Applescript is unrelenting garbage, an ongoing series

From the docs for the “Standard Suite” command make:

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 2.43.23 PM.png


As written this says that new is a required, optional keyword to the make command.

The intention/actual meaning is that the type class is a required argument to the make command, and use of the new keyword is optional.

Also, for what it’s worth, with data is required (in BBEdit anyway), which another part of the documentation says is optional.

vt100 development

With the exception of the web browser, every single piece of my job could be accomplished with a vt100.

I don’t want to go into too many details, but suffice it to say that we are running on a very specific platform, with extremely specific hardware and software requirements. Historically, developers were not provided with machines that could easily run lots of local VMs, preferring instead to build a server farm that resembled production and eventually parcelling out VMs to devs from that. There are also other reasons to eschew the “just run it all in Vagrant+Virtualbox” mode, involving database resources and other considerations.

I discuss (and overshare!) this here, if you’re curious. At the time – for the first year and change I have worked at $SALT_MINE, I’ve been strugging with this mode of remote mounts, sync, SFTP, etc.

In short, it sucks. I have managed to get a couple of Vim configs that work, and now I run basically 2 programs: iTerm 2 and a web browser.

All that hardware – we get nearly top-of-the-line Macbooks – is used to run 2 programs. I could do my job on a vt100, and I hate that.

As I’ve said elsewhere, this has almost always been the case, too! At $LASTJOB the core work required an actual goddamn computer, you couldn’t even use a VM (don’t ask, it was complicated). At the job before that, there was no reasonable way to run one of our products on anything but a real computer of a very specific make, model, and OS (although in fairness that involved licenses as much as bytes).

Every now and then I look at companies like JetBrains and wonder, who actually gets to use those tools? Who gets to do, I dunno, some sort of Java or .NET dev with a fancy IDE that pushes to the cloud, or something? Who gets to use fancy database admin tools? We have to hide our production DBs behind 100 layers of security (a very fancy logging proxy, among other things).

I have managed to get a working Linux config that does the same thing without any distractions: it’s just OpenBox and Terminator. There’s not much else. I’m missing a few nice tools – LaunchBar and TextExpander are the most strongly felt, but I’m sure there’s replacements.

I’m still using a glorified vt100 to this day. I hate it. Is this all there is?

I wish I could quit you

I constantly try to quit WordPress and run my own thing, but every time the same thing happens: I get bored, I get tired of screwing around with templates and JS and hosting and servers, when really I just want to write dumb stuff.

So I’m perpetually switching back and forth between some random hosting nonsense and plain ol’ hosted WordPress.

I wish I was normal.

Simpler, but vulgar

Allow me to make a stronger, simpler, and far more vulgar point than this post:

Hacker News is awful. The “community” is mostly bored shitheads posting from work, or massively self-important assholes who are bitter their TODO app didn’t get into YCombinator after 15 tries. 

Twitter accounts like Shit HN Says could be 10x as content-rich if they wanted to. Most of the things posted on HN are just truly awful, in terms of a community of ostensibly technical people. 

You can see craven, callow, shallow, mean, bitter, obnoxious, stupid … the entire range of awful human interactions. Honestly, when’s the last time a HN comment really improved anything? Really made a strong contribution to your job, your hobby? 

As a community-curated link site, Hacker News has good stuff most of the time. As a place for community discussion, Hacker News is just You Tube comments with better grammar.

Stop blaming Apple for your decisions

Via Hacker News, we have “I mortgaged my future with a Mac“. 

All of my music is in iTunes, having been re-imported from the original CDs over a period of time. I can just re-rip all of it on my Linux box, but that’s going to suck. Or, I can try to grovel around in their grungy database and try to make sense of it and “export” things, but I’m sure that will be even worse. 

First and foremost, you have failed to do basic research. The simplest Google search shows that most modern distros can play AAC files*, provided they’re not DRM’d. Since you state you ripped from CDs, “importing” your music is as simple as copying the files over. You might lose some ratings and playlists. Big deal. 

Another problem is going to be iPhoto. I’ve cropped, rotated, geotagged, sharpened, level-adjusted, and done countless other things to my thousands of pictures. They all also live in some database which is effectively opaque. While there’s probably some way to get it out, it will be far from trivial.

They’re all on the filesystem. Some data loss (geotags, etc) is locked in the database-thing iPhoto uses, but the corrected photos (along with the originals) are stored as simple images. You won’t lose the most important thing, which is the images themselves.

Then there’s my phone. How do you use one of these things without a computer upon which to sync your data and backups? I don’t believe they can realistically behave properly while completely untethered. That means relying on iCloud, and you’d have to be crazy to do that. Besides, that would just give them more of a grip on my data and more ways to change things and screw me.

You bought an iPhone and now you’re complaining that it’s locked you into the Apple ecosystem. OK, fine, except this is what people complain about all the time, since the goddamn thing appeared. Stop whining and do some basic consumer research.

Maybe I’ll wind up with a relatively dumb phone again, and then I’ll start carrying my point-and-shoot camera around once more. If I need a map, I’ll look before I leave the house and write a quick note with the pertinent details, just like I did for years pre-iPhone. That will cover phone calls, pictures, and even short videos. It will also free me from being on a relentless treadmill from Cupertino, Mountain View, or Redmond.   

This song is for you.

I really need to stop reading Hacker News. There’s millions of people living without clean water and the most horrible thing to happen to them is the possible loss of some iTunes metadata for their immense CD collection. 

* although you apparently have to jump through hoops since AAC is wrapped up in IP the freetards dislike. But it wasn’t hard to find what appeared to be the right combination of plugins. 

Chrome Annoyances

I’m trying to stick with Google Chrome, but it has a few rough edges that seem to make me INSANE. Somehow, these tweak my nerd-brain OCD and I can’t imagine how anyone uses it.

In no particular order:

  • I hate having to tell it where to download an image, every single time. Since Mac OS X has a ‘Downloads’ folder, let me just save images I right-click on.
  • Related, give me the option to make the downloads statusbar go away.
  • The correct keybinding for switching between browser tabs on Mac OS X is command-shift-arrow (left or right). Command-shift-bracket (command-curly) thankfully exists, but do migrating Safari users really use that?
  • I would be thrilled to be able to tweak the speed at which Google Instant works, among other things. In general Instant is a train-wreck for me, so I disabled it. We operate at different speeds.
  • Every extension seems to want to add a toolbar button, whether it needs it or not.
  • My fav Safari extensions, ClickToFlash and Adblock, seem to work better on Safari.
  • I can’t figure out where my bookmarks are synced to, so I could (for example) view them on my iPad. This means 100% of things have to be on Pinboard. Frankly I’d rather keep a few things off Pinboard.

There’s probably a few other things. Chrome is usually faster and varying degrees of more stable, so I want to use it; but Safari “feels nicer” despite beachballing then gronking the entire machine.