Red Sweater Blog http://www.red-sweater.com/blog Mac & Technology Writings by Daniel Jalkut Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:49:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Black Ink 1.6.2: Fix New York Times Login http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/3003/black-ink-1-6-2-fix-new-york-times-login http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/3003/black-ink-1-6-2-fix-new-york-times-login#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:49:32 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3003 Black Ink 1.6.2 is now available from the Black Ink home page, and will soon be submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

Starting with version 1.6.1, Black Ink supports the ability to download premium puzzles from the New York Times, prompting for your username and password as needed.

The main purpose of 1.6.2 is to fix a problem that cropped up due to a change in the New York Times’s web page, making it so Black Ink did not detect the need to authenticate and thus could get stuck unable to download premium puzzles.

This update also makes a minor refinement to the drawing of clue numbers within puzzle squares.

Black Ink 1.6.2

  • Fix an issue that prevented NY Times Premium login request from appearing
  • Fine-tune drawing of clue numbers so they aren’t so close to the left edge of squares

Please let me know if you run into any problems with the update.

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Yosemite’s Automation Improvements http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/3000/yosemites-automation-improvements http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/3000/yosemites-automation-improvements#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:59:20 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3000 Ray Robertson of Automated Workflows offers a good rundown of the automation changes Apple provides in OS X Yosemite and their iWork suite of apps. When you look at the mass of changes, including enhancements to AppleScript, Automator, and the addition of an all new JavaScript dialect for application scripting, it reads like a pretty huge update to the state of automation. So much for AppleScript being “dead” to Apple, huh?

One of the interesting new features in AppleScript is support for scripts exposing their own “progress” as they run. This facilitates the system displaying e.g. a busy indicator, or even a progress bar that fills up as the script moves along the steps of its work. Unfortunately the progress feature of AppleScript has not been exposed to 3rd party developers, so far as I can tell. So an app like FastScripts, or any other app that runs scripts on its own, cannot yet take advantage of showing users the fancy progress feedback.

I’m especially impressed and intrigued by the changes Apple has made to iWork to better facilitate scripting. When they launched the major updates to the suite last year, they gutted AppleScript support in the apps. They’ve been gradually adding stuff back, and the latest updates make another big leap. As described by the Automated Workflows post, they’ve gone so far as to provide custom UI in the app for labeling fields with scriptable terms. I look forward to seeing what I can do now with some automated Pages workflows that I’ve been holding back to the previous generation of the app.

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FastScripts 2.6.8: Fix Folder Aliases http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2997/fastscripts-2-6-8-fix-folder-aliases http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2997/fastscripts-2-6-8-fix-folder-aliases#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:45:39 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2997 FastScripts 2.6.8 is available now from the FastScripts home page, and will soon be submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

For years FastScripts has supported the ability to follow Mac OS X aliases, so you can drop an alias to a script, or an alias to a folder of scripts, and it “just works.” For example, some folks found this to be a handy way of keeping a bunch of scripts on Dropbox that would be accessible from whatever computer they use FastScripts from.

At some point along the line, this functionality started breaking in subtle ways that I didn’t track down until now. The long and short of it is Apple has moved away from “alias files” in recent years, and now favors a format they call “bookmarks.” To users, the files behave the same way, and Apple continues to call them “aliases” e.g. in the Finder when it offers to make an alias to a file. However, the older system service for “resolving an alias file” does not work on bookmarks. Thus, existing aliases in your FastScripts tree may have worked, but new aliases created recently would actually be “bookmarks” and thus not work.

The problem was compounded at some point, maybe as recently as OS X Yosemite, when Apple started aggressively converting old alias files into bookmarks. So even if you had an old, functional alias to a folder in your script tree, it may have recently stopped working in FastScripts because Apple converted it … helpfully … to a bookmark.

FastScripts 2.6.8 solves this problem once and for all by using newer system services that resolve both alias files and bookmarks. You should now be able to make an alias to a folder or script, drop it into your Scripts folder, and have it show up as expected.

