Category Archives: Mac

Crop picture files with confidence and pixel-precise offsets, using sips and imageprep

I recently had a rather large number of screenshots to process: specifically to crop them down to a small area about a third of screen width in and two-thirds of its height down. I could have done this manually, but it’s easy enough to make mis-crops when you’re cropping a couple of images by eye, let alone a 100 or so. The solution? Get your Mac to do it for you. Here’s how.

imageprep 6.30
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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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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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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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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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