt and that sales were decreasing. I think they understand that sales have dropped to near nothing with nearly all pros having already left. What they can’t accept is Apple trying to hide the news by announcing it via Jim Dalrymple’s blog with nothing prepared. Again, you’d think they’d have learned by now.

All they had to do was have Tim Cook come out, announce that because of low sales they aren’t going to be major new releases but that Apple would continue maintenance releases. Further they announce this as they have a new version with the export features so people can move to Lightroom. Trying to get metadata not to mention projects and smart albums into Lightroom is a nightmare according to those who’ve tried. The issue isn’t Apple killing a dying product.2 Rather the issue fundamentally is why people should trust Apple with their data when they’ve pulled this three times in a row.

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My Scripts

Over at the old blog many of my posts were focused around automation and especially scripting. My scripting language of choice was Python + Appscript. Appscript is no longer supported (although I keep using it) I have switched to using a few more Applescript scripts, but I really hate that language even though I love the idea of Apple Events. I find it sad that fewer and fewer applications really are support scripting via Apple Events. I’m hoping the announcement of Javascript for Applescripting will improve this. I know I’m not alone in disliking the Applescript language while loving a lot of the technology behind it.1

Most of my scripts haven’t been updated in a while, but I try and keep the main ones on GitHub for others to use. As I make significant updates I’ll update the GitHub versions. So if you are interested in my scripts, please check out that repository. Now that Swift is becoming a bit more mature I may try doing some scripts with it in the future.

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Make Your Own Drobo with Fusion


This originally was from the old blog. I’ve reposted it with a few minor changes by request. 

Make your own Drobo for cheap. Well, not exactly. But close. If you are like me your main disk drive is 3T or bigger now. You also probably have a bunch of 1T drives laying around. Some you can use for a particular manual backup of data. However you can’t really use them for automated backup because they are just all too small. Like me you may have looked at Drobos or Synology bays with lust, wishing you could take your old drives and make a backup system with them. Yet those drive bays are usually ridiculously expensive. Too much for Time Machine. 1

The alternative is to use Apple’s Fusion Drive technology. You won’t be creating an SSD/HD fusion.2 Rather you’ll be taken a bunch of drives and treating them as a single logical drive. To avoid things from getting too confused, I strongly suggest getting a multidisk bay. I used a ProBox USB3 4 bay enclosure for mine. If you don’t do that remember that if one drive goes down none of the drives will work right.3 In other words bad things happen if they aren’t all running. Trying to keep 4 disks straight when you may have several others is just asking for trouble.

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The Old Blog

I’ve received a few questions via Twitter and email about what happened to the old blog. Well it went like this. I had a few servers I was trying to reduce to a single server. Many of the uses of the old servers weren’t relevant anymore and it seemed silly to keep paying for co-location.1

Before doing anything I dutifully made backups of all my data including my various blogs that had collected from over the past 10 years or so.2 Unfortunately what I neglected to do was try to restore the blog on the new host before canceling the old servers. In context this made a lot of sense. Blogging is a hobby I do in spare moments. The servers were tied to various companies and getting those issues resolved was the real focus of the procedure. Blogging was just a low priority side note.

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Circus Ponies Notebook

Circus Ponies Notebook

One of my must have apps is Circus Ponies Notebook. For long form notes such as from a lecture or for taking notes on a book or paper nothing is better. I just found out they newly released version 4 for OSX. It’s only $19.95 for an upgrade for version 3 users or $49.95 if you are a new user. A version is also available on the Mac App Store for $59.99. It looks like the main limit on the MAS is that clipping features are not supported nor voice annotation due to sandboxing issues. So get the non-MAS version. Especially since even the MAS doesn’t support iCloud it seems. (Both the iOS and OSX version support Dropbox sharing though) 

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Trying to figure it all out a post at a time