This update also addresses a cosmetic issue with 2.6.7, where my efforts to update the FastScripts icon for Yosemite’s “dark mode” caused it to appear inadvertently too light when running in standard mode.

FastScripts 2.6.8

  • Fix a bug from 2.6.7 that caused the menu bar icon to draw too lightly in OS X Yosemite
  • Restore proper functionality of aliases to folders within the script hierarchy
  • Fix a typo in the first-launch welcome message

Let me know if you run into any issues!

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Yosemite’s Speakable Scripts http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2993/yosemites-speakable-scripts http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2993/yosemites-speakable-scripts#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:15:14 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2993 One of the cool new features in OS X Yosemite is a major expansion of the system’s dictation features. Not only has the dictation become more accurate and reliable (probably by leveraging the work that goes into Siri on iOS), but there are new integration points that facilitate really interesting workflows.

I developed FastScripts many years ago expressly because at the time I found it tedious to have to open a script in Script Editor, and run it. For quick-fix type scripts, it was easier to just do the thing than jump through the hoops of running it!

Over the years, Apple has improved the built-in mechanisms for running scripts, by adding their own standard script menu, and slowly increasing the ways in which scripts can be invoked through various built-in actions. Still, when it comes to organizing and invoking scripts by keyboard shortcut, I am convinced FastScripts is best.

But a nuanced feature of Yosemite’s Dictation feature actually leapfrogs FastScripts in one interesting area: it’s now possible to configure app-specific speaking commands that run arbitrary scripts.

I learned about this feature via Macworld’s Christopher Breen, who writes extensively about the new speech commands and how they can be used to create custom Automator workflows.

At first I griped that the commands could not be configured to run scripts, because that is what any reasonable person would infer from the selection of choices:

SpeakableCommand

Granted, these are all fine choices and you can perform some pretty interesting tasks by configuring a specific spoken phrase to open a file, paste a specific text phrase, or simulate a keyboard shortcut. But why can’t I run a script?

Going out on a limb I chose “Run Workflow…” and navigated in the file chooser to my scripts folder. Lo and behold, you can run a script, you just choose one instead of a workflow and speakable commands will handle it with aplomb.

Whether or not you use FastScripts to accelerate script execution with keyboard shortcuts, I think you might find some uses for speakable scripts. Enjoy!

Update Oct 17, 3:17PM EDT: Well, my excitement may have been a little premature. It seems the scripts are run not as the streamlined items that they are but are instead sort of wrapped in an automator action and run. It’s nice that you don’t have to go out of your way to translate a script into an Automator Workflow, but unfortunately this means that “Speakable Scripts” do put up the little Automator gear icon in the menu bar, and are probably ultimately slowed down at least a bit by being run as a full-on workflow.

Update Oct 19, 5:50PM EDT: Wait a minute, maybe it is running them as native scripts. There’s just a change on OS X Yosemite with how the system runs scripts, such that they always show an Automator-style progress indicator in the menu bar. I find this pretty irksome as a default behavior because for example short-lived scripts don’t need progress to be indicated at all. I’ve also noticed that the system automation progress indicator is liable to pop up at semi-random location in the menu bar, and then leave a gap when it goes away.

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OS X Yosemite http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2989/os-x-yosemite http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2989/os-x-yosemite#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:00:40 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2989 OS X Yosemite is now available, and if you rely upon any Red Sweater apps, you’ll be happy to know that we are good shape with compatibility. I’ve been running the beta releases for a few months and fixing little things here and there as I run into them. For the most part, Apple made this an easy transition for me, and I hope it will be an easy transition for all of you as well!

There are only two issues, both with MarsEdit, that I would point as possibly needing fixing, but they shouldn’t impede your normal use of the app:

  • The script menu icon doesn’t draw right in “dark mode.” If you flip the switch in System Preferences to favor a dark menu bar with white text, you will find that in MarsEdit the Script menu icon continues to draw darkly. This is rooted in a problem that Apple apparently plans to fix in a future update.
  • The “vibrant” translucency currently applies to the categories table in the post editor’s options side bar. I’m not sure it’s appropriate for this to happen, and it seems distracting to me. I plan to arrange for this content to always draw opaquely in a future update to MarsEdit. In the mean time, if the translucency bothers you in MarsEdit or in other apps, you can turn it off across all apps by selecting the option under System Preferences > Accessibility > Display to “Reduce transparency.”

