iOS Geekery

iPadOS 15 Initial Impressions

I watched yesterday’s WWDC 2021 Keynote while spinning the 44 lb flywheel on my spin bike, so I was not 100% focused on Federighi and company. I also made the mistake of having my Apple Event Twitter list and the Six Colors slack open on my iPad on the bike’s tablet holder, which further diluted my attention and just made me grumpy at people whining about their favorite hobby horses. I get grumpy at online interactions when I’m working out (or just working), which is why I usually try to avoid them. But hey, WWDC!

Anyway, my low expectations for Apple to deliver on my hopes for iPadOS combined with my body’s preoccupation with exercise meant that I didn’t do a lot of serious reflecting on what Apple showed for iPadOS 15 while watching it. I just reacted, with great joy. …

(Read More)

The System of Writing

Sometimes when I take huge breaks from writing anything here, it’s just because life has gotten in the way and my lack of writing discipline equals an inability to overcome it and put in the work anyway. But sometimes it’s because I’m overhauling my entire writing workflow. That is in fact the reason I’ve been AWOL for the past couple of months. Prior to that, it was just personal failure.

I may not be the most prodigious writer, but I still love to have a system that works and that I can tune to my heart’s content. I generally do most of my writing on my iPad Pro which informs my choices in terms of editors and automation tools for publishing. My websites are static sites, compiled with Hugo static site generator. In addition, GitHub is an important part of the equation, as pushing an update to the main branch of any of my site repositories results in the web server pulling and compiling the updated repo. …

(Read More)

File Name Parsing With Regular Expressions

I haven’t talked more about regular expressions like I promised I would, but I’ll partially rectify that today by writing about a regular expression I created last night for my Blog Post Publish shortcut. This one applies specifically to how I name my blog post files for WTF Weekly.

Since WTF Weekly post titles are just dated blurbs like WTF Weekly for Oct 12th, 2020, I decided to name the post markdown files as consecutive numbers, starting at 1. I also make the post slug match this number so that the URLs are very simple, such as https://wtfweekly.me/41/ in the case of the one for Oct 12th, 2020.

Originally when I wrote my Blog Post Publish shortcut, I was entering slugs and file names manually as user input. This was partly because I do this already for this site, because instead of numbering posts, I give the files and slugs names related to the topic. The …

(Read More)

AQI Tracking Over Time with Shortcuts, Data Jar, and Charty

I live in an area that was recently the most polluted city in the world, thanks to fires on all sides of us. Although I have the ability to glance at the AQI (Air Quality Index) widget on my Apple Watch and see the AQI instantly at any time, I also wanted to track AQI over time. To do so, I created a shortcut that uses Data Jar to store samples into periodically throughout the day, and to use the last 45 samples to generate a chart using Charty for Shortcuts actions which can then be displayed in an iOS widget stack using a Charty Widget.

The shortcut itself is quite simple. It gets the weather for the current location, and from that, the current AQI value. It then stores that value in Data Jar in a table called AQI with the current date and time (down to the second) as the key. …

(Read More)

RSS to Text in Shortcuts

Sometimes Shortcuts makes me scratch my head in bewilderment at how convoluted dealing with different data types can be. If you ever pull in an RSS feed to parse, you’ll know what I mean.

I’m writing a shortcut for Ronnie Lutes to easily publish episodes of The Liner Project. Why he needs a shortcut to do this is another topic, but primarily it’s because we’re hosting his site in a static site generated by Hugo. In order for him to get an episode added, uploaded, and scheduled for publication without having to deal with an annoying checklist of tasks that all have to be done in exactly the right way each time, an automation is perfect.

In order to present as few information-gathering dialogs and text boxes to Ronnie as possible, the shortcut tries to figure out everything it needs to about the episode being published, including things like season and episode number. A lot …

(Read More)