Things I Have Written

Breaking the Shortcuts

iOS 14 beta is remarkably stable and performant, but running betas always carries a risk that a subsequent beta version will break something important to you. iOS 14 dev beta 2 (and public beta 1) broke some fundamental actions in Shortcuts – Split Text, Combine Text, and Change Case.

Because I have several shortcuts that do a lot of text parsing, not least of which are my blog post and podcast episode publishing shortcuts and helper shortcuts, I noticed this immediately. It didn’t take much troubleshooting and testing to realize that these three actions now return nothing regardless of input. They’re just completely broken.

The good news is (also thanks to changes made to Shortcuts for iOS 14) it’s very easy to create a folder for iOS 14 beta specific versions of your shortcuts, make copies to that folder, and then fix them. Folder …

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All the 14’s

I do a lot of work on my iPad and I don’t normally advocate diving into iOS betas in general anyway. And even though my iPhone isn’t as critical to me now as it was before I really got into modern iPads, I still need it to last through the day and generally be stable. So you might think I decided to avoid the iOS and iPadOS 14 betas like the plague.

Narrator: He did not avoid the iOS and iPadOS 14 betas like the plague.

The 14’s: iPadOS and iOS

The funny thing is that while Apple didn’t mention performance and stability at all during the WWDC 2020 keynote, iOS and iPadOS 14 are quite performant and very stable, remarkably so for any beta let alone the first beta. It’s about as far from last year’s iOS 13 beta experience as you …

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Inspect Browser

I’ve been doing a lot of website testing lately as Vic and I work together on a podcast theme for Hugo. Part of website testing involves using the element inspectors and developer tools available in most (all?) desktop browsers. Sadly (I thought) I couldn’t do this in the same way on iPadOS, which I spend a huge percentage of my time working in.

I was wrong.

Inspect Browser is one of those third-party iOS apps that proves that while Apple may not care much about enabling people to get real work done on their “Pro” devices, the people out there doing the work do care.

The developer of Inspect Browser claims on the website that their app provides desktop-class web development tools and features, and they are not kidding.

JavaScript console, HTML and CSS element inspectors, device previews for responsive design work, network inspector – it’s all there. …

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Enjoyable

It’s enjoyable, and it’s a podcast: Enjoyable Podcast.

Dad and I are all about the cultural experiences, be they readable, watchable, listenable, edible, linguistic(able?), and this podcast is us musing about those very things.

We kick it off with an assignment for you, a pandemic to-do list, if you will, but there’s more to come soon. Stay tuned and subscribe!

You greedy, greedy RegEx

Remember not too long ago I had to confess my regular expressions deficiencies to you, the dear reader, regarding an overly verbose regular expression I needlessly crafted, not realizing the greedy nature of the RegEx rendered part of it completely unnecessary?

It happened again.

This time it happened to me with a regular expression that I’ve used many times before. It has to do with my blog posting shortcut(s) and how I handle parsing markdown footnotes in iA Writer documents.

Here’s the regular expression I was using to find footnotes in my iA Writer texts:

\[\^(.+)]

My thinking when I wrote it is that it would find anything starting with [^, followed by one or more of any character, and ending in ]. Which it did, and it usually did it the way I expected it to. But then one day I typed the following paragraph: …

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Looping Back in FaceTime

If you’re a podcaster who records on a Mac, the odds that you’ve heard of and are using software from Rogue Amoeba as part of your recording process are pretty high.

Rogue Amoeba makes some of the greatest Mac apps ever invented. Vic and I are soundboard junkies, and Farrago is an absolutely amazing soundboard. Using Audio Hijack, we can record our mics, the soundboard, and the group call all on individual tracks. And with Loopback installed, the soundboard isn’t just local, it can be heard by everyone on the podcast by combining it with the microphone as the input source to the call.

Loopback is very cool. It allows you to set up virtual devices and use them as inputs or outputs to other programs. I have a Loopback device called “Shure Beta 87a & Farrago” that I use as my input to Skype and FaceTime calls, and that’s what lets me share my soundboard with my podcast co-hosts. …

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My iPad Upgrade

You may have observed that my frequency of writing here has slowed a bit, but I’m not dead yet. Vic and I are working on a website for Ronnie’s soon-to-debut podcast. In addition to that, I’ve spent some fairly non-productive time this past week playing with a major upgrade to my iPad life, namely a 2020 12.9” iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.

My 2020 12.9” iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

Coming from a 10.5” 2019 iPad Air, this iPad Pro seemed massive at first, and I really worried that I’d made a mistake. But now I know I didn’t. I do a lot of work on my iPad, and I love the screen real estate.

I also use my iPad as a tablet much of the time, if not most of the time, and while the 12.9” model is a little more unwieldy for that, it’s fine. …

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Hugo Theme Modification Practices

You’re probably familiar with the fact that Hugo has a wonderfully intricate and seemingly endless set of lookup order rules for figuring how to construct your website. This applies to layout files, themes, and all sorts of things in Hugo. Each type of resource has its own lookup order, and you could probably spend several years reading about it all if you wanted to.

However, it is fairly simple to understand some basic intended practices with regards to themes and theme modification in Hugo. The basic rule is, let the theme do its job unobstructed unless something actually needs to be overridden to be modified. Or, put another way, don’t just install a theme, copy the layout and style file folders into your Hugo files directory, and start chopping them up. This basically negates the entire purpose of having changeable themes in the themes directory. …

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