Hopefully those little quirks are the extent of issues with Yosemite. Please do let me know if you run into anything else.

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FastScripts 2.6.7: Yosemite Ready http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2984/fastscripts-2-6-6-yosemite-ready http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2984/fastscripts-2-6-6-yosemite-ready#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 22:00:23 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2984 FastScripts 2.6.6 2.6.7 is available now from the FastScripts home page, and will soon be submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

This is a relatively minor update but addresses a few annoying bugs, while also bring it into line for the upcoming 10.10 Yosemite release from Apple.

  • Fix display of menu bar icon in “dark mode” on Yosemite 10.10
  • Ensure that user environment variables are set-up when running shell scripts
  • Fix appearance of keyboard shortcuts when running with non-Roman keyboard layouts

If you got 2.6.6 while it was active, the only difference with 2.6.7 is that it fixes an issue from 2.6.6 that caused the menu bar icon to appear in a light gray color by default on 10.9 and earlier systems.

Enjoy!

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MarsEdit 3.6.5: Fix Flickr http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2972/marsedit-3-6-5-fix-flickr http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2972/marsedit-3-6-5-fix-flickr#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:24:13 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2972 MarsEdit 3.6.5 is available now from the MarsEdit home page, and has been submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

This releases restores functionality of MarsEdit’s Flickr integration, which broke last week when Flickr flipped the switch to require that all clients access their services with more secure HTTPS-based requests.

I want to be clear that the cessation of functionality was firmly my fault. Flickr did an admirable job of giving developers ample warning about the impending change, and even staged a couple of preliminary test outages before the final switch-over. What happened in this case is I made changes for MarsEdit 3.6.4 which I thought addressed the situation in entirety, but did not. I should have done more aggressive testing to ensure a smooth transition.

MarsEdit 3.6.5 includes the remaining Flickr fixes that should have gone into 3.6.4, as well as a couple other minor fixes:

  • Restore functionality for Flickr after recent API changes
  • Fix a crash that could occur on some systems while trying to locate the Growl framework
  • Fix a bug where blank document windows were sometimes opened upon launching

Enjoy!

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Red Sweater T-Shirt http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2965/red-sweater-t-shirt http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2965/red-sweater-t-shirt#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:05:19 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2965 I’m incredibly excited to announce that Red Sweater now has an official shirt, designed and illustrated by the brilliant Susie Ghahremani:

Red Sweater T-Shirt

As I write this, Apple is putting on WWDC, their developer’s conference in San Francisco. This has become a huge, annual tradition that attracts many thousands of brilliant people to a city that is already teeming with many brilliant natives. I try to make the journey every year, in part because it’s a fun time to socialize with old friends, but also because it’s an unparalleled opportunity to meet new people who inevitably change the course of Red Sweater’s progress for the better.

I can recall the occasion many years ago when I met the guys from Buy Olympia, Pat and Aaron, who impressed me with their story of running a full-fledged online store dedicated to highlighting artists’ work, while also developing an impressive array of Mac software for mailing and shipping. It must have been five or more years ago that I met them and they graciously offered to sell a shirt for Red Sweater if I ever wanted to do so.

I can also recall the first occasion I had to appreciate Susie Ghahremani’s art, which was unrelated to WWDC but also took place in San Francisco. It must have been around 2002 when I came across a delightful shirt in a shop called Otsu. I wore that shirt proudly and only realized years later that I could track down the designer and buy many of her other shirts as well. If you’ve ever met me in person, or seen a photograph of me, there’s a good chance I was wearing one of Susie’s shirts.

As luck would have it, I got to know Susie over the years through Twitter and because of a number of mutual friends. And as it turns out, Susie was also friends with the guys from Buy Olympia! We’re all friends! Isn’t that friendly?

