Author Archives: smittytone

About smittytone

Tech Author and Writer

How to fix ‘xcodebuild’ macOS Terminal slowdowns

For a while, running commands and scripts in macOS’ Terminal has felt slower than it should, especially when opening Terminal for the first time. Clearly my .zshrc file was being run, but there was a very noticeable pause between the completion of the script and before the prompt appeared. The gap was much less on my M1 Mac than my Intel machine, but still noticeable. Got the same problem? Here’s how to fix it.

macOS Terminal
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Looking for YAML macOS QuickLook file previews? With PreviewYaml 1.0.0, you got ’em!

Last week I announced the release of a new version of PreviewMarkdown that will preview YAML front matter in Markdown files. Work on that release prompted me to code a new app that enables QuickLook previews and Finder icon thumbnails of YAML files.

QuickLook previews and icon thumbnails of YAML files can now be yours
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Now available: PreviewMarkdown 1.3.0 with YAML support

Version 1.3.0 of PreviewMarkdown has just been released. Its key new feature: you now have the option to view YAML front matter in Markdown file previews. This is really handy if, like me, you use a static site generator and use YAML to record content metadata at the top of your Markdown page files.

With PreviewMarkdown 1.3.0, you can now preview files’ YAML content too
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Take advantage of Xcode’s hidden diagnostics to debug multi-threaded application code

PreviewMarkdown’s Thumbnailer component, an App Extension which generates Finder icon thumbnail previews of Markdown documents, recently started showing some odd behaviour. Tracking down the cause provided some interesting insights into writing macOS software for a multi-threaded environment.

Thumbnailer-rendered thumbnails
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Introducing C++ programming on the Raspberry Pi Pico

When I started programming the Raspberry Pi Pico, I used the C language because I’ve worked with it before. The Pico’s SDK also supports C++, but I’ve never used C++. When I started Mac programming in the early 1990s, C was the clear choice. By the time I needed to do object-oriented programming, Apple had bought NeXT and the way to do OOP on macOS was Objective-C not C++. The Pico has given me chance to join the party.

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How to use zmv — Z Shell’s super-smart file renamer

I’d like to introduce you — if you’re not already acquainted — to the Z Shell’s incredibly handy function zmv. If you ever need to change at the command line the names of a batch of files consistently, it’s the tool you’ll want to turn to first. It’s not well known, and having been given the nod by a colleague, I thought I’d explore and pass on some notes about taking advantage of it.

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Phantom Slayer’s spooks get a shot of smarts

Phantom Slayer, the 1982 computer game I’ve restored on the Raspberry Pi Pico, has been updated to version 1.0.1 to give the titular spectres some extra smarts as they navigate the game maze in pursuit of the player.

Phantom Slayer's (slightly) smarter spooks
The Phantoms: certainly smarter — also more scary?
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Enjoy some old school 3D arcade action — courtesy of the Raspberry Pi Pico

In the mid-1980s, I loved Phantom Slayer. Written for the Tandy Color Computer and made available for the Dragon 32, Phantom Slayer was a 3D maze shooter. Think a very basic version of Doom with colours but no textures. It wasn’t sophisticated, but it was quick and, more to the point, incredibly atmospheric.

The Pi Pico version of Phantom Slayer
Do you have what it takes to face down the Phantoms?
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