Author Archives: smittytone

About smittytone

Tech Author and Writer

How to share preferences between macOS/iOS apps

A couple of macOS releases or so ago, Apple introduced app extensions: self-contained modules that are bundled within apps to deliver functionality to the wider operating system. But how do apps and their extensions share information between themselves, in particular users’ preferences?

PreviewMarkdown’s new Preferences sheet
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How to migrate to native Homebrew on an M1 Mac

Let the great Homebrew migration begin. Yes, Homebrew now has native support for Apple’s ARM64-based M1 chip. The latest version, 3.0.0, released 5 February, will run nicely on your Apple Silicon Mac. There’s a catch, of course. Well, several catches: first, not all of the tools you can install using Homebrew are M1 native yet and, second, Homebrew doesn’t offer explicit migration instructions, that I could find at least.

Apple Silicon Mac, now with native Homebrew support
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How to debug a Raspberry Pi Pico with a Mac, SWD and… another Pico

When you’ve used Serial Wire Debug (SWD) to help you correct the C or C++ code running on your Raspberry Pi Pico, you’ll never want to go back to USB and the UF2 file system again. I don’t — no more messing about unplugging and re-plugging cables for me.

The Raspberry Pi Pico
The Raspberry Pi Pico is ready for Serial Wire Debugging
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How to program the Raspberry Pi Pico in C on a Mac

Last week I tried the Raspberry Pi Pico with MicroPython. The Raspberry Pi Foundation would be sufficiently commended for providing only this level of programming support. MicroPython leverages the Python skills of the many Raspberry Pi users out there and is accessible to plenty of others too. But the Foundation has also provided a C/C++ SDK, and this opens the Pico up to serious embedded-system developers too.

The Raspberry Pi Pico
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A first look at a MicroPython marvel: the Raspberry Pi Pico, in partnership with a Mac

On Thursday morning I awoke to the news that the Raspberry Pi people have entered the microcontroller board market with a new product, the Raspberry Pi Pico. Before I’d even got out of bed, I ordered a couple. Well, at £3.60 a pop, why not? I’ve now had a chance for a quick play, and here are my findings.

The Raspberry Pi Pico
“Yeah, I know it — it’s on Pico…”
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Oi, app makers, no! Enough Markdown monkey business!

PreviewMarkdown, my modern QuickLook plug-in for Markdown files, was recently updated to version 1.1.4. It was a minor change, which is why it wasn’t announced here, but the reason for the update may interest to anyone keen to understand the workings of macOS. It also highlights some inconsiderate behaviour on the part of some Mac software developers.

PreviewMarkdown, the markdown file viewer
PreviewMarkdown relies on known Markdown file UTIs
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Review: King’s Reach — comics chieftain John Sanders’ marvellous memoir of the Ministry of Magazines

Periodical publishing is not what it was. Gone are the days when week in, week out millions of adults and kids would buy magazines or comics and spend time reading them. We will not see their like. Now it’s all about screens, not paper, and grabbing digests of information fed from social media streams. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, just that, in the digital era, no one will ever feel the almost physical thrill of taking possession of the latest issue of a favourite title — or be eager to understand what makes the minds behind it tick.

John Sanders' memoir, King's Reach
Send him to the Tower…
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Just released: imageprep 6.2.0 with powerful new features

imageprep, my command line tool for batch-processing picture files, had a big update a week or so back — and now it has another one. With the second update imminent, I didn’t announce the first, 6.1.0, which I released to coincide with my post on writing command line utilities in Swift. That done, it’s time to shout about imageprep 6.2.0.

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How To Write macOS Command Line Tools with Swift

I’ve spent a lot of time of late working on several macOS command line tools written in Swift. So I’ve gathered together the key points I’ve learned while creating and updating pdfmaker and imageprep: some best practices and ways to deliver many of the features common to programs the run at the command line.

imageprep running in Terminal
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Released: MNU and other updates

I’ve just posted updates to a couple of applications. Both can be grabbed from my website or installed using Homebrew.

MNU 1.4.6 provides quick and easy access to your frequently accessed command-line tools
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