So that catches us up to two years ago or so when Susie and I agreed we should collaborate on a Red Sweater t-shirt. I immediately told my wife something along the lines of “SUSIE GHAHREMANI IS MAKING A RED SWEATER SHIRT!” and then, as I do more often than I’d wish, I dropped the ball repeatedly on doing my part to make the dream come true. I chatted with Susie occasionally about how we should finally be making the shirt, but neglected to go the extra mile of talking to her about what the shirt should be and how she could proceed.

A couple months ago, Susie nudged me again about the project and I finally made the case for what I was looking for: a shirt that people would love and want to wear even if they didn’t know what “Red Sweater Software” was. I am so excited by the result: that cute bear with it’s cozy red sweater is exactly the kind of shirt I would have bought and wore proudly had I come across it in 2002. Now it’s exactly the kind of shirt I can wear proudly with the knowledge that, for those in the know, it’s also subtle branding for my Mac (and iOS!) software company. I hope that many of you who are fans of my work or Susie’s will also enjoy wearing the shirt!

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Black Ink 1.6.1: Premium Puzzles http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2961/black-ink-1-6-1-premium-puzzles http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2961/black-ink-1-6-1-premium-puzzles#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 19:31:13 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2961 Black Ink 1.6.1 is now available for download from the Black Ink home page and from the Mac App Store. This is a free update.

The big change in this release is addition of built-in support for downloading from two authenticated “premium” puzzle sources: The New York Times and the American Values Crossword. Black Ink does not offer subscription sales to these services, but for users who do have a subscription, Black Ink now supports entering your username and password to authorize automatic downloading of the source’s latest puzzle.

For a long time now many users have enjoyed direct downloads of the New York Times premium puzzle because of the happy coincidence that Black Ink and Safari could share the same web browser “cookies.” This meant that if you had logged in to your premium New York Times account via Safari, downloads of those puzzles (after configuring a custom puzzle source) would work automatically. That functionality was broken with Black Ink 1.6 as an unexpected side effect of security sandboxing: Black Ink can no longer access Safari’s cookies. With this update cookie sharing is no longer required for this functionality.

Complete list of changes:

  • New support for premium puzzle downloads from New York Times and American Values Club
  • Fix a bug where the puzzle chooser would appear upon launch even when already opening a document
  • Fix a crash that could sometimes occur while closing a puzzle

I hope these changes make Black Ink even more enjoyable for you puzzle lovers out there.

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MarsEdit 3.6.4: Authentication & Bug Fixes http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2953/marsedit-3-6-4-authentication-bug-fixes http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2953/marsedit-3-6-4-authentication-bug-fixes#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 18:13:23 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2953 MarsEdit 3.6.4 is available now from the MarsEdit home page, and has been submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

This release catches MarsEdit up with some recent security-related changes at both Tumblr and Flickr, as well as fixing a number of minor glitches and UI defects.

Tumblr users who have chosen to take advantage of the recently announced two-factor authentication support will want to update to this release to get authentication from MarsEdit working properly again. To connect from MarsEdit, just connect to your Tumblr settings page and click the option to “Generate mobile password.” Yes, this terminology is not the most accurate Tumblr could have possibly used. (Update May 2, 2014: Tumblr now calls them “app passwords” and alludes to other apps. Great improvement.)

TumblrMobilePass

Here is the complete list of changes for MarsEdit 3.6.4:

  • Fix a problem with Tumblr 2-factor “mobile” passwords
  • Update Flickr authentication to support new HTTPS API requirements
  • Fix to support relative URLs in the rich editor, loaded relative to the home page URL
  • Fix to prevent blank display of embedded YouTube videos lacking a URL scheme (http or https)
  • Fix to prevent preview window from reloading completely when a post’s title is edited
  • Fix a Voiceover issue that prevented contextual menus from appearing in the blogs and posts lists
  • Fix some cosmetic issues in the blog settings panel UI
  • Fix an issue where the main window showed up in an awkard position on first launch
  • Fix bugs that caused documents to sometimes show changes when there hadn’t been any

Enjoy!

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